“What a friend we have in Jesus,” lyrics to a hymn I remember singing in church as a little girl. I found myself humming it over and over again throughout my day today. I have not heard or sang that song in many years. I recognized it being stuck in my head as a wink from God. A wink to remind me that He is near.
I googled the lyrics to the song penned decades ago and this is what I found:
“What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer”
All at once I remembered sitting in the church pew next to my grandmother, belting out every word. Today they offer such fitting words to read on the heels of Easter Sunday. Today they reach deeper than perhaps ever before. Today they fill my soul just as I tread the line of running on empty.
In a time we categorize as uncertain, I must admit I am most uncertain about how I am really doing with all of this. For the most part, I feel fine, even normal. Then I question if feeling normal is itself a sign of insanity. But before I stress out over that or what to make for dinner or Google classroom or fighting siblings – I take a deep breath and remember that I am not alone.
To be clear I am literally never alone. I live in a house with my husband, our four children, my mother, and my brother. If you are counting that is eight people under one roof. I am sure it sounds a bit more chaotic than it actually is. We have a lot of fun together and a lot of space for when we need to spread out.
Regardless of family size, I know most moms can agree that they are never physically alone. Yet whenever we experience a new normal or whatever this is we are currently experiencing, it is easy to feel like we are alone.
Alone in our individual struggles.
Alone in our burnouts, alone in our need for reassurance.
Alone with our thoughts; with no one to validate if said thoughts are crazy or a voice that is in perfect harmony with the masses.
As real as it feels, the truth is we are never alone. If we trust those who love us and open up, we will find unexpected shoulders to lean on. Most moms spend so much time being the shoulder, we forget to lean on the shoulders available to us. Especially the greatest shoulders of all.
A couple years ago, I went to a women’s conference. I really wanted to go so I signed up before I confirmed anyone would be able to attend with me. By anyone I am referring to the three people I knew in my new city. We had only lived in Dallas a few months at the time, so I had a shortlist of folks to invite to attend with me. I love people but I am also totally comfortable doing things alone. As the story goes, I attended alone, and I honestly had no problem with that.
Oddly enough, as I was getting ready for the conference, I felt God tell me I would meet a friend there. More specifically I felt Him say “best friend”. Honestly, I found this to be a little weird. I shrugged, “seems a little dramatic God, but okey-dokey.” At the conference I found myself checking out all the cool people and sizing them up, like “maybe she’s the one.” If you know me, you know I never meet a stranger. I love talking to people. This was starting to feel like a problem, “if I keep talking to everybody, how will I know if it’s her?”
As I walked away from laughing and talking with one of my new “friends” I whispered, almost in a mocking tone, “is it her?” God replied. “It’s me.” Tears fell from my eyes to my chin faster than I could wipe them away. The creator of the universe, my good, good father, reminded me that He was my friend.
He is always with me.
He wants to have a relationship with me.
He is my best friend.
What a friend to have!
Those words that I sang so many years ago have echoed throughout my entire life. What a dear, precious friend I have in Jesus. A friend who died to carry every burden. A friend who suffered so I don’t have to. What a friend who walks so close that even in my cloudy thoughts, He sees me clearly. One who wants so deeply to have a relationship with me that He died to make it so. And He gave me His Spirit so that I am never alone.
As we gracefully walk in the roles of moms, wives, sisters, daughters, and friends, let us always remember that in Him we are never alone. And let the words of an old hymn remind you that you have a friend who is very near and wants to bear every burden you have.
Let’s lean into the friendship that Jesus is offering. And may we never forfeit our peace by carrying our own burdens. But let His Word continue to fill us so that we never risk running on empty:
“Be strong and have strength of heart! Do not be afraid or lose faith. For the Lord your God is with you anywhere you go.” Joshua 1:9
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
“Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” Ephesian 2:19-22
About This Featured Friend
This girl is a great friend with a fierce passion to discover Jesus in every situation or circumstance. The love she has for Jesus and her family is an inspiration to me. She exudes confidence and humility with each breath and I am better for knowing her. I hope you get to know her too.