One day last week, we held hands and they prayed for me. My youngest and my oldest and me. A triangle of three. Her hands were delicate, his were strong. They have needed me for years. Last week it was my turn.
I simply needed them to pray for me.
Because parts of last week were hard. Sleep, which is usually sound, was interrupted. Anxiety nipped at me night and day, and it wasn’t only me. One of my kids had unusual anxiety. One had a terrible nightmare. I didn’t like any of it, and all of it made my anxiety rise. I could attribute it to the fact that this Sunday is the third anniversary of John’s death, but I am not sure if it is related.
All I know is what I have learned over the years. We have an enemy of our souls, and sometimes he presses in. He doesn’t play fair. He accuses God. He belittles us. He pushes us toward hopelessness and despair. He is a bully and a liar.
And, he really, really likes to get us isolated and alone. The lamb separated from the flock. If we are ashamed to tell others that we are feeling anxious and overwhelmed and at the edge of ourselves, then our emotions and mind can spiral.
I have learned this the hard way during my adult years, even in the years before John died. There were times when I kept my struggles to myself out of pride and shame and confusion. Patiently, the Lord taught me that I wasn’t meant to do life alone. My struggles were to be shared not only with Him, but also with a few trusted Christians who would come alongside me and pray and support me.
In God’s family we have many people to care for us and us for them. We aren’t meant to do life alone.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20
It feels risky at first to be transparent. Satan discourages it by intimidating us with the many reasons why we shouldn’t be honest with a trusted friend who will pray. Don’t listen to him.
My best advice in three words: Ask for prayer.
That is what I did as we sat in the car. I needed prayer, and I knew I needed to be honest about it. When I asked if they would pray for me and gave a short explanation of why, they simply nodded, held out their hands and we bowed our heads. As my daughter prayed she said the thing I needed to hear, “…I know that whether we are weak or strong, You, Lord, are everything we need..” It was the truth key that unlocked my cell.
I felt peace rush in like a river released.
Many days in the past three years I have been stronger than I ever knew I could be. Stronger that I ever knew I would have to be. The Lord has consistently given me strength.
But last week, I felt weak. And I felt scary and vulnerable. My mind went to places that it simply doesn’t have to go now or ever. A battle was going on.
God used my daughter’s prayer to remind me that it is okay to admit I am weak. It is okay because my Heavenly Father is strong no matter how I am feeling. He knows we are weak and He loves us. When I am feeling weak, I can just rest in the truth that He is always strong and welcomes my burdens.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
So, if you are struggling with your inner world, my prayer for you is that you will find one or two Christians who will listen to you and pray for you. Don’t wrestle alone and don’t keep secrets. With honesty about our struggles, the walls come down between us and the Lord is in our midst. No pretension. We all need a Savior, and He is truly mighty to save in our today and in our forever.
His strength>my weakness,
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10