It’s been a rough week, as many of you know. I am ten days post surgery, and I sure thought I would be feeling much better by now. That’s not the case. It hasn’t been easy, it has been painful, and continues to be…
But I know that this will soon be a memory. And for that I am so grateful. I have had quite a few surgeries and some pretty serious pain the past few years, but each and every one of them was temporary. For that I am so grateful. Temporary. How many can say their pain is only temporary?
I am the lucky one.
So after a long night of crying in pain and quite frankly, being pissed off at this thing I am enduring- I woke up with a new vision and a new purpose. If I was going to be suffering and staggering around in a drug-induced state of throbbing pain… then there MUST be something I could do that would make it worthwhile. I thought about my What To Do When You Are Sick post, and realized that this could be used as precious and powerful prayer time. I knew that if I just pulled myself outside of myself…
I would find purpose. I would find joy. I would find light. And as always…
So I asked for prayer requests from anyone…. Anyone. I already had started praying for close friends who are struggling, but I wanted more. I wanted to reach more people, gather more requests, more burdens to lift and carry higher into His Loving Arms over and over again. I wanted to find hearts that were weary, and souls that were worn. I wanted to find out the anxious thoughts and unanswered questions of people I know and love, and people I don’t know- and love.
It became my mission.
In doing so, I can honestly say that this week has been incredibly fulfilling and purposeful. I have found richness in living through these ten days, because I reached far beyond my pain.
I have learned of people’s battles and struggles with their faith, and their lives, as requests have poured in through fb, emails, and personal messages. My heart opened wide to embrace people to whom I don’t even know… Names I don’t recollect, and stories told to me that go far beyond the boundary of a best friend. People trusted me. Wow.
They reached out and I was so deeply touched, inspired and magnificently blessed by each precious heart that I was so honored to pray for. I wrote out each person’s name and their requests and their stories behind them. I added those that didn’t respond, but I knew their hardships. It consumed my heart, and my prayers.
It was glorious.
And it still is… as my prayers haven’t stopped. I don’t need the charts anymore- I remember each prayer request in detail. They have been embedded on my heart. So I will continue to pray for each one that asked. And I want to do more- I don’t want to stop.
I want to reach and pray for YOU. Nothing fills my heart more.
So if you need someone to pray for you, no matter your faith- I would be honored and humbled to intercede. Email me, FB message, comment, or show up at my doorstep if you can find me.
I’ve been told I have the ‘gift of encouragement’, to which I graciously accept with complete humility. Gifts come naturally. It isn’t something we have to try hard to do. It was given to us by our Creator. We all have gifts, and if we don’t use them, I believe we are dishonoring the One Who gave them to us. I surely don’t want to do that.
Allow me to use it, dear friends…. In a more personal way.
Through this amazing week of plenty, I have also realized even more that so many people have a compelling story about their faith. Many souls seem to want to share their journey, their struggles, and perhaps even their doubts and confusion and anger and painful experiences, but they are not comfortable in how or where or who to share it with.
This is where this blog comes in. Would you share it here? This place is safe from judgment and full of grace. There are NO expectations and no limits to what you can share. It seems that every person I come into contact with, has a story about their faith… and often, they need to be heard. I am also aware of many who have an incredibly personal faith/religion, but they are afraid to share it in ‘their parts’ with ‘their people’. I know so many hearts that have broken in pieces because of their faith struggles, or in spite of their faith. I know many more who don’t have intentions of pursuing their faith, and even more that feel isolated and alone in their search for God.
I picture a huge variety of posts titled like these:
“I wish I had faith but….”
“I don’t really have faith because…”
“There are things I trust and things I don’t…”
“I have been banned from my church…”
“I know God is nudging me toward Him…”
“I live my faith, but do I believe it?”
“I am lost.”
“I have an incredibly strong faith, but I am ashamed I don’t share it more.”
“My life changed after I met Jesus.”
“This is my faith…”
“God got me through…”
“Torn by two faiths.”
“Somewhere in the middle.”
“I don’t know what to believe.”
“God saved me.”
“Why I don’t like Christians…”
“I wish I knew where to go..”
“Why would a loving God allow so much pain?”
“I am of another faith…”
“I believe faith is a fallacy”
And so many many more…
If you are one of these people, who need a place to come. I would be so honored to have you here. You don’t need to be a ‘writer/blogger’, and you certainly don’t need to be a Christian. All walks welcome. All hearts honored. All lives loved. Period. And if you’re so inclined to take a risk in sharing, I am certain that someone somewhere will read it and be blessed because perhaps they are in the same place you are. That will give you, your story, your courage a powerful purpose.
