10 Ways to Support a Suffering Friend

When someone around us is suffering, whether it be from heartbreak, loss or illness, we want to be able to help, don’t we? We want to find the perfect words to say to ease them in their pain, and help them feel encouraged and loved. Yet those words are hard to find, especially when we may not be able to relate to the road they are so bravely walking.

Because I know your heart is true in wanting to help those around you facing some giants, I have some tips to help you along the way. Please read these with an open heart, even if it’s beyond what you would ever consider doing, saying (or not saying) to your friend. Some of these are practical and some of these will not only support your friend through their struggles, but my prayer is it will soften and mold your heart to those suffering in the process.

1. Send encouraging texts or messages.

“Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.” Job 4:4

This may seem trivial, but there have been so many times a sweet text, or even a funny meme, has brightened my day. Sometimes amidst dark trials, we tend to shut the world out for a time, and that’s not always a bad thing. There have been days I just can’t handle any more news, any more drama or any more sadness – my heart and body just didn’t have it in me to process. But, those positive, encouraging messages can bring light and joy to a rough day. Something this simple can help your friend know that you love them and are thinking of them.

Also, give them permission to not respond. Saying something as simple as, “Julie, I woke up thinking of you today. You are a warrior and I’m so proud of the strength and perseverance it takes to walk out your daily life. You don’t have to respond – just wanted you to know I love you! I have included a funny raccoon video – hope it makes you laugh as hard as it did me!”. It’s that simple – simple, yet powerful to a weary heart.

2. Pray for them and TELL them you are.

I once had a friend tell me that God laid me on her heart and He told her to pray for me, right then. In her obedience, she stopped what she was doing and prayed, then sent me a simple text explaining what had just happened. All I could do was cry. It had been a particularly rough morning and all my hope had seemingly blown away with the summer winds. But, it was in the fact that my Father would interrupt my friend’s day, on my behalf, that made me feel the renewing of His love, thus renewing my hope. And I never would have gotten to experience that deeper connection with my Father if she had never revealed that story and that prayer.

3. Don’t tell them God will definitely heal them.

“So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I pleased with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

You might not agree with me on this one, and that’s ok. But, see, God has already whispered to me that I will not be healed this side of heaven, so when someone tells me they KNOW God will heal me, it sends me in a tail spin. I have been spoken to by God Himself, yet the very words of others can make me doubt that, on those pain filled days when all I wish for is physical healing.

God doesn’t physically heal everyone here on earth, does He? Yet, He uses suffering to soften our hearts and mold us into a better likeness of Him, and as Christians, isn’t that our ultimate goal? So instead of telling your friend that God will definitely heal them of their physical pain, remind them of what happens even if He doesn’t.

It could go something like this, “Sarah, I pray for God to reach down and heal your body and your mind, and I truly believe that if it’s His will for you to be healed, He will HEAL YOU! What a glorious day that would be! But, EVEN IF He doesn’t, EVEN IF it’s not in His plan for you, I KNOW God is willing to heal your heart and draw you closer to Him. His grace covers even this. He wants you healed, yet maybe it’s your heart He’s longing to mend. I am here for you if I can help you in seeking His will for your life. I can’t wait to see how God will use these hard days to strengthen you and heal you, according to His purpose.”

4. Listen to them.

“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.” Psalm 5:1

It’s hard to find a safe person to talk to that won’t judge your words or your emotions during trying times. The best friends I have just listen when I vent and cry. They hold me and love me and pray over me. They don’t try to fix me, especially in a moment where I need to get out all that is going on in my heart and in my head. Satan’s lies are all too clear some days, and just saying them out loud, releases the power and hold they have on us, so just listen. Once I am done crying and venting and my heart has calmed, I am ready to hear Truth and encouragement, but until the river of emotion stops flowing, not much else can get upstream.

5. Don’t send too much research.

I have friends who used to send me article after article on health and healing (related to what I was going through at the time) and I so loved their hearts! All they wanted to do was help and I felt so loved and cared for – they wanted me to get better and those articles talked about different ways to do that. I appreciated their thoughtfulness. But, honestly, I didn’t read many of them. It was too overwhelming to me.

What would have helped me more? If someone had asked me if there was something they could research FOR me and give me the bullet points, I would have been elated! I know it’s in our nature to want to pass along information and that is so sweet and thoughtful, but just be aware that too much information can make our hearts weary and overwhelmed. Moderation, dear friend, would be so very helpful to our already burdened hearts.

6. Offer to help them in little ways.

When my husband had back surgery, our lives were in a tail spin. Not only was I sick, but now my wonderful, care-taker husband was down for the count, also. My friends rallied around us and set up meals for us. They even went to the grocery store for us and shuttled kids around. If someone you know is suffering, helping them in small ways speaks volumes to how much you love them and care for them.

As far as meals go, if someone has some dietary issues, consider learning about it and cooking for them anyway (unless it’s an allergy, then the cross-contamination is more serious). I had many friends take time to study my medical diet and cook something for me, as well as for my family! That was a tremendous gift to me and it means so much that they took the time to bless us in that way.

7. Be in the Word to give sound Biblical advice.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

If you aren’t grounded in the Word of God (the Bible), how will you be able to comfort someone going through grief or hard circumstances, especially ones you haven’t personally experienced? More so, the advice you give needs to be Truth based and life-giving, which can only come from knowing God’s very words. That doesn’t mean you have to stress about having the perfect verses memorized for your friend. But, if you come across a verse or commentary in your studying that could encourage and uplift her, pass it along. I have even written out verses and handed them to a friend at lunch, so don’t be intimidated by not having hundreds of verses memorized. God has used the most seemingly random verses to speak to me, so just listen in your quiet time for Godly words to speak over your suffering friend.

