I sat in shock, listening to a friend describe how she had been upset with me for months. We served together on a large 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 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 was talking about her. But I wasn’t. And, instead of coming to me, she’d gone to others.
“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.
“Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 14-19
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 God had called him to.
As I sat there, feeling as though someone had come against me, and no one stood up for me, my pain deepened. Feeling all alone, I started planning my exit strategy. I didn’t want anything to do with women or ministry if this was where it got me.
But somehow, in that sacred space of brokenness, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jesus. How He had been misunderstood and misrepresented by those He loved. People had hurt Him, betrayed Him, and abandoned Him – yet He stayed.
He stayed where God put Him — in messy ministry, in broken relationships, in hard places. But most of all, Jesus stayed on the cross so we would never have to stand alone.
Whatever you are facing today, whether you feel misunderstood, betrayed, abandoned, or uncertain, there is one thing you can be absolutely sure of: you are NOT alone!
I pray the words 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)
Let’s ask God for the courage to stay in those hard places and relationships He has called us. No matter who is standing with us or against us, God is standing by our side. And I’d love to stand by your side in prayer today? Let me know in a word or two how I can pray for you.
Thank you very much for the encouragement today! It always helps to be reminded of who God is and what He has done and will do for us. God has blessed us with a new grandson. Although my son and daughter in law attend church and serve my daughter in law complained throughout her entire pregnancy. She is not the touchy-feely type like my son and I. I’ve had nightmares that she will neglect the baby. Please join me in prayer asking God to give her a deep love for her son and that He would allow me to see it as well.
I would like to ask for prayer for Spiritual healing, hormonal, my mind body, the tension in my body is Extreme and I have multiple things going on! I know they could all be worse and I always pray that they are nothing serious! But since my stepson passed 4 years ago from cancer well I’m going to night school and working full time with my husband at the business we own, fear and anxiety and depression sank in. I know God is working through the women’s group I am in amongst other things and yet I am struggling still I want the fruits of the spirit and yet at the same time I’m needing to grow and trust God more! I know that we are not to desire a trouble-free life and yet I’m tired even though I know things could be far worse so I’m grateful they are not, but I just don’t want to go through anymore which is not the right attitude. I have a desire for us to sell our business and to move to a new state where life is not so fast paced and yet I need my women groups I’m just struggling working at our business! I am grateful for God blessing us and yet all the while I feel overwhelmed! So I asked for prayer for my husband and I for strength protection over health issues, peace and unity in our marriage, comfortable in my own skin, balance in our schedule for self-care, not worrying over every issue in my body, husband and All Families salvation, and God’s peace that surpasses all understanding through my time of being in a spiritual wilderness!
Lisa C says
Have had very similar experience in ministry. Instead of being able to stay and pursue closure, chronic illness appeared and I no longer work in my ministry job. Resolution has not come. It’s hard, the lack of closure to the abandonment by those I thought should have my back. I fight against justified resentment. Please pray that I can turn this page. It’s been 2 years now.
Susan G. says
Thanks for this Renee. His Word always gives us hope when we need it most. It’s hard to let God alone be our vindicator. But He is always faithful if we put our trust in Him.
J. Johnson says
Renee, I thank God for you sharing this. I went through something similar. I went to see my mom last January and she looked tired and worn out. (Although my 2 sisters and their 6 daughters between them lived 5-10 minutes away from her they did not take her to the dr, dentist, or eye dr.) Our Mother asked me if she could come live with me in Georgia. Also, for 4years my eldest two nieces and their 8 children among them was living off our mother for free in her 2 bedroom condo. They finally moved out right before I visited her. They wore her out literally. I asked her several times was she sure she wanted to live with me in Georgia she said yes each time. Before she left Colorado I told her she’d have to sell her house and car I couldn’t fly back and forth to see about them. She agreed. I sold her house and car in about 2 weeks. She came to live with me for 6 months. During those 6 months I took her to 35 dr appointments due to her not going to the dr in 4 1/2 years her dr’s checked her medical records. She had cataracts removed, a physical, a colonoscopy due to her having colon cancer she should have been seen in those four years and other dr appointments, like for her having schizophrenia most of her adult life and hadn’t taken her meds consistently. I didn’t know my sisters were calling her asking her to move back and telling a family member once they got her back there I’d have to send them her money and they were sitting it between themselves. My sister came here she stayed in my house for a couple of days and then took my mom back to Colorado while staying in my home I realized after she left that my sister stole receipts from the care of our mother, gifts cards my daughter received from graduating college, and other things. I never knew I couldn’t trust my sister. I had no idea both my sisters were angry at me for moving away and making a better life for myself or that they were jealous of me for being on my job for 30 yrs. We have the same parents and grew up in the same household. As soon as our mother returned to Colorado my sisters started demanding I give them the money from the sale of her house and car. I refused as the money was for the care of our mother and they don’t consistently keep jobs or take care of themselves they have used my mom to take care of them, their children and now their grandchildren. My sisters convinced a social worker and a detective that I came there to exploit our mother. I can’t explain the fear, the anger, the betrayal I felt and all at once. I’ve had to get a second mortgage when I was preparing to retire early, get an attorney, and pray like I never have in my life. I have NEVER been in any trouble with any part of the law. I have fasted so much to keep my mind on Jesus. It’s all just about over, I’m awaiting a decision from the detective as she has stated once she goes over my bank statements she’ll send a letter saying allegations unfounded. The social worker never interviewed me but came to the conclusion I exploited my mother so I am fighting that as this decision would be put in my work record so i’d never be able to work with children or the elderly which is what I do on my job. God gave me peace and has given me prayer partners who pray with me when I hurt. I used to talk to my mother 2-5 times a day. Now my sister has blocked my numbers and my children’s numbers from our mothers phone. I will be victorious even this!!! No weapon formed against me or my children will prosper!!! God has me even in this. He gave me Deuteronomy 31:6 and Psalms 45:10-11. I have had o keep my mind on Jesus. The scriptures you have here will be added to my list. Thank you for being transparent.
