“You are stronger than you know.”

She hears the words and wants to throw them back in his face. She wants to yell, spit, run.

“What do you know?” she thinks. “How can you tell me I am strong when I struggle to maintain a job, or look put together, or be the mother my kids need me to be?“

She can hardly believe the response, “What defines ‘success,’ my love?”

I do. I define success. My success” she tells him. And then she runs. She doesn’t want to hear him anymore.

when we feel weak and we’re running anyway - how to believe we are strong

So she runs far away, as far away as she can. Deep into the place where she’s convinced she can’t be seen. The place that is deeper and further away than any physical location on a map. It is the place in her heart, deep inside her, where she tucks herself away.

“No one. Not one person can find me here,” she insists. “Not unless I want to be found.”

And he hears her. But he doesn’t respond this time. Not in words.

Because he knows that when you’re falling you sometimes don’t want to be caught. Something in you wants to fall and feel the pain. Pain would be feeling something. Pain is what you think you deserve.

He knows.

And pain is what we feel when we hide.

We forget that God is in the business of catching us when we fall. We forget that God’s catching us doesn’t always look like we think it should.

So again, we run. We run from friendship, from encouragement, from getting help. We run from opportunities to be vulnerable, honest with people about our weakness, our inability to be strong on our own. Because that’s the real problem.when we feel weak and we’re running anyway - how to believe we are strong
When God tells us we are stronger than we know, we hear this: it is up to us to be stronger, smarter, prettier, faster, better. We struggle to accept that being strong means celebrating that we are weak. And that in us, it is God who is strong.

It is only when we surrender the lie that we need to be strong on our own that we can believe a word that Jesus says.

Jesus in us, the Holy Spirit in us, is how “we are stronger than we know.” And yes, this can be difficult for us to accept.

And God knows this. He knows we don’t like surrender.

God knows our wild, rebellious heart. He knows our prideful, stubborn tendencies.

He knows how we lean toward fighting for our own way rather than his. He knows it takes a dying to self to get us to begin again and live. Really live. He knows it is hard for us to want that—to want to die to self as the only path to receiving life.

God knows we’re not used to this upside-down, backwards kind of living. But it’s the only living that is real. It’s the life we are made for.

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If you’ve been gathering here with me for a while,  you know how I love thinking about this running of ours. I love how this is part of the story, our prayer. This running away, and to, and with God are all part of the conversation we have with Him. It is the story God loves.

Our running? It is the story God wants to be in the middle of, and redeem, and make beautiful.

when we feel weak and we’re running anyway - how to believe we are strong

What is God whispering to your heart? How are you running? Are you running with God or away from Him? How do you react when your Father whispers to you, arms open, “I am here. I am with you. I love you with a crazy all-in love. Your perceived weakness is how, in me, you are strong”?

Can you accept his promise, “You are stronger than you know?”

If you want to learn more about conversations with God–and join 40 other women in their raw, honest conversations with their Father, in the midst of running away from him, or to him, or with him, click right here.

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Showing 35 comments
  • Camille Thomas
    Reply

    He who resides in you is strong not we ourselves. The push, the tug, the persistence, the drive, the determination from within that we feel is Him. He’s not a quitter, a failure, a doubter or a pushover. He’s strong and mighty.

  • Carolyn White
    Reply

    Running away is so tiring. So all consuming. Every moment spent trying to cover real feelings. Using weakness as an excuse. “No, Father, I DON’T believe I can!” Maybe it is time to turn around and run into His arms because this girl is bone tIred.

  • Debbie
    Reply

    Sometimes we just have to sit in the mess of this world, be still and breathe knowing that the God of all things is indeed in all things, over all things and through all things and remains faithful to is even when we are not, and holds us in the palms of His hands

  • Debbie
    Reply

    Oops didn’t quite finish the web page address

  • Jan
    Reply

    I have never felt more weak than when my marriage ended after I had fought so hard to save. It seemed so fruitless and quite frankly, I was agry. I had given unconditional forgiveness and had suffered financially to ensure he was represented properly. But in the end, he betrayed me and our marriage and only said, “he was relieved and didn’t love me.” What do you do with that?

