Country Strong

Sometimes I send romantic little texts to my husband throughout the day like, “Hey, where is the chainsaw?” or “I need the BIG ladder.” At times I may get a “What are you doing?” response but most of the time it is merely the red-faced mad emoji or the more popular complete silence.  Like most married couples I suppose, we sometimes differ in the priority of projects we feel need to be attended to around the Ranchito.  To be fair, there are a lot….. My husband’s favorite projects tend to be the kind in which he can put headphones in and work on alone… sprinklers, spraying weeds, driving the tractor,  something for a million hours out in the shop.


And to be fair, he is at the office most of the week while I am here… starting at the dead limb until it is LITERALLY MAKING ME CRAZY.  I want to be able to till the garden, get the truckload of mulch, build onto the chicken coop, cut down the branch for the love of Pete.  The truth is, I have a hard time with the 50 pound bag of dog food.  And it makes me so mad.

Let me paint a little picture of myself for you…. I am 5’4″ (and 1/2???).  I was a cheerleader in high school AND COLLEGE (go ahead, I know)!! And although 4 kids in 6 years added a couple of dress sizes on, I am in no way a large, brawny girl.  My idea of a good workout is a little candlelight and yoga or maybe a hip hop step class (cheerleader!!).  Now, I did birth a 10lb 11oz baby boy all natural so I don’t care how much you can lift… I win.  But, my physical limitations, even in my strong, healthy, relatively young body are frustrating so much of the time.  I will probably never be as strong as my husband.  I will never be as tall as my 6ft.tall  sister-in-law who is super handy to have around by the way!!  I have yet to be loading chicken feed or potting soil into the back of my SUV where a nice gentleman doesn’t notice the obvious struggle and offer to help.

These limitations mean that I have to ask for help.  A LOT.  I am a hard worker and will put in the sweat and long hours but nothing I do is going to transform me into someone who can accomplish all that I wish I could.  My husband jokes around with me often and says, “You’re country strong Babe! You can do it.”  But here is the thing…. there are times I really can’t.  It makes me so frustrated… and as I have thought more about it I am so frustrated that I am frustrated.  Is there anything we value in our American culture more than independence?  It sounds so strong and right and good.  But then I look to the Word of God and He says something very different, doesn’t He?  In John 15:5 Jesus says, “apart from me you can do NOTHING.”  Ouch.  In light of an omnipotent Savior are we anything BUT limited?

It’s weakness, isn’t it.  Weakness is what we are talking about.  We hate being weak.  I hate being weak.  It seems everything in our culture revolves around being strong….Workout and eat right to be strong of body.  Put your kids in the best schools and bombard them with learning so they will be strong of intellect.  Work hard at your job and climb the ladder to be of strong power, wealth, and influence.  Post only the very best of yourself to be strong of admiration and popularity.  Strength.  We love it.  Paul says something shocking to our “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” sensibilities in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “I will BOAST all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why for Christ’s sake I will DELIGHT in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”    Boast in weakness, not hide them?  Delight in weakness, not try to overcome them?  Not be frustrated in them?  Not see my weakness as weakness but strength?   Man, Jesus likes to flip things upside down, doesn’t He?

One aspect of my walk with Jesus that I simply love is that He invites us to be co-laborers with Him here on the earth.  1 Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are God’s fellow workers,” or, “co-workers.”   In 2 Corinthians 6:1 Paul says, “As God’s fellow workers (or partners) we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.”  Just like there is always work to be done around my Ranchito, there is Kingdom work to be done here on earth.  We are called to share the gospel, love one another, pray for one another, to care for the widows and orphans, to resist the devil, to fight the good fight.  In Luke 10:2 Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”  In Isaiah 6:8  Isaiah tells us, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’  And I said, ‘Here am I.  Send me!”    You see, the moment you make Jesus Lord of your life you do not just sit back and wait in line to get into the pearly gates.  N0! In fact, you receive marching orders, really, divine assignments here on earth.  We are to be hard workers. Did you know that God instituted work in the garden before the fall.  I’m all in for a little hard work, some dirt on our hands, some spiritual sweat on our brow, a little eternal muscle being built.

But, just like I have to depend on my much stronger and more able husband to do certain things around here, we will ALWAYS have to depend on our Rock of a Savior to come along side of any and all of our efforts for His glory. He is like the kind gentleman at Tractor Supply who can lift effortlessly what I cannot with all my might.  The things that I worry and fret I will never be able to do on my own are but a whisper of His mighty will.  All I need to do is ask for His help.  All we need to do is boast in our weakness, delight even.  And our work will become rest at His side.  After all, he tells us in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  We don’t have to be country strong.  We have a Savior who can command the wind and the waves, who beat death, who can’t wait to lend you a hand.  Rest in this and be encouraged Sisters, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12:9) Thank goodness for that!

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