Monday, August 17, 2015

A Gift of Understanding

I cry out to God most high, To God who fulfills his purpose for me. - Psalms 57:2 ESV
© Travis Mckenzie 2015
I had the opportunity to attend a conference last weekend.  It was 3 very full days of workshops and lectures. I heard some wonderful encouraging speakers. Yet the one thing  I will remember the most, was a conversation I had on the last evening with a beautiful 17 year old girl. 

We were just finishing dinner, waiting for our last speaker of the event, when this young girl walked over to our table and sat down. We sat there for a few minutes in silence when I said "Hi." She looked up and smiled and we started to talk.  We made small talk for a few minutes then things got a little deeper. She started to share with me her excitement in the fact that she would be leaving for college in 2 weeks, a day she never thought would happen.  She proceeded to share openly what it has been like to live with severe depression and anxiety for the past 6 years. She was very thankful that in the last year it seemed to have lifted significantly.  

She said, "I do still have some bad days, yet now, they don't defeat me like they used to.  I am able to get through knowing they won't last."

She said the hardest part has been the fact that no one, neither family or friends, was able to truly understand what she was feeling in those deepest depressing times. She felt very alone yet knew God was and continues to be with her. She holds tight to his promises in the hard days. 

The next words took me by surprise. With such joy and peace she said, “I know what it is like to feel alone, believing that no one understands. If I can help just one other person in the midst of my struggle to know they are not alone, I believe my purpose for going through all this will be fulfilled!"  My eyes filled with tears, such wisdom at such a young age!   

"Feeling alone, believing that no one understands"  I have felt that often.  Especially when my son was first diagnosed with Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy. It was over 12 years ago and there was no social media support like there is today.  I struggled through many years of loneliness, wishing there was someone who could understand.  I never doubted that God was with me. He has used these past 12 years to develop in me a deeper trust in him and for that I am thankful. Yet sometimes you  need a person in the flesh to hug, to talk things through. I understood her desire to help others to not feel alone. Through trials, struggles and loneliness, God has developed that passion in my heart as well!  

In Christopher Ash’s book Job: The Wisdom Of The Cross, he states, "In our suffering we often ask the question why? Why, because it is not suffering that destroys a person, it is suffering without a purpose."

There are many reasons why God might allow trials and suffering in our life. I do know one reason is that suffering prepares us to be able to come alongside others who are struggling.  It brings us to a place of deep compassion and mercy which allows us to say with complete honesty, “I get it, I understand!"  Sometimes that is all they need to know -- they are not alone and that someone truly understands.  I know God has purpose in our trials. Once in a while he lets us SEE that purpose.  That girl at such a young age has suffered much. Although still struggling, she is seeking to minister to others. Offering them the hope and joy she has found through Christ! What an encouragement she was to me! What a beautiful gift she can give to others, the gift of truly understanding.  Through our trials and our children’s struggles, God has trusted us with that same special gift. I hope we never hesitate to reach out to others and offer that gift.

Dear Heavenly Father, We know you have a plan and a purpose for all things. Even though we often don't know or understand what that plan is. I thank you that once in a while, you give us a glimpse of that purpose. It brings such encouragement to our hearts. Thank you for this young girl that spoke to my heart. I pray you will surround her with your protection as she heads off to college. I ask that you will helps us to see others in our lives that might need us to share the gift that you have given us. The gift of understanding, so they will know they are not alone.
In Jesus name, Amen

Source - Job:The Wisdom of the Cross. Christopher Ash, R.Kent Hughes published by Crossway 2015
Picture- Travis McKenzie
Originally posted -


  1. Thanks, Donna! This is the heart of ministry, especially special needs ministry!

    1. YES! I agree this should be what the heart of ministry is! My passion is helping others to see the need in their communities and not be afraid to reach out. It really doesn't take much, it truly is the little things that we can do or say that helps others to not feel alone. Thank you Ann!

  2. Thank you, God sent you to encourage my lonely friend today. Please pray for Laura and her two boys with the same affliction.

    1. My heart goes out to your friend Laura. Life is so hard but when you add in additional challenges, at times it can become almost unbearable. I am thankful that Laura has an understanding friend in you!

  3. Having someone to understand is AMAZING...thank God for putting those people in our lives and for helping us to be that person for others. xo

  4. Yes Tammy it is! God allowing us to come along side another person seems to bring a little bit of healing to our hearts as well. Praising God that there is purpose in our pain!