8. Give them grace.

I have heard from countless suffering women that they don’t really have friends anymore. Due to pain, sickness, anxiety, or grief, the need to cancel plans (even last minute) happens more than we would like. Be patient with them. If they don’t respond back to your texts, don’t take it personal. Instead, when they are silent, commit yourself to praying over them, because odds are, they are struggling and just can’t reach out. Send a text telling them you are praying for them and you love them, and give them that permission to not respond. Don’t give up on them. Continue to invite them and reach out to them. Because in my experience, the ones that have had the toughest battles are some of the wisest, kindest, God-seeking people I have ever met and you definitely don’t want to miss out on all they have to offer.

9. Don’t tell them God only gives them what they can handle.

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure… But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-10

I know this seems comforting to say to someone who is walking a hard road, yet this is not in the Bible. More so, it’s false. Many people get it confused with 1 Corinthians 10:13 that says God won’t allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. That’s two very different things.

If God only gave us as much as we can handle, why would we ever need to turn to Him? Our hearts would then be self-reliant and our need for God would be minimal, at best. God absolutely gives us more than we can handle, because it brings us to our knees before the Throne in desperation of God’s hope, His love and a yearning for a greater understanding of His will. So, if you have tried to encourage someone with those words in the past, just pray over them. Pray that God would use their suffering and not let it go in vain in their own lives.

And don’t say those words again. I know you didn’t know and it’s ok, friend. Now you do!

10. Help them feel seen.

I can’t count the number of times that suffering women have cried out that they don’t feel seen, either by the world or, sadly even by their Father. That breaks my heart, mostly because it seems to be an epidemic amongst the broken-hearted. How can you help? Reach out – it’s that simple. If someone is trudging through the grocery store, stop and ask them how their day has been and WAIT FOR AN ANSWER. Make conversation with the person handing you your Sonic tea or ask the lady having a hard time lifting her groceries if your teenage son may help. It’s all about relationships, yet our lives are too busy and too rushed to make time for those anymore. So slow down and look around, because odds are, someone around you is feeling lost and unseen by the world around them. The amazing thing is, by you simply showing them you care, they are getting a glimpse of the Father’s love for them in the kindness of your eyes. Help someone feel seen today.

I hope in reading these, God has shown you some insight into the workings of the needs of your friend’s suffering heart. The fact that you took time to read these, shows how much you love them and want to support them – they are blessed to have you in their lives! If by reading these suggestions, you have realized something you have said or done may have inadvertently not been the best choice of words or actions, don’t worry friend. There is grace in this space. We know the right words are hard to come by and we don’t hold that against you. We appreciate you making an effort to ease our pain and support us – that matters more than you know.

I encourage you to try some of these ways of support for your friend. If their road is rough and their heart weary, they will gladly accept your loving encouragement.

Do you have any other ways to support a suffering friend? If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments!

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

-Jodi

Respond

We live in a fallen, broken world that sometimes is so full of pain we are unable to catch our breath between blows. Sickness attacks our bodies and pain-filled scenes invade our hearts.

I have a feeling you are all too familiar with this. I know I am.

Right now, I have friends all over the country who are suffering greatly and my heart is breaking with them. Some sweet friends are trudging through crumbling marriages, financial ruin, and crushing custody battles. Others are desperately seeking health answers, dealing with unexplainable loss, and learning to live without basic needs. Their hearts, spirits, and for some, even faith is breaking under the weight of the storms that are surging around them.

Yet these very trials and storms are being allowed by God’s own hand.

How do you feel about that? The very God that loves you enough to count the number of hairs on your head is allowing these hurtful situations? Situations that cut so deep we don’t know if we will ever be able to recover…

When I start to ask the age old question “why?” in my suffering, God gently draws me back to Job and I am reminded that it’s not the why that matters, but the way that I respond to the pain that holds the key to my heart transformation.

I love Job. The Bible tells us that Job was “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8)

But did you realize that God not only allowed Job to be tested by Satan but He actually suggested Job specifically to him? God chose him for such a task and removed his hand of protection over Job. He allowed Satan to test him and do whatever he wanted, as long as Satan didn’t kill him.

Now I know what you’re thinking – why on earth would God withdraw His hand of protection over a man who was such a devoted true follower?

The answer is simple – God knew that Job would never let his worldly circumstances change his view of God’s goodness. God knew that Job would remain a true and faithful servant even if he walked through unimaginable pain and loss – even if the rest of the world and those around him advised otherwise. God knew the intricate workings of Job’s devoted heart, just as He knows yours.

Dear one, God doesn’t want you to suffer just to suffer – that is not how He works. He loves us entirely too much for that. He just knows what it takes to bring us to our knees to have a deeper relationship with Him and a deeper understanding of His love for us. Unfortunately, it usually takes pain to get us down before Him, hands raised in total surrender. For it’s in those deep wounding moments that we realize just how out of our hands our lives are and how much we need our Jesus to be our tether to His peace-filled side.

And once we learn to submit to whatever trials have been given us, only then can we praise Him in the midst of the storm.

For it’s in those trials, in the midst of the muck and the mire, that we grow.

Last night, my heart was struggling with the idea that healing, not the journey, should be my ultimate goal. Then God, in His all knowing way of my heart, reminded me of His truth – a truth I knew, yet I had let be clouded. God whispered to me to look at the book of Job and count how many chapters were in Job – 42. Then He asked me to count how many verses spoke of Job’s healing – 10.

There are 42 chapters about Job’s suffering, his relationships with friends and family (as rough as they were), and his crying out in agony to his Father. Yet, there are only 10 verses about his healing and his life thereafter. That’s a big difference! Suffering matters and the way Job was responding amidst it was more important than the actual physical healing that occurred later.

If you are fighting a hard battle, dear one, you have been chosen and allowed by our Father to walk this road. I know that’s a hard pill to swallow. But just like Job, you have been chosen to walk through this storm for a reason. Maybe you have been chosen because you are a faithful follower of our Savior and the world needs to watch your chapters unfold as they watch that faithfulness play out in your life. Maybe you have been chosen because you are seeking something greater than this storm and Jesus wants to show you He is that THAT. Maybe you have been chosen to be reminded that God’s will is greater than yours, and that He is worthy to be praised.

