The strongest person I know is my mother. While she is beautiful, kind, intelligent, and talented, her strength is not in herself or her own abilities. Her strength comes from living a life of wholehearted surrender to the Lord. The joy of the Lord is truly her strength.
Her faith is strong because of her constant dependence on the Lord. She is a mom to me and a spiritual mom to many others. Her strength leads many to seek the Lord more because we desire to have that same strength she radiates.
She has taught me that spiritual strength is more valuable than anything we can develop physically during our lifetime. Unlike everything else, our relationship with God lasts forever. As Paul says in his first letter to Timothy,
Godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
-1 Timothy 4:8
Strength in Scripture
What is strength? What is this strength my mom has? Here are a few ways it is depicted in Scripture:
- When we are weak, God is the giver of strength (Isaiah 40:29).
- Our strength is renewed through hoping in the Lord (Isaiah 41:10).
- The Gospel of Christ is the source of power and strength for believers (1 Corinthians 1:18).
- Only through God, can our weakness be a catalyst for strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
- His power at work within us is how we are able to be strong when we are weak (Ephesians 3:20).
- Victory is found in God’s power alone—not in our own efforts (Psalm 44:3).
- In Christ, we are strengthened and equipped to face all situations, both abundance and need (Philippians 4:11-13).
Strength is found through acknowledging God’s sovereign power, and, rather than resisting it and striving to do things our own way, surrendering to His Lordship. We are filled with joy and peace in believing because of the hope and strength found in knowing, loving, and seeking God (Romans 15:13).
A Mother Who Models Strength in Daily Growth
John Bloom, the co-founder of Desiring God, wrote this:
As the strength of our faith grows, so does hope in our souls. When we rely less on ourselves and more on God who raises the dead, and when we are increasingly confident that God is for us, so nothing can ultimately stand against us.
For as long as I can remember, I have seen my mom seek God through daily prayer and Scripture reading. Her love for the Lord is contagious and her consistent pursuit of Him has inspired me my entire life to grow up to be a woman of God.
When times were difficult, her strength never wavered and her faith was refined. She taught me with her words and actions that following Jesus isn’t something extra you do for fun on Sundays and holidays, because she never took her eyes off of Jesus. Genuinely following Jesus captivates your entire heart, mind, and soul. I am so thankful my mother taught me to depend on the Lord in all seasons of life.
A Mother Who Models Strength in Her Character
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
The Lord’s strength radiates through my mother. She is my best friend, my favorite person, and my role model. The life she lives, she lives for the Lord, striving to do everything in His name and for His glory.
A Mother Who Models Strength in Sufferings
She loved a daughter with a traumatic brain injury all the days of her short life. She selflessly loves and wholeheartedly serves our family every single day. She loved her father and served her mother every day of my grandfather’s battles with cancer. As my grandfather was breathing his last, I witnessed my mother holding his hand, reading him Psalm 23, “…and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.”
Even as her earthly father’s body was passing away, her hope was fully in the salvation we have through Jesus. My mom lives in absolute assurance of the hope we have in eternity. Her confidence in the Gospel and constant dependence on the Lord is what gives her strength. And because she is filled with the Lord’s strength, she is a source of strength for those around her.
I know her strength does not come from herself; it is a direct result of her daily dependence on the Lord. It is something she has cultivated over decades of pursuing Jesus. Her strength grows with her sanctification, and it is a result of persevering through trials and seeking God through it all.
An Encouragement to Those Struggling to Have Strength in Suffering
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
What trials are you facing now? What uncertainties are weighing on your heart? In your own strength, there is no victory. There is no lasting hope. There is no assurance. But in the Lord’s strength, you can fix your eyes on Him, knowing confidently that He is good and He is in control.
Marshall Segal, an editor for Desiring God wrote:
God strengthens us not only to defy evil, and serve others, and share boldly, but to be content in every circumstance—to experience a deep and confident joy in Him regardless of our weaknesses and trials.
Christ is the only solid foundation on which to build our lives. Genuine strength can only come from the One who is good, right, and true. On our own, we are all broken and weak sinners. We deserve an eternity of separation from God. But because of His great mercy and sacrifice of His Son, we have access to redemption and a relationship with Him.
Surrender breeds strength—you will not develop real strength until you have surrendered your life to the source of all strength. We will always fail on our own; but we do not have to do this life on our own. Through depending on the Lord’s strength, we can have the confidence to live in full obedience to Him in all He calls us to do.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
A Closing Word
May we as Christians be a source of strength for those around us. Seek to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power,” rather than trying to do this life on your own (Ephesians 6:10). Decide every day to live your life for Him, seeking to know Him more and be more like Christ.
Let us stand by our brothers and sisters in Christ, bearing one another’s burdens. Love and serve selflessly, representing the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus through our words and actions. Live a life of radical obedience to the Lord, and know Him more every day because of the way you seek Him in His Word. Let the Truth of His Word be the source of your strength.
I am thankful for the mother figures God has placed in my life. The ones who have led me spiritually and cared for me emotionally. But most of all, I am thankful for the strong woman of God I have the privilege of calling my mother. My prayer is that through deeper dependence on the Lord, we may exhibit strength in Him, as I have seen my mother do beautifully every day.