This fall, our little family ventured out, on the hunt, to find pumpkins. Since we have a 5 year old, this is an important occasion. Her pumpkin had to be “HUMONGOUS.” We found a quaint little farm, and she located the perfect specimen. It was indeed humongous! Since Daddy recently had surgery, he was forbidden to lift anything over 10 lbs. I started to lift it, but Selah stopped me. “No! It’s MY pumpkin.” I told her it was VERY heavy. She pondered, “Ok, maybe TOGETHER? …YES, TOGETHER!”

Selah reminded me we can share the load. We don’t have to do life alone. Jesus didn’t. Our 37 pound Selah, and her pumpkin, connect to Jesus.

Mark 14:32-34 (The Message) “They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

Jesus was suffering a deep, dark, horrible anguish. “He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony” and “I feel bad enough right now to die.” Have you wondered if God can relate to you? I have. How can Jesus understand? Then I re-read this passage again and again.

Maybe you are going through some significant stuff. You know, the two steps forward, three steps back sort. Perhaps major financial issues, progressive illness, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, concern for a family member, relationship issues, or all of the above. I am praying for you. May you experience the intensity of God’s love for YOU.

Now, back to Jesus…

It’s fascinating that he took his closest friends. Oh…and then, THEN he shares out loud, what he was feeling. ‘He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die.”’ In the darkest place of depression, feeling like he was going to die, he needed friends. Jesus, Son of God, NEEDED others. He was human too. He needed to connect, share feelings, and help to carry the weight, TOGETHER. Like Selah’s pumpkin, it was too much to do alone, the burden too heavy on his soul.

“Stay here and keep vigil with me.” What beautifully powerful words. Have you ever had someone just stay with you during crisis? Not talk, or try to fix it, or pray out loud (although I’m not at all dismissing how God uses prayer). There’s something so soothing to the soul about the ministry of presence. Stay here with me. When I’m wounded, I don’t want advice, or a token (out of context) bible verse. I want my closest, my dearest, to come and stay with me.

Growing up, my family faced difficult tragedies. When crisis came, our entire family would come, in one room on the floor, to be together. We had to be.

Often, my stay-with-me is found in Kim. Nearly 40 years my friend, we’ve been through much. Your stay-with-me doesn’t have to be local. Calls, emails, and social media are wonderful forms of connectedness. Real letters are fantastic. Online support groups are resources to find others with shared experiences. Consider sharing “stuff” with your trusted ones. Ask them to “stay with me” in your suffering. Don’t face it alone. Be like Selah. Let’s do it TOGETHER!

If you aren’t in crisis, consider it JOY. Ask God for opportunities. Send a card, call, email, have lunch or coffee with a friend. God can use you to shine a light in the midst of their darkness.

Hope to you,

If you or someone you know feels hopeless, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for help and support. Text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line.

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