No matter the “why” God has you in this battle, how are you going to respond to the pain? Because how you respond is the part that fills the chapters of your life and one that can give great glory to our Lord and Savior. And that, dear friend, is what matters the most.

Jodi

Perfect Love.

Last night, my husband and I got to reminiscing and opened the door to so many memories. Some we laughed about, while some launched a flood of hurts that had been long forgotten. We talked of my being rushed into heart surgery and a doctor we called Dr. Meany-head (just so you know, he totally deserved that title). We laughed about when my diet consisted of only Sonic slushes, lactose-free ice cream and icees, as opposed to my now strict way of eating. We walked back through what it was like losing so much from the toxic mold in our home and living in our dear friends’ basement for six months as we rebuilt. The memories and experiences kept flowing past our usual bedtimes and something my husband said struck a cord.

“We’ve done a lot of living in eight years.”

Our lives aren’t exactly what the world would call perfect. Instead of being a Hallmark movie, our life script reads more like a country music song, complete with an old rusty truck and the dog dying in the end. Yet, it is so, so good. My God has given us more than we need to overcome all that life has hurled our way – His perfect and unmeasurable love. When things look bleak and it appears the storms of life are surely going to overtake me, God reminds me of His love. It’s usually in the smallest of ways but they are powerful reminders to my ever absentminded heart. He uses those sweet, small moments to drown out my fears, worries, pains, and doubts.

I just have to be looking for them.

In November, God called me to be still this Christmas season and with the Lyme Disease diagnosis being handed down shortly thereafter, I can now see why. I deemed this Christmas to be stress-free and it really was! Instead of shopping for hours, smiling for countless social media pics, and running around like a crazy person, I opted for Amazon Prime, puzzles and games with the family, and hot chocolate and movies by the light of the Christmas tree. I dug deep into His word instead of digging deep into the clearance bins. God whispered to my heart to be present this Christmas – the rest didn’t matter. Guess what? It was the best gift I could have gotten.

God loved me enough to give me just what I needed. It wasn’t a fancy gift to flash all over social media. It was the one I needed in the silence of my own seeking heart. God knew what it took to fill my heart with joy and contentment, more than I. He knows the very irregular heartbeat of my heart and loves me just the same.

But it’s the littlest of ways that God loves me that makes my heart melt.

On the evening of Christmas, God used someone to bless us and show me the immense scope of His love. Inside our front glass door, someone dropped off a jar of change and an envelope of some cash. The message written on the envelope simply told us to have fun on our trip and Merry Christmas. Tears welled up and fell… hard. My mind raced – who would do such a sweet thing? And who would come out on Christmas night to drop it off? I instantly knew this was an “I love you” from my Father. It was a standing-with-a-boom-box-over-your-head-declaring-His-undivided-love kinda event to my anxious heart. You see, the experience we planned in lieu of gifts this year was proving to be more expensive than we thought.

Enter Love.

That jar of change sits right next to my bed and reminds me that God loves me so much that He would prompt someone, even on Christmas, to put a lid on their change jar and drop it anonymously in our door. Their love for us, spurred by God’s own loving whispers, still wells up humbled tears. We are grateful for that act of love shown by one of God’s chosen people and pray for them often. See, those coins symbolize so much more than pocket change – they prove that God sees me, that He loves me, and boy, that love never ceases to amaze me.

“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94: 18-19

I don’t know what storms you may be facing right now or what your heart’s cry has become. But I do know this – you are LOVED. No matter the disease that is ravaging your body, no matter the empty crib once full, no matter the marriage broken or finances thinned, God is loving you through each tear shed and each stab to your already broken heart. He sees you and He knows the pain you are in. He is wrapping his arms around your brokenness and radiating His healing love into every crack and crevice that needs repair. When you feel alone, unseen, and beaten down by this world obsessed with perfection, ask our loving Father to reveal His repairing love to your heart. And prepare to be healed.

Yes, my life is definitely not “worldly” perfect. We have to scrounge together money to go on a trip, yet God is already in so many of the details that it’s amazing to me. And although we drive old cars that don’t always start, God loves us enough to get them running and save us from having car payments. My loving husband and empathetic children are a certain kinda special to this momma’s heart and we have so much fun spending time together. Even in those pain-filled days where bed is my home, God’s arms are felt wrapped around my frail body and holding me close, loving me through the journey and through the storm, filling every crack with His repairing love.

That my friend, is a life made “perfect” – all because of the perfect love of Jesus.

My sweet Jesus, your love not only amazes us but it surpasses all our understanding. I humbly come before You today asking You to not only show us your love, but engulf us in it. We need You, Jesus and today we ask to feel seen by You. In our fast paced world filled with comparisons and criticism, we feel lost in the shuffle and unseen by a world so bent on being showcased. Please rain down your love upon our weary hearts today. Give us eyes to see it, Lord. Reveal to us and remind us of the many blessings you have already bestowed upon us and fill our hearts with a desire to stand in your presence regularly in thanksgiving. You are a good and gracious God and we give you all the glory and honor for all that you have done and are currently performing in our lives. Thank you that when we know you intimately, our lives are filled with all we need – your perfect love. We ask this in your holy and love-filled name. Amen.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43: 1-2

– Jodi

Name.

I have been waiting for this day for almost eight years now – the day all my pain and illness would get a name. Well, that day came, and to my surprise, it didn’t feel near like I thought it would.

Today, I found out I have Lyme Disease.

Those words, this name, doesn’t quite hold the magical power that I once thought it would. I have clung to the fact that a name would give me instant peace in my circumstance, instant validation of the pain, and instant release from the unanswered questions. In my mind, that day would be filled with me skipping out of the doctor’s office, arms thrown up in elation, and celebrating with a Name Party! (You would have been invited, of course.)

Yet, today my heart is filled with something entirely different.

