Written by Kathy Petersen, Senior Director of Adult Ministry
This week I got a text from a friend asking if I had time to talk with her. I have been checking in with her over the past 2 months and she said she was doing OK. And she was doing OK until she wasn’t. And in the course of our conversation the floodgates opened. She has been carrying the heavy burden of a very challenging relationship with her mother which has only grown more challenging over the past 2 months. And she didn’t want to reach out to her friends, because in her mind she was always a “mess” when she reached out to us.
My heart was breaking as I listened to my dear friend share a glimpse into her pained soul. All I wanted to do was jump in my car and race to her house so I could wrap her in a love filled hug. But I couldn’t do that. So I just listened as she shared where she was and her struggle with God and the disappointment in her mother’s decision making and how hurtful it was to her. And how she was letting other things crowd out her time with Jesus because she didn’t know what to do. I then gently reminded her that God is in this with her – that he never leaves nor forsakes us (Deut 31:6) and that her community of sister-friends love her no matter what. We didn’t see her as a mess and we wanted to pray for her and love her through this challenging time BUT she had to let herself be known to us.
I am certain there are many of us that can absolutely relate to this story. We spend so much time creating, perfecting and protecting our reputation or what others think of us or who we should be that we don’t let them get to know the real deal of who we are. I can’t help but wonder how much this grieves the heart of God. He knows our deep desire to be known and loved and watches us spin our wheels trying to cover the mess of who we are at any point in time. God gave us each other as sisters in Christ so we can be known – in our mess and in our moments of having it together. God’s desire is for us to be known — to be in community with others who can love us, pray for us and care for us.
We need sister-friends now more than ever — so that when we go from “everything is OK to everything is not OK” we can reach out and be honest in our need for support and prayer and care. And we need to do this trusting that God is at work in our lives and has placed others around us in community to walk with us, to share our burdens and our joys. We ALL have messy moments. But those are not the ones I remember about my friends (hoping they don’t keep track of mine either!) and it is always a privilege for me to pray for a friend.
Sisters in Christ, we might be in a time of social distancing but we can’t let it be a time of soul distancing. Let yourself be known – please reach out to someone when you find yourself in the mess. Be the one to reach out to remind another that you see her and care about her. Ask the follow up question “ Are you really doing OK?” And this, friends, is what God wants for his beloved community of believers — for each of us to know and be known.
“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2)