Contact me if you need to be heard, need some encouragement, or want to share your faith story. I trust anyone who reads these posts is truly trustworthy. I am so blessed to have amazingly loving readers. And I moderate the comments, so there will be honest and gracious feedback, and a bounty of encouragement to those who offer their hearts here. I absolutely LOVE that so many readers are so different and beautiful, all the same. There are plenty of perspectives here.
I know that the people who impacted my life and my faith the most, were the ones that met me exactly where I was. They didn’t push or pull or punish. They simply loved me there, in that place, with warm acceptance and unconditional love. That is the person I want to be for you…
And most importantly, I believe that God does the same. He meets us exactly where we are… in the place where our heart lives. He longs to love us there…if we let Him. I know, because He has done just that with me- over and over again.
My devotional series will be threaded with anyone who wants to contribute, and I will also be sharing my ‘stuff’ as always, too.
I am incredibly excited to already have my first lovely and inspiring, beautiful friend honor my wishes… just wait ‘til you read her story, her amazing and powerful testimony is coming to you next week.
It’s glorious actually.
May God be with you, my friends…
Right where you are.
This post made me cry – mostly because just today I told my husband that I was tired of feeling like I’m at my breaking point all the time these days. I know that my life is good and I don’t have a reason to complain and yet I do it anyway. Then I come here and read about you praying specifically for people instead of dwelling on your very real pain. You are truly amazing!
And – I love your idea for having people share their stories about their faith. There is a part of me that wants to say “yes, I want to share” but another part of me that doesn’t know if I could do it.
Oh Kim… believe me I too have had those days!! I am learning that when I start to spiral ‘in’- I need to reach ‘out’ and help those who are hurting, possibly more than me. That outward focus can be incredibly fulfilling and it truly has made this entire experience worthwhile.
As soon as I read your comment about sharing your faith story, I did a mini ‘SQUEE’ inside… cause girl, I think God is nudging your heart!!! I KNOW and so does He, that you can do it- perhaps it’s something you can pray more about. Remember, that courage is inside of you. And there is nothing but love over here to embrace whatever you would share.
I will be praying for you- for your rough days, and for the possibility that you may open your heart, your faith here. Let people minister to your precious heart. You deserve that. God wants that too. XOXO
another jennifer says
Chris, I think you are one of the most amazing people I know (and we haven’t even met in person yet!). I am sharing this post on my Simple Giving Lab website. You show how even in pain you can give back. And in a huge way.
I do have a prayer request for you. It’s for my good friend and blogger, Nicole. Her dad, who she is extremely close to, was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She and her father could use any extra prayer they can get.
Thank you, my friend. I will continue my prayers for you as well. xo
Oh Jennifer, I am just so touched by your support and beautiful encouragement!! SO grateful for you- truly.
My heart BREAKS for this friend of yours!!! What a horrible and terrifying diagnosis for her precious father. I will absolutely be praying for them both!!! Ugh. SO awful….
Janine Huldie says
I cannot get over how even in your time of need you are so wonderfully giving back to others. Seriously, Chris you are an inspiration and please know you are constantly in my prayers and thoughts to keep recovering now and feel better and better each day. Thank you for just being you!! 🙂
OH Janine!! You are so kind and I am so grateful for your beautiful encouragement!!! Thank you my friend- for that and your prayers. I am mending more every day… 🙂
I’m smiling….our conversation. Good stuff. You are amazing and so is HE.
Grinning ear to painful ear over here too, Laurie!!! I just love LOVE how God works!!! 🙂 XOXO
Awesome intro to your new series, you marvellous woman.
I could scarce believe my eyes, but it looked almost as though “I’ve been told I have the gift of encouragement” was tinged with a little surprise!
I’ve written myself into a corner with that comment, but SURELY you know that – you are absolutely one of THE most encouraging people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.
And to pray through your pain and turn it into sacrifice out of love for others…you are mind-blowing. If I was Yoda, I’d be saying “Incredibly strong is the force with this one”
Have a line, though, because…yaknow.
(also, glorious? That sounds like a very high level of endorsement right there…umm. Fortunately there’s a built-in loophole!)
OH! And…I once got told I have the gift of challenging. Which my Mum would definitely agree with! And which I find quite hilarious.
