Strengthen My Hands

After three months of resting, waiting, and making lots of excuses, I finally pulled out my post-baby workout DVD. Ugh. I was determined to make it through one of the twenty-minute sessions. Everything started well enough. My daughter was entertained for the moment, a miracle in itself. But about halfway through the workout, I began to doubt my plan. The perky mom on the screen was very encouraging as she demonstrated the set of 15 push-ups we were to attempt. I’ll be honest; the push-ups were a disaster. It felt like I had never done a push-up in my life. I immediately considered turning off the DVD. I thought to myself, “This is way too hard. I just want to be done. Can’t I just get the results without doing this work? UGH!”

And then I remembered Nehemiah.

I know. Odd line of thinking, but I’ll connect the dots. My Thursday morning Bible Study is walking through Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: a heart that can break. Nehemiah is the central figure in the story of the Israelites rebuilding the dilapidated walls of Jerusalem. He wasn’t an engineer or a military leader. As an exiled Israelite in Babylon, he had served as cupbearer to the king. And yet, the Lord stirred in Nehemiah’s heart to see Jerusalem restored to its former glory. Even though he had limited leadership and building experience, Nehemiah responded in obedience. (If you haven’t spent time in the book, I highly recommend you pull it out soon.)

Fast-forward in the story and we discover that after a mere 52 days of building, the walls are almost completed and the opposition from enemies is in full swing. Nehemiah can’t seem to catch a break from these enemies, but his passion never wavers. In chapter six we read,

“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’

But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’” (Nehemiah 6:9, NIV)

That one short prayer teaches me so much about Nehemiah’s resolve. Had I been in Nehemiah’s shoes, my prayer would have probably looked a lot different. “God, this is way too hard. Can you just take away the opposition and everything that makes this difficult so we can just be done?” (Sound familiar?)

All too often I just want the Lord to make my problems instantly disappear. I don’t want anything difficult to cross my path.

God cares deeply about my struggles, His Word promises that. But I also believe that the Lord wants to teach us through the challenges. Nehemiah reminds me to ask for strength in the middle of trials, to persevere, and to pursue God’s will.

My workout DVD is in no way a trial, but I’m thankful for the small ways that the Lord continues to remind me of His word and His promises.


Whatever you are facing this month, know that God is walking with you. He has not abandoned you. May we have the courage to pray with Nehemiah, “Now strengthen my hands.”

Happy Friday!


Advent Viewing


I have a few favorite videos on my Christmas/Advent list and wanted to share just in case you’ve missed these.

Advent Conspiracy: A movement to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All.  Follow the link to the site, watch the video below, and move from envy to action.

[AC] Promo 2012 – Living Water International from Advent Conspiracy on Vimeo.

The story of Christmas as told by the children of St Paul’s Church, Auckland, New Zealand. These kids make me super happy. I know you could argue the details, but you can’t argue the wonder and excitement in this retelling of the Christmas Story. I’ve already watched it MULTIPLE times this week.


Bethlehem StarThe Bethlehem Star.  Spend some time on the website.  I watched this DVD for the first time in 2006 and I have rented it from the library every year since. My mom bought the film this year and we are going to watch her copy on Thursday night. I’m so excited to share The Bethlehem Star with my husband. This film reminds me that you can press the Scriptures hard and find scientific evidence for the things that it says.


Obviously I have other favorites for this time of the year. Meet Me in St. Louis, White Christmas, Elf, The Christmas Story, and others usually come out while I’m wrapping a present or two… but there’s something beautifully different about the Star, the Story, and the Advent Conspiracy. Let every heart prepare Him room.

What’s on your list?!