The Power of Weakness

2 comments Written on February 16th, 2016     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Nilwona Nowlin-photoNilwona Nowlin currently serves as the Administrative Specialist for Governance for the ECC and is a member of the Christian Community Development Association and the Redbud Writers Guild. In her “spare time,” she teaches workshops about living successfully as an introvert. Nilwona is a member of the Kingdom Covenant Church (Chicago) launch team and randomly blogs about random things at thedreamerspeaks.

Last month, while listening to a sermon, I found myself reflecting on my weakness and the power that lies within it. Of course, I blogged about my thoughts. I decided to share the post here for two reasons: 1) because I want to challenge you to rethink your understanding of “weakness,” particularly in the context of a society (and Church) that still refers to women as “the weaker sex” and 2) because the sermon that sparked my moment of reflection was preached by a woman.

The original post is below.

I am black. I am a woman. I am a black woman. I have chronic illnesses and a disability. I am an introvert. I look much younger than I am so am often assumed to be “young.” I grew up poor. I am a great big ball of “socially undesirable.” Since God knew me before I was even a thought to my parents, I must assume that God also knew that I would be made up of all of society’s less desirable parts. Yes, I am also made in the image of God, but society doesn’t often acknowledge (or care about) that part of me.

Believe it or not, all of these thoughts came to me as I was sitting in a chapel service at work, listening to a sermon being preached by a friend and colleague. Her message was based on the passage in 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul talks about the many members of the body of Christ. She highlighted how Paul places emphasis on the fact that the “weaker” parts of the body are just as important as the others. It was her emphasis on weakness that got my brain to wandering.

The pinky toe is seen by most as a weaker body part – good for nothing more than running into tables and bedposts in the middle of the night and channeling some of the worst pain imaginable. However, the pinky toe plays an important role in providing balance to the body. It is the same for the members of the body of Christ (and society) who are on the margins and often considered non-essential. They are valuable in ways that we take for granted or may never know if we don’t embrace them fully.

I embody weakness in a number of ways. Because of this, I have experienced pain, shame and isolation. But my lived experiences have made me more sensitive to those around me who are going through similar experiences. It has better enabled me to effectively operate within the body of Christ as a mercy shower – as the heart, if you will. As I operate in this area of giftedness, I am then reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12, that God’s power is made strong in our weakness.

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    2 comments “The Power of Weakness”

    Thanks Nilwona for this reminder. I often reflect upon how Jesus looked into the crowds and saw those on the margins and began to teach the multitudes using their stories. We each bring our weaknesses knowing Jesus sent the Holy Spirit’s power that strengthens the entire body through each member’s pain and suffering to give evidence of God’s plan of embrace and inclusion of all who have been pushed to the margins. Catherine

    Thanks for your comment, Catherine. I especially like the way you described Jesus – that he looked into the crowds, saw the people on the margins and taught using their stories (which also has the underlying statement that he knew their stories).

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