I’m fumbling around in-between shock and collapse. I feel nauseous and as though my insides are shaking uncontrollably. The peace I was hoping that came attached to a name has eluded me, and I sit trembling. How could I have gotten this so wrong? I just knew having a name for my core illness would solve everything, so why hasn’t it?

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and this is a tough blow. I am, indeed, thankful for the answers, the wonderful doctor who has walked with me though this squall, and a husband who has held my hand the whole time. Yet, I’m having a hard time letting it all soak in. I am an expert, after all, at building walls no one can get through, not even myself. So here I sit, the day before Thanksgiving, trying to stay too busy to shed one tear in my acceptance. This isn’t how it was supposed to go… A name was supposed to fix everything.

But, you know what? It had already. I was just looking at the wrong name.

See, it didn’t take too long after that doctor said those words to me, that God started working on my heart. I soon realized, I was clinging and putting my hope into the wrong name. No name, no diagnosis, was going to heal my heart and give me the peace I so desperately longed for in this lengthy journey, except one.

Jesus.

God so graciously showed me today that this was one area I still needed work on. See, God has already given me more names for my brokenness than I could ever count. For, He is my Mighty Comforter, Prince of Peace, Healer, and Provider. He is my Strong Tower, my Shepherd, Messiah and Redeemer. He is my own personal Physician that not only wants to heal my soul, but my wounded heart and my struggling mind.

You see, I realized that putting a name to my illness held no power at all. All I needed, this whole time, was to put a name to my heart’s cry for peace. Only the name of Jesus can bring me the peace I so desperately craved in the middle of this storm called life. We all have real fears, and pain and struggles that only one name can solve. Jesus.

Jesus.

Lyme Disease.

Fibromyalgia.
Supra-ventricul tachycardia.

Ulcerative Colitis.

Gastritis.

Gastroparesis.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

Mercury Poisoning.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth.

Hypothyroidism.

 

Jesus. The name above all names. And that is the only name I will ever need.

– Jodi

Defined.

I am defined by my struggles.

Not what most people would want to claim, right? We fight this battle of NOT being defined by our life circumstances and the storms we perceive as weaknesses. Being weak is the last way we want someone to see us, but do you know what is real weakness? Wanting to seem strong by hiding those struggles, and worse yet, not helping others by sharing the lessons we have learned and the wisdom we are so graciously given through those storms of life.

My family knows storms. My family has had to set another place at the table for our storms – like an unwanted guest who just won’t leave. Even though hurts and pains of life seep into every crack of our daily lives, I am not ashamed. For through these struggles, I now know just how loved we are. Through these struggles, God has revealed my calling. Through these struggles, my defining in this storm is made clear.

Time and time again, God has reached out and shown His presence. And do you know the path He takes to show me? He guides me along my struggling, stumbling, painful trail. He uses my rough days. He uses my tears. He uses my newly softened heart for those suffering by sending me pain-filled women in parking lots. He sends me lonely women who just need a stranger to say hi – to show them they are seen, not only by me, but by our God.

Yes, our painful struggles are all different. My struggles doesn’t include cancer or losing a child, as yours might. My struggles are filled with chronic illness, a child with quirks, and our fear-stricken children being abused by another’s words. So our struggles may differ, yes, but the pain – the pain is the same. Pain recognizes pain, doesn’t it, dear one? Yet, when we walk right past another one suffering, do we keep walking and bustling through our time-crunched day, or do we stop and interact with the all too familiar pain radiating from their weary heart? Once engaged, how then, can we share Christ’s hope for their circumstance?

Simply by sharing ours – that is defining our storms.

God once brought me a woman in a parking lot who had had 3 brain tumors. She just needed to talk and I just needed to listen. Have I ever had a brain tumor? No and I’m very thankful for that. But, since I could relate to the pain and exhaustion a long storm carried, I understood her heart’s cry.  The beautiful thing is God will bring people into our lives to connect our hearts upward to Him. Just saying “I’m here. I understand. How can I pray for you specifically?” is God’s way of using my newly softened heart towards suffering women.

However, I once asked the Lord, in a season of deep physical pain, why He kept bringing women who needed to talk. (Not one of my proudest moments.) I just wanted to put my head down, shuffle into the store, and ease my way back into the car. I felt I didn’t have the energy or strength to walk alongside anyone as I was trying to endure my own teetering cliff walk. In His sweet, soft whisper to my heart, He simply told me that women opened up to me “Because you ask”. Wow – still makes me teary-eyed today. Women are broken, hurting, all alone in their suffering and would give anything to feel seen. Someone looking them in their beautiful eyes, noticing them, and speaking sincerely is all it takes to allow them the opportunity to open up and share their struggles. And if you’re like me, you might me amazed at how many women have your same story.

So don’t hide the path you are walking. Stop for a minute and look back at the person you used to be before this storm entered your life. In so many ways, God has changed you and molded you into the woman He is intending you to be. Do you see it? It may hurt, dear one, and it may seem like your world is turned upside down at the moment, but you were made for this moment. You were made to take these hurts and share them with others walking the same road. Let these softenings and reshapings make you proud to be defined by them.

Be proud you are a fighter, for your strength is drawn in Him. Be proud you are wiser, to the ways of God’s own heart. Be proud you are just putting one foot in front of the other, for someone else may be paralysized in their pain. So why not let others see that you actually are defined by your struggles? Share where God has moved and what you have learned. For in those moments, grace abounds and true heart healing begins, for you both.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NIV

Jodi

Fearful.

Our dog, Crosby, is a bit of a hot mess.  Some would say he fits in perfect with our family, which is pretty much the truth.  When we adopted him, he had been rescued from an abusive home.  We aren’t sure what happened there, but we do know that whatever it was, it left him fearful of pretty much everything and everyone.  I mean he gets scared of rugs, y’all – bless his heart.