For my son’s salvation and for a better job opportunity. I’m just feeling overwhelmed with my current situation.
Blessings to you Renee
Heather P. says
My marriage and a better paying job.
Please pray for salvation for my family/friends, my health and family health issues, and fear. Thank you!
Please pray for my husband who has had nerve pain and has been blinded in one eye for 2 years as a result from the shingles virus. He has had 19 stents placed and a 3 way bypass.His heart as well as his stamina have been weakened. My mother had a stroke 6 months ago and has been living with us as she can no longer live independently. We desparetly need your prayers. Thank You Renee. You are a blessing.
Please pray for me..I feel soo ready to just give up..I’m the one that’s there for everyone..the one with the biggest smile and 2 open ears and 2 open arms and willingness to add another hour to the 24 Gods given to make someone else’s life…day…second better…yet it’s me standing in need of prayer…I just left bible study I had to walk to my car quickly so no one would see my tears….and wait for my husband and 2 of my 6 boys.. I dropped them off at home and here I am I thought alone …and I (never ever check emails) saw your email…Thank You for the much needed reminder I choose to call a God Hug..
Sharon, when I read your words saying how alone you felt until you read this, God reminded me immediately that this post title was”YOU ARE NOT ALONE” but somehow it got changed. Anyway, I am praying you see this response from me and know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE – I’m praying you know that in the deepest placed of your heart.
I’ve prayed over you the past day, asking the Lord to give me words to share to encourage you. So as you read these word, please know they are bathed-in-prayer encouragement and my prayer over you, all wrapped into one.
You said you are ready to give up – and I think that might be a good idea. But not in the way you meant it. I think it’s time to give up the burden you feel to be all things to all people. It’s not at all what Jesus wants for you or from you. If so, there isn’t room for Him. I know that’s hard to do, hard to change. I’ve been that person. The one who felt so responsible for everyone and everything – and I’d convinced myself it was all God’s work. But it wasn’t. It was a lot of my own. But it wasn’t until my body started aching all over, my health got whacko and my marriage felt strained that God got my attention and showed me how unhealthy, unbalanced and unrealistic my expectations of myself were. And much greater they were than HIS expectations of me.
It will take a lot of courage to cut back and risk letting others down – but sometimes God asks us: “Do you love Me enough to take care of yourself the way I want you to, as the daughter I Iove and created? Do you love Me enough to brave and trust me more than yourself, to rely on Me and let your family depend more on Me than they do on you?”
These are all questions the Lord has asked me. It took me a while be able to say YES with all my heart. But today I can. And Im so much healthier, happier and better able to love me, the woman God created, and my people — all from a place of HIs supply, His fullness instead of from a place of my depletion and exhaustion.
Ruth McClam says
Please pray for my strength to keep holding on to the promises of God and not turn back to my old sinful ways. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers.
Jesus, YOU are Ruth’s strength and her shield. YOU are the lifter of her head. YOU are the healer of her heart and soul, her mind and emotions. YOU alone are the only one who can satisfy the longings of her heart. Give her an insatiable hunger for YOU, and Your word – a thirst that cannot be satisfied by anything – not a person, possession or pleasure this world offers. In Jesus’ Name, amen!
Pray for family restoration, my loneliness/aloneness and my broken heart
Jesus, You know exactly what Gina and her family are going through. We ask You for restoration, healing, grace, and abundance of Your comfort and peace. I pray that You would give Gina a sense of Your companionship, Your presence and power to heal her broken heart and keep her company in this valley that is so lonely. I pray You’d bring someone else alongside of her to encourage her and pray for her, to stand with her and support her through this hard season. And one day Lord, I pray she can look back and see Your protection and provision through it all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.