Me, Too.

I can't think of a more comforting phrase in the English language than, "Me, too." There is something pain relieving and stomach settling when you reveal a hurt or secret and the person sitting across the table from you looks in your eyes and says, "Me, too." I've seen hot, healing tears flow unfettered from the eyes of women who learned for the first time they were not alone.

For whatever reason, I grew up thinking that the negative in our lives must be kept private and that we just don't talk about certain things. I grew up believing that being a strong person meant fixing things yourself and I don't mean home improvement projects. I thought being tough meant figuring out your issues, keeping them close and telling no one. Meanwhile, all the problems, fears, struggles and secrets piled up.

I remember the first time I shared some very embarrassing struggles my family was encountering and a dear friend let me know I was not alone and should not feel shame. She and her family had gone through something similar just a few years before. The very fact this person was alive and walking upright gave me hope, but the fact that she was willing identify with me nearly knocked me over.

A dear friend who is very involved in a 12 Step program always says, "We are as sick as our secrets." Whatever we hold inside will gnaw and tear away at our hearts if we don't reveal them and let the Lord heal us in relationship with Him and others who have walked the road before us. Don't get me wrong, we aren't called to air all of our dirty laundry on social media or take out an ad in the local paper; we are called to confess things to one another that we may be healed. James 5 tells us that if we are sick we are to seek help and confess to one another. Many people take this literally to mean physical illness but I believe James could be referring to soul sickness.

Isaiah 53:3 can be summed up for me in the phrase, "Me, too." The prophetic words about Jesus say, "He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
I love the phrase "acquainted with grief". This is the God of the universe with skin on and He is acquainted with grief. Sometimes we think of God as a crusty, untouchable, high priest who looks on us from a disapproving distance. The fact is, He came down to be a man so that He could identify with us in every struggle we face. I don't know of another god like this. I can imagine sharing a cup of coffee with Jesus and hearing Him say tenderly, "Me, too."

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If you are struggling in an area of your life, remember that Jesus was also tempted, rejected by friends and misunderstood by His family - they actually said He was crazy! Jesus lost a best friend, people lied and gossiped about Him and He was often tired and had to explain Himself over and over. Jesus wept and prayed fervently when He was overwhelmed with future. Jesus asked for help from His friends, He asked them to pray for Him. The God of the Universe asked for prayer, why don't you?

It's just as important to be the one who shares victories and to be open and willing to pat your friend's hand and say, "I've been there" or "We are going through the same thing right now". Psalm 107 commands, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble." People need to know they are not alone. People need to know they will survive this seemingly never ending season. When I was a new mother, experienced mothers would tell me, "Don't worry, that baby will sleep one day." I secretly hated those women because they didn't look tired and I felt like they were demeaning. Not so, they survived a season and they were offering hope. We must be humble enough to receive someone's hopeful words, no matter how unbelievable they are or else they bounce right off of our hard hearts.

If you struggle, remember you have a Savior who understands and identifies with you. There are people who have walked before you who can offer you hope. If you have had victory in your life, with thanksgiving, share that with others and be the one who points someone to hope and the hope giver.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

I pray you abound in hope today.