I sat in shock listening. Someone I considered to be a friend had been upset with me for months, and she had been talking about me with a couple of mutual friends.
We had served together on a ministry leadership team at our church for years. Both of us had volunteered countless hours pouring our hearts and our lives into the women of our church. All the while, I assumed we fully supported one another.
But a friend had told her I didn’t agree with her leadership style based on something I’d said in a meeting many months before, when I had been asked to share my perspective on something. She hadn’t been at the meeting, and sadly, what I’d said was taken out of context, repackaged and presented to her in a way that sounded like I had been talking about her. I hadn’t. But instead of coming to me, she’d gone to others to process her hurt.
“Why didn’t someone stand up for me?” I wondered.
In one of his letters to Timothy, the apostle Paul describes a time when life and ministry got really hard. He had been slandered, and no one came to his defense or supported him. Instead, they deserted him.
Yet in the midst of feeling hurt by others and abandoned by friends, Paul tells Timothy that God stood with him and gave him the strength to keep standing in the place where God had called him.
My pain deepened with the realization that someone I knew had spoken against me, but no one stood up for me. Feeling all alone, I started to plan my exit strategy from the leadership team. I didn’t want anything to do with women or ministry if this was where it got me.
But somehow, in the midst of my tears and brokenness, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jesus — how He had been misunderstood and misrepresented by people He loved. Friends hurt Him, betrayed Him, and abandoned Him, yet He stayed.
He stayed where God put Him — in messy ministry, broken relationships, and hard circumstances. But most of all, Jesus stayed on the cross so we would never have to stand alone.
With God’s strength and the encouragement of a friend, I decided not to quit women’s ministry. Instead, I stayed on the leadership team and worked through hard conversations about what had happened. I forgave those who hurt me. And I took time to heal and slowly trust again. I stayed present in my role and also tried to stay aware in conversations and discern when it was wise to share or hold my opinion in a group setting.
Broken relationships are hard. Betrayal and hurt happen. And I guess today, I just wanted to encourage you that no matter what you are facing at home, work, in your family or friendships — if you are walking through circumstances that have you feeling misunderstood, betrayed, abandoned, or uncertain, there is one thing you can be absolutely sure of: you are NOT alone!
God is with you. He is for you. And He will never, ever leave you.
I pray these words that Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy will bring you the comfort and courage they brought to me:
But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength . . .
2 Timothy 4:17a (NIV)
Is God calling you to stay in a position or circumstance you’d rather leave? Is there a relationship, hard conversation, or place of advocacy that leaves you weary and ready to give up? Share in the comments so we can pray for you today.
No matter who is standing with you or against you, God is standing by your side. Click To Tweet