Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To the one who feels like she's the only one:





Dear sister in the pew beside me;
Dear sister with the weight on your heart;

You said you are “fine,” and your eyes try to smile but I can see in your quick looking-away that you are not fine. Nobody here would understand, you think. Nobody here has real problems. They all love God and love each other and here I am with this oozing wound that they can’t see, and I can’t let them see because they wouldn’t understand.
Dear sister, you are not alone sitting there with your bleeding heart.
You are not the only one
Whose hands are bloody, whose heart is stained and broken;
Whose heart has erupted violent hatred against God and others;
Whose breath has been taken away by grief or betrayal;
Who screams questions at the God who died for you.
You are not the only one who cries on the inside while trying to keep the smile on the outside.
You don't have to hide, sister. You don’t have to pretend you are holier than you are to be in this place. Every week you walk in the door and stand with us and we all confess that we are sinful and unclean. You might limp through the door, and you might feel those words so heavily that you can’t even say them with your lips.
You are not the only one, dear sister.
We are all here undeserving, we are all here only because of His grace.
Confess your sins to God and to one another.
Confess your hurts to God and to each other.
Don’t let the enemy make you think you have to hide, convince you that you don’t belong here because you have real problems. Don’t let the tangled mess of your heart or your family keep you away.
This is not a place for tidiness.
This is no sterile environment.
He has come to save sinners.
He has come into the filth, right here where you are and I am.
He comes even now, and He sees and He knows, and it is ok for the people around you to see and to know, too.
This is a home for needy, messy people;
Where His gentle, nail-scarred hands are ready to welcome you in, to keep you close, to suffer with you in the suffering.

You don’t have to be fine all the time, not here. 
Not with me. 
Not with Him.

You go first, you plead with your eyes, unsure, timid.

OK then, here I go.
I’m not fine.
I am a sinner. I need grace and forgiveness and the family of God.
I need.
I have been wounded by sinners.
I need life and health and friendship and mercy and hope for the future.
I need forgiveness and I need people to stand beside me and suffer with me.


I need Jesus.

Now tell me, friend, how are you?
Do you need?
You’re in the right place, here in His house, where He gives you His Word and His very self.
Let’s go to Him together. Let’s lean heavy on His Word and each other.


Let us go, weak and loved, to God, Who calls us His own.





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Because my husband is a pastor,** people open up to me, too, and I know some of the things that break the hearts of the people in my church family. So often, I see the pain of a difficult situation keep a friend in hiding, as if she were the only one. I wish I could tell her, "I see so many more like you, hurting and struggling and not fine, but I just can't tell you their names because I carry their secrets too, just like I carry yours."

I can't convince her with names and stories, but I can encourage her with words: you are not the only one.
Stay close to His Word and His people. Jesus helps and heals and gives hope, and your situation is not too big for him.

** Because he is a pastor, he also keeps your secrets like a vault.  I only know what I know if you tell me yourself.

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Do you ever feel like the only one at church with problems?
Do you get tired of being "fine" all the time?
Why do we pretend?

Do you know someone else who needs to hear that they are loved even though they are not "fine?"




47 comments:

  1. Emily, Thanks for this humbling reminder of how God treasures us and holds us tenderly in His arms. All of us need His grace - how good to hear of it today.
    Blessings,
    Ann

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    1. Ann, thank you so much for your kind words.
      So glad He is a trustworthy Hiding Place :)
      Emily

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  2. Very great post! Why do we pretend to be fine? Something I have been pondering as well. Check on my post on this topic: http://upwardnotinward.blogspot.com/2012/06/confession.html

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    1. Thank you for leaving this link, Laura! Glad we are connected!

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  3. we are neighbors at WLW...great post...isn’t this the tool of the enemy...pushing each one into a corner and shaming us to isolate us...we all need a safe place to come out of the shadows...it sounds like you are a good place for the woman around you. Blessings~

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    1. Thanks for coming by ells. I hate how shame does that to others (to me!) I try to encourage others, to be a safe place for others... or rather, to reflect the safety He gives us in Jesus to others. He is our safe place :)

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  4. Could I use this as a possible upcoming devotion at the bible study I attend? Giving proper credit

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    1. Christy, of course! I would be honored if you did, and I hope it blesses someone else :)

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    2. Thank you, so much, Emily!! I have no doubt it will. It blessed me today.

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  5. "Jesus helps and heals and gives hope, and your situation is not too big for him." Amen to that!!!

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    1. So good to hear in those times when my situation is much too big for me! :) Blessings, sister!

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  6. I appreciate this post so very much, bless you.

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    1. Thank you Denise! So glad you came by!
      May God bless and keep you safe in Him, sister!
      Emily

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  7. beautiful...as a ministry co-coordinator at church (new) I'm learning how to trust God in how to listen to those hurting...it's hard...
    a good reminder of being open....
    thank you!

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  8. Michy,
    It's only hard when its so bad you can't do anything to fix it.
    Oh wait, that's most of the time.
    :)
    Then there's no other choice left but to point them to Jesus!

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  9. This is a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. you are welcome Tammy, thanks for coming by!

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  10. This is so beautiful and heartfelt! I could FEEL the love from this post! You are SUCH a blessing! Thank you for linking up today!

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    1. Thank you for coming by Kelly, and for your kind words!

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  11. Emily, you open to us an area of ministry few venture into. Well done, Emily. Thanks for opening your heart for all the wounded, hurting people, people on the fringe.

    Rich

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    1. Rich, what always surprised me is that many people feel "on the fringe" but they look like they are not. So easy for the enemy to make us feel isolated in a crowd.

