Group hug and enveloping grace

I’m wearing out.

I know I’m not supposed to say that because I’m a Christian and I’m supposed to have all the strength of Jesus, and I know I do, but each day is getting a little bit harder to manage, a little bit harder to pretend everything is okay.

What does that even mean – “okay?”

Someone asks me how things are going at church and I say “Oh, you know, there are hard days, but things are generally okay.”  Someone asks me how I’m doing and I say, “Oh, you know, it’s not easy, but I’m hanging in there and I’m okay.”

But, okay is a cop-out.

It’s a way to wiggle around the truth.  It pacifies the question, but it doesn’t actually answer it. Okay is a way to say something without actually saying anything.

And I’m wearing out from the weight of okay and all that’s not being said.


(c) JL Outdoor Photography // Flickr

It seems to me that church should be a place to go where the weight of things get shared and carried a little bit.  I mean, I think we’re told that much in Paul’s letters to the Galatians , chapter 6.

But, my church has taken a major blow and I’m not sure that we know what “carrying” looks like anymore.  We know what chaos and confusion and blame look like, but we’ve gotten bad about being quick to see God and grace and kindness in one other.

I’m grateful that I see these things in the women I meet with on Tuesday nights.  We do “church” by eating and praying and praising and celebrating and enjoying one another.  We do “church” by being real with one another, and listening for wisdom from one another, and opening our Bibles together.   And last night, they “carried” for me by letting me share my heavy heart and immediately carrying me to the feet of Jesus in prayer in a moment when I lacked the strength to do it for myself.

And then they hugged me, not one by one, but as a group. I let myself fall into them as they wrapped their arms around me, enveloped in their love and support, knowing that they were quite literally taking my weight.


In this season, I’m letting church take on all kinds of meanings.  Sometimes I’ll find it on Sunday morning sitting in a pew listening to a sermon.  But maybe in this season of brokenness and hurt and chaos, I don’t find church there every Sunday.  Maybe I find it among the women of my Bible study, or at dinners with my parents, or coffee dates with my closest friends.  Maybe I find it with those people of God with whom I can be honest and say that I’m not okay, but who unfailingly point me back to Him.

Maybe we find it in coming together and inviting Jesus quite simply to meet us where we are.  And maybe we find it in His love and grace that envelops each of us.

And maybe, just maybe, that moves us past wearing out and just being okay.

14 thoughts on “Group hug and enveloping grace

  1. Thank you for your transparency here. There is something beautiful about the Church when it behaves the way that it was designed to behave. I’m so glad that you are finding church where you need it. And I will pray that you can move beyond okay. Hugs.

  2. Sweetheart, “not okay”…is so dang, okay to say. Especially with those women who know how to hold you up, and bear weight together – the way the Body was fashioned to do. Sometimes…having been NOT okay for a season or two myself, God used my honesty – which was worked into me through exhaustion, not revelation, to help those around me see how we had to hold one another up, always. My vulnerability released their strength and especially the corporate strength we had. When the Holy Spirit will allow, let others lift with you and sometimes you. I suspect if you are anything like me, His “Now” will be true much more frequently, than will yours.

    I love who you are…what you are about…the way you love…Keep letting others get in on that, too. Okay?

    1. I couldn’t love what you say here more: “My vulnerability released their strength and especially the corporate strength we had.” YES! THAT!

      And I’m really, really trying to let people in, to be more honest, to share more realness with people in person and on the blog. I promise to keep trying! 🙂

  3. This is beautiful and so true. “Ok” can just be exhausting and certainly not helpful for building community. Somehow we’ve made it uncomfortable for people to ask for help when really, wouldn’t we all love the opportunity to help someone carry their pain? Thank-you for sharing this.

    1. A great perspective, Heather! I love carrying for “my people” and I get sad when I get cheated out of the opportunity to show up for them. Shouldn’t I, then, in return offer the same to them?

    1. I don’t know if I’m glad for that or sad for that, friend. I’m glad you get it, because it’s nice to know I’m not alone in thinking/feeling this way, but sad that you’ve maybe been in a place where your church wasn’t working well. Thank God for His people who can still do good when the organization of church isn’t!

  4. I read a few of your recent posts. You are a supporter of others, a good listener and a friend. Don’t forget the impact you have on other people’s lives. I have had some not so great seasons. They suck, and sometimes they are hard to get out of, or move away from. And even those of us who are usually helping others sometimes need a little help of our own.

    1. Yes, isn’t that the truth – that those of us who are helpers sometimes need a little help of our own? I think maybe for the first time ever, I’m learning to accept it. No, not just accept it. Value it. Live into it. Own it. Or at least…I’m trying really, really hard. 🙂

      Glad you found your way here, Sheila! Thank you for your kind words!

      1. It is really hard to ask for help, that part doesn’t seem to get any easier. But you did it! Know you deserve all the kindness and support coming your way. Be lifted high today! Let the healing begin!

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