cloud of witnesses

Again, I read a blog that makes me want to jump up and down. By Sarah Bessey, (the same one who wrote about being brave).

She  wrote about all the people she’s needed in her life, about the people who have demonstrated bravery and love and walking with God that encourage her. Some of her words:

“We’re never alone in our stores, we’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. I always feel like I love Jesus better when I hear from other women how and why they love Him, too.  I feel braver when I see other women be brave. One seed of freedom, one woman who walks in freedom, sets others free, too.”

A cloud of witnesses, as in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I’m thankful for my cloud of witnesses; who I have needed to see, witness, walk with, sit with, talk with, laugh with.

I’ve needed Emily. I’ve needed to see her transition into her new married life and job and city, asking for prayer the whole time. I’ve needed to see her pray for her husband and her friends and her family, and hear how she loves her parents, and how she admits her fatigue and prays for strength. I’ve needed her to continually tell me to rest, and to keep us connected in our new lives. I’ve needed her to validate my stress and fatigue and anger, and I’ve needed her to tell me to just pray for my next baby steps.

 

I’ve needed Jess. I’ve needed to feel how she loves others, and to see how big her heart is and what selfless living is. I’ve needed her to show me what speaking honestly is. I’ve needed her to teach me how to get through to-do lists and how to connect as friends. I’ve also needed her to get me hooked on baggy sweatpants and lip gloss. God knew I needed her too, in big and small ways. I needed her to tell me that divorce gets better, but that all these feelings are valid. I’ve needed to experience the closeness that comes from Genesis and church and prayers; that the closer you get, the closer you get.

 

I’ve needed Jenna. I’ve needed her boldness and inspiration and listening. for inspiration to stay centered on God. Jenna says yes, always to friends, she drives me and asks about my papers and my brain and holds me up when I’m worn.

I’ve needed Jackie. I’ve needed to witness the work of God in her over in South Korea, to see the transformation of her heart. She has shown me what true adventure and trust look like, and how to live in a place that points to places in your heart only God can fill. She’s lived in South Korea for over a year, and she’s found God in her kitty, in the moon, and while climbing mountains and making tortillas. It’s hard to be alone, but she does it, and blogs honestly about the state of her heart. I’ve needed her encouragement and love over our email chain and texting using our Kakoa app. Last year, I needed her to tell me that she was lonely too, that she was having a hard time too. I needed us to look at the same moon the same night and be connected by awe of God’s beauty.

I’ve needed Casey. I needed to see her celebrate and hold her family and friends that became her family; and to see her prioritize being intentional, and praying out loud. I needed her to be fully present in both the broken and the beauty, to be 110% about her feelings, and to go through broken families together.

I’ve needed my mom. I needed to see her faith grow in time of hurt and uncertainty. I needed to see her hold on to our family, to cherish memories old and new, and show up everyday at every meet, every text and phone call. I needed to see her pray boldly and be honest with her true feelings.

I’ve needed Monica. I needed to see how she loves others with her long hugs and energetic words. and give me grace while my nose has been in the books.

I needed Liz. My light in the city last year, my accountability partner, my friend as we prayed through all but the last two chapters of Romans. I needed to hear her pray with her whole heart.

I’ve needed my small group. I’ve needed to hear the stories of redemption and hope in their testimonies. I’ve needed to hear God speaking through them and Colossians, and in their prayers. I’ve needed to be reminded of how God created us to live in community. I’ve needed Emily B to remind me not to believe lies from the evil one, and to keep putting trust in God.

I’ve needed Kali. I’ve needed her to remind me each night we have so much to be thankful for.

I’ve needed Lillian. I’ve needed her to keep jumping in, with little prayers and pieces of golden encouragement.

I’ve needed Katy. I’ve needed to open heart to hear more of God, and how she always wants to go to church.

I’ve needed my bloggers– Shauna Niequist, Sarah Bessey, and Glennon Doyle Melton. I needed to hear their stories, and hear the word of God in them. I’ve needed to read how Shauna nourishes her home team and works on resting, and being present over perfect. I’ve needed to read Sarah’s words on bravery and moving mountains one rock at a time, hand-in-hand with your cloud of witnesses. I’ve needed to witness Glennon’s honesty about her heart, as she embodies everyday truth-telling, and finding hope in Jesus, among all the crap.

Grateful for my cloud, for the idea of community, that we are to do life together with Christ, pointing each other to Him. I am thankful for the idea of rest and bravery and hope, and for people to tell me the truth of God’s love and grace.

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