Confessions of a Superhero

Let me tell you a secret.


I used to be a superhero.

I even had super powers and a shiny cape

(figuratively speaking).


Super mom

Super employee

Super daughter

Super wife

Super friend

Super woman


I could do anything.

I was invincible.

I could juggle a dozen demands.

I could take care of myself and my family.

I was impressive. I was successful.

I was awesome.


Then one day I lost my powers. And it isn’t even a thrilling story of demise worthy of a superhero. Just a bonk on the head while playing with my son that led to months and months of post-concussive symptoms, pain, and anxiety. When you have a concussion the treatment is to do nothing. Just lay on your bed and rest.


Don’t read

Don’t exercise

Don’t go to work

Don’t do the dishes

Don’t check Twitter

Don’t play with your child


But superheroes don’t do nothing—

superheroes do everything, and we do everything well!


Barbara Brown Taylor writes in her book, “An Altar In the World”


You are vulnerable to this moment. Your carefully maintained safety net has ripped apart. Your extensive armour has sprung a leak. You are in need of help, and your awareness of this is not a bad thing . . . There is something holy in this moment of knowing just how perishable you are. It is part of the truth about what it means to be human, however hard most of us work not to know that . . . To lie flat on the ground with the breath knocked out of you is to find a solid resting place. This is as low as you can go. You told yourself you would die if it ever came to this, but here you are. You cannot help yourself and yet you live.


I was stripped of my superhero powers that day and for months to come. I was broken, incapable, and could no longer help myself or my family. The only thing I could do was take off my superhero cape and lay it in front of the cross. That was the only place I could go in the midst of my pain, anxiety, and failure.


Let me tell you a secret.


I found grace there.


Isaiah writes, “The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts” (57:15).

If I’m not an awesome and successful super woman, but a recovering superhero bowing humbly before her Lord, then who am I day to day? How does this change me at work, at home, as a mom, as a wife, as a leader, as a friend?

I don’t know the answers to those questions yet. But I do know that even when I am physically or spiritually incapable, grace means I am still loved and still perfect to the Holy One.


This is grace.


That when we are at our lowest, when we have failed, when we are incapable, when we are broken

—we are still loved.


This is grace.


Grace gives us freedom.


Freedom to surrender

Freedom to try again

Freedom to keep hoping

Freedom to worship

Freedom to heal


No superhero capes required.


—Ingrid Hoogenboom


A response to Acts 8:26-40

Best When Broken Teaching Series



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