These are two words that often run through my mind. I feel like I am never enough. I want so badly to be enough. I want to be enough for my kids. I want to be enough for my husband. I want to be enough for my friends. I want to even be enough for God. I often feel like I am always falling short and I long to hear the affirming words “You are enough” whispered in my ear and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
I recently gave birth to my second son. The last seven weeks of my life have been filled with changes, challenges, and lots of mixed emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I love both of my sons tremendously, but this motherhood thing is no walk in the park. I am daily facing the joys and struggles of taking care of a newborn and a toddler. Kids are demanding, exhausting, and just a lot of work. I often feel at the very end of myself and like I am constantly coming up short. Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Don’t worry, you can do this.” “Don’t be so hard on yourself, you got this.” “Hang in there, you are enough.” Or even the ever-popular phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But is that actually true?
As a mom I can be easily overwhelmed by all that my life entails right now: changing countless diapers, keeping up with the laundry, planning and cooking meals making sure the house is not in total chaos, not to mention also being entrusted with two precious boys and trying to raise them to be the men God has created them to be. I want to be enough for this calling, but frankly there are many days where I feel like a failure and there have been times in these last few weeks where it feels like God has given me more than I can handle. But God has been showing me in these last seven weeks that I am not enough, and I never will be, but that’s ok.
I AM NOT ENOUGH
John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus doesn’t say that apart from Him we can do some things. He says that apart from Him we can do nothing, not a thing. We were created to need Jesus. We like to think we have what it takes but we really don’t. On my own I will fall short over and over again. (Romans 3:23) Coming to a place of realizing we are not enough brings us to the place of being completely dependent upon our Savior. We all desperately need Jesus.
I NEVER WILL BE
I will never “arrive”. I will never get to a place where I am done growing and learning and maturing, and I never want to. If I ever think I have arrived, it is then that I will become complacent and stagnant. That is not somewhere I want to live. The truth of the matter is, I will never stop needing Jesus. I need Him just as much today as I did when I first accepted Christ. That will never change.
AND THAT’S OK
Maybe this whole idea of not being enough seems depressing, but God is showing me that embracing this idea is ok and actually brings tremendous freedom. Why? Because when I realize that I am not enough I can fully embrace a God and a Savior who is MORE THAN ENOUGH. I take my eyes off myself and my shortcomings and place them on Jesus. Our greatest need isn’t to be told we are enough or even to be found useful for God’s kingdom, our greatest need is Jesus, nothing more nothing less. We have a perfect Savior who is completely capable of anything and everything. When we realize that we can’t but God can, a huge burden is lifted off of us and we can truly live life the way God designed us to- being completely dependent on Him.
A phrase that I was taught several years ago was, “For this I have Jesus.” This phrase has really stuck with me. I like to remind myself of that truth and fill in the blank with whatever I am struggling with. By doing this I am reminded that I have a Savior who is amply sufficient for whatever I am facing in life. So whatever your THIS is, whatever circumstances in life seem overwhelming to you, wherever you feel like you are falling short, remember: You are not enough, you never will be, but that’s ok, because for this you have Jesus and He is more than enough. Embrace that truth. Walk in it daily. For when we do we allow God’s grace and the beautiful truth of the gospel to be put on display to those around us.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Some of the ideas in this blog post were inspired by the book Gospel Centered Mom by Brooke McGlothlin.
Written By: Abby Larsen
“For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can he forget the beautiful work you have done for him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve his beloved ones for the glory of his name...so don’t allow your hearts to grow dull or lose your enthusiasm, but follow the example of those who fully received what God has promised because of their strong faith and patient endurance.”
Hebrews 6:10-12 TPT
Sometimes God calls us to something that is unknown and unexpected. Other times, God makes it so clear to us what he is calling us to do, but in order to be used for the extraordinary purposes He has planned, we have to step out of what is safe and comfortable into a raging sea of storms. Jeremiah and I were both very involved and a part of a very influential church in Toronto called Vantage Church (a Hillsong Church plant). Although we were involved and busy in this church, we felt a stirring in our heart that could not be put into words, but gave us a sense that a change was coming. Through many confirmations and promptings from the Holy Spirit, we decided that God was definitely calling us to Siren, WI to bring the hope of Jesus to people, awaken them to His Kingdom and encourage them in their purpose and calling. In 2012 the storms started to set in, the moment we stepped out and took those first steps of faith. Adventure Church at that time was in need of a youth pastor and worship pastor. We knew that the immigration process for me would be unpredictable, but we were hoping after reading and researching that 6 months later I would be able to move to America and join my husband. What we didn’t know, is that we both would be separated for the first two years of our marriage due to immigration. I had recently graduated with my honors degree in Leadership with a focus on International Development. We both did not have a dollar to our name and were so focused on serving Jesus, we just trusted that he would provide for us along the way. I worked at a children’s hospital and kept up a waitressing job and moved in with my parents for what was supposed to be a couple months.
Month after month started passing by and we were still just at the beginning phase of the immigration process. Jeremiah and I could not financially afford for me to live in America without a green card and so I kept being faithful with what was in my hand and even though I lived far from him, I would pray for great things over the Siren community and the people of our church that I had only met a handful of times. With each passing month, my heart grew more discouraged in my flesh, yet in my spirit, I felt that God had something great in store on the other side of my pain. I was very depressed as so many transitions and unexpected events happened along the way. One of which led to both of us being threatened by someone randomly in Wisconsin and resulted in Jeremiah’s family losing their entire home and everything they had owned. This led to dealing with intense fear, but in my Spirit, a greater determination that God was going to do something miraculous and that all these trials would be seeds to revival in our community in Wisconsin. During all these events I was still living in Canada. Life just seemed miserable and that everything around me seemed to be falling apart. I continued to hold onto hope in the midst of my discouragement that God had a purpose and a plan. As I would seek Him, I could see that He wanted to use me to reach children and youth when I would eventually move there. I began preparing and dreaming for what that could be. Sometimes, when we cannot see the plan, we have to trust the purpose, and that God uses everything for His will.
After traveling to Montreal, an 8 hour trek one way, I was approved for my green card. We were only weeks away from being united forever, and we still had no where to move into. We had been searching for one year for a house. Many times, we thought we found the ‘perfect’ place, but something would fall through and the door always closed. The day before I moved to the United States which was June 14, 2014, God led my father-in-law to our now house which was for sale, while he was on his way to church. Our house was better than any of the ‘perfect’ options we found earlier. It was move in ready, was beautifully remodeled, and was entry level, the only option we could afford with the financial support of my family. This house was one sign and miracle that God had a place for us here and this was part of his plan. He also provided an amazing job at the Grantsburg School District where I serve as the Community Education Director and work with children and youth.
Sometimes our dreams don’t always turn out as planned. When our dreams are surrendered to Jesus, and we give everything to follow Him, he leads us along our path for His Kingdom purposes. Even though we question the plan in which He is using us, we must be assured of his purposes for us. His purpose for us is to be in relationship with Him and to live our lives as a blessing for others. He showed us this love - at all costs - by way of the cross - the least I can do is lay down my life for His cause.
Be blessed by this song, and know that on the other side of your suffering and sacrifice is God's perfect plan for your life, your miracle and your breakthrough. New Wine - by Hillsong Worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ozGKlOzEVc
“But you, Israel, are my servant.
You’re Jacob, my first choice,
descendants of my good friend Abraham.
I pulled you in from all over the world,
called you in from every dark corner of the earth,
Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
Isaiah 41:8-10 MSG
Written by Bek Stavne