There is something unique and beautiful about a person who is both strong and vulnerable. There have been times, when I have entered a group of women that I didn’t know, and some came across as very strong. They were like a momma bear, who was leading with an “I got this!” attitude. (And I have acted like this myself.) But, I am usually not drawn to women who act like that, because their strength makes me feel like I am lesser. And when I act like that, women are not attracted to me.

The people I am most often drawn to have a combination of vulnerability and strength. The vulnerability might show up as sharing a trial that they are going through, or a tough time that are seeking God’s help for. It might just be a sense of comfort with their flaws and the flaws of others. When they graciously share their healed-or-healing-wounds I often sense God is at work and using those experiences for His purposes.

Green houseplant in steel copy

But there is another extreme, which is a wounded person, who likely could be further along the healing process, who chooses to remain consumed by the hurts that she can’t focus on anything else. This dynamic seems to turn people away as well.

Ideally by God’s grace we can find the sweet spot and have balance.

John 12:1-7 gives an example of this dynamic with four different people. 

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.

Jesus replied “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. (NLT)

This story happens at the beginning of the week in which Jesus will be crucified. He goes from Jerusalem to the town of Bethany be with dear friends. Jesus and many of His followers are at the home of Lazarus, who had been so sick that he died (vulnerable). But he was raised back to life by the power of Jesus (strength). Lazarus was sitting at the dinner table talking and enjoying Jesus (strength).

Martha, Laz’ sister is there too. She is still the hostess with the most-est and she is serving, but now with grace and without anxiety (strength). She has grown a lot from the time when Jesus came to dinner at her house and he told her that her sister chosen the better part (healed-wound.) That story is told in Luke 8:38-42.

Mary, Laz’ other sister loves Jesus dearly. She is likely worried that He will be killed, because she knows of the treats against her brother. She showers Jesus with a lavishly expensive gift (strength) delivered in a most subservient way (vulnerability).

Judas, an unfaithful follower of Jesus, chastises Mary’s act in a deceptively pious statement (false strength). He then thinks so highly of himself that he plans to betray Jesus (self-destructive strength) which ultimately leads to him taking his own life as covered in Matthew 27:1.

Jesus goes to Bethany to be with His friends for support and comfort (vulnerability). Even as our Savior and Lord, He allows them to minister to Him in friendship (vulnerability & strength). He defends Mary’s act of service, maybe even tipping off Judas that Jesus is aware of His impending death (strength).

Prayer:

“Father help us as your daughters (and sons), become who You are calling us to be. Help us accept healing for the wounds that are tender. Give us the right balance of strength and vulnerability so that we are like our Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

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Lately when I sweep my kitchen floor I want to cry. It’s not because I hate cleaning my kitchen. I actually like having a clean kitchen. I want to cry because my floor had a hidden kitchen sweeper that I am reminded of when I sweep. It was my nearly 13-year-old dog, Kondi Wilson.

Kondi on the way home from the groomer, 2016

Kondi on the way home from the groomer 2016

Kondi was a Wheaten Terrier. She was loving, kind, funny, loyal and protective. Whenever the doorbell would ring, she was over the top crazy, making sure we knew a possible intruder could be at hand. But if we allowed the person to enter, she was a friend.

We got Kondi in May of 2004 and she was named after Condoleezza Rice. My husband bought her for me as a surprise, a few months after our oldest daughter, Kennedy died. He thought Kondi would be a good distraction for me over that first mother’s day weekend without our infant. She was.

Of her many talents, Kondi was a great vacuum sweeper.

I candidly didn’t realize how much she did to help me keep the floor clean. She must’ve licked up millions of crumbs over her 12 years of being our pet. I never noticed until now, how fraught with crumbs the kitchen floor is and has been. It makes me miss her even more.

Kondi was a really good friend. She was always optimistic, believing the best of me. She was always available to play or just sit next to me while I worked on my laptop or read my Bible in the early morning. She was quirky, loving to lie on stinky clothes that she dragged from the laundry room. The worst the smell, the better it was to her.

I suspect that my human friends and loved ones have value that is hidden too. I am afraid that I overlook or take for granted so many of the wonderful things that they do – and I don’t fully savor the quirky and unique ways that they are. Or worst, I get impatient and annoyed.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, this will be a great time to acknowledge many of the wonderful people in my life. Maybe I will make them a treat. I trust Kondi would approve.

 

My command is this: Love each other as I [Jesus] have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:12-15 NIV