Strength I Don’t Have

After my first kayak race I looked for a place close to home to practice, or simply to get out and spend time on the quiet water. Wyandotte County Lake was the perfect place, other than the fact they did not allow kayaks. I never liked “no” for an answer, so I took the matter to the County board who had oversight of the lake operations.

Little did I know that newspaper reporters sat in on these meetings just in case there was a little morsel of news to report on. And there was. At my presentation I may have exaggerated a bit, because the headline of the Wyandotte County Star article read “Local Paddler, Olympic Hopeful”. And did I ever catch crap from my friends about that. But mom and dad didn’t laugh. They just wondered if I was going to be in Barcelona in 1992 or Atlanta in 1996.

I also believed I could. Whatever big dream I had, I knew I could do it. And I learned how to chase dreams a little later in life. All the adventures my parents allowed paid off in confidence that I could do it. I could be dropped off in the middle of nowhere and figure out how to get home. I could start a painting business. I could canoe a class 5 rapid. I could survive without food and water for 3 days. I could overcome intense fear and still make good decisions. I can lead my family through a crisis.

Wait a minute. Somewhere in the last 5 months, I realized that I am not capable of this one. The endurance required of this challenge wore me out and broke me. And we may only be through a small part of the race. I can’t continue. Maybe for the first time in my life I will have to depend on strength I don’t have. Where will that strength come from? My strength must now, finally, come from the living God; the creator of the universe; the giver of life; my provider; my helper; my comforter; my rock; my savior. Jesus.

That is overwhelming relief. Joy. Peace. Rest for my soul.

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5 thoughts on “Strength I Don’t Have

  1. Jay, thanks for this candid reminder of a reality that we as men struggle to deal with and often ignore or deny. In all our admirable ambitions and daring dreams we need to be grounded in the reality that “apart from Me you can do nothing.” You’ve been living in that reality more than you may recognize, but we all need to embrace that truth more and still “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

    John (friend of Mark)

  2. Continuing to pray for your family. For those of us who like to be in control, the hardest thing is just trusting God. And when it is really hard and the consequences could be awful, being able to say “even if you allow the very worst thing to happen, I will continue to trust in your goodness and your faithfulness” sometimes seems impossible. I have learned to do this through the trials of my life and faith but it has been a difficult journey. Praying that God will give you and your family peace and sustain you for whatever length of time this takes and knowing that His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses! I so enjoy reading your stories. I am friends with Mark and MC, and can clearly see him in all of your stories…hilarious!

  3. I used to work with Nan at Kinship Christian Radio, and our family has been blessed to spend time with Nan and Papa Larry at their home. I am continuously encouraged by your posts, and although i can’t imagine the extent of what you all are going through, I am always amazed at how you are giving ME strength and bolstering MY faith, when it should be the other way around. God is truly evident in your lives. My life verse is Phil. 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me; and you seem to embrace that in your lives. God bless you and keep you always.

  4. Jay,
    Strength is measured in the heart not the arms… you have the strength to do this and more… although I have only known you a very brief while i was encouraged through the time that was spent with you and your family. Do not ask where to use your strength, ask how you should use the strength to serve, and the rest will come. My thoughts and prayers remain with your family and reading your posts only strengthens my beliefs.

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