I have been asking God what He wants me to write for some time now. He keeps bringing me back to this simple yet gravely ignored truth. So many of us walk through life literally SURROUNDED by people and still we feel utterly and hopelessly alone. If this is you, God wants you to hear this:
Y o u A r e N o t A l o n e.
God revealed this to me in the most powerful way at Riverside’s Women’s Conference last year. It was only my second time at Riverside. I had braved it on my own and didn’t know anyone. Lynn Jackson was the guest speaker. In one of the sessions, she handed out a survey of invasive, introspective questions. We were each to fill one out then hand them back in to be shuffled and passed around the room again.
To give you an idea, the questions were as follows:
1. Have you ever stolen anything?
2. Have you ever lied?
3. Have you ever suffered a miscarriage?
4. Have you ever cheated on your spouse?
5. Have you ever been emotionally or physically abused?
6. Have you ever been abusive towards your children?
7. Have you ever been raped?
It was a lengthy list…
This is when things got real. Lynn began to read the questions one by one. If your sheet answered YES to the question she had read, you were to “stand up for your sister.” I write this through tears as I recall the overwhelming sense of sisterhood –of JESUS—in the room that day. Question after question, we sisters stood up for each other. As we stood in that room together, Daughters of the Most High, everyone slowly taking the hands of their sisters beside them, Jesus unveiled the most beautiful, empowering truth: We are NEVER alone.
Isolation and loneliness are two of Satan’s favorite tactics. There is a reason for that! There are very few things as crippling and debilitating as feeling completely and utterly alone. God designed us to need and crave companionship. Friendship. Support. Encouragement.
A few references to Friendship in the Bible:
Romans 1:11-12 “11For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.”
Hebrews 1:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Ephesians 4:9-12 ”9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
In those times when the darkness hides every shred of light and hope, fear tightens its grip and you can’t possibly see a way out, REACH OUT AND TAKE THE HANDS OF THOSE AROUND YOU! God placed those people in your life for a reason and you will never know why unless you reach out.
It is so critical to remember that you never know what someone is going through, regardless of how put-together they seem. There could be 5 or 6 people within a 10-foot radius around you going through a similar, if not the same, hardship you are drudging through. Imagine what could happen if you took their hands and walked this out with a circle of friends encouraging you. Cheering you on. Supporting you. Carrying some of that weight for you! There is also something so unbelievably HEALING about sharing your story. It’s healing for you, but also for those around you.
Towards the end of the Women’s Conference, Lynn opened up a time for testimonies. So many shared how impactful that survey was. To see how many are suffering through and/or healing from a season similar to yours is simply unparalleled.
I was in the midst of an intense storm of darkness myself at the time. And in that room, surrounded by my sisters (I didn’t know their names, but they were my sisters), the Holy Spirit was so there. So tangibly there. I felt him holding me. After a few testimonies, I heard him so clearly say Stand up. Me: Really?! Stand up! So… I stood up and I took the mic. Tears streaming down my face, raccoon eyes going strong at that point, I shared my story with my sisters.
Never in my life have I felt the love of Jesus through His people so immensely. A swarm of women ran towards me and just held me. Several exchanged phone numbers with me and they have blossomed into the sweetest of friendships. That day, I walked into church with the heaviest of chains weighing me down. God BROKE those chains and I walked out FREE.
God is still healing and redeeming our story in ways I never would have imagined. Don’t lose hope! If you are in the deepest part of your Valley right now, don’t lose faith! Cling to God’s fidelity to His promises.
Isaiah 58:11-12 “11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”