I’ve never been a dog person, so I find it funny that God gave me one that would steal my heart.  That dog loves me so much that on days I can’t move well, if I call him over to my side of the bed, he knows I need help.  He simply turns around so I can grab hold of his collar and he proceeds to pull me out of bed.  God is THAT good to give me an animal to show His all encompassing  love through. And sometimes, He uses that pup to teach me a much needed lesson.

While visiting family, our cousins noticed that Crosby hadn’t eaten since we arrived, despite his food dish being full.  We had been there for two days and he hadn’t touched it.  When they asked why he hadn’t eaten yet, I explained that he was too scared to eat.  His surroundings had changed and he wasn’t used to the new environment yet.  “But he must be so hungry!”, my sweet cousin responded.  And I, being the expert of this quirky dog, reply, “Yes, but his fear trumps his hunger every time”.  

The moment those words flowed so freely from my lips, my sweet Savior pressed into my heart.  

I, too, know deep-rooted fear.  I, too, get paralyzed by the hauntings of the past.  I, too, will let my heart starve instead of facing that fear.  But when we allow that fear to overtake our hearts, we can miss out on all that God is trying usher us towards.  

Sometimes our hearts are crying out for peace, in the midst of a hard-fought battle.  Other times, God may be gently nudging us to step out on faith and trek down a new, uncut path.  And then there are times when simply laying down that fear time after time, is the next rung on that ladder of trust our hearts are needing to take.

Have you been there?  Are you hungry for what only Jesus can bring, yet waver when He reveals the next step?

Lord, how many times have I been hungry and called out to you, only to be too afraid of the answer to move?  Sadly, too many.   I hunger for Your words and Your ways, yet fear, too easily, keeps me from the callings the seeking brings. Open my plugged ears to Your calling and thaw my frozen feet to swiftly follow Your paths.  Jesus, today, may we not only have a fresh desire for YOUR Bread of Life, but may we not FEAR the paths You are revealing to us.  May we put our total trust in You and not be so afraid to move, that we miss out on our role in growing Your Kingdom.  Move in us, Jesus.  Stir in us, Savior.  Change us, our gracious and mighty Conqueror. Let faith trump our fear, and peace fill it’s place.  We ask all these things in your precious and mighty name.  Amen.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  Psalm 56:3

* Don’t worry – Crosby eventually stopped shaking and ate his food.  He is happily sleeping next to me now, resting in the presence of his master.  Just as I am happily resting in mine.

– Jodi

Bypass.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:30-31

I have always been insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin, even from an early age.  I don’t feel like I have much to bring to the table, or as the world points out, a college degree to stand behind.  I over-analyze the words that come out of my mouth and even the way I was standing as I said them.   It’s a stressful way to live, really.  Yet, God’s immense grace has overflowed on my heart as I dug deeper and deeper into His word this past year.  The harder I pressed into Him, the more I have felt those insecurities slowly fading away and for the first time, I found myself able to gently unclench the handle bars and rest in who HE says I am, instead of what the world calls me out to be.  And that was a big feat for me!  The peace that came with it made it easier to hand over those insecurities before they even formed. 

 Funny, though, how one day can make all our work, and my peace, completely undone.

Damage to our children and hurtful words pierced my heart.  One left a burden my heart couldn’t carry, while the other brought me back to an insecure girl feeling worthless, and a young wife being treated as such every day.  Funny how an instance can open old wounds and bring up so much emotion, isn’t it?  What was once healed, was now free flowing, and don’t you know it – Satan took notice. The nightmares started back up again and no matter how hard I tried, I felt like I was drowning in the ugly words being hurled at my heart.  

Yet, in the midst of my tailspin upon deep waters,  my sweet Savior whispered to my heart… “Stand up.  You aren’t drowning dear one, stand up – your feet will find the solid ground. It’s been under you all along.”   Oh, Lord, you’re right.  Why hadn’t I seen that?  Sigh.  I was flailing about for no reason.  HIS truth was there the whole time – it was me that was listenening to the lies of the world instead of to HIS truths.

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

 But, sometimes the volume of the world can be deafening, can’t it?  It bombards us with plenty of examples of what we aren’t: thin enough, smart enough, tidy enough, our job isn’t important enough, our house isn’t big enough, and our kids aren’t good enough at sports (because that’s somehow a direct reflection on us, right?).  So how can we cast out these destructive words constantly being hurled at our heart?  God has so graciously pointed out that it really is pretty simple – we just need a bypass.

Just like a surgical heart bypass, sometimes our hearts are just too broken or too injured to continue in their current state.  Sometimes we need assistance with our heartbeat while changes are being made – changes to improve our lives and to let the healing begin.  As I cried out to Him, completely undone and broken, I heard my God’s urgency to allow Him to bypass my heart.  I was trying so hard to heal it by sheer will or by firm bravery,  that I missed the real truth God was speaking into my tangles.  Bypass. It was time – nothing I can do can drown out the lies and the hurts that had fractionated my heart.  It was time to allow God to control the weak heartbeat of my injured heart and do the work that needed to be done.  We can’t operate on our own hearts can we?  Then why do we try so hard to?

Yet, while God does His work, I have mine.  TRUTH.  Earmuffs to drown out the lies have been strategically placed over my under-construction heart, and Truth is being imputed into my veins.  The world tells me I am not – God proves that I am:

I am LOVED: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

I am CHOSEN: “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14

I am NEVER ALONE: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Be strong and courageous.” Joshua 1:5-6

I am SAFE: “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I trust Him.” Psalm 91:2

I am PROTECTED: “If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you , no disaster will come near your tent.  For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:9-12

I am HEALED: “Surely He took up our pain and bore our sufferings, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5

As I go before my Savior tonight, I lay His Word physically upon my chest.  The weight of it soothes my anxious heart, as I let the words penetrate and heal the damage that was done.  I remind myself of HIS truths and HIS promises, instead of what the world tries to guarantee for my life. A spirit of refreshment wells up inside me as I realize that not only will this bypass heal my damaged heart, it will correct my eternal perspective and priorities my soul has been screaming for.

