This past Sunday at church, I was extremely emotional. In my spirit, I was grieving about different situations that members of our church are experiencing – loss, illness, heartache. As we were singing, “I will call upon your name and keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace, for I am yours and you are mine . . .” the weight of what individuals in our dear flock are going through overwhelmed me to the point of tears. I then had two choices to make – stuff my tears so no one would see them, or let them flow – potentially causing people to wonder what was wrong with me.
I have learned it is best for me to let the tears flow when they need to, rather than stuff them to be dealt with at another time. So, I let them flow and as they did, a strange and wonderful thing happened. The comforter became the comforted. First a hug by a friend who asked what was wrong. When I mentioned that I was grieving the things people were going through, she encouraged me that I have the heart of Jesus for those hurting in our church. After worship was over and we went into our greeting time, I went to the bathroom for a bit of privacy and encountered more women who wanted to physically embrace me and offer me words of comfort. It felt so good to cry on their shoulders. One of them said, “Comforters need comfort too.” Another older lady asked how she could pray for me. Two others embraced me in a circle and reminded me that God gave us to each other to walk through difficult times together.
I didn’t expect to have an emotional break down at church that day, but I’m so glad I did. The Lord used the power of His Spirit, a beautiful worship song and my sisters in Christ to comfort me. Had I not been willing to be real and human, I would have missed out on the comfort I so greatly needed.
Comforters need comfort too. When the weight of others sadness becomes too much for you to bear, where do you go for comfort? I encourage you to make a comfort plan. Here is what is included in mine:
- Cry when I need to. There is nothing like a good cry to release some of the emotions that get built up.
- I Read the book of Psalms. David is a master comforter; in fact, he’s penned some of the most comforting words in all of history – Psalm 23.
- I remember that although God has called me to be a shepherd, the little flock under my care is ultimately His. Two of my go to Scriptures when I need to lay people at the feet of Jesus are: Save Your people and bless Your heritage; nourish and shepherd them and carry them forever. Psalm 28:9, Amplified and “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11, NIV
- I let others comfort me. There is no shame in needing comfort as a comforter. In fact, if you want to continue to be an effective comforter, it is imperative that you let others comfort you. This is a key to longevity in ministry.
Comforters need comfort too. As you continue to give God’s comfort, make sure you receive it as well. One of God’s gifts of grace to us as leaders is providing people who feel called to love, support and encourage us. Let them do what God has called them to do!
Your Friend in Ministry,