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The Real You, Flaws and All

by Christa Hardin

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I don't know if you've ever had a verse speak to you again and again during a season of struggle, but this one continues to comfort me during life's most awkward and embarrassing moments. In other words, this verse comes around fairly frequently, as my closest friends can concur!

One such humbling example was when our household was overrun with an all-out flea infestation. When I was pregnant with our first daughter Hannah, I noticed our dog scratching a lot. When I asked the well-meaning obstetrician about treatments for fleas, he told me no treatments should be applied until after the baby was born. A few weeks after our darling baby Hannah was born, the fleas were also affecting our two cats. After a few unsuccessfully attempts to treat our home, we regretfully sent our pets off to a friends' home, so we could try to solve the growing problem. After a few days, I had red, itchy bumps all over my skin. According to the dermatologist, I had a fleabite allergy, so I needed to get out of the house, and fast so we could hire a professional exterminator. I couldn't sleep because of the itching, and had a newborn to care for so I was already sleep-deprived, and ready to try anything.

We stayed in a hotel the first night, but after our new neighbors, Joe and Katie, inquired about our suitcases, we reluctantly shared the story with them. Joe and Katie kindly offered us a room in their home, which really spoke to our hearts, considering we could have brought fleas with us! As young parents without much extra money for several more nights of hotel stays, we gratefully stayed there during the professional extermination process, which inevitably included tossing out most of the furniture where the fleas were thickly embedded.

This incident caused us to show our weakness and need when we wouldn't have otherwise, but as Christians, we also allowed Christ to shine through the trial. We prayed through it, tried to find purpose in it, thanked our friends profusely and tried to repay them in whatever ways we could. However embarrassing it was to show our new friends our vulnerability in that crazy flea crisis, our friendship with Joe and Katie began to grow deeper as a result of it. We eventually ended up being great friends, standing in their wedding together, and ultimately leading this couple to Christ and partnering in ministry together for a season. Through this time, my husband and I learned that God's power shines brightly through our weaknesses, and we must not try to find a way around the trial, but walk through it with His strength leading the way.

If you are also in a vulnerable spot today, don't be afraid to reach out for support and kindness from those around you, even if your reasons for needing to do so make you feel weak or humble. You'll grow in intimacy and true friendship with those who know the real you, flaws and all. God will, I promise, use you to bring others to Him in some way or another, if you give them a chance to love you when you need it most.

Copyright © 2013 Christa Hardin, used by permission.

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