But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Cor. 12:9
“Everyone has a disability. Some are just more visible than others.” ~JPL
What happens when a mom of many loses her voice completely?
What about when a pianist begins to lose her eyesight and can’t read the music?
What happens when an athlete is injured?
Or a musician loses his hearing?
Recently I’ve been thinking about these questions because I have been battling a hard case of laryngitis. As the master scheduler running a busy bustling household, this has become more than just an inconvenience, but a major challenge. Using a pen and paper, I have discovered that I do not write near as fast as I talk! Not to mention those cute (non-reading) preschoolers having fun trying to interpret moms hand signals and facial expressions.
This past two weeks of suffering ‘muteness’ has caused me to really reflect on God’s plan in my home and marriage and all the ways God has used weaknesses to show Himself strong. It has quieted my soul, as well as my tongue.
We learn obedience through what we suffer….
Our family is no stranger to suffering. My wonderful husband of 24 years and father to our eight children was born with Cerebral Palsy which makes simple tasks like getting out of bed, putting on shoes, and walking to the car a daily challenge.
“How blessed is the man whose strength is in Him” ~Psalm 84:5
At 2.2 pounds 51 years ago, when Joey was born, the prognosis from the doctor to his parents was grim with a slim chance for survival. The news to his parents, still very raw from the loss of Joey’s twin brothers a few years earlier at only six weeks old, was almost more than they could bear.
For literally, 40 days and nights, the tiny infant lived in an incubator, while his creator ministered to his fragile body. Day by day he gained a little more strength…
Over that first year, the doctors told his parents he would never walk, never ride a bike, never go to school, and never even play a musical instrument.
But God had other plans. Strength was being perfected in weakness.
At the tender age of 3, this miracle child experienced another hardship, which would prove even more painful in so many ways.
He became a child of divorce.
His first 5 years of life were full of doctor visits and surgeries and finally, at age five, with the help of a very strong willed step-father, He learned to walk…for the very first time.
His mother decided that her son was smart, and he deserved the same chance as other kids. So she started her personal campaign to get her handicapped child admission into the public school.
He would be the very first disabled child in the school district to attend the public school.
Strength made perfect.
Public school was both a blessing and a curse. The break from the tensions of home helped him find peace, but the social pressures and school work at times became very challenging.
At the age of 8, after major surgery, he was placed in a full body cast. After every surgery he would learn to walk all over again.
The child loved sports more than anything, he secretly wanted to play baseball and would call out a memorized batting line up as he threw a tennis ball on his garage door. Loneliness became a way of life.
His German mother, who fought so hard to get her son into public school, was now on a new mission.
She would be the founder of the first and only handicapped baseball league. Joey would finally get to play. Making headline news, and finding support from local Houston Astros, Joey, along with his assigned “buddy”, would round the bases and experience the thrill of the game.
He was 11 years old.
Strength made Perfect in weakness…
But life was lonely. There were many questions.
Questions about life and God – questions his parents weren’t able to answer.
So God sent a man to their family, who gave Joey some literature about the gospel and the seed continued to grow.
Growing up, he discovered music in his loneliness, and has since been able to teach his children to embrace the silence of life, and to not be afraid of loneliness.
Strength made perfect.
As a father, he teaches them that you don’t have to be surrounded by people to find significance. It is in that very loneliness, that God becomes more real, more near. They learned that Jesus sticks closer than a brother.
He has modeled from the very beginning unconditional love and fought vigorously against a performance based love with his kids.
His natural talent as a musician was evident. During hundreds of hours of alone time, he would play his instrument. Through the sometimes lifesaving bi-monthly visits with his father, Joey began to play music professionally.
He was 15.
College at Texas A&M was not easy. He was on his own, and did not look back. Playing music for cash to get through school meant driving in to college station from Houston at 5am to make an 8 am class.
But this overcomer never quit.
With a turbulent home life, Joey poured himself into his music and playing.
In 1987, in a dirty hotel room, after a very successful gigging night, this broken man, found Jesus.
He was 23 years old.
His exact words were, “Lord, if I can’t live solely for you, just kill me now, because I don’t want to live without you.”
Growing in his Christian faith became a passion. He served as a summer missionary in downtown Houston, as well as in Colorado. It was in April of 1989 that my life would be changed forever.
It was the day I met Joey.
Our BSU director introduced us, he said, “Joey, here is a gal I think you need to meet”.
All I could see was JESUS. His love and His light radiated from this man.
We spent many hours together talking about our mutual love for the Lord. And two and a half years later, we married. January of 1992. 23 years and 8 amazing children later, I am overwhelmed by the spirit of this man. His fearless attitude and overcoming spirit is contagious and permeates our entire home. He never makes excuses, and by example teaches us to do the same. He knows the source of his strength. He knows why we are weak…why God allows us to suffer…
to drive us to Jesus – the source of all our strength.
I have been so blessed to live with the most amazing, steady, loving, faithful, talented, visionary, passionate, and respected man over this past quarter of a century. The gifts and calling of God on his life inspire me more today than even when we first met. It is a tremendous honor and a privilege to be called his wife, to walk by his side every day. I am thankful for his love for me through all these years, and for how he has raised our kids with conviction and integrity and for modeling what it means to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, oh man, what is good, and what the Lord doth require of you, But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
What happens when a wife and mom of many loses her voice completely? When she is unable to speak and teach, instruct, encourage, train, mentor, love, and edify the family???
…She finally writes that blog post
His Strength is Made Perfect in our Weakness