I stared at the screen, shocked. My head felt as if it were physically spinning, though I knew I was standing as still as I’d been the moment before I saw the post. I tried to evaluate my emotional and mental states.
What was I feeling?
Was I mad?
Was I sad?
Was I hurt, frustrated, disappointed?
Yes to all of it. Check “all of the above,” because I felt all those things — and more. I felt betrayed and despondent. And most of all, I felt uncertain about what to do next. How was I supposed to react to this situation? How did I want to respond? And was it possible those two answers would resemble one another in the slightest?
Minutes after seeing this social media post that pierced my heart, I was scheduled to attend a Zoom call. At first I thought it might be the perfect distraction from my pain, or possibly even a way to get over all the myriad emotions swirling around my heart and brain.
Spoiler alert: It was not. I did not get over it. At least, not in the thirty minutes immediately following the thing that hurt me. I’m not sure why I thought I could fix a broken heart in a few minutes, although I’m blaming wishful thinking and a good four decades of stuffing my feelings down deep whenever I — or others — deemed them unacceptable.
But this time, I couldn’t “get over it.” I was hurt! I was sad! And angry! And scared and disappointed and — oh my goodness, the list of my emotions seemed endless on that afternoon. No wonder I couldn’t move past them in the blink of an eye (or a swipe of the screen)!
The specifics of what hurt me that day don’t matter here. Because while it was a specific person who took a specific action that led to my pain that day, it wasn’t the first time (and certainly won’t be the last) I found myself in a cyclone of emotion, unsure how to react, what would “fix” things, or even which way was up. And I know I’m not alone in this experience. You’ve felt this sort of pain, too, haven’t you?
What matters is that on that day, God gently and generously whispered, “Stop. Take a moment. Let it out. I’m here.” He pushed the pause button on my agitation cycle, pulling me away from the feeling-stuffing and problem-fixing, opening His arms to hold me as I let it all out.
And He’ll do the same for you the next time you find yourself in a storm of emotion.
Jesus was no stranger to emotions when He walked on earth. In John 11, we see the story of His reaction to the death of His friend, Lazarus. Both Lazarus’s sisters — Mary and Martha — cry out to Jesus when He arrives, saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!” (John 11:32 CSB)
When the women express their despair that way, Jesus doesn’t reprimand them. He doesn’t suggest they calm down or instruct them to do something productive with their emotions. He holds space for them and comforts them; He grieves for them and even weeps with them.
As soon as Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!”
When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked.
“Lord,” they told him, “come and see.”
John 11:32-35 (CSB)
Jesus knew that in a moment, He would raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew Mary and Martha’s grief would be short-lived and followed with incredible joy. But He didn’t expect them not to feel their feelings, and He didn’t require that they calm down or manage their emotions. Rather, He welcomed their honesty and complexity, offering acceptance and compassion in response.
The Lord will do the same for you and me.
In those moments when we are punched in the gut with something painful, God invites us to take our every emotion to Him. He doesn’t demand we get it together first; He doesn’t require us to tone it down. He simply says, “Come to me. Take a moment and rest your soul here.”
He will give us strength and wisdom and remind us that He will fight for us and finish the good work He’s started in our lives. But right now, when you’re reeling and feeling the sting of your pain, He invites you to let it out. Feel your feelings. Pour out your broken heart. He will hold all of it — all of you — gently. He will be with you in the storm.Leave a Comment
Michelle Danielson says
Such a good and timely message! Thank you Mary!
Mary Carver says
Thanks for reading, Michelle!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Mary we all at times feel like today’s picture. In your reading. I been there. Said why was I left out in family suitation. I the eldest. But at the time I was cross. I was so hurt. I was the only saved bar my Husband. I still am. I heard load and clear God say Dawn. Keep praying for them. They will not change until they get saved. The rest of your family. They don’t see what they done is wrong in leaving you out not telling you. But I do see your hurt. Say nothing my child. Just love them like I do. Don’t have any rows with them. Pray for them. Pray for their Salvation. That is what I did. I am still praying for their Salvation. I also asked God to help me forgive them for what they did. I have moved on. Because if I didn’t. I know to this day I never be able to speak to them again. Yes I did at the time cry. But now I can talk to them and it don’t annoy me. But I will never forget what they done. God did say to me my child I am proud of you. You remember people of the world most of them until they get saved only think of themselves. As long as their own world is ok. No one else matters. Nothing will change until they get saved. Some are different. Some do care. He gave me this song. You get it on YouTube. “What a friend we have in Jesus” so true and the words of it so true especially when we are down and people have hurt us. As song worth listening too. Jesus is there for us no matter what. Jesus sees all our pain and tears. Jesus even in Luke 4 verse 38 was so caring and kind that went to Simon’s home. Found his mother in-law very sick. Healed her. So no matter what day of week it is no matter what the problems we have. It even says that in verse 43 of Luke 4 Jesus replied. But “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in Other places to that is why I was sent. (We his Children that are saved are to do the same) So see we can go Jesus in pray with our problems and he will help us and with faith like Simon’s mum heal us. As Simon mum made Jesus a meal to say thank you for her healing. Then we can get to help someone. Not let the problem get the better of us. Not let the old Devil let us be sinking in the problems. If need more help. Jesus through the Holy Spirit will show us if saved were to go to get the help. Love today’s reading like all incourage reading. Thank you for them all. Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx
Mary Carver says
Thank you for sharing your story and your heart with us, Dawn. So grateful God has been there for you and for me!
Wow. Can I just say that I needed this? I’ve been systematically “blocking” the people that post mean and nasty comments on my wall, and letting their words haunt me for hours at a time.
Thank you for reminding me that Jesus felt what we feel, and that He is always there!!!