I've been pondering how God uses difficult circumstances to make us stronger and the meaning of strength. I used to think strength meant hiding. I used to think it meant putting on a happy face when you wanted to cry and bracing yourself for the worst. I used to have so much pride in the fact that I was "strong," that I had made it through hard times and come out "stronger." Now, looking back I'm able to see that I had it all wrong. My version of strength was really just hardness and bitterness masquerading as strength.
Isaiah 41:10 says Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
True strength is a gift from God. When you know Him and choose to trust Him in the hard times, leaning wholly on Him. Being strong means being vulnerable, not putting up walls. Being vulnerable is the polar opposite of pride. Pride means pretending you have it all together. Vulnerability means being honest about your messy, sinful self. I thought being strong meant holding myself together, but now I realize it means being broken before God and letting Him hold me together. I'm still a sinful mess, but Jesus picks up the gross, broken pieces and puts them back into place.
Strength comes from Jesus. I'm so thankful that my God loved me enough to rescue and redeem me. I'm thankful for my brokenness, because when I am weak, He is strong.