Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Sometimes life is rough. As Christians we do not grieve without hope, but that does not mean we don’t grieve from time to time. Whether it’s grieving the loss of someone dear to us, the loss of a dream, or of a friendship, we grieve. I say that to say that I have had a rough week. My circumstances are weighing heavily upon me until I feel like I am hunched down beneath them, a sort of emotional Quasimodo.

By the time I got to church this past Sunday, I was barely able to hold it together until the lights dimmed. About ten seconds into the second worship song, tears began rolling down my face. I couldn’t even help it. The chorus of the song we sang went like this:
Our God saves, our God saves
There is hope in Your name
Mourning turns to songs of praise
Our God saves.
I needed (and I mean I really, really needed) to hear that there is hope. As someone who scores sky-high on the ‘encourager’ portion of spiritual gifts tests, I try to share hope with others. I don’t want anyone to feel hopeless. I don’t want anyone to grieve alone. Even if I don’t know what to say, I’ll hold their hand and say a prayer. And I am grateful to say that on Sunday morning, I did not have to grieve alone. My friend Summer was standing beside me. She saw my tears and put her arm around me. A moment later, she made me trade places with her so I could be in between her and our friend Andrea.  It may seem like a small thing, but to me it was huge. In my grief, Summer wanted me to be comforted on all sides. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses of Scripture, Psalm 139.5 “You both precede me and follow me; you place your hand of blessing upon my head.”
It meant a lot to me to be surrounded by support and love…and hope. And it meant even more to me that during the invitation, my friends took me by the hand, walked me to the altar and prayed over me. They didn’t even know what was wrong. But they knew the solution.
My problems didn’t magically resolve. Part of walking this journey with Jesus means choosing to trust him when my heart feels plain wrung out. I don’t always like it. I don’t always feel like it. But thankfully, I’m surrounded by friends who will bear up under my burden with me and make the load on my shoulders a little lighter.
If your heart is hurting today, I’ll tell you what I won’t do. I won’t give you a spiritual to-do list of how to feel better. Not today. Today, if you are bent over under the weight of your circumstances, you find (healthy) comfort where you can. If that means getting a pedicure, do it. If it means a stop-off at Starbucks, make it a venti. You have permission to hurt. Even-especially- if no one understands why.
And then, when you are sucking down your caramel Frappuccino and sporting Cajun Shrimp on your baby-bum-smooth feet, I would remind you of a prayer that was prayed for you by the Apostle Paul a couple thousand years ago:
“I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named. I pray that according to the wealth of his [God’s] glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” [Ephesians 3.14-19]

And then I would probably invite you to my house for a sleepover.  J


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