About the Author

Heather Gemmen Wilson loves to laugh. She says, "Through all the circumstances of my life, I have gained more than I have lost ... and I'm not just talking weight." Heather is married to her best friend, Lawrence W. Wilson, a pastor, and they have a colorful blended family of...

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  1. I love your words “The more I know them, the more I love them; and the more I love them, the more it hurts to see their burdens.” For the past 6 months I have been digilently praying for a new friend. And your words are so true. The more our friendship grew the more it hurt to see their burdens. There are times I’d like to just give up, but I can’t. My experience prompted a blog post of my own talking about carrying each other’s burdens.
    Thank you for sharing your honest words with us.

  2. I’m so touched by your honesty. It takes guts to admit exhaustion in prayer. We all get tired of cooking, of being hung onto 24/7 by toddlers, of being nagged, of driving this way and that and feeling like nothing more than chauffeur or maid. But to say, “I’m tired of praying. I’m tired of bearing the burden,” is something entirely different.

    It takes guts to admit when we’re faith is exhausting – guts to admit it doesn’t come naturally or easy. Or at least I think it takes guts because then I feel like maybe I’m not as good a Christian as the next guy or as good a Christian as I SHOULD be. And I start to doubt myself – which really means I’m doubting God’s ability to work in me, doesn’t it? So yes, I think you’re brave for being so candid and I thank you for your candidness. It is refreshing when we are real with each other, yes? When we all admit that faith IS work. That bearing each other’s burdens is NOT easy. And we DO get exhausted because even though the spirit is willing, the flesh is still so so weak. But I am reminded in my weaknesses of Christ in Gethsemane. If the Lord Himself can sweat drops of blood, can be at a breaking point and be scared and tired and asking His father if there is ANY other way – well, then that means God is OK with my breaking points, with my fears, with my tiredness, with my doubts. And even if He has to tell me, “no child, there is no other way,” I know He’ll follow that statement up with, “but I am STILL on my throne and I am ALWAYS with you.”

  3. Yes, yes and yet again…yes.

    “But he’s also opened my eyes to the burdens of others and he asks me to bring those burdens to him. It’s rather overwhelming to think he’s chosen me for this job, but I’m going to keep doing it as long as he lets me.”

    Amen

  4. Thank you for the reminder to keep on keeping on. Sometimes I get tired of caring about brothers and sisters that do not want to truly share their lives, their hearts. We American Christians are so independent. Sometimes I just want the Lord to take care of them and leave me out of it. But God, He is faithful. Its in loving them that I most learn of His love for me. Ah, the privilege of praying.

  5. As my oldest lamb is away for a while (see blog and click on “Hoss'” picture) I have kneeled before my Savior so often, many times a day. My mind returns to the parable about the persistent friend. We must continue to beg Christ for his will to be done; naming our concerns to Him. Praying God’s Word back is critical as well.

  6. Dear Heather,

    Thank you for this Blog. Please know that you have encouraged me with this. That no matter how tired , overwhelmed or frustrated you are you are persevering to just continue praying for and Loving those people. I know how hard it gets for me and I’m not a pastor’s wife and I don’t have kids to care for.

    I will be praying for you my dear Sister in Christ. Coming along side of you and helping you bear your burden. Remember the Lord doesn’t give us more than we can handle WITH HIM! Life can get difficult but when we are weak he is strong. Just remember that God does not call people because they are qaulified, He qualifies the people he calls. God Bless you for allowing the Lord to use you in the way he has called you.

    Thank you again and rest in God’s peace!

    In Christ’s Love & prayers
    Sis in Christ
    Tina

  7. Here is something I just posted on my blog. We seem to be in the same place–I can relate! Dan and James are my two young adult sons who both have autism.

    Losing My Way….

    Living in my happy place does not mean feeling happy all the time. I have not felt happy these last few days. Three friends have died in recent weeks of cancer. I’m sad for their families and for all the people who will miss them.

    I’m sad because the other night at Dan’s birthday dinner, James was being rude and disruptive at the restaurant. Nothing I said helped him redirect his negative behavior. On the contrary, it seemed that everything I said aggravated him even more. Which in turn, aggravated me. I was unable to take an emotional step back. I felt frustrated, embarrassed, angry, ashamed, and sad. So sad.

    The anniversary of 9/11 hit me hard. People of faith, many faiths, stirring up so much anger and hatred. So much fear. Causing so much pain. The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35. “Jesus wept.” I think he must be weeping now. My spirit hurts.

    I try to meditate, to pray. To pick an appropriate step and use it. Where are all those happy habits I’ve been nurturing? I’m churned up, cranky, uncomfortable. I want to have a tantrum and a good cry, and then go to bed for several days. Until the storm passes. Until I feel at peace.

    No, living in our happy place does not mean that life is always joyful. Old habits resurface. Judgment, criticism, control. Especially control.

    So I wait.

    Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. –Psalms 27:14

  8. Prayer often feels like a last resort or a trite way to dismiss a difficult situation, one in which we have no answers. Bottom line is that we need to pray, even when it feels dry and difficult. Just like you mentioned. I still pray. I pray because I have a God who is bigger than my tired wimpy attempts at fixing things. I have a God who is bigger than my raw and aching heart.

    Thank you for reminding me that prayer is often what we do because we know we need to not just because we feel like doing it!

