4 Ways to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths

3

May 23, 2014 by FHElessons

I know I promised you a lesson on how to increase your faith, and that is still to come.  But I just loved the article by Gérald Caussé that was in the last issue of the BYU magazine so much that I had to share it.  He first gave it as a devotional at BYU, and you can read or watch the entire thing HERE.

This article fits right in with the whole faith theme, so you can actually do a mini-series on faith for a few Family Home Evenings in a row.  Today I will outline a lesson straight from Elder Caussé’s talk.

Opening Song Suggestions:

 

When I Am Weak

by Gérald Caussé

the Lord makes missionaries strong

Attention Activity: Talk about all the young people you know who have recently been called on or are serving missions.  Ask your family why they think the Church sends young, inexperienced men and women on missions instead of having a force of professional missionaries who know a lot about the gospel and would have lots of experience in how to share it.  Some possible answers might be:

  • They are humble and thus teachable.
  • The missionaries themselves gain and grow immeasurably from their experiences.
  • The Lord can work through them in a way that He couldn’t with someone who already seems to know everything.

 

It’s OK if your family doesn’t come up with any of the above answers.  Let them know that you are going to discuss today how the Lord takes people who are weak and makes them powerful!

Examples from the Scriptures:  Discuss some scriptures stories about people who were called to serve the Lord even though they were young and/or had some weakness.  Possible examples include:

  • Enoch considered himself to be “a lad” who was “slow of speech” (Moses 6:31).
  • The Virgin Mary marveled that she had ben chosen to become the Lord’s mother, saying, “My soul doth magnify the Lord,…for he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” (Luke 1:46-48).
  • Joseph Smith described himself as “an obscure boy” and “of no consequence in the world” (JS-H 1:22).

 

joseph-searching-scriptures

from lds.org gospel library

Talk about how all these people were young (perhaps like your children are young?), yet the Lord made them powerful to accomplish His designs.  Share the following scripture:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. (1 Cor. 1:27)

Ask: What challenges do you have in your life that seem daunting or which you sometimes feel too weak to overcome?

The Apostle Paul also felt that he had weaknesses and begged the Lord to remove those trials from him.  But the Lord’s answer was that he would not remove Paul’s weaknesses.  Here is what Paul said:

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.  (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

Discuss the fact that this promise is a paradox.  It seems contradictory that weakness can really be strength.  Elder Caussé gives 4 principles to help us receive this strength.

 

4 Principles to Turn Weakness into Strength

4 Ways to Turn Weaknesses into Strength

1.  Build on Your Strengths

Give each child/person a mirror.  Ask: What do you see?  You could discuss it openly or have them list things privately.

Share this scripture:

For there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby. (D&C 46:11-12)

Isn’t it comforting to know that EVERY ONE OF US is born with an inheritance of gifts, talents, and abilities to help us as well as to benefit others with whom we come in contact?

Elder Caussé gives the example of King George VI, who led the United Kingdom through the dark hours of World War II.  King George VI had a speech impediment that was so disabling he could hardly communicate, let alone speak to an entire nation.  However, he refused to let his weakness overwhelm him.  He persevered through long and exhausting speech therapy and employed his other God-given gift of courage to eventually address the nation in a powerful speech that led his people to victory against Hitler.

Now ask your family again:  What strengths has God given you?  Have them think about and list some of their talents and abilities.

What do You See When You Look in the Mirror

2. Recognize Your Personal Limitations

Elder Caussé told of when he was 15 and beginning to need glasses.  He hid the fact from everyone, not wanting others to know of his weakness.  When he finally was compelled to get an eye exam which led to glasses, he was surprised to find that he was happy his secret was out because he could finally see again.

You may wish to share an example from your own life about a time you wanted to hide a weakness and what happened as a result.

Why do we frequently wish to hide our weaknesses?  Some possible answers might be:

  • We don’t want people to think badly of us.
  • We feel better about ourselves when we can outperform others.
  • Society values superheroes.

 

Elder Caussé says “God is not the God of superheroes!”  There is no such thing as someone without weakness.  We all have them.  Failing to recognize our limitations will block our progression.  On the other hand, accepting them humbly lays the foundation for eternal progression. (Gérald Caussé, BYU Devotional, Dec 3, 2013)

Then he tells this powerful story.  I just have to put it in here word for word because I thought it was so moving:

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Gaël Yonnet. Gaël is a former BYU student from France. At the age of thirty-one, while he was in his final year of medical school, he participated in a snowboard competition at Snowbird. It turned out to be tragic for him. He missed his second jump and crashed from a height of forty feet onto the icy snow below. When he regained consciousness, he realized that he had lost feeling in his lower limbs. After four years of medical studies, Gaël understood what pain in his stomach and numbness under his belly button meant. He was indeed paralyzed.

Gaël said that on the day following his accident, he awoke with feelings of intense distress. He thought to himself, “There are many simple things in life, such as going to the bathroom, that I can no longer do on my own. If that is how I am going to have to live, maybe it’s better for me to die.”

Shortly thereafter he met another patient at the hospital who was a quadriplegic. That patient confided in him, “I would so much like to have arms like yours.” This was a key moment for Gaël. If someone could be envious of what he had, he should be grateful to still have it!

Gaël testifies:

We all want something more. I believe that is human nature. But I discovered that the key to happiness is to accept ourselves as we are, to be content and to live with what we have. I miss my legs terribly. But, in the end, I don’t have any other choice but to move forward and try to be happy without them.

