Rachel Lawrence 

Founder of: Unaltered Grace

How do you define strength in terms of your faith?

Strength, in terms of my faith, is not strength in myself at all. Instead, faith in Jesus, alone, empowers me with strength. Not in a way where it circles back around to me. Not in a way where I actually think I am the one who is strong because of my self-righteous faith. While I, admittedly, have been entangled in those self-glorifying ideas before, God has firmly taught me that strength is found, comes from, and accumulates in Jesus alone. I am not strong. But, in Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, living a life for God, I live in the epitome of glorious strength. This took me awhile to learn. Or, should I say, God so patiently ushered my heart to know His true strength by teaching me about my weakness. I only learned where my “strength” was found when I submitted to God and allowed His Holy Spirit to position me low, gazing upon my tower of weaknesses. I don’t say this lightly. I am weak. True strength is found in Jesus. The Bible exclaims boldly, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-11, NIV). Will I so boldly boast in my weaknesses? Will I so boldly proclaim my sin struggles? If it were by my own strength, my answer would be a matter-of-fact, resounding “NO.” But Jesus is just too strong for that. Okay, Lord, in your grace may I boast, for particularly when I understand just how weak I am, then will I- and will others- understand how strong you are.

Describe a time God was your strength in life?

Jesus is my strength. Jesus is, was, and will always be my strength. No longer do my past broken and heart-wrenching memories have a hold on me. For Jesus has redeemed even those awful things that I cannot mention to bring about a beautiful story and purpose for my life. No longer do I need to desire love from everyone whom I meet, nor do I have to give away parts of myself to acquire this so-called broken “love.” For in Jesus, I am completely loved. I am loved more than I could ever know. (And you, my friend, are too.) No longer do I need to chase after temporary success, as an attempt to prove my self-worth. Because, in Jesus, I realize that the God of this Universe has created, knit me together, planned my days, and knows and loves me. He marks me with His purpose of being an image-bearer of Him and He tells me that I am good. He forgives me. He died for me. He wants me to spend eternity with Him. He has atoned for my weaknesses. He desires for me to live fully and to live in His strength. No longer am I weak, for God has made me strong.

What is the weakest area of your life and how does that affect your relationship with God?

I am weak. I am weak when I pretended to have life all figured out. I was weak when I brushed aside my struggles and hurts that occurred secretly when growing up, in order to plaster on a smile and exude a fake strength. I was weak when I thought I was exercising my power at the age of 13 in saying “yes” and consenting to do what my “mommy and daddy did”, all the while not knowing what exactly was in store. I was weak all throughout high school and college when I thought that I was strong and powerful in being desired by guys and being wanted in ways that I should have saved for my husband. I was weak in thinking I could find worth in temporary success of high school running sports, and that the more shiny metals I got would prove exactly how strong, and how much better I was than others. I was weak in chasing academics and proving my strength in terms of knowledge. In all areas where I, in any outside view, seemed successful, on top of the world, and happy, I was weak and crumbling and wasting away. These areas of desiring to be loved, sexual sin, craving success, and focusing, really, on me is where I was weak. Thank you, Lord, that I no longer live in my sin-wrapped, all-consuming life. For I have found my strength in Jesus.