    Only through God’s love did I learn to become strong through my human weakness. This marriage did not define me for I was a daughter of the Utmost High and loved more than I could ever imagine. Through Jesus’ love, I found myself again – my weakness became my strength.

    I praise my Saviour each and everyday for His love and unconditional forgiveness for me feeling weak when I am strong through Him. God Bless!

    • Christy
      Reply

      I had forgiven my boyfriend and taken him back. Now engaged to be married I find he is still lying to me. I called off the wedding and have been trying my best to deal with this heart break. I even have anxiety because of this.

      • Ruth
        Reply

        So sorry to hear that dear…take heart and thank God for He saved you from that marriage

        • Christy
          Reply

          Thank you so much for your support. Please keep me in your prayers.

    • Alice Chong
      Reply

      Amen! I so could relate !
      God showed me He was there when it happened . He saw all the abuse. Forsaken or forgotten was I so not by God .
      I forgave and gained freedom .
      God turned turned my ashes into Beauty . He still has more in store for us !! He is a God of hope (Rom15:13)

    • Lynn Blake
      Reply

      The end of my marriage left me emotionally bruised, battered, and abandoned. I never dreamed that my husband — the one who took those sacred vows twenty eight years ago — would forsake this covenant we made before God and our families. Of all of the emotions I felt, the most overwhelming was a gut-wrenching and gripping fear. With no money in the bank, a disconnection notice from the power company, a pre-foreclosure letter from the bank, and an overwhelming feeling of defeat, I turned to the only help I knew would bring carry me through the storm — Jesus.

      Psalm 23 played over and over in my mind as I walked through the dark days and wrestled with the long nights.

      “Even thought I am going through this dark and frightening place in my life, I will not be afraid. Your strong shoulder comforts me and your guiding hand gives me direction. You provide quiet places of rest to restore my brokenness. You have spread out a lavish banquet just for me while the one who has hurt me can do nothing but stand back and watch. Multiple blessings are being poured out on me. It is certain that Your unfathomable goodness and endless mercy will be with me for the rest of my life.” (My paraphrase).

      I cried out for help, trusting that He would do what He promises, and the blessings began to flow. He brought me out of devastation and despair and into the joy of His love and his grace. In teaching me how to live in the midst of the darkest moments, I have learned to trust Him. Eight months later, I walk confidently knowing that the God of all creation knows me, takes care of me, and loves me as I have never been loved.

      My power is on, my bills are paid, and I am living in the joy of the Lord! There is no fear when I walk with Him.

      “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Who, then, do I have to fear? The Lord is the one I put all of my trust in. Is there anyone or anything to be afraid of?” Psalm 27:1 (My paraphrase).

      Trust Him, then let him carry you through. He will.

      • Rose
        Reply

        Thank you for sharing Lynne, your testimony has been a great encouragement to me as I am going through a dark place right now emotionally and financially…God bless.

        • Lynn Blake
          Reply

          Prayers going up from you right now, Rose. God give you strength and courage to face each day with grace and mercy.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Jan, I am so encouraged by you! Thank you, sister! Love your heart and your choosing Him!

  • Stefanny
    Reply

    Its hard not to run and be open to people. Who i am, what I’ve been and still going through makes it even harder. I don’t want to run but it’s all i know.

  • Ansie
    Reply

    It is 03:42 in South Africa…
    Running away has left me Al-0ne… And so so hurt. I no longer want to run away but rather towards the Only One worthy of trust. Thank you Jennifer for bringing comfort to a lonely hurting person like me.

  • RJM
    Reply

    I have hit the wall. Caught in between my Dad, who is ill, and my kids, who are still at home. Who am I? I am lost, I am nothing, I am weak. Only through the Holy Spirit can I survive to fight another day. I strain to hear His voice. Please lift me up, make me strong. Provide me the direction I need to fill the gap for those depending on me.

  • Gugu
    Reply

    As Psalm 55v6-7 says I wish I have those wings just to fly away from the hurt. But God is there comforting me through all and I know I feel im not strong but I am with His love. Marriage can be so painful .

  • sakiena
    Reply

    I never believed in running cause when I look back I was never given a chance to run. I was abuse on a young age twice and in that I had to face it alone. I didn’t told my mom or anyone cause I felt I couldn’t let my mom go through this pain after bringing me us up without a father. I hit pregnant on the age of 15 got married on 16 and today I am still married to my lovely husband. I’ve learned that what is the use of running and being weak to things that you can’t change. As a woman there is word that says a woman also grab the knife on sharp edge. Being strong is a choice you are allowed to choose what you will be. God gave woman the ability to face any mountain. Remember he made us out of the rib of a man we have something extra that is strong in her. God bless

  • Jainni Olivier
    Reply

    I grew up in an abusive household. I had to call the police on my father twice to lock him up to save my mother from near death. Since then nothing got better as I married into an abusive, lying, cheating relationship and brought 3 lovely daughters into this life who is now suffering because of my choices. I have lost my job a week after my divorce and since then is unable to find employment. My second born (22 years, teacher by profession) just came out of a relationship with a man in a wheelchair who cheated on her. She is shattered and I do not know how to console her as I feel her pain. Why on earth does it never end. My nearly 47 years on earth consisted of geartache and now I have caused 3 girls to go through pain too.

  • Jenny
    Reply

    I’ve just read this and all the letters. My heart sinks and leaps as it’s Sunday morning and I chose the subject Weak and Strong to preach on today. It’s only when we’re weak, weak, needy, desperate, crying out for help, that we can become strong. Why? Because our all-loving Father loves it! He loves us to cry out, ask, beg, him to help and rescue us because that’s exactly where he wants us. It gives Jesus within us, by his Spirit, the permission and opportunity to stand up and be strong, all the strength we need. That’s what Paul the apostle meant when he said When I am weak, then I am strong.
    How do I know? Because I am totally, terribly weak right now, have been through a painful divorce, been homeless a few times – due to unforeseen events – and am housesitting now while my new home is being refurbed. Lean on Him and ask for help. From him and from the Body. The church has been there for me. I’m not the usual preacher but am preaching today. From experience and gratitude as it’s his strength that brings calm in the turmoil.

  • Lisa AR
    Reply

    Hi ….. I woke up this morning to beautiful sunshine….and heartache. Surrounded by a sense of old heartaches, present pain & future worries & anxieties. I’ve been in front of the Word for a couple of hours but instead of reading, I’m nursing the pain …cos its familiar & comfortable at this time.

    But when I read YOUR story I realised we’re all going through at the same time and I wonder how it is that, whilst I struggle to move & survive under the weight of my own pain that I’m suddenly strengthened & invigorated to help & pray for YOU!?!…. and that’s when I realise it’s the strength , will and plan of God! You see, when a sista falls or is hurting, we forget our weaknesses in our willngness to help each other to get up…to stand…to take another step…just one…more…step.

    I believe we have met (& will continue to meet) at God’s throne of grace love & mercy, so that we’re strengthened to help each other through our prayers & tears.

    I pray for you as you pray for me as I struggle with caring responsibilities for my 91 y/o mother; I’m unmarried, single, no children, an only child….and feeling very VERY lonely, frustrated & scared of what the future holds; of having missed so many opportunities and feeling like I’ve nothing left to give &/or to get. I know the enemy of souls is after us….but sometimes, just sometimes…. I want…I NEED to know how to stop running and being busy and “supawoman” long enough, so I can REALLY be still & rest.

    God bless you all for sharing and I pray God will surely meet us at the point of our individual needs in Jesus name.

    • Camille Thomas
      Reply

      Lisa I’ll remember you in my prayers. Remember that poem Foot prints in the sand? I’m paraphrasing….when the person was walking along the beach they saw two sets of foot prints things in their life was tolerable but when things started to get rough and intended they looked back and only saw one set of footprints.

      They were devastated to think that God had deserted them, but he reminded them that the footprints you see are mine, while you were going through your darkest moments I was carrying you.

      Lisa God is there even when we don’t feel like he is. His word says, he’ll never leave nor forsake us.

    • Tricia
      Reply

      If you need someone to listen or talk to or pray for you message me at TriciaCherryKarl.