 Slowly, the lies of the world fade away, along with the pains of the past, and even though my bypass is still underway, I can already feel the glimmer of that once-known peace and security only found in the very Word of my Savior.  And what sweet peace it is.

“But the LORD says, ‘Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already – you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.’ ” Isaiah 43:18-19

Jodi

Tears.

When was the last time you cried?  Do you have to think back hard on that one, or has this question caught you with puffy eyes in the aftermath?  Were your tears born of a broken, wounded heart or the overflow of pride and joy?  I would have to admit I have recently had both – and they happened on the very same day.

Oh, summer…  those three months of heat that warm my body and joints also warm my soul.  All year, I look forward to rising temperatures.  Sounds crazy, right?  But it’s in those heat waves that my body finally releases some of it’s pain and some of it’s limitations, and I am free! I am free to can everything the garden supplies (plus some).  I am free to be outside at fairs and tractor pulls and enjoy the warming rays of the sun.  Most excitedly, I am free to leave my bed that, at times, feels so imprisoning.  

Yet this summer, the pain hasn’t eased up and that freedom I long for hasn’t arrived.  Frustration consumes my heart all too often and suddenly without warning, the tears flow freely.  I cry for all I feel I have lost and for the disappointment of the unfulfilled expectations of the joys I have come to look forward to.  Anxiety wells inside me, for the release in pain was also the release my heart needed to recoup it’s weary, burden-ladened pulse. 

One morning, pain caused tears to come faster than I expected and disappointment consumed me.  Yet, there was no time to settle into their release, so I quickly wiped them away and distracted my pain.  After all, there were more important things going on that day.  That morning was the first swimming lesson for our 13 year old son. 

He and I were both nervous as we walked to that pool.  My son didn’t want to take swimming lessons and he kept begging me to not make him go.  I gently told him it was going to be easier than he thought and he is going to learn so much.  After all, I wanted him to tackle his fear and settle into the water with joy and the satisfaction of conquering that overwhelming fear.  

What followed was exactly what my heart needed to see.  Our son, who has never even had his face in the water, was swimming under water within 10 minutes from the start of that lesson.  And do you know why?  He trusted the instructor and he listened and obeyed his every word.  Even if he was scared, he took a breath and did it.  Not one word of complaining or fear came out of his mouth.  The sweet instructor just taught and my sweet son obeyed.  I cried that day.  I cried hard that day.  Yes, because my son was tackling a deep rooted fear, yet also because I understood what God was whispering to my heart.

I love how God can use the very words out of our mouths to impact us in our own brokenness.  The conversation my son and I had before his lesson rushed back to me as those flood gates released.  I understood the fears and resistance my son felt, as I felt the weight of their overwhelming burden, too.  I, too, found myself begging to not go through this.  So the tears flowed all the more.

Yet scripture reminds me that Jesus was overwhelmed, too, in the garden of Gethsemane.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Matthew 26:38.  Then Jesus, when facing a certain, horrific death, in his humanity, fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39.  Jesus showed His readiness to bear that load of suffering, and submit to the will of God.  And do you know why he was so ready to submit?  Because He knew the bigger picture.  He knew it was for our eternal redemption and salvation, which was so much larger than His momentary suffering.  He did this out of obedience to His Father, not because He wanted to endure that pain,  but because He knew it was needed to fulfill the will of God.  I can’t imagine the strength that must have taken to submit to that cross, especially knowing the immense pain He was about to suffer.  Yet His willingness to submit to God’s will overcame His human nature to bypass suffering. 

None of us want to suffer, do we?  Even swimming lessons to a scared teenager felt like suffering too intense to bear.  Yet, in my own hurts, God was promising me that it’s not going to go in vain.  He can see the bigger picture, as I could with my son’s fear.  Though I may be scared and overwhelmed, I am going to learn so much, as my sweet boy did.  Yet, the key is to obey and submit to his will, whatever that may look like.  My son didn’t second guess or complain, he just complied.  He didn’t freak out in that pool and say he didn’t want to do what was being asked of him, he just listened.  He just trusted.  He just obeyed. 

My heart needed to slow down and receive this message. Submit, comply, trust and don’t complain.  Is it really that simple?  Yet, my heart was caught in a net of dissapointment and suspended in pain and I couldn’t seem to break through.

Have you ever caught fish with a long net stretched out across a river?  Me neither, but I have watched it on one of our favorite shows.  The part that looks the hardest is getting those fish untangled out of that net.  Sometimes it takes them a while to get them free and sometimes it’s very easy.  That seems to be true with our brokenness.  Sometimes I find that my painful dissapointments are easily released back into the unknown (or into the frying pan), yet every once in a while, I have one get so tangled in my heart’s net that I can’t let it no go matter how hard I try.  

But if swimming lessons taught me anything, it’s that it’s not up to me to get those tangled hurts free.  It is God who I have to allow to untangle the pains hurled at my heart, whether that be physical pain, disappointment from unfulfilled expectations,  or emotional hurts.  And just like the fish in the nets, some are larger than others, yet the key is to hand them over to our Father and submit to His will – His perfect and peace-filled will.  It’s only there that we find the peace our hearts so desperately seek.

I’m not a swimmer myself,  yet as I submit and hand over my expectations to my Father,  I imagine Him sitting in a lounge chair with those same tear-filled eyes I had with my son, watching as I navigate through the deep waters of my pain, fears and burdens.  I imagine the smile on His face as I pop up, amidst the deep, to shout the same words my son exclaimed, “I didn’t know I could do this!  I didn’t KNOW I could do THIS!”.  

