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 Hide Our Stories, We Hide Who God Created Us to Be

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I was standing at the kitchen counter mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies when I heard it:

“Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed.”

I stopped, stood by the radio, and sobbed. This song – “Need You Now” by Plumb – always touches a deep place in my heart. A wounded place. A place I don’t like to open because it hurts too much. A place I often protect because I’m afraid I won’t be believed, I’ll be hurt again, or my thoughts don’t matter.

I don’t know why I cringe in fear whenever I tell my story. Fear of letting out my innermost heart. Perhaps it’s because I’m afraid I’ll be looked at differently. Sometimes I hear these voices of those who say, “Get over it already. The past is past” or “Why do you have to talk about it? Rehashing the pain just makes you feel worse.” And sometimes I do feel more vulnerable and depressed afterward. But you know what? Those are the times when eventually, as I cry out my need to God, I am taught the deepest lessons of His powerful grace.

Not everyone understands that it’s my past story that has molded my today’s story. Silence except to a select few just doesn’t work for me anymore. It’s time for me to take the leap to speaking out more and trusting God will give strength. If anyone hurts me with words or with silence, God will make me stronger through it. God is making it more impossible for me to keep silent with a smile pasted on my face while inwardly my heart is crying every. single. word. of this song:

“I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now.”

(By Plumb)

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What is my story today?
It’s this desperate need.
I can’t go one. single. step.
Without Jesus and His love,
Because without Him
I gasp for air
And I cannot live on.

When some days
My heart fills with fear
And can’t find peace,
I am so, so weary
Of myself,
Of my failure to rise above
Troubles in my life,
When memory triggers
Cripple my soul,
When illness and fatigue
Shatter plans,
When depression
Sucks me into darkness.

But still…
I will keep trying to hear
His still small voice
Above all the noise.
I will desperately seek
The presence of my Jesus,
My Savior and My Friend
So Faithful and True.
I will cling to His hand
And let Him lead me
No matter what happens,
Because without Him
I cannot breathe.

I will trust Him
And His purposes for me.
He has called me
To proclaim
Hope for the broken,
Healing for the wounded,
Freedom for the captives.
Perhaps He can use me more
As a broken soul.

I will remember
The times of joy,
No matter how fleeting.
I will remember
The precious blessings
He has yet given me.
And when the sad times come,
I will remember
My God still brings
Beauty out of ashes
And He never grows weary
Of His beloved
Needing Him.

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It’s always been easier to write than to speak my true feelings, but often I struggle to start a post. I know insecurity remains a giant roadblock. I have to force myself to write even when I’m downhearted, leaning into Jesus Who alone is my strength. But I believe there are some in cyberspace who feel alone and misunderstood, and my passion is to reach them. If you are reading this, know you are not alone. I’m here because I care so deeply about you. Above all, Jesus loves you so, so much. He understands you even when no one else does. He mingles His tears with yours.

What is your story? God cares, and so do I. Your story matters. As I open up myself more to others, I am learning it is healing to tell our stories because then we are actually being who we really are. When we hide our stories, we hide who we’re created to be. When we tell our stories, we are telling significant parts of HIStory – God’s Greater Story. So tell your story, my friend.

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