“Mom, can you put my other sock on? Can you also tie my other shoe, too? That’d be great.”
I’m a professional helper. My kids do as much as they can and go as far as they can – and then my job is to come alongside and help them complete the rest of their task.
Each year I have seen them become a little more capable, and I would expect and eagerly anticipate, nothing less in the years that are still coming.
I’ve watched and waited and helped them all learn how to roll over, little chubby helpless lumps that just lay on a blanket randomly vomiting and smiling for the first few months of their lives.
Then I helped them learn how to sit up without falling over (every single time). I’ve put support pillows where required, and propped up crib mattresses so they could breathe at night when they’ve had colds.
I’ve held their hands while they were super wobbly and learning how to walk. And I’ve picked them up off the ground and wiped dirt and blood off of their knees and faces A LOT.
I’ve helped them learn how to speak words correctly, and half of them so far, how to read.
All this time they have brought their willingness and their capabilities (whatever level they were currently at) to the table. Then my dear husband and I have helped them make up the difference.
Many times, we’ve been privileged to watch older brothers help younger brothers come alongside and help make up the difference, too. Those moments are pure parenting magic.
Last week, I was prepping for a Sunday School lesson and I was reading through the story of Gideon in Judges 6.
God sent the angel of the Lord to Gideon one day, while he was just busy doing his menial daily chores . . . and told him that he was choosing him to lead an army against another strong brutal army—an insane task on paper, and one of those invitations you’d quickly press the “not going” button on.
“I’m choosing you,” God said.
“Pardon me, sir, but I’m way too young,” Gideon said. (10 points for addressing the Lord with benevolent manners.)
“I’ll help you,” God said.
“Pardon me, sir, but I’m way too weak,” Gideon said.
I could hear my own voice loud and clear as I was reading through the passage.
“I’m not capable of this.”
“My house is too small, my boys are too rowdy. I’m so exhausted, sometimes it’s so easy to feel all alone in this. Why would we think homeschooling was ever a good idea. We’re out of coffee beans again, and I’ve just completely lost the ability to even . . . ”
Guess what God told Gideon next, and basically whispered into my very heart and soul at the very same time?
“Go in the strength you have. I will help you.”
So basically, “Bring your own capabilities and the strength you can still muster in your weary, worn, weak self and I will come alongside you and fill in the gaps, thus making up the difference.”
And the best part? I needed to have that phrase rolling around in my head all weekend so I’d remember it for this week at hand.
Because sometimes you simply hit a week that feels like your strength has been misplaced at the bottom of one of the laundry baskets, hidden inside the pocket of a pair of dirty jeans.
And it’s not just for Gideon, it’s for me and for you, and for anybody on this earth who has ever felt too fill in the blank for any task ever.
“Go in the strength you have—I will help you.” Love, God (the One who created you and believes in you, more than we would or could ever believe in ourselves.)
All of the high fives and fist bumps and confident reminders that we are perfectly equipped for exactly what is set in front of us as this very moment.
“Does God speak to you, Mom? We haven’t heard any voices . . .”
“He sure does. But the funny part is that His voice sounds a lot like the words found right in scripture, you know that Bible written ages ago that still can send you loud and clear messages on this very day when you need them the most.”