Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
You tell me how he left, how you’re by yourself now. But you tell me you’re strong because God is with you. You tell me you’re going to be okay.
There you are, on the other side of the world, a sister decades younger, and we are connected. I feel your strength, even here. And in this circle, I am strengthened too.
We send each other stories, emails. We explain heartbreak, words typed on blank white and sent to each other’s computers thousands of miles away. We can’t do this alone–hold each other close, listen to one another’s story and not feel overwhelmed–without Jesus.
WE CAN’T LOVE EACH OTHER WELL UNLESS WE CHOOSE TO SEE JESUS IN THE MIDDLE OF EVERYTHING WE SAY.
I sit on my knees, hard floor beneath me. I close my eyes, and I see you. We stand before the Father, us two. But it’s not just us. There are hundreds, thousands of sisters, more than our eyes can see. And we are known here. Gathered in a circle. We are the circle. We are the circle of light.
WE ARE THE DAUGHTERS WHO STAND AT THE FEET OF THEIR FATHER AND LIVE KNOWING WE ARE HELD AND ADORED AND CHAMPIONED AND SAFE.
Oh, we are completely safe.
You tell me how even though your boyfriend is leaving, and you are pregnant, you are not alone. You tell me you are strong and there is a future for you. You tell me God is recreating you, and it is always a new beginning with Him. And I believe it. You help me hear His voice. When you speak, I hear His whisper. A whisper to my heart that started as an email to a stranger that is a sister.
No, we are not strangers, you and I.
In the fall I finished writing a book, and it is in the hands of the publisher and editor now. It is a book about desperation and darkness. It is a book about regret and pain and sadness and beauty and life and hope.
THE BOOK IS A COLLECTION OF CRIES OUT TO GOD WHEN WE FEEL WE WILL SURELY DIE IF HE DOESN’T COME IN RIGHT NOW–RIGHT NOW–AND LET HIS LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT ON OUR FACE.
Oh, Jesus, shine your light on our face.
Now, the circle.
Next to us, also in the circle, is a sister whom I connect with on Facebook, a darling one who confesses what she has never shared with anyone else before. I am on my stomach on my bed, my laptop in front of me. Justin is at his men’s group, and I leave the screen for a few moments to corral a teenager and find a water bottle for a 12 year old and kiss a ten year old who loves to be tucked in. But I return to my laptop, and I am with Jesus, in the circle with our sister, and I stand next to her, with Jesus. We hold hands.
NOTHING SHE SAYS TO ME, I THINK, CAN SHOCK ME, CAN MAKE ME NOT LOVE HER, THIS SISTER I HAVE YET TO MEET FACE TO FACE.
Yet, the circle.
This place where sisters gather, in the company of Jesus is safe. It is holy ground. I thank God that He has made it so. I thank Him for coming, leaning against the almond tree when I laid on the ground in the orchard and believed that my heart was a place where no light could ever shine. And Jesus came. I return to the almond tree and Jesus is there, looking at me, shining light on my face in my darkest night.
Jesus, You shine.
Now sister, that boyfriend of yours, he may not change the way we wish he would. That past of ours, the one we wish we could rewrite, is history that will never go away. But the circle, the light shining bright, is where we remember where hope is. We speak words of confession and we love each other the way Jesus loved us first. And then we see Him and we hear Him and we feel Him.
Yes, this circle is where we stay. It is safe here, in the place where Jesus is.
Can you see it?
Raise your head now, dear one.
Can you see?
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com