Sometimes I still cry over my unfulfilled expectations of summer and of life, yet now I can acknowledge the need to quickly allow my Savior to take hold of them and untangle the hurt they are causing.  Yes, at times I still feel overwhelmed, yet held.  I still feel broken, yet surrounded.  For I know that although Christ suffered on this earth, He served a grand purpose made complete by submitting to the will of God.  And that grand purpose saved me, it saved you, and it saved that beaming 13 year old boy in the pool.  And if my suffering can bring God glory, then I will just grab my heating pad and my Excedrin and be content to submit to His will – His perfect and loving will.  After all He’s done for me, I’m happy and honored to let His will be done.

My sweet Jesus, thank you for loving me so intensely and so personally that you could use everyday circumstances to speak to my heart.  Thank you, Lord, for always making your voice clear, and your words piercing to the wounded heart this fallen world has created.  As I crave your insight and your ways, please help me to not judge my own brokenness, but to simply hand it over to You.  When I am overwhelmed, Comforter, help me to seek your guidance.  When I am distraught, Savior, help me to seek your peace.  When tears are all that will fall, my sweet Jesus, help me to surrender to your perfect will.  Help me to rest in your grace-filled arms when this world seems too much to bear and the weight is too heavy.  And the days I can happily shout “I didn’t know I could do this!” are days that taste the sweetest.  Thank you for your unending lessons Lord, that may seem overwhelming and scary at the time, yet joyful as I am freed from the nets.  In your precious and beautiful name I pray. 

 “Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:4-5

– Jodi

Overwhelmed.

This world is full of so much hurt, isnt it?  Dear friends of mine all over the country are enduring trials that are trying to consume their weary, battered hearts.  It’s so easy to get consumed with our life cirumcstances, especially when we keep taking beating after beating. It can leave us feeling broken, deflated and overwhelmed.  Sometimes, we even feel alone in our stumbling journeys and think no one could possibly understand what we are going through.  Then God sends us someone to come along side us, teach us and take care of our wounded hearts.  That happened to me, only he was in the form of a raccoon.  Sounds crazy, right?  It was.

One night we noticed a crippled raccoon eating cat food outside on our back deck.  We have all kinds of wildlife (that apparently love cat food) that crash our deck and if they don’t bother our cats or trash our things, we just let them be.  But on that night, we noticed this particular raccoon was struggling to even walk.  He only had two good legs – one in front and the opposite one in back (because God is gracious that way).  He hobbled to eat and hobbled away.  Every night after that, he would appear, yet each night he looked more battered and bruised than the day before.  Chunks of fur would be missing and deep wounds would be evident. One evening, we even thought he had lost his eye in a battle, yet when the swelling went down, we could see that it was, indeed, still there.  We grew fond of the raccoon and lovingly named him Dually, in honor of his two working legs.  He even starting coming around during the day and would curl up like one of our cats.  He was enjoying the peace and security our deck brought him.

One day, we were heartbroken to see that he was now dragging himself on his stomach, using the only one good leg he had left. I don’t know how he was physically making it, dragging himself up the stairs to our deck. It broke our hearts to see him struggling just trying to move.  Eating proved to be such a challenge, also.  He would drag himself over to the bowl and eat the pieces on the ground so he wouldn’t have to lift his head.  It was so sad to see him so broken, and knowing later that night that whatever was attacking him was going to make it worse.   One evening, my sweet husband and daughter decided they needed to make a house for him – a sanctuary where he could rest and be safe from the attacks that were wielded upon him night after night.  They made some sweet memories that night as they constucted Dually’s home – memories my husband says have been imprinted in his memories forever. And this home… it turned out beautiful.

My daughter was in charge of decorating, so the front was painted with four colorful, tall flowers beside a drawn-in window (in case he wants to look out, I’m told).  The back has a huge rainbow filling it, yet the side is my absolute favorite.  You can’t see it from the sliding glass doors, so I didn’t notice it at first. My sweet daughter had carefully painted a big sign in green glitter paint on a separate piece of wood and attached it to the side of the house – it simply said Welcome.  When I asked her why she had put such a beautiful sign on a side no one would see, she explained, “That way when Dually drags himself up the stairs, he knows he is welcome here”.  And just like that, tears welled up inside me and began to fall and I could see, so clearly, what God was whispering to my heart. 

Dually’s life wasn’t easy – he was the weakest link in his world and that world was beating him down. He was overwhelmed with pain, overwhelmed with suffering, overwhelmed with fear of what lied ahead every evening. He was all alone and had no one to help him (I mean, not many people would love or help a raccoon right?). Yes, I know he’s just a raccoon, but stay with me for a minute.

That sanctuary that my loves built was screaming to my heart. You see, the very next day, Dually entered his house and has barely left it. We look out and see him sticking his head out to let the sun fill his battered face, and he even lays on his back spread-eagle, enjoying his restful shelter. Dually didn’t know rest. Yet, once he found it, the sanctuary from his overwhelming world, he never wanted to leave. Maybe he felt welcome, and maybe for the first time, peace.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with life?  I sure do. Yet, that crippled raccoon reminded me of something very important my heart had temporarily forgotten. Even though there is so much hurt in this world that can be so ugly at times, we have a shelter from our overwhelming circumstances. God’s arms are stronger than any shelter we could ever construct ourselves. Those arms withstand all storms, no matter the severity. And, when this world beats our hearts raw, there is a shelter where we can find true rest. Guess what – there is even a welcome sign for you, dear one, because He wants us to come to Him. His arms have constructed a shelter just for YOU! I’m pretty sure I know what mine looks like – it is identical to the one built out of love and tenderness that my family built for a young, battered raccoon. 

So that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. Romans 15:32

One evening, my kids, while watching Dually drag himself to the food bowl, excited exclaimed, “Mom! Dually looks like you somedays!”. We laughed and decided he was my new mascot. But, as the laughter died down, I realized just how true that was and what honor that statement brought. Like Dually, I, too, feel overwhelmed with a world where survival of the fittest reigns. I, too, feel wounded and battered from all the world’s hurts and disappointments. I, too, feel alone and weary. 

