Sunday, September 6, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Saying "Yes" to God


When I Am Weak, God is Strong

A guest post by Kristen Rimer Terrette

I’m scared, y’all.

Have you ever committed to doing something you feel God desires from you, then as this very commitment approaches, you find yourself wanting to renege? That’s where I am.

I’m sitting in that tension, screaming inside, and with a racing heart, thinking, “God, what did I say yes too?! I’m not equipped! I’m not knowledgeable! I’m not enough!”

You see, not only have I agreed to participate in this Sharing Our Stories blog, but I’m beginning a church small group about racial reconciliation.

Me. A white girl in a predominantly white suburb (though changing more every day) of Georgia and, true to these statistics, one who attends a predominantly white church.

What can I do? Honestly, I’m part of the problem. Or at least I was, without a doubt, before I worked through the topics of the study I’m facilitating. Topics like awareness, lamentation, confession, forgiveness, and repentance. And even still, having done some internal work in my heart and having conversations with close friends and my husband over the years, I don’t know how to help people along on their journey toward acknowledgement, confession, healing, and growth—the very things that must happen for reconciliation to be realized. So many other are more qualified, even in my own church!

This was glaringly evident last Sunday when I was asked by a church member what made me want to start a group around racial unity. My first instinct was to cringe, because knowing a bit about this church member meant that, most assuredly, he’s further along in his journey toward correcting any previously held biases and prejudices. I felt inadequate immediately, not because of anything he did, but because of my own insecurities.

But after my initial recoil, words flowed easily. Something like (though probably not as eloquent as I’m remembering), “There are people of color my life who I care deeply for. These relationships have lasted for many, many years. They are family. They come to Thanksgiving and Christmas at my home. They celebrate and grieve with me. They love me, and I love them. And once my eyes were unveiled to the injustices and pain they’ve been through, I felt sheer sadness over their oppression and sorrow.”

Knowing my loved ones had dealt personally with racism and hatred, meant I could no longer live in oblivion. My heart aches for them and that heartache makes me want to face my own part in their pain and work toward learning, listening, and doing something to help tend to their wounds.

But is it enough? Is this my own ambition? And what difference could a group or a blog post make in this chaotic world? I’m so small. So weak.

In my quiet time, as I prayed over this, God reminded me of 2nd Corinthians, chapter 12. Here, Paul describes a vision from God where he pleads three times for the Lord to take away the “thorn of his flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV). In verse nine, we read God’s response to Paul’s cries, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” The verse continues with Paul’s acceptance of his challenges, “Therefore I (Paul) will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

It was like God bonked me on the head and added a playful eye roll. My role in these commitments didn’t matter. My insufficiencies only release God’s power as I walk along His path for me. I cried (recently) for Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and my loved ones who I worry about facing brutality. But, also for Eric Garner, Tamir Rice … and the list goes on … I’d told God in these moments I would say yes to whatever He asked me of me.

And that was the only step He needed.

He wants my obedience, because my weaknesses aren’t a problem for Him. They only make His power shine perfectly. He’ll do the work. He’ll bring the people to the small group. He’ll bring the words for our blog posts. He’ll bring readers who are ready to go out and “do” good for Him in the world. His power is all we need to spark change.

I love that Paul adds in 2 Corinthians 12:10,“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

What step are you afraid to take but feel God asking of you? One where you feel ill-equipped for, but a passion for the cause has been stirred in your heart that you can’t deny? 

Guess what? God put that passion there. He’s ready to come in power. In fact, that’s the only way He can come. So, take the step of obedience and delight in that feeling of weakness, because when you are weak, God says, because of Him and His Holy Spirit, you are strong.

With all our obedient steps combined and with God by our side in power, we can make a difference and inspire a change of heart.

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Author Bio:

Kristen's passionate about storytelling and helping people take their next steps in their relationship with Jesus. 

She lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. where she served as a Children's Ministry Director for many years. With the support of her husband and two children, she now stays home writing fiction and non-fiction.

She also serves on the women’s leadership team at her local church and writes for Crosswalk and Wholly Loved Ministries. You can check out her articles and novels at www.kristenterrette.com.

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Connect with Kristen:

Website - www.kristenterrette.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenterrette/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/KTerrette
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/kterrette/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16252020.Kristen_Terrette
Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kristen-terrette
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/kterrette2/

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I love this. I'm encouraged to hear the study you're doing includes lamenting, confessing, repentance, and forgiveness. I'm a black woman who's been asked to forgive without work from the majority being part of the process. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part in this. Thank you for showing that.

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    1. Thank you, Robrenna. :) The study is awesome and also has led me many to many other articles and books to keep learning and growing. I'm so sorry you've been in a position where you were asked to forgive without any consoling, repentance, and heart work from the white majority. That is wrong. And I am so sorry. Hopefully, now is the time to change that.

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  2. Beautiful and inspiring. As an African American embodying and living the struggle daily and as a racial reconciliation facilitator my heart leaps whenever I hear of another White ally. Thank you for sharing your voice and and talents to bring hope and healing to the cause of racial injustice.

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    1. I am sorry for your struggle, but also SO GRATEFUL you are a reconciliation facilitator. Thank you for pushing against the enemy that has veiled our (whites) eyes for so long, and making a great effort to build the bridge between us. Praying now is the time we listen.

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