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  12. I love the CS Lewis quote: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Your post is such a beautiful re-telling of James 5:16. (I came to your post from the blog hop.)

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    1. I love that quote too! i have seen it on pinterest with a picture of 2 nuns playing in the ocean- makes me think of my (biological) sister!!!

      Thanks for coming by, I hope you will be back!

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  13. So gald you linked up! Ithink the reason we hide our true selves so frequently is the fear we have of being rejected. We fear man more than God. I know I am so guilty of this.

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    1. What strikes me as I read your comment- we do fear man more than God, and in a way... that makes sense. Man might very well reject us in our trials, right when we need his help. He might kick us while we are down.

      But in Christ, even when we can't sort out the guilt from the hurt, even though we don't deserve it, we are welcomed in, fully- we are given all good things, invited to the feast, and given Jesus Himself.

      May He make those of us in the pews have hearts like His.

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  14. Thanks so much for this. As I near the birth of our second son (less than 5 weeks to go now) I find myself scared and anxious and lonely and wondering why I feel that way. In some ways I have the best and coolest job ever - Mom to one and soon two boys. But all the time I marvel at the paradoxes of motherhood: what other job could be so joy-filled yet so guilt-ridden, so dull yet so intense, so full of life yet so lonely. I run into mothers all the time who "love" being a stay at home mom. And I wonder, where did I go wrong, that I don't love every second of it? Don't get me wrong - it IS worth it. I just wonder why I struggle with it so much. And that comes with its own gulf of guilt - because my boy(s) are so fun and loving and sweet and innocent. Anyway, this spoke to me today very much. Thank you for reaching out to those of us who need some hugs right now.

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    1. Oh Kate,
      Prayers for you as you near childbirth again. I have to admit, I thought it got MORE scary each time, not less (and I had practically no complications!)

      "What other job could be so joy-filled yet so guilt-ridden, so dull yet so intense, so full of life yet so lonely"

      I know exactly what you are talking about. I really don't think any of us actually love every second of it. If I was your friend and told you I love being a SAHM, I would probably mean it in that moment (because we are out of the house and having fun with other people..) and then later, when we go home and they are fighting AGAIN and I am overwhelmed and trying just to make it till bedtime without injuring their little hearts with my own impatience.. and then I DON"T make it, again, and there's the guilt and the exhaustion... I forget that I ever loved it.

      You're not doing it wrong if you struggle, friend.
      Read this post too : http://www.weakandloved.com/2011/05/youre-doing-it-all-wrong.html

      Motherhood is a huge paradox, as are the emotions of a mother. Prayers for you during this third trimester- may His Solid love uphold you and comfort you!
      Emily

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  15. This is beautiful! :) Thank you so much for sharing. Hopping from Life in Bloom.

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    1. Welcome Mindy! I'll go check out your place in a minute!
      I hope to 'see' you again! :)
      Emily

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    1. thank you Dana, and welcome!
      So glad He loves us even weak, even hiding :)
      Hope to see you again! :)

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  17. Visiting your blog from SAST. You have such a wonderful blog - beautiful insights into our Savior's love for us. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Thank you so much Jean, and welcome!

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  18. I'm fine, the mask we all wear to protect us and keep us safe from those we are afraid won't understand. You said it so well, the words we long to hear from those we do life with. Bless and thank you!

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    1. "from those we do life with."
      I like that Alecia :)
      and it's so hard, because we know that some won't understand, some are weak but in other ways so that they can't understand our weakness...
      but God does, and he welcomes the weak.

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  19. so true! reminds me of the stained glass masquerade song, by casting crowns....thank you for stoppin by simply helping him :)

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    1. You are welcome Misty! So nice to meet you! Keep on blogging! :)

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  20. Beautifully written...thanks for linking up to the NOBH

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    1. Thank you! I like getting to know you guys at NOBH! what a fun idea for a link up!

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  21. Emily, slipped over from Better Writer on FB. I love how you crafted this and how it reaches out to that one person who really isn't "fine" - you make it so easy for the rest of us to reveal how we aren't fine either sometimes,how no matter how things appear, there's always "stuff" in our lives, we are all wounded and broken in some way, sometimes more than at other times, but we can always reach out and bear one anothers' burdens. N

    http://wordsfromthehomefront.blogspot.com

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    1. Nancy,
      I feel like people (me included) put so much energy to keeping up the illusion that we are fine, even when we are not. And sometimes it is that effort at pretending that keep me from receiving the very help I need- the love of others!

      Emily

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  22. What a beautiful post. These are the words I wish someone would've said to me a long time ago and words I hope to say to someone with that same wish. Thanks so much for sharing your heart!

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    1. Thank you so much Wendy. Please pass on the words, the comfort, those here, but mostly those we receive from Christ- the one who sees us fully and loves us fully!

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  23. Hi! I’m blog hopping today and I’m following your blog. Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance. Hope your having an awesome weekend.

    April
    A Mommy’s Blog Design
    The Best Mom Blogs

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    1. April thank you for coming by! I'll head over to check your place out in a minute!
      I hope you come back this week to join the discussion on weakness and His Strength!
      Blessings on your day!
      Emily

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  24. Stopping by from the Blog Walk! Thank you so much for the message, especially the first picture. I've been needing to put my faith in Him more and any reminder is reassuring...Thank you!
    God Bless!

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    1. Thank you Kelly- nice to meet you! I'll go check out your place now!

      Blessings on your week Kelly- and may you find comfort in His grace! He is our hiding place!

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