Yet, even though it could take me entirely longer than the rest to drag myself up the stairs of life, I now remind myself to look for the welcome sign at the top on my restful shelter – a shelter found only in my Father’s arms. For only in His shelter, can I truly rest. No worries of the outside world are found there and on a good day, I can even lay on my back, spread eagle, in true submission to His peace – a peace only possible from the restful shelter of His arms around my overwhelming-filled life. From there, I even feel safe to poke my head out and let the Son fill my wounded, battered face. It’s a warmth unlike anything I’ve ever felt…

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Jeremiah 31:25

Jodi

P.S. Please don’t worry about us and our raccoon. I am a country girl and I KNOW better than to try to pet him. I KNOW they carry diseases and we have watched him very closely for those signs. He’s just weak and worn and has dragged himself into our hearts. We love him… but from afar. ❤️

Lament.

I feel so pierced – like little tiny razor blades ripping into the smooth surface of my heart.  What do you do when you are watching your children being defeated by someone who loves them?  Tears, so many tears are falling, yet I feel so bottled up.  It’s not sitting well with my soul – I’m being ripped in two. Seeing their tears, their faces of disappointment… it’s haunting me.  God, why does it seem you have forsaken us?

Words have such power.  When spoken in love, they carry joy and strength, yet when words are spoken in anger, they are all the more unforgotten, as well as the pain that accompanies them. What do you do when all you can do is watch the aftermath of the words, the words that deflate their whole being?  Lord Jesus, protect them.  As moms, our goal is to protect our children from harm, but what then becomes of times that they are out of your reach of protection?  The momma bear in me wants to lash out and hurt back, but I know that is not what my God would have me do.  What then?  Am I called to wait? I feel I have waited enough and watched entirely too many tears fall.  What then?  Godjust whisper Your words, any words, to my seeking heart.

What becomes of a child who is chronically deflated, dehydrated of hope and joy?  I feel their pain so deep, for I know exactly what they are feeling.  I know the sharp edged sword of abuse and control and I hate the fact they also are learning that fear. Only, God delivered me from those depths, so now when I see my babies neck deep in raging waters, all I can do is weep and lay my lament at my Father’s feet.

God, my sweet Abba Father, I know you love them even more than I do, so why are you allowing this?  What could they possibly learn from all this trauma, except how to enable a sinner?  Lord, your ways are not my ways but JESUS….I can’t see the road through all this fog.  What shall you have me do?  All I hear is silence, and Jesus I need some answers. Yet… I stop to thank you in my pain.  Thank you that I can offer up all my lost expectations of comfort and my broken, weary heart.  

I have to admit, God, that this has opened up a wound that I thought had completely healed.  But God, you are my ever present help in my time of need.  Yet, why don’t I feel your presence?  I need to hear from You!

Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago.”  (Isaiah 43:18).  There is your voice, Lord!  Thank you, thank you.  Yes, yes Jesus, I understand that and I am trying, yet when those events are happening to the very ones I grew inside me, how can I not think back?  That pain has a power all of it’s own…

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you;  I will never leave you or forsake you.  Be strong and courageous.  (Joshua 1:5-6).  I believe that truth Lord, yet I feel like this battle will surely suffocate me.  I know you are here, even when you are silent.  You will never forsake me, even though the Enemy plants hopeless thought in my already over-taxed mind. Yet, Lord, I  do not feel strong enough to watch those babies break.  I’m so afraid, Lord.  I can’t do this.

Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance of the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. (Exodus 14:13-14). Be still?  Lord how can I be still in all this agony and heartbreak?  That sounds easier than it is for me right now.  I know you have already fought battles for us, even ones we never knew existed.  You stand between us and storms so often, yet this time it feels like you took a step away and are letting this battle consume us.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  (Psalm 34:17-18). Yes, deliverance my Lord – I am craving deliverance amidst this crushing continuous blow.  You will deliver me, yes.  I needed to be reminded of that.  You will deliver me…. Thank you Lord.

He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You make your saving help my shield and Your right hand sustains me; Your help has made me great.  You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.  (Psalm 18:34-35).  I am being trained… is that what you are trying to tell me Jesus?  But I don’t want to go to battle – I am too weary from the journey to this place.  Yet, you are promising me that you are my foundation and you even make the path wider so I don’t struggle to make it to the end.  Ok… I know you’re with me – I hear you and I truly believe you.  But, it’s not the ending I’m afraid of – its the journey to get there.  Oh, but you are broadening my path… I see what you are doing here.  Thank you.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.  (Psalm 91:14-16). You will rescue me?  You will rescue THEM?  Yes, you have protected them and Lord, I thank you for your hand of protection over their bodies, but what about their hearts?  Are you trying to draw them closer to You?  Are you wanting them to seek Your face in their trouble?

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  (Psalm 63:1). I can feel my anxious heart calming Lord, and even in this dry and parched land, I can see You now.  You have wrestled with me and continually pounded my soul with your Truth and reminders of your noble character.  Thank you for loving me enough to remind me.  Thank you for loving me enough to draw me back in.

Surely He took up our pain and bore our sufferings, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  (Isaiah 53:4-5). Ok…yes. This is not punishment – You sent your only Son to take my place on that cross.  You are a good God and thank you for making that sacrifice for me, for us.  

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33). I am feeling some of that peace now Jesus…. so much better than the frantic flailing I had succumbed to.  Thank you for conquering not only the world, but my breaking bleeding heart.

I am so loved by my Savior, as are you.  He loved me enough to wrestle my frantic heart back in line with His Truth.  Even in my weary, why-asking state, He answered me and He calmed my soul.  God opened up my heart to the need to pray for the lost, sin and all. Do I have total peace about this situation? No, not yet.  But after lamenting to Him my heart, my fears, my struggles, I feel blessed.  I am still broken, but I’m held. I’m weaping, yet I’m comforted. The fog is starting to lift and I can make out the lines on the road.  Oh and look – it seems the road has broadened. Good, my ankles were feeling weak today. ❤️

Jodi