Because He Strengthens Me

Our flight only had about 20 minutes left after traveling for over 24 grueling hours from West Africa to Michigan.

We were in a small express plane with our family of five sitting all in one long row of single window seats. Our noses were plastered to the windows as we looked at the land below us. Everything was clean, beautiful, green and in perfect lines.

I watched and listened as my girls pointed out the things they were seeing for the first time in nearly 3 years. I could hear the joy, nervousness and excitement clearly apparent in their sweet voices.

We sat suspended in the transition between air and land, our home in Africa and our home in America. A well-planned moment we’d cried over and happily anticipated… a moment that was taking us into our next season of overseas life.

As organized as I tend to be, I still felt the intensity of the moment we landed after our first term.

I remember reaching my hand back to my husband who was sitting behind me and thinking, “Wow. We finished.”

But I didn’t feel strong, resilient, capable or organized when I breathed those few words. I felt tired, nervous, frazzled and foggy. I felt unsure and out of sorts. I felt stuck in between two very real, very hard, very challenging realities.

I’d come to the end of me during our first term. I found a soft-strength that I didn’t know God was building in me. I felt the real and ugly realities of learning to live overseas.

Even trying to write this post has pushed me to dig deep and put to words something I don’t yet know how to explain. I’m living something I don’t know how to do after completing something challenging and now facing the preparation to go back for our second term.

How would I find the resilience to bounce back after such an emotional, life-changing experience?

Even more, do I have the resiliency to keep going and do it all again in a year after furlough?

Resilience means “the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.”

Another definition for resilience means, “ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.”

Historically, the Latin word resiliens means “the act of rebounding.”

Returning, recovering, rebounding… all words we know well. All words we are learning to live each day.  As we landed in Michigan, saw family, attended our first event, packed for our first big whirlwind travel and put into motion a hundred little details like car insurance and cell phone plans, I kept rolling the word resilience around in my head.

Can I return, recover and rebound?

Where will this resilience, this strength come from?

In my heart, I know. I know where the resilience will come from.

Through it all, the sweet whispers of Jesus reminded me that He is the source of each ounce of resiliency I possess. He is the author of recovery. He offers the power to rebound.

Some of the simplest verses filled with the most amazing promises reinforce these foundational truths.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

I can return, recover and rebound.

Because He strengthens me.

Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

I can be strong in His power.

Joshua 1:9 says, “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I don’t have to be overwhelmed, afraid or discouraged because He is with me wherever I go.

That is only three verses of many, many promises of help encouragement and hope that are found in God’s Word.

Digging deep for resiliency means grabbing on to these verses. It means holding on to the promises. It means believing and trusting that God’s Word is true even for this.

When I don’t feel resilient, He is there offering the strength, power and courage I need to face the challenges ahead.

Returning, recovering and rebounding in His ability not my own.

I’m experiencing a resilience that can only come from the Lord and His mighty power at work in me.

Have you faced a moment when you didn’t feel resilient? Have you walked through challenges that required you to dig deep for resiliency?

What verses help you when you need to dig deep for the strength to return, recover and rebound?


  1. Mandy Carpenter June 7, 2017

    Thank you for this timely post. Our family has been abroad now for almost three years. In a few months we will return to the US for furlough. So I can fully identify with this, and find encouragement through your words. Thank you!

  2. Michelle S June 7, 2017

    “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 God has used this verse to minister strength to my fainting heart many times! Also 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'”
    Thank you for pointing us to HIS strength and HIS promises!

    1. Jenilee June 7, 2017

      I LOVE those verses! Thanks for sharing them!!

  3. Katie Rose June 7, 2017

    This is so encouraging to me, one who is about to take that grueling journey from the field to a homeland I don’t feel like I know anymore. Thank you for sharing. I don’t feel very resilient these days at all–I feel ragged and tired. But knowing that He is with me, and that His calling isn’t limited to a place or time or space–it’s unlimited by His love. And that’s the truth I need to “return & rebound” with: His love for me breaks every boundary and obstacle I feel I will face upon re-entry. His love has an unlimited, abundant plan for this next, new season.

    1. Jenilee September 18, 2017

      His love DOES have an unlimited, abundant plan… what a beautiful thought

  4. Kathleen Smith June 12, 2017

    There are times I think I am better at the “flight part” (ie travel) than in the first few days after landing! Transitions are a challenge and I thank you for your insightful writing.

    1. Jenilee September 18, 2017

      yes, the overwhelming thought of actually living all that planning out during transition is not easy but God is faithful to help us!

  5. Rebecca September 17, 2017

    Thank you for this sweet and true post. I’ve been back in the States for just over a month now, after serving two years in ISM in the U.K. I’m also getting over a relationship that ended a few months ago, and that man is back in Europe, so my losses in moving away feel oh-so-double. I certainly haven’t been feeling resilient, but your article reminded me that Jesus is the sole source of my strength. Thank you! Love, Rebecca

    1. Jenilee September 18, 2017

      We’ve been back for 4 months now and I’m still clinging to His promises… thanks for sharing your story!

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