Known. Loved. Defined by Christ.
I am not a blog type person. I’m not the type who can put words down in a way that would be defined as “correct”. I do love to journal though. I have since I was a little girl. The free flowing thoughts that pop into my mind seem to come out easiest when I have a pen and paper. Coming into this writing, I have been very intimated by it. I write more like I’m having a conversation rather than equipping someone with a how to or some firm truth that’s meant to resonate a life changing moment. I really struggled to know how I was going to begin this and then it dawned on me… just begin. Right were I am in my head, in my heart, in this season. And that is what you have below. A vulnerable journal entry. My hope is that if you have had or are having a season of hardship that you see you are not alone in it. That you see that your faith is not determined by it. Above all, I hope that you see that you are known.
You are known by a living God who longs to care for you with a big love that is filled with Grace and Mercy.
“ Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” 1 Peter 4:16
I have moments that come and go of hopelessness, even when I know that I have hope. The amount of question it provokes but also the amount of peace that is given.. It is puzzling but also makes perfect sense. To be faced with a season that so easily resembles depression and angst. It’s a familiar place that attempts to captivate my attention. Seeking me out in the moments that are filled with joy and peace. It ravishes my inner-being to create discomfort and a desire to escape at all cost. I long to not be bound by the agonizing discomfort that quickly tries to take control. I feel trapped for a moment, I feel the need to run. All I can muster up is to sit still and allow God to be God, believing with everything in me that , “ the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 In these silent and still moments, I find my hope over and over and over again.
I have felt this before; like I said it is a familiar feeling and in a twisted way a feeling of comfort. I recognize this old friend of betrayal. I feel slightly understood by these feelings, by these thoughts. Their isolation brings me comfort and the feeling of being understood. Here is the beauty in all of this … I am meant to know this “old friend”. It is a part of me. I am someone who has faced depression and anxiety throughout my life. It is a part of my reality. Here is the even bigger truth to it … this does not in any way give to or show my identity. I am not my depression. I am not my anxiety. I am not my emotion. I am, we are, a beloved children of God. I am sought after and known by the King of Kings. Scripture tells us, “ for you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14. Even in my sorrow and my angst, He is meeting me in my silence. I can trust that the Holy Spirit is groaning on my behalf because I am known by Jesus and have called upon His Name. “and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees how nor knows hime. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “ John 14:16-18 He meets me with a mighty Grace that crashes into my land of the unknown.
My heart longs to understand it all. It longs to be freed from this season. But in the waiting I must give thanks to our Heavenly Father for giving me a sense of peace in knowing that Jesus is near in all of it. That Jesus is meeting us where we are. That He is hearing us when we have no words to say. Jesus knows us and He knows our hearts better than we know ourselves. I know each of us, in our own struggles, long to find freedom from them. In these moments we are invited into a beautiful but oh so hard process of sanctification. To learn that we belong to a Heavenly Father that encourages us through His Living word when it says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
Father, allow me, allow us to meet you. I pray our hearts are revealed to the character of Jesus in a more intimate way so that we may resemble Jesus more. That we may see who we are in Jesus more. May we recognize the worth You see in each of us. Even when we act on things that only reveal more of our sinful nature, You still call us your Beloved. I pray that we as a body of believers grow deeper in our understanding of the Holy Spirit. Seeing that You gifted us the Holy Spirit to empower us, change our desires, and remind us that we are loved by You. To be able to call on You for peace, rest, encouragement and hope in the days that can be one way and then another in a flash. Trusting that the Spirit will give those who call on Jesus wisdom through counsel and most importantly through Your Living word. May we not be a people that are defined by our emotions or mental state. And finally, I pray that as a church, as a body of believers, as a family, we welcome these spaces to speak of the “underbellies” we all carry. May we not be shamed or feel ashamed by what our realties are but see that, for each of us, it is the most beautiful invitation to come before the thrown of Jesus and cry out His Name.
Amber Haynes is a Covenant Partner at The Bridge Montrose and a member of the NE Heights House Church.