On Sunday my pastor told us to ask a couple questions that he tells us to ask a lot:
What needs done?
How can I help?
It sounds pretty simple, right? When I was going through illness, I made a list of all the things that people need help with when we’re hurting. And over the years I’ve been listing the ways we can help each other when we’re hurting. It’s based a lot on the kinds of things I went through, the kinds of help I needed, and the kinds of help I wish I had but had a hard time finding.
Two of the biggest problems I’ve experienced are the same ones millions of others are experiencing today:
People are sick
People are broke
People are sick of being sick and broke
But then as I experienced sickness and then health and then sickness and then health again God showed me an even bigger problem:
A lot of us are trying to carry these burdens on our own. Whether it’s because we feel like we have to or because there’s no one there to help us.
And that gets under my skin. Like a whole lot.
Because we don’t have to carry these burdens on our own. For the first two and a half decades of my life I thought I did, even as a Christian. I didn’t understand that God was there all along asking to lift the load, and I spent a whole lot of time bent down under the weight of it all.
Sometimes it felt like drowning.
It’s only in the past two years that I’ve learned we don’t have to carry our burdens when Jesus really wants to carry them for us.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28
And we don’t have to move the mountains in front of us by ourselves when it’s so much easier for us to do it with Him.
(Jesus speaking) I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. – Matthew 17:20 (NLT)
I know, I know, it sounds overly simplistic. But after 30 not-so-long years on this earth, I’ve pretty much learned only one thing. To God our burdens are not burdens and our mountains are not mountains. To the God who created the world they’re nothing at all.
Not only that, but He promises to use them for good.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28 (NLT)
So here’s my question. I haven’t always hit the mark in the past or been the best at follow through, but with all this being still and being intentional I can see a change a goin’ on, and I’m ready to ask it….
Can we come together, those of us who have been sick and broke and sick of being sick and broke and trust that our God has good plans for us?
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
And can we urge each other on with encouragement and love and pray for each other and share what God has done in our lives in the past and is doing in our lives right now to carry our burdens and show His great love?
I could write about myself on this blog, but I just don’t think that’s as much fun. My fave part of all of this is when I get an email from one of you and we get to talk a little but about life, pray for each other, encourage each other, and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Here are two ways I thought we could start.
1. (in)courage community groups. I’m a member of the chronic illness group, and I love it. As in all capital letters, L-O-V-E. If you’re going through a chronic illness of any kind, I think this is a great place to meet other women to encourage you, pray for you, and love you through it. The new sessions start on February 12, but a little birdie tells me you can join this group sooner, and I’m kind of biased and hope you do if it’s relevant to you. They also have groups for marriage, motherhood, single gals, social justice, depression, and more and new groups opening up in February for caregivers, hurting families, single moms, and more.
If you have any questions about signing up, email me and I can put you in touch with the right person. Head (in)courager Stacey Thacker just wrote a piece called 10 Things I Learned from (in)courage Community Groups that’s pretty great. [She blogs at 29 Lincoln Avenue. I just “met” her online, and I have to tell you – she’s for real when it comes to connecting you with women who are in the same boat.]
2. Pinterest. Ok, it sounds silly but stay with me. I’ve been writing off and on about how I got healthier, and even though most of you probably know I’m not always in perfect health, I feel pretty blessed to be where I am. I don’t think getting healthier is always a one size fits all kind of deal, but I’m happy to share what worked for me and to talk about it with whoever wants to. And if you’ve emailed me before, you know I’m a talker. So I’m going to be putting up a series of How I Got Healthier Pinterest boards on topics like vitamins and supplements, natural antibiotics, healthy digestion, detoxing, my favorite gluten-free, sugar-free foods, natural beauty, and more. They’ll all be right there, and I’ll link to them from here. And I will still love answering emails about what you’re going through, what worked for me, and what is working for you.
I’m not saying all of our troubles are going to go away overnight. But I am saying let’s be there for each other through it and let’s trust that God is up to something good even when we can’t see it. What do you say? And here are two other questions I should ask:
What needs done?
How can I help?
Email me or leave a comment.
So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. – Matthew 5:11 (MSG)
I’m joining the Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday community.