Oh Lizzi! I giggle each every time I read this comment!! You are hilarious and damn girl, so amazing!!! GLORIOUS YOU. You beautiful let down!! lol
I cannot WAIT to share your incredible testimony here on Sunday.
Challenging? HA! Perfect gift. For you. XOXOXO
Oh and funny- people have told me that I am an encourager for years- and it never ever gets old. I hold it as an honorary badge. I may not have a lot else to share- but I always have some encouragement for anyone who needs it! Call me blessed. It’s the best and often only thing I have to give. But it’s something. 😉
You share it beautifully well 🙂 Definitely your ‘thing’, if you feel nothing else is more 😀
Thank you for inviting me to do this – I hope it goes well!
To be honest, Chris – I don’t read many blogs that have a faith focus. As a Jew, I don’t like the way many make me feel – like only those who are practicing Christians and have accepted Jesus as their savior are worthy of God’s love. I just don’t believe that is true. Your blog is different. Clearly you are Christian, but equally clear is the fact that your heart is open to every person, regardless of faith. I just wanted you to know that, and know that I appreciate being able to read your words and feel inspiration instead of isolation. I hope that your pain subsides a little every day, and I look forward to reading your devotional series.
This is probably the most important comment I have ever received on my blog Dana! I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you do NOT feel that judgement/exclusion here. It saddens me to think that you have to experience it elsewhere.
Thank you, friend. Thank you for your support and coming by to read me. I am so incredibly grateful for you. I would be honored if you would consider writing about your faith here? Would you? I would love to offer my readers your perspective and your beautiful faith. Just think about it, pray about it- and let me know. XO
Please, please, please Dana, write for Chris…I’d love to learn more about your faith. I know I could Google it, but I’ve got (probably) enough basic knowledge that what I’d really like now is to know from someone who holds that faith, what it’s all about.
I also now really hope that my post doesn’t come across as exclusive or preachy, and now I’m a little concerned…Chris – trusting you on this one that it isn’t gonna do that.
NO NO NO!!!! You are NOT allowed to second guess yourself!! You are sharing your beautiful FAITH! It is the core belief of your faith and it is mighty glorious! You speak of Christianity. Period. You so eloquently and authentically write what every single person goes through on their Christian walk… over and over again. And you share the GOSPEL, which for us- is OUR TRUTH. So your original post is perfect. Because it perfectly describes your faith, my friend. OUR faith. And you will never EVER know just who reads it and goes- Wow. I want that. Or Wow- I never knew Lizzi was a Christian? That is awesome! Or- that makes me think I should look into this Christianity, cause she’s really cool!
Don’t Usurp God’s plan in changing what you have written. (I mean you know I must be pretty serious if I am letting your F bomb float around these parts!!) It is you. Beautiful, glorious, completely breathtakingly brilliantly you.
And the way you describe your faith- IS glorious. Because quite frankly, HE is Glorious. All Glory goes to Him- therefore, you have done exactly that my friend. You have GLORIFIED our Savior… and THAT is what Christians do.
*finds spine and stops second-guessing*
Que sera sera.
And I guess it can’t be too preachy, not with the f-bomb in it. Thanks 🙂 *hugs*
Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says
Absolutely amazing! You are the one enduring pain, yet you are passionately praying for others. You are so inspiring and wonderful and strong.
My prayer request is for a friend. Her son, 3, has been having what they think are small seizures. They have schedule many tests (MRI, EEG, etc) this week and she is understandably very anxious. So, please include my friend T and her son, Ben as you pray this week.
OH Lisa, you are so so kind to share such sweet encouragement for me!!! It means SO much- so so much. I will absolutely be praying for your precious friend and her son!!! How terrifying. Please keep me updated okay? Praying now…
I just read Dana’s comment and I have to agree wholeheartedly. I am Jewish by birth, and my children are both Jewish and Christian. I love your blog because of your open heart to all walks of life and faith. I have never once come here and thought, “Uh..I’m in the wrong place.” Never.
That said, I would love prayers for one of my closest friends. Like you, she is several days post surgery. She had cancerous lymph nodes removed. Sadly, they’re not benign but it looks like now that they’re removed, she may be 100% cancer free.
Praying for that.
Oh Tamara!!! First of all- I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that you never feel excluded here!! You- your faith, wherever you are- I pray I will encourage you and know I love you. I pray I NEVER exclude anyone who walks a different walk than I. The honor is all mine, to have you here my sweet friend.
