Black Bumper Plates

I totally bombed this Sunday.

I preached a sermon on the value of a broken hallelujah. The main point was that God uses our weakness.

I was the sermon illustration… not on purpose though.

I am fully capable of putting together a really good sermon that is presented well. This is not what occurred. I spent last week as  single mom since Jon had to go on a last minute trip to NY to repair some recent storm damage to our rental property.

Here is how my week of sermon prep went:

Monday- arrive home around 8:30 p.m. from Potomac Ministry Network Council (missed Kaleb’s soccer practice), realize Annalyn has a field trip we need to pack extra supplies for and Ella needs to have rides arranged for honor choir because Jon won’t be around to take her in the mornings, pack supplies and arrange rides for Ella, read the chapter from Our Broken Hallelujahs to begin sermon prep, go to bed

Tuesday- teach all day, take Ella to ballet and Annalyn to tap, dinner at 7:30, help with homework, clean house, edit video for life group, run background check, send follow up emails to guests, go to bed

Wednesday- teach all day, lead staff meeting, take Annalyn to soccer, lead Life Group, get everyone to bed

Thursday- teach all day, go to Ella’s honor choir concert, dinner, homework, work on editing video for sermon and next week’s life group, Jon returns (Praise God!), go to bed.

Friday- teach all day, attempt to get some hubby time by going on a dinner date, come home and fall asleep for a couple hours, still go to bed at a fairly normal time after being awake a little while.

Saturday- get up early to work on sermon, Thank God for the soccer games being rained out, help kids clean the house, work on sermon, go to the movies as a family, work on the sermon, make sweet tea for Mother’s Day tea, work on sermon, stay up late… wake up early to work on sermon…

I walked into our school to set up for service on Sunday morning feeling completely drained and unprepared.

I went in knowing that if God was going to use that message, it would be a true example of God using my weakness for his strength to be made known.

I wanted that sermon to be awesome. It was Mother’s Day. It was the final message in a series on a book that I wrote.

Instead, I struggled all the way through it. I was so disappointed because all the time, energy, and emotion I had invested in writing the book was culminated with a last minute sermon presented by an overworked, exhausted, worst version of me.

I could feel myself bombing. I transitioned awkwardly. I cried and told stories I didn’t plan to tell. I was a mess. It was not at all the presentation of the message that I would have done if I’d had the time and energy needed to prepare. I have done so much better. I wanted to do so much better.

Then I realized, it couldn’t have gone any other way.

There I was- the broken, weak, tired woman. I was the one in front telling people that God is strong in our weakness. We always try to make sure there is a practical application for our messages. I was it- living it in front of everyone. I was proof that we can make ourselves available to God and accept our broken pieces not as areas to hide in shame but as offerings for God to use.

Okay, Paul, I feel you….

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (NIV)

Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I didn’t feel strong. I felt empty, spent, and ineffective.

Then a first time guest came up and said, “That was the message I needed today. That is exactly what I needed to hear for where I am in life at this moment.”

I bombed on Sunday, but God didn’t.


  1. Rebecca, people love you because you are real and live in our world like you are called to do! If they want made up, highly polished preachers who want their money, they only need to turn on their television!!!! The reason I read every blog you write is because you are real. Much like my blog where I often write about my spiritual struggles and where I fall short. Our mission is to get ourselves dusted off and then go assist someone in need! Thank you for sharing your walk of faith!

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