A few years ago, a friend of mine felt God ask her to take a bold step and share the brokenness of her story with her church family. She had been attending for many years and no one knew the pain and heartache she had been through but even more than that no one knew the redeeming love and restoration God had brought into her life! As the time approached for her to share, she began to suffer. All the old feelings, pain and heartache rose to the surface, and she found herself weeping for hours on end.
She had given me an incredible treasure when she had shared her story with me. I felt honored that she had entrusted me with such a beautiful gift.
As the day drew closer for her to share, the pain became more profuse. My heart ached for her as I saw the pain and grief she was living through and I wished I could carry this burden for her.
The next day I found myself praying for her with a heavy heart. I told the Lord that if I could carry this burden for her I would. If I could only cry in her place, I would. I’d never prayed a prayer like that before and honestly – didn’t really expect God to answer it. Could something like that be even possible? I didn’t know – it was simply the cry of my heart.
A few minutes after I prayed, I began to cry and I couldn’t stop. I cried ALL day long. It was just a silent weeping that I couldn’t explain – other than I knew I was crying for my friend. God had given me her burden. It was beautiful and holy.
Traveling around the world, I have witnessed the suffering of women through sex trafficking, the burden of eking out a living with next to nothing, abusive husbands, loss of a child, infertility and the stigma that comes with it, abusive mother-in-law’s, lack of clean drinking water, a sick child and no medicine, and a handicapped child which ostracizes them from their community.
My heart aches for these broken and hurting women, for the suffering they face every day, and the pain they endure. They are the unseen and forgotten, the margins of society and yet loved by God and He has uniquely knit my heart with theirs. Their hurt becomes my hurt, their pain, my pain, and their joy, my joy.
Recently, I have had the opportunity to experience my own taste of suffering. In comparison to these women my suffering is miniscule. But I see God giving me a window into the soul of my beautiful sisters around the world. I see Him opening my heart in ways I’ve never experienced before to better serve, love and care for them. I see this suffering as holding their suffering and carrying their burdens for just a little while and my heart is deeply touched by these sacred moments.
If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 6.6-7
Spilling His grace,