As I began writing this, my mind couldn’t even think of a title for the jumble of thoughts and emotions flowing through me. Where do I even begin to put them into words that will help me or you? It’s been a little more than six months since I tried to write something. Even my handwritten journal has become dusty and what words I manage to get onto the paper are mundane at best. To say I’m struggling would be an understatement, but to describe the past year and a half in any detail would become a very boring novel rather quickly. In no particular order here’s a quick list of emotions I’ve felt in this short time – fear, love, pain, sorrow, fatigue, exhaustion, loss, shock, depression, impatience, emptiness, death, illness, overwhelm, grief, uncertainty and so much more than I can find words to describe.
I was sitting in the quiet one morning recently thinking of all the events of the past year and it struck me that I was dwelling on the difficulty. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I’m the forever overly optimistic person, so this realization surprised me. On the outside, when anyone asked, I voiced the optimism. I wore a smiling face and spoke words of hope….but it wouldn’t have taken much more than a tap of the finger to shatter that mask. I kept asking myself questions like “What is wrong with you?” “Why can’t you get out of this hump?” Why can’t you?
As the sun rose and its light began to filter into the room it dawned on me that for the better part of the year I was looking to my own strength to walk through this deep and dark valley.
The things we experience in our human lives can be so hard for us. We lose hope. We fear the unknown. We get depressed and sad. All this is normal, God knows we will have these moments of despair and He only wants us to turn to Him for help.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us that God is the God of all comfort, and then he follows shortly after by describing how they felt while in the province of Asia. “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.” (2 Cor 1:8b-11a)
Read through that verse again. The Apostle Paul and his companions felt they were unable to endure. They were struggling. He said they despaired of life itself. That’s some deep emotional turmoil! I love that Paul shared this with us so we can know and understand that we will have these feelings sometimes.
Then he tells us that whatever they went through happened so they would not rely on themselves, but on God. Through prayer, God delivered them. Now I’m sure that they prayed for God to help them, but what I want you to catch here is that last part of the sentence. “…as you help us by your prayers.” Paul was telling the church in Corinth that their prayers carried him through.
We are not meant to go through our struggles alone. We are meant to help each other through them. We can’t do it alone. Yes, God will hear our cries for help, but if we’ve isolated ourselves in our dark valley, we may miss the solution He provides. We need each other. God uses those around us to show us solutions, to guide us through things. Our Sister-Friends, or Brother-Friends, are part of God’s plan. We must tell others when we are not doing well so that they too can lift prayers for us. So they can be used by God to take our hand and walk us through the darkness into the light.
Not too many days ago as I was leaving Church, my pastor took my hand and asked, “how are you doing?” I replied, “I’m exhausted.” Just those two words. He was aware of the things I had been carrying this past year and just those two words let him know what kind of prayer I needed. How did he answer me? He said simply, “I’m continuing to pray for you.” Continuing, meaning he had been and wasn’t going to stop. I left church that day truly feeling the Holy Spirit surrounding me.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and full of despair? Have you prayed in your quiet place for help? Have you shared what you’re going through with someone who will pray for you? If you haven’t, I encourage you to stop wherever you are and call out to God for help. Then grab that phone and call a friend and ask them to listen while you share what’s going on, and ask them to pray with you and for you. God will send the helper, the Holy Spirit, to be with you. (John 16)
“May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.” Psalm 20
2 thoughts on ““I’m Continuing to Pray for you””
Inspiring post Lisa. We haven’t met yet, i am a close friend of Cheri. I’m praying regularly for you and Tim. So sorry for this valley you’re going through.
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Thank you, Vicki! To pray for someone is to give them a most beautiful gift!!