And I will absolutely be praying for your precious friend. Thanking God that all the cancer is removed and praying for healing and peace in knowing that. Also praying that she stays well- through the years. That there will be NO more cancer fears and incidents again. XO
Philip Verghese Ariel says
Thanks for sharing yet another inspirational note.
Thanks for praying for other,and sure our Prayers
Oh Phil, your support means the world to me. You bless me, always. God bless YOU my friend!! XO
You are simply amazing!
AW!!! No YOU are Stefanie!!! XOXOXO
I am so glad you are getting better, and you are. I know it is still painful, but a sometimes good things come from pain, and this post is proof of that. You are such a caring soul, I am so glad I have found you. 🙂
Oh Jen!!! You just melted my heart!! Thank you SO much for your amazing support through this ordeal, and for your beautiful encouraging words.
You bless me. XOXO
I am in awe of you Chris. You are such a beautiful person and your love is so pure and so welcoming to all. Not even sure if that makes sense – but you represent what we all need to strive to be. I love your acceptance of everyone – all religions, all denominations, all cultures, all humanity. Love it. Truly special. I love being able to read how others celebrate their faith – may be similar to mine, or different than mine – but we all have so much to learn from each other. Hope you continue healing well and can be pain free. Prayers are with you. xo
Oh Leah- your words make perfect sense and bless me tremendously!!!!! I pray I will always have that open and loving heart for people. It’s how it should be. XOXO
Thank you for always adding more light here in this place. I am so grateful for you. And know that if you want to share your faith story here- I would LOVE it!! (hint hint) 😉
Keep up this important work Chris…you will minister to many through this forum which God had planned out for your life long before the idea ever crossed your mind….I’m so proud of you!!! All the gifts you are gradually revealing to people are gifts I’ve known for life…..its like as you reveal yourself, your purpose, your ministry…I wink at God and I say ‘Yep, God…you mapped this out beautifully!’ …and then I thank him for letting me in on a ‘lifetime’ of receiving your gifts as he gave me the prize of being your sister. XOXO
Oh sister, every time I read this it takes my breath and then I slowly exhale with tears streaming down my face. Oh my. You honor me so much more than I deserve. Your love. So filled by it. XO
I have been thinking about you so much this past week and praying for you. When I saw your request for people to pray for on FB last week I was floored! I was blown away that you were able to take your pain and misery into something productive. Talk about finding a silver lining. I’m sure it still hasn’t been easy but it sounds like your heart is healing and your body will follow.
What I love most about this post is that you are so inclusive. No need to subscribe to a certain religion or creed. Your arms are open no matter what. Love is free and available to anyone who wants it…no questions asked. Just like Jesus. I love it!
Oh Gosh Stephanie- how I love your comment!!! Thank you so so much for it all… the encouragement and support in all of this stuff. I feel sooooo led by God in this gig. It has been such an amazing mission and pursuit. And I know many Christians may not be as accepting of my inclusiveness and my less than direct ‘art of sharing faith’- but there is purpose in that. I believe so passionately that people can’t see Jesus any other way…
Simply incredible in every way Chris. You are an inspiration to us every single day. Am definitely sharing this right now.-Ashley
Seriously, you raise me so much higher than I am Ashley. I am so grateful for your incredible support and your faith in me. I needed to find purpose- and Lord knows I did!! Love you like crazy. XO
Alison Hector says
Love you, Chris. Thanks for pressing through the pain to intercede for others. Please remember my friend Avonelle. She’s been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis and is having a hard time.
OH dear ALison, that sounds terrible just by the word- what is it? I will be praying for your precious friend Avonelle. My heart breaks for someone who has to suffer medical diagnoses that change their life, their world- but I will pray it only strengthens her faith.
First of all, I love that you used such a painful time in your life to pray for others. That says everything about you my dear friend. Also, you’ve found a new purpose – or at least a renewed purpose in all of this. Just by keeping your eyes open and listening. Love.
Ilene- it has been so amazing… and truly the best choice I ever made during this crazy time. It’s so incredible how if we reach outside of ourselves- we will surely endure and honestly use what we are going through for the good-
When you consume yourself with other people’s pain, yours seems just a bit easier. XOXO
Amber Day Hicks says
My lovey, SSSF, you & me, we know what to do, we pray, for whoever, whenever. Acceptance & clean, pure heart, clear mind… I LOVE you LOVEY!!!! Eeeeee!!!! I’m here whatever you need from me soul sister. XOXO.
