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…”

How Can We Ever Be a Conch Shell to God’s Glory?

Yippee! We’re going to the ocean! I don’t know how often we traveled there, but I do remember my excitement. My big brother took our inner tubes to the gas station to pump air into them, and I tagged along.

I don’t remember everything about it as I probably was younger than 5 since we moved from California to Iowa when I was 6. But I do remember the emotions I felt. I do remember making a sand castle when a wave came in and washed over me. It didn’t even scare me.

Even though I didn’t really know God then, there was something about the ocean that filled my heart with peace and awe. The memories of the sights and sounds still draw my soul.

I love all shells, but conch shells especially remind me of the ocean. Have you ever held one to your ear?

According to scientists, what we hear is just an amplification of the noises surrounding us. Air bounces around inside the shell and produces sound, the pitch depending on how big the conch shell is.

It will always have a deeper, spiritual meaning to me. A few years ago, as I cradled one to my ear, I closed my eyes and listened. Sweet melodies of God’s grace sang peace as they conveyed God’s power to create and preserve. The waves roared as they came in and slapped the shore, then sang a lullaby as they lapped the sand, leaving ripples of God’s voice.

“Are you listening, My child?” God asked.

“OK, Lord, I hear You, but I’m afraid of what You will ask me to do…” was my timid reply.

“You are a conch shell to My glory,” He gently reminded me. “Listen to My voice, follow Me, and make a sound for Me.”

Conch shells were among the first musical instruments and were often used to communicate in ancient cultures. They are still used today.

It is called the Pū in Hawaii and is used to say “goodbye” and “thanks” at sunset. When someone asked Rev. Alalani how she always blows the conch shell right and pure, she answered:

“Because I let God blow through me. I blow for the cause and to open the Heavens to come and Bless. I give thanks. I do not blow the Pū alone.”

Often I feel I can only produce off-tune static that doesn’t honor God. I am afraid, even when I write here, that I toot my own horn more than His. Or that His love for me isn’t pouring out to others. But I know Satan loves to bring all my shame and insecurities to the forefront and dissuade me from writing anything at all.

It is hard sometimes to tune in to God’s voice alone, isn’t it? And when we do, it’s sometimes easy to wonder if it’s actually filtering out of our own wants or if it’s really His voice. But at the name of Jesus, those negative, self-critical voices must stop. He has the power to calm every storm.

“You are from God, little children,
and you have conquered them,
because the One who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4 HCSB

Do you feel full of doubt, shame, and insecurities? You are not alone. Jesus knows and cares about our struggles, and He is available around the clock to give us what we need. Funneled through His cleansing blood, our faltering voices can and will produce wholesome heart melodies to His glory.

May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to You,
    O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 NLT

by MercyMe

“Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name

You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world…”

You’re Worth Pursuing

Jesus holding little girl photo: Jesus Jesus_099.jpg

One of you kindred spirits emailed me a song to listen to. “Worth Pursuing” by Laura Rhinehart. A song to the little girl… Thank you so much, Michelle!

I listened again and again as a calming hand reached down deep inside of me and lifted that crying little girl I still sometimes disconnect with.

The lyrics to this song are Jesus whispering, aching, loving me. It took me back to a picture in time. I would climb up a ladder and into an empty grain bin at the top of a rectangular corn crib/barn. I sat there alone, afraid, and worthless. Sitting curled up, hugging my wounds to my chest. Wounds I never told anyone about. Would anyone even miss me if I stayed there? Does anyone care? Does anyone know how much I hurt?

“I saw you as a little girl
When you were in this room, all alone
And you wanted to be found
But no one came and found you”

You SAW me there, Lord? If You saw me there, why didn’t You come into my heart and comfort me? Why didn’t you protect me from further abuse and shame? Why did I still feel so alone, uncared about, and afraid?

“This is your time now
This is your day
Because that little girl inside of you
Is what makes My heart ache”

So God, Your heart was really aching for me then? Were Your tears flowing down with mine? Is today the time for me to realize You were there all along carrying Me even when I didn’t feel it? Was it You that helped me still put one foot in front of another? That breathed the breath of life into Me each and every day? That enabled me to survive?

“You are My love
You’re worth pursuing
You are My love
You’re worth pursuing”

I’m Your love, God? I’m worth pursuing? I’m worth You digging deeper into my heart, reaching in to embrace that lost little girl, connecting me to her as one and the same? Are You showing Me Your love is then, now, and forever?

“I’m finding you right now
Right now, I’m finding you
That girl
And I’m taking you by the hand
And I’m leading you out into a new place
Forever that place that kept you in
Forever that place that held you in
Forever that place, forever that place
Will be shut off”

Oh Jesus, I’m coming. Here is this lost little girl feeling Your strong, loving hand holding mine. Please heal all the broken places. I will skip beside You as I anticipate new places of freedom from that place of loneliness, fear, and worthlessness.

“You are My love,
You’re worth pursuing
You are My love
You’re worth pursuing
You’re not gonna have fear anymore
You’re not gonna fear being alone anymore
You’re not gonna fear, you’re not gonna fear
Because it’s being swallowed up
In My love for you
In My passion for you”

Oh Jesus, please do swallow me up in Your love. Your perfect love will cast out all My fear. You have promised that in Your Word. Pursue that little girl inside of me that still sometimes keeps me trapped in fear.

“I’m so taken by you
And I’m gonna restore all your years
I’m gonna restore every tear”

Oh Jesus, so much in my little girl got stolen. Can all that really be restored? Isn’t it gone forever? But You, Lord, have paid the price for my sins and the sins done against me. Your sacrifice is perfect. Your blood can cleanse away all the filthy stains and make me white and pure in You.

“You will know My joy
You will know My smile
You will know My dance
‘Cause I am going to show you”

Oh Jesus, how I long to learn Your dance. I want to not merely survive. I want to dance in an abundance of the joy of Your love and faithfulness. Break away the chains that still cause that little child in me to weep and give me freedom to fly in the fullness of Your love. Let her no longer curl up in shame but rejoice in Your truth.

“I’m so proud of you
And it’s time for you to know it
You’re so beautiful to Me
You’re so beautiful to Me”

Oh Jesus, the little girl in me still feels so ugly and worthless sometimes. Please help me to see myself in Your eyes as precious and beautiful. As wonderfully made by You. As someone who is loved and always has been by You. Someone who is worth pursuing.

Do you disconnect with that little girl or little boy inside you because it hurts too much to think about? Did you feel alone, afraid, and worthless as a little child? I hope you can open your heart to this song and let Jesus reach in and embrace your crying child, that little one who was so broken by the wrong choices of some people in your life. Let Jesus, who knew you from the beginning of time, take that little child’s hand and lead you out to freedom in Him and His amazing love. You are loved! You’re worth pursuing!

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139:14-16

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her:
You are the God who sees me, for she said,
I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Genesis 16:13

“So I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.”
Joel 2:25

A Scripture Lullaby – “Wonderfully Made”

May the chains break
and all your broken years
be restored in Jesus!



Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews