John 17:20-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me…”
If you have ever struggled with feeling like you don’t belong, I understand. If you’ve ever struggled with the worry that people just wouldn’t understand you, I do understand. If you’ve ever wondered if anyone heard your cry, I’m listening. If you’ve ever struggled with how you fit into the grand scheme of things, boy, oh boy, do I know how that feels.
I’m finally starting to see where God has been leading me my entire life. Funny thing is that, as much as I fought it, it is right into His arms. Funnier thing is that, when I got here, there were a whole bunch of others here, too who had thought the same stuff! We are now connected in Christ. My dots are connected to their dots now. And there is strength in numbers.
The scripture I started this post with is where Jesus is praying that people would come to know Him by hearing the gospel and the testimonies of the ones who were with Him. That people would believe in Him and come to the Father through Him by being witness to the changed lives of His disciples. His prayer was that those who came to believe because of those lives would become one with them, and one with Him, just as He is one with God.
That’s not the only time the Bible says that He prayed for us. Luke 22:32 shows that Jesus prayed for Simon, that his faith would not fail him. John 14:16 says He would pray for the Father to send us an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to be our helper so He could be with us forever. Most importantly, in my opinion, when he pleads with God to “forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” in Luke 23:34. No doubt about it- Jesus is our great defender.
By praying for us, Jesus set an example of how we should lift each other up. In this culture of “whoever looks best in their neighbor’s eyes wins,” that’s a challenge for most of us. I take the challenge seriously now. In fact, I published my testimony the other day and I can’t even describe the whirlwind of response it has received. I prayed it would open doors for people who thought they were alone. I prayed it would give others courage to do whatever it takes to get their voices back. I prayed for grace as people came to know my secrets.
Then I realized that, wait- people would know my secrets! But then they might come to understand that they are not alone. And maybe some of them would come to understand that they were meant to hear my story because God is calling out to them! Yes, that He is calling their sleeping spirits awake because they need to know that He is still on the throne and that He is still in the business of setting the captives free!
I have no more secrets, at least that I am aware of today. All of what has been done to me and all that I have done has been confessed to God and to a small handful of who I consider to be safe sisters in Christ. As I continue to walk in His protective shadow, I am being equipped to handle any other secrets that come to the surface but I am also being prepared to address the wrongs I have committed. I have not been blameless in this life. But I am free. I am happier than I’ve ever been. I am no longer ashamed or afraid.
So I pray that you are free. I pray that if you are not free, you would find a way to start that process. It can be as simple as looking at a friend and saying, “Hey, do you have a minute? I really need to get something off my chest.” Or maybe over a cup of coffee, you can start asking God to put someone in your path that would speak to your heart. Someone who would speak to your pain, be the first to say it so you can say, “Yeah, that happened to me, too.” Oh, the dots that are connected when we find we aren’t alone!
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There is healing in Christ. There is freedom in Christ. There is joy here. No lie.