O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

Psalm 139:1-6

DEVOTION

Did you learn about inertia in one of your middle school science classes? You may not remember this term, but I definitely taught it to a bunch of 7th graders during my years as a science teacher. Part of the Law of Inertia states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest. Does anyone feel like this statement defines you? It sure does describe me… I’m living in a state of inertia right now.

As a pastor, wife, and mom of three, my life is typically very busy and scheduled out months in advance. This constant business keeps me in motion as I attempt to live out the purpose God has provided for me. The continual forward movement also prevents me from getting stuck in the ditch by a pesky little thing called depression that I’ve been battling for 16 years. Staying busy or in motion helps me safely navigate a path around an invisible canyon I am fearful of falling into with one shove off the edge from the racing, self-deprecating thoughts which seem to follow so closely behind me.

Now, life during a pandemic looks really different than the one I just described. When the forced slow-down began, I told myself, “I’m going to set a schedule, work out, focus on homeschooling the kiddos, study my Bible, and support my volunteers as they try to deal with all the changes.”

For a little while, this worked. I spent way too much money at Mardel for homeschool materials, took walks with the dogs, enrolled in a free online course on the book of Acts, chalked driveways, and checked in with the people I serve.

Then, one afternoon while I was on a walk, I turned my ankle. It swelled and bruised, making my sanity walks nonexistent, and the persistent pain kept me up at night. I was conflicted daily on whether I should spend my time working or focus on the kids’ school. Resentment started to crop up because my husband could somehow magically go up to the playroom from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with no worries about the mayhem that might be ensuing downstairs with one teenager and two tween boys who act more like bear cubs. Like a train moving slower and slower on the tracks, my life came to a screeching halt.

That’s when it happened. The door that I have worked so hard to keep shut opened just a crack and depression snuck in. I withdrew. I got tangled up in my thoughts. I put on a mask to make sure that no one except for my husband could see what was going on inside me, and I literally had body aches that made me feel like I had the flu. But, this is nothing new for me.

Typically, I get frustrated because I think, “Why the heck can’t I just get past this? I know God could remove this from my life. Why hasn’t he?” I can’t really answer those questions, yet despite my wonderings, I still choose to trust God. Instead of abandoning my life, I lean in. I stay on top of my medication and vitamins. I build an invisible shield around my mind and heart by bathing myself in worship music, sermons, podcasts, and God’s Word. When I can’t sleep, I pray. At times, these prayers feel more like a wrestling match than meditation. Most importantly, I listen to my husband, Mike, who God has put into my life to remind me of what’s true and call me out when I begin to spiral.

When this cycle kicked up a few weeks ago, I believe the Holy Spirit led me to realize something. God knew my weaknesses and broken places from the beginning and still chose me to be his, to serve him, and to have purpose in his kingdom. He surrounds me and provides me what I need for the battles I face. My thoughts are echoed in the words of David’s Psalm.

“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” Psalm 139:1-6

What about you? Can you relate to any part of my story? If so, I want you to know that your weakness does not disqualify you from following Jesus, from living out his commission, or from doing good and meaningful work in God’s kingdom. In fact, the weakness you so wish you could just erase from your life is the very thing God might use to make his power evident and draw others to Jesus through you. I love the way the Apostle Paul refers to his own recurring weakness.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

It may not make sense in our world, but to Jesus, you are the right person for the job! Be encouraged today!

PRAYER

God,

I can’t even express appropriately in words how grateful I am that you give me purpose and fruitful work in your kingdom, despite my weaknesses. In fact, it’s those weaknesses that you use to work through me. Help me to live each day in your strength and not my own. I am yours!

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen!

Jill Poe-Thompson

Crossings Edmond Pastor of Connection and Guest Services
jpoe-thompson@crossings.church

JILL RECOMMENDS…

Looking for weekly encouragement? Sign up to receive each devotion via email or opt into notifications for the group “Devotions” in the Crossings App! You can also check out previous devotions at crossings.church/devotions.