this is my gospel…

 “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.” (2 Timothy 2:8-9).

Quietly, she’s entered into my world. A month ago, I didn’t know she existed. But then she slipped in. Courageously and without pretense she came. Settled in close to my pew, even closer to my heart. And there she has stayed.

A single mom of a one-year-old daughter. Broken. Scarred. Frightened. Confused. Feeling like nothing, like forgotten, like trapped with nowhere else to run to but to church. No one else to turn to but to Jesus.

What courage she has displayed with her choosing—with the willing exposure of her heart to complete strangers in hopes of finding solace to replace the aggravation she has known. Something tells me she needs me. Something tells me I need her as well. And in the midst of all the needing, I search for answers—for a gift to give her beyond the customary hug and offer of prayer. I long to do more, to give better, to reach beyond safe borders in order to fix her heart and to remove her pain.

It is immense, her pain. Relevant and obvious. Tender and confrontational. One would be hard-pressed to miss it; still and yet, most will go out of their way to avoid it. Personal pain is hard enough to manage without taking on the pain of a stranger. So I tread cautiously, carefully toward her, creating a safe place for her to share her story. Bits and pieces are emerging to form a clearer picture. As they materialize, I hold them in my heart and try to make sense of it all. Try to manage my reactions; try to reason my responses. Try to figure out what I can tell her that might bring her one step closer to freedom. Try to get the words out of my heart that will usher her to the threshold of God’s hold. Try to give her truth. True truth. Not relative truth, but real faith-in-the-flesh God truth.

Jesus Christ.

This is my gospel. He is my gospel.

Jesus Christ, raised from the dead. Jesus Christ, descended from David. Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Jesus Christ, Son of Man. God incarnate. God made flesh. God with me, Emmanuel.

This is my gospel. My glad tidings and sacred proclamation of the grace that I have found in Jesus Christ. The good news according to the good Book that has led millions of souls down the path toward freedom to arrive beneath the threshold of God’s hold. This is where I begin with her—where the hug extends its witness beyond what is safe and customary.

The Gospel is anything but.

The Gospel is the most confrontational, exceptional, and beautifully dangerous word of truth ever received by and into human hearts. It is the one key to unlocking personal pain. The one salve to soothe suffering. The one road map that will point the lost toward home. It’s all I know to give her. The best I know to give her.

This is my gospel. This is my story. It will be enough to point her home.

What is your gospel, friends? Your story? Your truth? Will it be enough to point the broken, the scarred, the frightened, and the confused back to Jesus? Is the grace and freedom you’ve received as your own the same grace and freedom you extend to others? What life has settled in next to yours that needs the witness of something more than a customary hug or offer of prayer? When was the last time you spoke truth into pain … grace and mercy into brokenness? The last time you stretched your heart wide to include the heart of the hurting?

It’s not always easy to extend welcoming inclusion to others, especially when suffering your own personal trauma. But one thing is for certain. Pain isn’t going anywhere, nor are those who are most affected by its insistence. Pain is all around us and will continue its assault upon us until we’re willing to treat it with the truth of Jesus Christ.

The God who chose to make his dwelling with us.
The God who has suffered as we have suffered.
The God who willingly walked to the cross so that we might walk in freedom.
The God who rose from the dead so that we might, also, one day rise to him.

This is my gospel. A worthy truth. A worthy witness. A worthy Word for all seasons, painful and otherwise. Would you take time to examine the gospel according to you this week? Do so beneath the watchful gaze of the Gospel according to Jesus Christ. Find where you are lacking and strengthen your story. There’s a hurting heart, maybe even nestled in next to you on the pew, who needs the witness of God’s truth. No one can live it, speak it, and give it as well as you can.

Even so, get to it… keep to it. As always…

Peace for the journey,

23 Responses to this is my gospel…

  1. A few years ago, I was struck by what Francis Frangipane said in his online school that I attended… He said, "The land of your wounding is the land of your anointing." My heart embraced that word, allowed it to seep into the broken places of my heart. That word brought so much healing. Because it is true. What the enemy meant to cripple and maim us, God has turned around for good. Our mourning into dancing, beauty out of the ashes of our lives.

    ANd so I really understand what you are saying in this post. It is so true. Even in the midst of our own pain, God sends someone into our life… someone who needs to hear what God is saying… without your own trauma and personal struggle, your words would be hollow.

    And, we your readers who have kept coming back to drink from your well, we are in the same position as that dear woman you write about in this post.

    Thank you, Elaine. Like Jesus, if we learn our lessons well, with grace, as I always say it, you are I are wounded healers. I know you are. Hopefully the same can be said of me.

    Much love

  2. We miss so much because we choose not to see. It is a simple revelation that has torn my heart the last few years. I have been guilty like so many others of choosing not to see past my own misery. With much grace, my heart and my eyes are changing. While not perfect, I am better.

    Each moment we are all given opportunity to gaze into the sacred and holy. Each moment we are given opportunity to be vessels carrying Him to another. Each moment we choose – even when we don't realize it – we choose.

    Seeking to see those who have "settled in beside me". Thank you for such a beautiful reminder to choose to see and to choose to share.

