Strength out of Weakness

It’s weird to think that just 9 months ago, I was preparing to come to Korea,

wondering what my 10 months in Korea would be like (clueless that the 10-month plan would soon go out the window).

Everything has changed since then.

The changes are so overwhelming that I lose my bearings at times. Who am I? What has happened to me? I take a look around me, and my life is nothing like I ever imagined it would be. I take a peek into my future, and I see a bunch of unknowns. (There is definitely something exhilarating about that, but it is also scary.)

Yet at the same time, I feel so much peace. I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

So much has happened, even in just the past month, that I’m only now processing it all.

A few weeks ago, during a commute home after a particularly exhausting day, the Lord said to me,

“I’m going somewhere with all this. Are you ready to run with me?”

I was deeply encouraged that He had a purpose for all the turmoil, but was running really necessary? I felt too tired to think, much less run. But of course I ended up saying Yes. Perhaps not very energetically. But He has unconditional claim to me.

So I’ve been running with the Lord these past few weeks.

The combination of apartment hunting and giving my piano recital almost did me in, but God revealed supernatural strength and perseverance in me I didn’t know I had. I used to think I was weak, because I am so emotional. But God has been revealing that not only am I stronger than I thought, but that what I always perceived as my greatest weakness is actually my greatest strength.

You could even say it has become my greatest weapon.

At my church retreat last month, I heard a message about Moses.

God did miracles through Moses when he confronted Pharaoh, and He did those miracles through an ordinary instrument: The staff that happened to be in Moses’ hand when he encountered God.

Just as God used that stick to display His power and glory, so He wants to use the thing in our hand for His glory. He doesn’t want to give us some new gift, He wants to use that ordinary thing we have been overlooking in ourselves. It is already in us!

At first, I didn’t think the message applied to me, because I already knew what God wanted to use in me: my musical gifts. But when I started crying during the prayer time after the message, God said,

“This is it! What you tend to devalue is the key: Your emotions.”

Really?

Right after He said that, I was tapped on the shoulder and told to go up on stage to sing the closing worship song with the praise team. My face was soaked with tears, but I did my best to wipe them off with my hands and went up anyway. I was too choked up to sing much, but I sensed the Lord saying, “It’s okay, just let me use you in this way,” so I did.

I could kind of understand how me crying during worship could maybe be used by the Lord, but God took it much farther than that.

This past month, the enemy did his best to isolate and discourage me,

and I cried a lot.

But though my tears rarely felt holy or useful in any way, in my most vulnerable moments, amazing things happened. People I didn’t know very well showed me deep kindness and love. They held me, prayed for me, and practically forced me to tell them what was going on. My tears opened the doors to honest conversations, they built trust with people, broke off reservations in myself and those around me––they washed away barriers.

And while I was in the midst of sobbing uncontrollably during worship two Sundays ago (not up on stage, thank goodness), God spoke to me powerfully. He said,

“It’s okay to feel emotions, even disappointment or hurt, because those emotions don’t change who you are. Who you are is established within you, and nothing can shake that out of you.”

I can’t even describe the intense faith that rose up in me at that moment.

So as I take a look around me and get my bearings,

as I take a look into myself and who I have become these past nine months, one thing is clear: I am much stronger than I used to be.

And because I am established in my identity in God, because I no longer let negative emotions rule over me, because I am learning to rebuke the self-pitying tears, but open myself fully to the tears from the Lord, my emotions and sensitivity have become the greatest part of my strength. They are a powerful weapon that open shut doors and break down thick barriers.

I know this is only the beginning. God is going to continue to refine and hone this part of me. He will continue to use my emotions and sensitivity in surprising, powerful ways. And I heartily say Amen. I don’t mind if I look foolish; I know who I am. May He be glorified in me.

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Elizabeth is an American living in South Korea who believes in destiny, miracles, and living life intentionally. She holds to simple faith in a complex world, values the beauty of the everyday, and strives for vulnerability with other imperfect humans. She is always learning, laughing, and finding herself in awe of grace.

2 thoughts on “Strength out of Weakness

  1. As a fairly new believer I used to weep and weep whenever I would share in public about my conversion experience. I was touched by the His sheer grace and love. Often, I would have to stop in mid-sentence to try and collect myself. Sometimes I never even got to the end. Everyone always seemed so moved by it. But one day I decided I was tired of being so weak and looking like a fool and I told the Lord I’m not going to cry telling the story anymore. Well, the next time the opportunity came, I really worked hard to control my emotions. But I succeeded in not only keeping my eyes dry but everyone else’s as well. My testimony felt lifeless, flat. Noone was touched. I realized I had said ‘no’ to the Holy Spirit when I decided to try with all my strength to control my emotions. Needless to say it resulted in quick repentance. I learned to never say no to the Holy Spirit again even if I may look foolish in my own eyes.

    What a year you’re having! God continues to do amazing work in you. Bless the Lord! May He continue to pour out Himself in you. Blessings!

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