Thursday 24 November 2016

How Strong Do You Need To Be? (An open letter to all the men we love)

An open letter to all the men we love:

I don't pretend to understand the burden that you carry. A burden you did not choose. Placed on you from birth, inherited by virtue of your gender, it grows heavier with each passing year. 

'You must be strong.'

The urgent cry permeates every facet of your existence... and every choice you make in answer to its call, colors you. Shades the way others see you. The way you see you. 

No, I can't begin to fathom the onerous load you shoulder. 

'You must be strong.'

Born to take the lead in providing and protecting... day by day you answer the call. 

Strength. Courage. Mastery. Honor... defining traits of your masculinity... you lift your chin and set your shoulders, plant your feet and take a brace. Always pressing forward... always fighting... always striving to be strong. 

And yet, I see you. Holding your head high... pretending not to feel it... not to feel your back breaking - straining under the millstone that weighs you down. 

You need to rest, but you are afraid to. Afraid to let them see you fall, for somehow the burden has convinced you. 'You must be strong at all costs.'  And so with eyes front, you press on.

I wish you could hear me. 

'Lay it down, my brother; this weight you carry was not meant to be borne alone.'

When the weight of life's trials crushes in on you, and  you reach for the One who can carry you... I see your strength.

When you trust me enough to let me in... to let me see the pain you feel... I see your strength.

And when you can't stop the tears from falling... I see your strength.

You're still strong in my eyes.

So, my dear brother, husband, brother-in-law, son, friend... how strong do you need to be? 
'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.' Deuteronomy 31:6

Strong enough to be real... to be you - fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of our Creator.

Strong enough to accept that you don't have to be strong enough. 

Strong enough to embrace the true Source of your strength... to accept that when you are weak your God is strong. 

Strong enough to stand firm in the Lord and in his mighty power
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17
Finally, my dear husband, brother, brother-in-law, son, friend, to all of you - all the men I love - please know that I'll always be here for you, and I will never stop praying for you.
'I pray that out of His glorious riches, [God] will strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.' Ephesians 3:16 
May this beautiful video of Strong Enough by Matthew West be a blessing to you. 
(Posted by Alexandria K)


If you're reading this, and know of a strong man in your life who could use this encouragement please share it with him. And please join me as we pray for our men. Pray that they will be strong and courageous and that they will never be ashamed of where their true strength lies. 



  1. This is much-needed encouragement for our brothers. I love the "armor of God" passage you cited, and just a few verses earlier (Ephesians 6:10), Paul shares the ultimate source of our strength: "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might." We are weak, but He is strong! Thank you for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I love that verse, as well, it reminds us all that we don't have to be strong enough... because our Father is all powerful.

  2. I love this! I could think of a few 'strong men' I need to share this with and I definitely look forward to joining you in praying for them.
    I always feel so blessed when I stop by and get to enjoy your writing. I really appreciate how you allow God to lead you so powerfully.
    Hugs and blessings!

    1. Thanks so much, Marv! Your sweet encouragement always boosts me up! :)

  3. Absolutely beautiful, Carlie ♥ The walk of a man in this life has such a different balance to carry. It's unique to them and to their wiring. I'm sharing this one! Thanks so much for your heart to give hope to others. I am so very thankful for you!
    Blessings and smiles,

    1. Thanks, Lori! I felt inspired to write it as I watched the men in my family try so hard to be strong during our recent losses. I wanted them to know it's okay to not be so strong all the time... that they could run to the One who is always strong enough for them. Thanks for your encouragement and support.

  4. Carlie, I have re-read this several is so honest and challenging for us to pray this over every man in our lives. As a woman, I often am guilty of not really seeing things from my husband's perspective, and this is more timely than you know. Thank you!

  5. Thanks, Crystal! I'm so encouraged that it has blessed you. It has been on my heart a lot recently, and I'm reminded of how much I fall short in praying for the men in my life. I feel like God is reminding me that our prayers are urgent and necessary. Praying for you and yours!

  6. Carlie, I love how, once he understood how God works through weakness, Paul said he would rejoice in his weakness! Thanks for sharing. Many of our brothers need to hear this.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Donna! I am so blessed by your writing.


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