  3. Hmmm… the gospel according to me. What a sobering thought. I pray that the gospel according to me rings out "Jesus" and "grace" and "love" and all the wonderful things that Jesus is. Great food for thought, Elaine…

  4. It amazes me that although at it's core our gospel is all the same in Christ but then we also have our individual stories. Each trial and blessing we have is not only to teach us and draw us closer to Him but also for us to share. Thanks for so openly sharing your gospel with us.

  5. What a wonderful thing to ponder….the gospel according to me. Much food for thought here and I will spend some time with this. Your story did bring to mind this young woman (who is part of our family, but only in a way) who soo desperately needs someone to just love her. Her life has been just tragic in many ways. I have wanted to both "mother" her (she is only 21 and her mother is a drug addict) and at the same time point her as best as I can towards the only one who has the power to make a real difference in her life. It sounds simple but I have found I must step cautiously. It is easier I fear sometimes to just go about our lives feeling there is not much we can do. I am very certain that is not the Lord's plan for her. This was a great post for me. Have a good week Elaine. HUGS

  6. This could well require a 2nd or 3rd read. In fact, I dare say it's very timely given all the "make nice (other?) Gospels" being distributed here-and-there by many who want to appeal to the world. I don't judge their motives, but the true Gospel does not have the sort of appeal they barter.

    What is my Gospel? I think I have to join Paul: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last …".
    Romans 1:16-17

  7. I'm thinking this friendship might be just what you and she need….an answer to prayers uttered by both of you.

  8. Maybe what is hardest about reaching out to others is the weariness it takes to invest emotionally in someone else. And what if that isn't returned? I know it is not wasted, but it is draining. Yet, isn't that what Christ did for me? Give His all? How can I do less for Him? How can I do less for others when it is what He has called us to? I shouldn't have to look very far to find the person God wants me to minister to. I know God has helped you not only minister to our hearts, but to this dear woman. May God bless and continue to prosper your friendship.

  9. You posts always speak volumes to my heart! I just don't understand why I can't get over this pain and on with loving and serving God again. You are an amazing woman of God, Elaine! I am blessed by your precious words!

  10. the Gospel – our life. Jesus is so worth everything that we may have to sacrifice! He is so good!

  11. Beautiful my friend.

    What is my gospel? The profound yet simple truth: Jesus loves me. It is personal, intimate, yet needs to be shared and lived. It is from His love in obedience I can reach out to those hurting, through my own pain.

    If you haven't already read the P31 devotion yesterday by Samantha, may I encourage you to do so. Then follow to her blog. You will be blessed. She shares about stepping in to someone's pain. The two of you were/are walking hand-in-hand with the Savior.

    Thank you for the times you have held my pain and walked with me. Love you my friend,

  12. So glad you are in her life, Elaine. Someone like you walked up alongside me many years ago. Thanks be to God, I have never been the same.

    It has changed how I view others … and how I view myself … and mostly, how I view Jesus. That person (several people actually) were Jesus with skin on, and it resulted in a paradigm shift.

  13. AMEN!! So true, so good!! Reminds me of the verse that Joy just posted: “…Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Zechariah 8:23

    Should be all our prayers for so we can guide those hurting sole to Jesus.

    Living in His Embrace~Pamela

  14. Amen to all of the above!
    God's timing is perfect. I've had a similar situation where God brought a needy young lady into my life…but it was as much for me as for her. Eleven years later she is like another daughter to me.

  15. Yet another beautiful, heartfelt post Elaine.

    I've often found that in the midst of our own pain, confusion and turmoil that God sends us someone to help us regain the proper perspective; to refocus on the world through His eyes. To see away from the inside, and regain the understanding of Christ's mission for all of us; To serve others in love, and to glorify God in the sharing.

    Thank you for once again sharing your journey with us Dear Lady.

    Have a Blessed Day!

  16. I've met others with similar stories…hard life, looking for something….but what gets me is I'm afraid to get close to them…emotionally. Don't know why. Not that I think they are less than me, because there is real need there, but maybe as another blogger said, so much to invest and maybe that's it in a nutshell. We are not willing to invest the time, or even the love…
    Makes me feel ashamed of myself!!


  17. wifeforthejourney:

    Your heart and love for people is an inspiration to us all. At the same time, each of us needs to consider how we are living the Gospel message. If we are to truely BE disciples of Christ, we must be seeking every opportunity to MAKE disciples.

    I hope my own attitude today will be one that seeks to draw people closer to Jesus, and equip them to make disciples themselves.

    Love you,

  18. A beautiful post. That young woman is fortunate, no, blessed to have you to share with her the gospel of Jesus. There is nothing better we can do for another. Blessings & Prayers for you both!

  19. She is so blessed to have you, just as you will be blessed in what God brings about in this new friendship. She probably doesn't know it yet, but God gave her a very special gift when you were sent her way. Another new chapter,for both of you.

    Your words about the gospel… I could never have said it this well, never… but I am saying a big AMEN as I read this morning. Every descriptive word you've used is the 'gospel truth'!
    One more time, I leave here blessed and challenged.


  20. A most powerful post. I was captured by it.

    I am so thankful that the Gospel is not just words – it is The Word – The Person of Jesus. HE is the Good News. The message of Hope that reaches across all boundaries that separate us from God.

    HE is the message to proclaim to the hurting and lost souls of this world.

    God is laying a call on my heart – and it involves bringing His Son to people – in the very real and honest and authentic way that speaks through His scarred hands to their scarred hearts.

    GOD BLESS, Elaine – hug that woman for me, too.

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