The Gift of Powerlessness

For my birthday, my husband got me a new house. Along with that new home, the Lord has given me the surprising gift of powerlessness. Neither of these were on my radar.

God had done so much in our hearts, lives and family in this tiny home.  At first, I tolerated our house. Small and strangely-shaped with a kitchen featuring more peach tile than should be allowed to exist on the entire planet, we did our best to adjust our expectations from the affordable Southeast to the exorbitant Southern California market.

But somewhere in between remodeling our kitchen together, building a deck with our newborn in a baby carrier and growing to love our neighbors, the odd house became our home.  As we packed up pillows and pushed couches, I could not help but think about the conversations had on them, the tears cried into them, the children who catapulted onto or off of them.  As such, I was already a mess for weeks leading up to moving day.


As exciting as it is to move into a home with more space, the moving process has left my soul as exposed as the bare walls on in our old house. With every piece of furniture moved, an artillery of AWOL Nerf bullets and a myriad of missing marbles were discovered, leaving me questioning my fitness as a housekeeper. On a deeper level, packing exposed hordes of hidden fears, as questions seemed to piling up with the boxes.

What if we made the wrong decision? What if the boys don’t make new friends in the neighborhood? Why are we leaving such a good place?  Could God really meet and grow us in our new place the way He has so graciously met and grown us and so many others here

In my head, I imagined moving day being chaotic but celebratory, a fitting cap stone of our years in this home. I was mistaken.

In San Diego, where it hardly ever rains, it poured. All day.  Soggy boxes and grumpy kids who were far more parts gloomy than glad did not pair well with my already-anxious, dependency-averse heart. The staging company neglected to remove the house full of furniture, leaving our chaotic new house a maze of muddy furniture.  We did not get nearly as far as I had imagined, so we went to bed tired and unsettled. We woke up all night, stumbling around boxes to care for one child terrible anxiety and another with a ruptured ear drum from a sudden earache.

Needless to say, I teared up in bed, overwhelmed by my powerlessness. This is not what I thought it would be.

As we walked into Church the next morning, I felt the way my hair looked, as I couldn’t find my blow dryer: crumpled and out of control.

And then God did what God always does in our powerlessness. He showed up.

As I spoke with a dear friend who has befriended a precious Syrian family, I was reminded of the crisis surrounding Damascus. We have a home. We have food. Thank you, Jesus.

Rather than fleeing at the end of service to frantically unpack boxes, we ended up inviting dear friends to come and bring us lunch and eat with us in the midst of the chaos. The kids played while the adults used their precious Sunday afternoon moving furniture and breaking down boxes with us. The home that last night was filled with crying was filled with laughter and friendship. Thank you, Jesus.

College friends came by to help move things. Dear friends took me out to dinner to share laughter and life on my birthday. We have been richly blessed beyond measure with a community of faith. My cup runneth over. Thank you, Jesus.

In a matter of hours, God had shown His power and beauty through my utter powerlessness. He forced me to forget my rugged individualism and to rely on community when I was less together than my altogether un-together home.

He knew exactly what I needed and never wanted for my birthday, powerlessness. What a good God we serve.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9. 

2 thoughts on “The Gift of Powerlessness

  1. thephelanpham

    God put you in my dream on the night of your birthday. I felt like I’d been with you. I miss you so much and hope you had a very special birthday. I did not know y’all were moving. Wow. That’s huge. Where did y’all move? I know what moving is like and it ain’t easy. So I will pray for continued peace in the midst of powerlessness and that y’all get settled in quickly. Praying for your boys as they get used to their new world. Hug them for us and have them hug you for me as a bday hug. Happy late bday and happy new home.


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