This has been so amazing Amber!!! You wouldn’t believe how many people God has laid on my heart and in my prayers. I am just in this increidble ‘beyond my pain’ kinda mission. And I am LOVING it. 🙂
You continue to amaze me. How you can have such a good heart through all of this. xo
I had a post that was about my faith(or rather my church attendance) that I was going to post today… but I changed my mind and left it as a draft because I didn’t have enough time to really think about exactly how I wanted to say it.
OH Shell… your kind words just melt my heart. Thank you so much!! Would you feel comfortable sharing that post over here? Oh, I would be so honored!!! Just let me know and we can set it up! No rush… got a few already in the coming weeks. Would just love to read it… when and if you are ready. XO
I might want to tweak it a bit- maybe tell one portion of the story. There was someone I had a run in with that caused my initial break from attending. But, I’d be happy to share.
Also, I’ve been wanting you to guest post for me, but I didn’t want to bug you with all you have going on. But whenever you are ready, I’d love to have you. xo
You know Shell, I have been wanting so badly to guest post over at your place for so long!!! Each time I saw you needed someone on FB I was so overwhelmed with stuff I just couldn’t say yes. I would LOVE to do a guest post!! Any topic? I would be honored, just let me know when. No rush, no worry. 🙂
Tweak or don’t tweak- you and only you know what your comfortable with sharing. I trust you will trust yourself on this one, my friend. But just know, no tweaking necessary to fit a certain mold here. If it happened and you feel it, well then it’s authentic- AmIright? But totally your call of course. XO
Chris, I know we haven’t met but I’ve been reading your blog and have heard some of your story through a mutual “blog friend” I think it’s amazing, kind, generous and on and on that you would take a time in your life when you could by all rights sit back and be selfish to reach out and encourage others and pray for anyone who needs it (and let’s face it, we all need it.) Your humility and sincerity shine through this post. I’m so sorry that you are going through all of this now, I hope it helps to know you aren’t alone and that you, too, are being prayed for by people you don’t even know. Wishing you all the best and hoping for some relief for you soon.
Oh Stephanie!! Your comment just MELTS my HEART!! I am so SO grateful that you took the time to come by and fill me with such encouraging words. Thank you thank you thank you, my new friend!
So blessed by YOU. XO
You are so amazing Chris. This is such a gift to give someone. Even though I’ve kind of been MIA lately (due to issues that are nothing in the scheme of things), I’ve been thinking about you. You have been through so much lately and yet you are always thinking of someone else. VIrtual hugs to you my friend!
Oh Michelle- I am SO grateful that after such a long week, you took the time to catch up with my blog… and me. You are truly a trusted friend, and your support and love mean the WORLD to me!!! XOXO
Aw man, how did I miss this one girl?! I’ve been so behind with my blogging…ughh! Words can’t explain how truly touched I am! You never cease to amaze me with your beautiful heart my friend…a true example of reflecting His love!! 🙂 What an awesome thing you’re doing here Chris!! I remember the “What to do when you’re sick” post…it was amazing! I chuckled at the “gift of encouragement”…that’s why we connect so girl!! 😉 I loved that line…”He meets us exactly where we are… in the place where our heart lives. He longs to love us there…if we let Him”…powerful! When you give of yourself to others is when He fills you the most and your cup definitely runneth over my friend, it definitely runneth over!! Love you soooo much Chris!! xoxo
I love what you are doing here and am so wowed by how you are using the circumstances that God has given you. I love you. And I’m crying and praying…xo xo xo a million times over.
I love how the Lord works things out. I came across your blog this morning and this post is just what I needed. Thank you for your raw honesty and encouragement to look up when I feel down. I lost my momma 2 years ago and some days worse than others, I get a punch in the gut of reality that she is gone- and today is one of those days. I already text people for requests to get my mind focused on Him again. Praying for you and your pain.
Oh bless your heart Rosie!! I love it when God nudges us in a direction that helps and heals our hearts. I am THRILLED that this post ministered to your heart in some way!
My heart grieves your loss, my new friend. I will be praying for you, as your heart aches in those moments of pain. What incredible and courageous step you have taken to use your pain for a prayerful purpose! God will bless your intention, as He did mine, and I pray you feel His Loving arms wrapped around your heart.
Keep in touch, would you please? XO