Can I help others when I’m a mess too?

A friend confessed something today on her blog: that she–a writer who encourages and advocates for healthy, loving marriages–has a marriage that’s struggling.

She asked, “Can I still be an advocate for healthy marriages when I’m in a season of unhealth in my own?

I’ve often wondered that, too: “Can God use us in the areas where we’re struggling right now?”

Can God use the book I’m writing for parents of special needs kids, even if we’ve oft felt run over by a bus with our own kids?

Will people want to coach with me or invite me to speak when they know I can’t find my car keys, either? Or that I swear sometimes when I’m mad?

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a yes. A big, fat yes.

Here’s why:

His strength shines bright in our weakness.

It doesn’t replace our weakness, or negate it. It doesn’t ask our weakness to get it together, or for us to berate ourselves (because how can we berate one made in God’s image? Wouldn’t that be insulting to the Maker?) His strength is complete, total, all-encompassing in our weakness. If we hide the weaknesses, we dampen the strength He wants to shine through us.

We learn love through our weaknesses.

We shouldn’t hide our weaknesses, but we all know we can’t let them be the boss of our lives, either. So we seek out grace, forgiveness, healing, and comfort. It’s because we’ve needed grace that we can offer it. Because we’ve pursued healing, that we can walk alongside others pursuing it now. It’s that we’ve known the pain of our own failures, that allows us to love others as they grow through theirs.

Our weaknesses can strengthen relationships.

They keep us in a posture of “fellow seeker” instead of “expert.” They make life about who we are, not what we do or how much we have it together.

Our weaknesses, as far as I can tell, are the connective tissue that keeps us part of this Body, God’s bride. It’s what connects us to each other–this human condition that cries out for God’s strength and life to fill it.

Don’t hide that struggle today, friend. Be honest about your marriage. Let that friend know you’re an imperfect mom. Tell someone about that thing you don’t think you can ever talk about. The more we hide our struggles, the more the enemy and our own thoughts can shrivel us from the inside.

You are too important to God and to the people in your life to let that happen.


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  1. says

    I have been thinking about the same thing! All our lives are messy and require grace, yet God calls us to serve and encourage. It’s kind of ironic, but that is truly how God works. Often our struggles are what God wants us to share with people. Thanks for writing this and reminding me that we don’t have to have it all together to make a difference.

    • says

      It does seem kind of ironic that He works that way. But maybe not, too. He did choose to reach us by becoming a messy human being, too… Glad for that!