Jesus Knows, Understands, and Cares About Each of Our Stories

“What was that?”

Some of the residents here at the 55+ condo association where we live had a hard time hearing me before masks. But now it’s even worse. I know they didn’t hear me when they change the subject or answer way off base.

Then last week I went for my first Covid vaccine. Same problem of not being heard. At the registration, I had to lean in so she could hear me answer her questions.

After the shot, I had to sit among some spaced chairs for at least 15 minutes in case of reactions. As I sat there, I looked around at the eyes above the masks. Some eyes appeared sad or defeated. Have they ever shared their story or their feelings? Were they heard? Really heard? Heard in a way that they felt believed, understood, and supported? Or did they try to tell someone only to feel rejected because of insensitive remarks, changed subjects, or turned backs? Were their burdens belittled and made heavier with Christian platitudes or judgmental opinions?

Whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional pain, everyone has a need to be heard. Really heard, not just on the surface, but at a deeper level of caring about what they’re going through. A lament for their pain. A coming alongside them with empathy, compassion, and respect.

Do you sometimes not feel heard, supported, and valued?
Do you feel alone in your pain?
Do you wonder if God hears your cries?

Jesus always hears us in the deepest way. He already knows the story behind our eyes and is always ready to give us His full, undivided attention. He reaches out with compassion for the hurting. If we’re overwhelmed by pain and sinking in the storms of life, He reaches down and pulls us up and revives us with His life-giving breath. Again and again. His hand is always extended towards us and He never tires of rescuing us.

Jesus invites us to keep pouring out our hearts to Him, even though answers seem slow in coming. He listens with love, not judgment. Jesus is a Faithful Friend who ALWAYS hears us with unbounded love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. He loves us so much that He laid down His life for us. He cares so deeply about our stories that He hurts when we hurt. When others abandon us, He never, ever will. When others don’t believe us or heap guilt upon us, He knows the truth of our stories and will never condemn us.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—
how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
 It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. 
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
Romans 8:32-34

"Because of Your great compassion
 You did not abandon them in the wilderness.
 By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, 
nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take."
Nehemiah 9:19

"And the God of all grace, 
who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, 
after you have suffered a little while,
 will Himself restore you and make you
 strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10

“He counts the stars one and all
He knows how much sand is on the shores
He sees every sparrow that falls
He made the mountains and the seas
He’s in control of everything
Of all creatures great and small

And He knows my name
Every step that I take
Every move that I make
Every tear that I cry
He knows my name…”

When We Want to Live Our Lives Less Like a List and More Like a Lyric

“I will praise You
because I have been remarkably
and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.”
Psalm 139:14 HCSB

Freed to Fly

“I just want to live my life
less like a list and more like a lyric.”
Emily Freeman

“What might it mean to live life like a lyric rather than a list?

Maybe it means releasing yourself to live as the person you most deeply are rather than who you think you should be.

It could mean embracing your smallness by bringing your ordinary work to Jesus, knowing He does miracles with little offerings.

It could also mean releasing the outcome of your interactions with people and the results of your work.

Would your shoulders relax? Would your jaw loosen up? Would your fists open up in your lap?”

Excerpt from Seven Little Ways to Live Art by Emily Freeman.

“As you learn to recognize, nurture, and protect your inner artist, you will be able to move beyond pain and creative constriction. You will learn ways to recognize and resolve fear, remove emotional scar tissue, and strengthen your confidence.” Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way

The Garden
by Kari Jobe

“I had all
But given up
Desperate for it
A sign from love
Something good
Something kind
Bringing peace to every corner of my mind

Then I saw the garden
Hope had come to me
To sweep away the ashes
And wake me from my sleep

I realized
You never left
And for this moment
You planned ahead
That I would see
Your faithfulness in all of the green

I can see the ivy
Growing through the wall
‘Cause You will stop at nothing
To heal my broken soul

I can see the ivy
Reaching through the wall
‘Cause You will stop at nothing
To heal my broken soul…”

Butterfly Blessings from God

Nature is one of the channels God uses to breathe life into fainting spirits and to give assurance that He is still in control over all, no matter what happens in our lives and in this world.

At the end of May, my youngest brother was admitted to ICU with severe pancreatitis. I cried out to God to heal him and spare his life. I was afraid, and I could not trust God’s plan for him. Other anxieties for those struggling emotionally, stories not mine to tell, were also storming in my heart, threatening to drown me.

One day I took a walk and spotted a Monarch and a Painted Lady on a lilac bush. As I gazed in awe, the storm in my heart stilled as God whispered, “I’m with him, My child. I’ve got him. I’m with those who are emotionally in pain. I am with you.” The heavy load that threatened to crush me drained from me, and I could release all of them to His care and His plan.

Some time later, I was with some of my siblings and families in a park. It had been my turn this year to plan a reunion, and I needlessly worried about it for months. I love them all dearly, but crowds aren’t my thing. I’m more a one-on-one gal. I was also worried about over-doing it, because sometimes when I get out of my slower routine, health repercussions follow. Probably deeper though was the anxiety I have for anyone hurting and the helplessness I feel that I can’t “fix” things. (I’m still a work in progress in surrendering everyone’s needs to God.) As I sat at a table underneath a shelter, my heart felt grieved, my spirit disconnected, and my body tired and achy. Then there it was! A butterfly fluttering near me! And God whispered, “I’m here. I’m still with you” as He breathed His sufficient grace into my weariness. Later on, the butterfly flew by again with its reassuring love note. Thank You, God!

God continued to send me love notes through butterflies at timely moments throughout the summer. I could be looking out the window at home, driving along in our van, or taking a walk.

What was your summer like? I know many of you are suffering from losses in one way or another, and I’m so sorry. It can be hard to open our hearts to God’s messages of comfort when we are weighed down with grief, can’t it? I pray God strengthens each of you.

Did God sometimes strengthen or comfort you through His creation? How? Please feel free to share with us!

“The Lord Himself goes before you
and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

Some butterflies have battered wings,
but they still fly and spread God’s encouragement.

♥️ A lesson for us that God can use us, no matter how broken we are. ♥️

He Is With Us
by Love and The Outcome

“Remember when your hope is lost and faith is shaken
Remember when you wonder if you’re gonna make it
There’s a hand stretched out through your deepest doubt
We can’t pretend to see the ending or what’s coming up ahead
To know the story of tomorrow
But we can stay close to the One who knows

We can trust our God
He knows what He’s doing
though it might hurt now

We won’t be ruined
It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding on to you and me
And He’s never gonna leave, no
He is with us, He is with us (always, always)
He is with us, He is with us (always)”

(P.S. My brother’s life was spared!)