  9. Oh Heather, you have no idea how much I can relate to your post, truly no idea. Two teenage sons, husband is a Pastor, I speak/write and run the Kids Ministry at our church. I have the honor to pray with people each and every day but there are so many days when the burden of these prayers can sometimes be too much!

    My heart aches for those who share with me and even those who don’t that I “just know” that there are needs. It is so hard to live in this world right now and yet we have the HOPE of the world in Jesus.

    I loved your last line…”But he’s also opened my eyes to the burdens of others and he asks me to bring those burdens to him. It’s rather overwhelming to think he’s chosen me for this job, but I’m going to keep doing it as long as he lets me.”

    So very true sweet sister, thank you so much for sharing your heart so openly, so transparently, you are a blessing!

    xoxo,
    Melissa ~ Mel’s World 🙂

    When the burdens start to weigh heavy I remember that they are not mine to carry and give them back to Jesus. I

  10. I could not believe my eyes when I read your words. I have felt like you also and felt so guilty of it. Therefore I most definatly asked GOD for forgiveness. I get on my knees, and Isn’t it funny that once you’re on your knees, you’re comfortable and could talk to GOD forever. Thank you for pouring out your inner heart. Thank you for sharing GOD with everyone. GOD has Blessed the world with you and everything & evryone who has comes in contact with you , one way or another. God Bless you. Truly a Blessing from GOD.
    Love & Prayers Always,
    Chris

  11. I love Sister Wendy Beckett’s thoughts on prayer. She suggests that even our inchoate groanings are a form of prayer.

    That’s so natural and simple. And I think she’s probably right. God hears.

  12. So appreciate your honesty. I feel that way so often and feel guilty for constantly praying for needs and forgetting the thankful heart part. Yes, we are called to press on and so we will. I’m so glad the prayers of a righteous man avail much even when we are tired.

  13. THe timing of this could not have been more perfect. I am a volunteer with the high school ministry at my church, and I love the students I serve so much. But with the love comes the burden of sharing their pain. It’s a burden that I willingly take because I know God has called me here, but it can be heavy. And just this week, I’ve had students unload things on me that are hard, way to much for any person to carry. I am so thankful that God has put my in their lives so that they don’t have to carry it alone. But sometimes I am overwhelmed by the responsibility. And it’s my nature to want to be able to DO something, to make it better. But so often, I can only pray. It doesn’t always feel like very much, or enough, but I am faithfully praying for these students. Even when I don’t want to and even when it seems like it’s fruitless.

    I know God hears them and I know He is answering them in His time and His ways.

    Praying for you as you persevere and continue faithfully praying for your family and your church.

  14. Great post and oh so timely! It is so exhausting praying for those you truly love when you see nothing, you see no fruit and no changes in their lives. Sometimes you see them going more and more the opposite route. Sometimes you do the things that God calls you to do and say and you have hope that perhaps it will be the seed that takes root and there is nothing. However, I know that my prayers do not go unnoticed and ask that they will be answered according to HIS will and not mine (tough one). Thanks for this, I will continue to pray even when I really don’t want to and I will pray for you too!

  15. Great words. I needed to read this morning.

    I started and led a prayer network for our congregation for ten years. Kind of the updated version of the old telephone prayer chains. Folks would email me a prayer request and I would send it out to the 75 or so folks who wanted to pray with the church family and their needs. Funny sometimes – folks unburden themselves – asking someone to pray about a situation – and then forget all about it. We got the flash in the pan urgent .. we have to pray for this one about … and then 2 months later never heard an update. Our list quickly grew to 100+ names and situations we were praying for. How sad we even had names of those who had passed away on for several weeks before the person who requested the prayer – looked on the list and told me – “Oh they died a week after I asked you to pray for them.”

    The majority of the needs were all health crisis’s . That got to be so very hard. I remember the part of our list that was for those affected by cancer was over 20 names alone.

    I guess when you work behind the scenes in a congregation it is very easy to get disenchanted, to get hurt by the many who just use the church for their purposes. Everything was all on the surface. My heart breaks for them. How often people would pray about a disease with no cure – instead of praying for the opportunities this person had to share the love of God with the medical community they had made new contacts in.
    But – all the time I spent dealing with others needs – during that 10 years – I sinned and neglected my children because I was so busy with all the ‘churchwork’. Now my sons are in their upper teens. I no longer worship with that congregation – but am now fervently praying for the spiritual needs of my children who saw how the church took me away from them – and now their opinion of it – is not so good. They are questioning their faith and even God.

    My prayers these days are on their spiritual needs. That God would open our eyes to see Him for who He is and what amazing things he has done for us in order to reconcile us in our horrible conditions – to be holy in His eyes. To see He is real and loving and waiting for them to come to him.

    I pray for wisdom and knowledge and for the grace of God to open the eyes of the blind, for people to come into the lives of my kids and their friends, so that they can have the awesome comfort of knowing they belong to the King heart and soul and body.

  16. Thanks so much for sharing so honestly. Yes, I have felt exhausted in prayer, so many people, so many needs, so much pain…. Jehovah Jireh!

  17. You’re so honest. I quit sometimes…praying. Perseverance doesn’t come by me naturally. And it’s really wrong because when I pray there are answers. Thank the Lord He has the world in His hands. I need to keep my responsibility though.