  • Lisa AR
    Reply

    WORD UPDATE!
    Dear all….after my earlier post, I sat with God a little while longer & read the following …. it stirred my spirit & so refreshed me that I HAD to share it (there’s nothing like when Daddy God answers His daughters!)
    Lisa, London UK

    “Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day. For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.
    2 Corinthians 4:16‭-‬18 AMPC
    http://bible.com/8/2co.4.16-18.AMPC

    May this encourage, bless & uplift you, wherever you are & whatever you’re going thru, in Jesus name. Lisa ??

  • Laura
    Reply

    Sometimes I believe I am running even when I think I am standing still…

  • LiraM
    Reply

    I pray the Good Lord give us all strength to face each day. I wan’t to be closer to God so badly but sometimes it just feels like He has forgotten about Me. I’m not perfect , but trying to do all that Pleases The Almighty. I’m unemployed,and my partner as well(he lost his job). I stay with my parents ,brother and my little One. We are all depending on my dad’s salary. I’m on the Internet every week applying for jobs, but still no luck. What hurts is that the experience is there , i worked for several good companies but it was contracts . Please pray for Me im falling Apart.

    Yours in Christ
    LiraM

  • Karen Armstrong
    Reply

    After our son Vean of 25 years was shot dead by 9-member syndicate group, the hatred in my heart festered like a cancer and i wanted to kill all of them myself. After that shock and trauma that i as mother had to endure, i slumped into a black pit and ran away of all feelings and was in my own hide-out for one and a half years … like a zombi…but GOD pulked me out. To God all the glory!

  • Iphy
    Reply

    Thank you so much for this.. God bless you! The first comment from this thread also caught me… I am not the one who is strong. It is he that is in me. I have discovered in my walk that a total surrender to God before taking action is the secret to peace and answers to prayers… It is not me, it is him.
    I often struggle with feelings of inadequacy of not being good enough for anything… with keeping friendships… My business took a bit of a toll and I lost all joy in what is my family’ s source of livelihood.. I also lost a baby earlier this year.. battled with depression… being overweight.. and holding onto a business I love so much and which started as a vision.

    I still struggle and that is where I always come back to God…. to his word and his promises.. To understanding that I need to lean on him and trust him through and through.. If he brought you to it, he will bring you through it..It just takes, faith and trust and faith and trust.

  • Jainni Olivier
    Reply

    Dear Sisters in God,

    Thank you for your love, stories and compassion.
    I will carry you in my prayers.
    God Bless
    Jainni

    • Yvonne
      Reply

      I am so weak and feel worthless I was a principal who was appointed in a small farm school which grew tremendously after working very hard for seven years My learner were 300 when I started at the school when I left I had 1000 learners I was very much pleased with my work but I was stupid I left in 2014 because my husband was mostly out of town and he was struggling financially and it was difficult to support the family alone and he cheated on me during the process I got so mad that I resigned and told myself that I was going to divorce him and pay the debts that we have so that he must not touch my pension money boy I thought wrong I got the money after a struggle paid my debts made some touch ups on the house but we used to fight like cat and dog separating and coming back together seemed professional help but it never stopped tried not to divorce but I was emotionally scarred now in the process of divorcing but he apologizes and when we disagree on something he will tell me that I should go on with the divorce
      I have tried to apply to so many schools because I want my job back but I am not winning my salary has gone down because now I’m an ordinary teacher I am not coping with life wish to die but I feel pity for the kids whom I brought into this world I think if I can find a fulfilling job my life would be better but I am struggling to get another job teaching is not what I want to do for the rest of my life I am so miserable wish I can remove myself from me

      • Christy
        Reply

        Please don’t give up. Keep moving forward even if it’s baby steps. Always think of the good things in our life and not so much the negative. This seems to help me sometimes. I think of the word “JOY” Jesus first Others second and Yourself last. Thank you for sharing.

  • Tammy
    Reply

    I so loved this devotion. As a pastors wife I have had many moments of running and falling deeply . I thank God that His arms are open to me. I am not strong but God is. I feel alone so much in ministry but thankful for God being who He is.

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