Feeling Weak?
Mary DeMuth, She Speaks Conference Graduate

"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NASB)

I didn't know that when those older boys pinned five-year-old me to the earth, my backside poked by brambles, that someday God would choose that frightened little girl, sexually abused for a year, to shame the wise. But He chose a shattered me.

I didn't know that as my childhood home filled with drugs and unsafe parties, God would rescue weak and scared me. But, eventually, He salved my fears.

I didn't know that as I ran from other predators, the boys' marks on me like a beacon, I'd someday limp into the arms of a Savior. I felt debased, unworthy, ugly, dirty, ruined. But He welcomed me.

I didn't know that as my earthly father slipped from this earth, my Heavenly Father stood nearby, open armed. Though my earthly father's death left me fatherless, my Heavenly Father didn't orphan me. He grafted me into His family.

I didn't know that as I considered different ways to kill myself in junior high, as I faced a third parental divorce, that Jesus' own beautiful death provided a way of new life for me. He rescued me from taking my life.

I was all the things the apostle Paul wrote about in today's key verse, and then some. Neglected, needy, pained, lost, small, frightened. And yet God took those negatives and beautified them with Himself. That's the great paradox God brings to all of us, no matter how "easy" or hard our upbringing. It's not that we're strong and sufficient and wise, it's that He is.

Perhaps you've looked back on your past and shuddered. Perhaps you've questioned God about why He'd allow atrocities in your life. But consider this: God gets the most glory in the life fully surrendered to Him, and it's hard for a self-sufficient person to submit. He does the most work in our helplessness. (See 2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10).

Our weakness and frailty are not merely places of desolation; they are dance floors—holy places where the God of the universe is allowed to freely move in our lives. Our own lack allows for and welcomes this sacred dance where God's talent outshines our capabilities, where only He receives the glory.

Will you lay down your past today? Will you trust Him with the mess, the memories, the mayhem? If you do, He will take the marred pieces of your life, reassemble them, and make you fly. So you (because of Him) can shame the wise.

Lord, I confess I've seen my own injuries as reasons to blame you and keep You far from my heart. I'm sorry. Help me instead to see my weaknesses as a place where You can demonstrate Your strength. I welcome You into the painful places. Do something new and miraculous. I don't want to be embittered. I want to be free. And I want to give You all the glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
View the trailer for Mary’s newest book, Thin Places: A Memoir and purchase your copy today of Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary E. DeMuth

The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future by T. Suzanne Eller

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight

For more encouragement, read Stained and Ruined

Application Steps:
Find a trusted confidant and share your story with her. Confess ways you've pushed God away. Ask her to pray for you so that you can allow God into the painful places of your life.

Journal a prayer to God about your difficult memories. His shoulders are big enough to carry your authentic, raw words.

Ask God to specifically guide you to Scripture that speaks to your past. Write them out, put them in your purse, and memorize them.

Look back on your life. When have you felt closest to God? The most distant? What were your circumstances at each time?

In what ways are you afraid to surrender your past to God?

How can you choose today to believe the truth that God's strength is stronger where you're weak?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 43:18-19, "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." (NAS)

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong." (NAS)

© 2010 by Mary DeMuth. All rights reserved.

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Blogger KARUNIA said...

:-) Great devotional.. Living with Him in a whole life is our aim in this universe. Whether weak nor strong it is only by His present. At weak and misery we can see that only by His Power we can step.. and when we felt strong and confident it's also by Him. Awareness in Him must in our mind.
Learn to practice more ya... :-)
Thank you.

Anonymous Ashley said...

I think it is hard for us to imagine true forgiveness and acceptance. We as individuals have such a hard time fully forgiving and accepting people for who they really are that we forget that our Father in heaven doesnt care what we have done or where we have been. What a wonderful assurance that Jesus Christ loves me just the way I am, baggage and all. Thank you for the words of encouragment!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in one of your sessions at Hearts at Home - thanks for sharing your story and letting it be used for good!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is the only One able to make beautiful from ugly; to bring new life from death and destruction. How I thank Him and praise Him for the new life He has created in the author's life and in me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Powerful words from a powerful vessel. Great surprise to "hear" your voice this morning, Mary, sharing the amazing redemption of our savior. Blessings to you and your sweet family! -Anne Kittrell

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that when I ask God a question he answers me through this daily devotion and this one is right on with a question from last night as I drove home from the grocery store, why does he allow good to suffer and bad to thrive. But he answer here with he needs me broken so I will lean on him Thanks for the ministry you have here.

Blogger Mary DeMuth said...

All of you have written so eloquently of God's ability to redeem. Amen!

Anne Kittrell! How cool! So great to hang with you here. Last time? Europe!

Blogger Unknown said...

So many of us feel that God can't or won't use us when we are broken, but he uses our brokeness to show other how awesome he is and through it all we will have the VICTORY. God uses those broken times in our lives to teach us and to help us forgive ourselves so that we can forgive those that may have done harm to us.

Blogger Mary DeMuth said...

Donna, that's a really good point. I see my own frailty, then I'm so thankful for God's forgiveness of me that I can then offer grace to others who are frail.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful devotional. Through all of my earthly struggles. All of the cruel and vile things that I have had to succumb, the Lord redeemed me. He has used my situations for His glory and I am so very thankful. I cannot look at my past in pain, but look at it with hope and love...knowing that even though my past may have been bleak...my future, because of Him, is so very bright!

Blogger Mary DeMuth said...

So, so true, Anonymous. Nothing is wasted. Everything can be redeemed.

Blogger Joan Davis (Jo) said...

I've heard it said, and have since come to believe, that "God never wastes a hurt". How wonderful! Though we may travel through difficult times, He is always with us and He will always bring some good from it - somehow, sometime, somewhere. Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey as an encouragement to all of us...who also "didn't know".

Whenever I am tempted to feel sorry for myself and the abuse, neglect and other atrocities of my childhood I remember that it is those experiences that make my testimony what it is. God makes it all good (Romans 8:28) and our testimonies, our stories are for His glory. I am comforted by the God of all comfort and with that comfort can comfort others. II Corinthians 1- hard to focus on the negative with all that positive! Thank you for sharing your story!

Anonymous Petra said...

I could not stop reading this devotion. I read it several times, and each time I read it, it said something new to me. I quess because I've been so hurt lately, that my focus was on "me". Thank you for sharing your story, and the scriptures from His word. It brought great encouragement to my life. The one passage from God's word, was (if you will),the "icing on the cake". "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past." It's like God said: Look at Me, not your past, Me!

Blogger achildoftheking said...

Been there... God rescued me. I wouldn't be the woman I am today without God. Amen!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly touched by this story. Couldn't have come at a better time when I feel like God is trying to heal these past hurts and pains in my life in the deepest places of my heart. Haven't got much trust for anyone and negative thoughts stem from childhood disappointments. Like, being severely teased in school, put down at home and hurt by my own husband in our early days. This scripture is one to memorize and meditate on. I have asked God before if I was so chosen then why did people despise me but I know better now.

Blogger MSK said...

That is beautiful. Thank you for your honesty about all the beautiful things you shared. God bless your ministry!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

today....I wanted to give up.
today....I was undone.
today....I wanted to throw away the plans God has for me and run away.

But God led me here. Thank you for letting God use you to restore my hope! I choose to stay, embrace God's plan for me and fight the good fight!

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