During the time he was at the hospital, he learned more about pain and about caring for patients than he could have learned in several years of medical school. Gaël decided to specialize in rehabilitative medicine. Today he is a renowned doctor who works with patients suffering from spinal injuries, amputations, strokes and seizures, and multiple sclerosis. His patients praise his empathy and his ability to understand their problems. For Gaël, the acceptance of his limitations was the starting point for his own exceptional progress. (Gérald Caussé, BYU Devotional, Dec 3, 2013)

3. Rely on the Lord

Elder Caussé asks, “Can we, by our own efforts, raise ourselves to the level of perfection required to return to the presence of God?”  Of course, the answer is “no”.

There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah. (2 Nephi 2:8)

He continues:

True wisdom includes recognizing our dependence on our Creator and His Son, Jesus Christ, to reach our full potential…. Where pride says, ‘I am the one who did it,’ wisdom prefers to recognize, ‘God empowered me to be able to do it.’ (Gérald Caussé, BYU Devotional, Dec 3, 2013)

Tell the story of Gideon found in Judges 7: Gideon was a man who also felt weak.  When the Lord called him to be the leader of the Israelite armies, Gideon responded: “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”  But the Lord told him, “Surely I will be with thee.” (Judges 6:15-16)  Even though Gideon felt inadequate to do this great job, the Lord told him that He would help him.

gideons-army

from lds.org gospel library

Throughout the story, the Lord would teach not only Gideon but all the hosts of Israel that they could not succeed in their own strength but would conquer with the strength of the Lord.  Gideon gathered his army, at first consisting of 32,000 men.  But God told Gideon, “The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” (Judges 7:2)  He first told Gideon to send home any men who were afraid to fight.  That left 10,000 men remaining.  Next he instructed Gideon to observe the men as they drank from the river.  There were 300 men who drank by “lapping” the water, and those 300 were the ones who became the new army.

Only 300 men to defeat the entire army of the Midianites.  It would have been impossible for Israel to win now based on their own strength alone.  Yet, the Lord did deliver the Midianites into their hands.  By the Lord’s direction and by His strength these 300 men, led by Gideon, a plain, ordinary man who hearkened to the voice of the Lord, were victorious.

Ask: Have you ever had a similar experience?  Can you share a time when you were faced with what seemed insurmountable odds, but you found you were able to succeed when the Lord strengthened you or helped you in some way?

You might want to share one of your own experiences here.  Elder Caussé told about how inadequate he felt when he was called as a General Authority for the Church.  It seemed impossible to have to immediately resign from his current position of employment and prepare to live wherever the Lord needed him for the duration of his life.  He says, “I felt completely petrified, even paralyzed.”  As he began to pray fervently, his eyes were drawn to the Liahona magazine.  Opening it at random, he read the title of an article, “Live by Faith and Not by Fear.”  As he read the article, he realized that was exactly what he needed to do.  He experienced a complete change.  He knew that all he had to do was bear testimony of the Savior, and the Lord would take care of the rest.  He concludes this section with this beautiful concept:

It Was the Lord Who Did It Through Me

 

4. Qualify Yourselves to Receive the Grace of the Savior

Discuss: What is Grace?  You could look up “grace” in the Bible Dictionary and read it together if desired.

“Grace is spiritual knowledge and power that changes how [someone] sees himself, increases his capacities, and magnifies his ability to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.”  (Neil L Anderson, “A Missionary and the Atonement”,June 26, 2010)

You may want to testify of the power of grace in you own life here.  Otherwise, you can use Elder Caussé’s testimony:

I testify that this power of grace is of divine origin and is real and tangible.  Each one of us can access it….When the Spirit accompanies us, we become aware of a powerful transformation taking place within us as our weaknesses are transformed into strengths and our natural abilities are magnified and enhanced beyond even what we believe is possible.  (Gérald Caussé, BYU Devotional, Dec 3, 2013)

Conclude with the following scripture:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.  (Ether 12:27)

Bear your testimony that through the Atonement of Christ, God can and will make our weaknesses into strengths.  In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

4 Ways to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths

 

This scripture as well as the quote above by Elder Caussé are FREE PRINTABLES for you!  I did this scripture two different ways (find the other one near the beginning of the article), so you can choose the one you like.  First, click on the picture to open it, and then right-click to save to your computer or to print.  They should print full paper-sized.  Enjoy!

***For a talk on Faith, check out How Faith Equals Power ***

3 thoughts on “4 Ways to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths

  1. balmtomysoul says:

    So many good things here. I love Elder Causse’s quote that you put up And that scripture from the Corinthians: When I am weak, then I am strong. Thank you for the beautiful reminder. I will be back to see what else you have going on here!

  2. Kelly Paquet says:

    Thank you very much for your very helpful, meaningful, high quality family home evening ideas and plans!

  3. Felicity Karu says:

    I loved this lesson, it totally applied to me. Elder Causse said all the right things especially not recognising your strengths and limitations, and being able to overcome and magnify callings. Also trying to do a calling or some other thing by yourself and not relying on the lord. This was such a Google lesson. Thanks.

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Hi! I'm Laura. I started this blog to continue to teach FHE lessons to my children who are grown and living away from home. I also hope to serve my six sisters by preparing FHE lessons that they can use with their younger children, and I hope the lessons will be helpful to you as well! If you would like to contact me, please e-mail me at FHElessons@aol.com.

What is FHE?

FHE stands for Family Home Evening and is a night set aside each week (usually Monday) by families who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHE is a chance for parents to teach lessons to their children about the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as other important topics. The lesson is frequently accompanied by a fun activity together as a family and a yummy treat.
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