To Grow in the Leaning

This post was written for the Five Minute Friday prompt: grow:


Ephesians 4: 16 (NLT)

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Lately, I’ve found myself reflecting on how God has placed particular people around me on my journey of faith. These are people who have sat with me, prayed for me, wept with and for me, and have linked hands with me, nearby and oceans apart.

Even those I have felt called to come alongside and support, have ended up blessing me, precisely when I’ve sat and listened to their hard. They may feel they have very little to give, as I have so often felt, but precisely in those struggling moments is when I see and feel God most vividly.

When they weep from the hard that just keeps coming,  but still speak of God’s goodness carrying them through. When they share of doubts and fears and unbelief and yet also of the tethered hope that never relents…then my tears can’t stop flowing because through it all I see God carrying them…carrying them when they feel they can live no more.

You see, through every hard they have found themselves lifted up by other people of faith…Exactly when they’ve felt they can’t place one more foot in front of the other, then someone has arrived unannounced at their door, or sent them a message with words that prove a balm to their soul, or picked up the phone to give them that call or left a gift at their door.

And so ” joined and held together by every supporting ligament” we find ourselves growing. A community of broken, grieving, yearning souls, but souls resting in the strength of the love our God and Father is growing us up in. Precisely in the awful hard, the gaping holes, the memories that try to press us under, the fear, the doubts, the hurt … all of it…in this He is growing us up in His Love, as He presses us into each other, helping us to lean on Him: on His love that pours out of each one of us. Yes, surprisingly we are growing, even through all that which was meant to harm us, to pull us under. Precisely through that, as He is joining us together, knitting and weaving us one into the other, so that when one of us falls, the other holds us up, He is growing us in strength, in hope, in faith and love.


Last week I released my first ever book- Love Embraced: A Journey in and through Suffering. You can read more about it below and find friends of mine reflecting on different parts of it here: Love Embraced Reflections.

Fear, Grief, PTSD and The Embrace of Love

Not one of us is immune to suffering. So many of us have experienced loss, rejection, trauma and/or deep hurt. But often we decide to keep working, to keep going and to keep numbing that which we are terribly scared will break us into tiny little pieces. Love Embraced records the author’s own journey through such suffering, in:

– caring for her mother dying of cancer
– grieving her mother’s death
– her diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and
– working through repressed childhood memories.

But, it also reveals how in starting to face that which she was too frightened to face, she began to embrace and be embraced by a mighty God into:

– freedom
– hope,
– comfort,
– peace,
– strength and
– deep joy.

loved meme final



19 thoughts on “To Grow in the Leaning

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I recently lost my brother to suicide, and even though it was the hardest thing I’ve walked through, I grew so much and learned so much. God truly brought good out of something that was horrible. I will be checking out your book, too. Visiting from FMF. 🙂


    1. Oh Rosanne, I can’t even begin to imagine just how hard that was and is for you. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Thankful to God for carrying you through such suffering. He never leaves us alone, does He? May God continue to minister to you and grow you through the pain. Thank you for your visit here…I’ll be dropping by your blog again too.


  2. It is true that God puts people in our lives to help, support, and love us when we need it the most. I think He also enables us to do it through His love because honestly we cant without it. Oh how deep His love is for us. Thanks friend!


  3. How much we all need one another! There is such strength and support to be found in the community of faith, in being the broken-whole body of Christ who lift and encourage and come alongside. I love how you express it here: “A community of broken, grieving, yearning souls, but souls resting in the strength of the love our God and Father is growing us up in.” It’s a reciprocal thing whereby those who are strong can sit with the weaker ones. And we all swing from one state to the other.
    I can vouch for you being one who has sat with me in the dark pit of discouragement recently, helping to lift in prayer and being given just the right words to say at the right time to bring hope and encouragement. I praise God for bringing you into my life, Anna. You are a gift of grace to me and to so many. I’m blessed to have become your friend in cyberspace! Xx ❤


    1. Thanks you, Joy, for your precious words of encouragement here. I praise God for your presence too…your words have been such a balm through the struggles. Love how God has brought us together as two strangers across the ocean. So blessed by you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Anna! Wow, I looked at your book and your website, thank you for visiting mine so I coudl find you! I was a trauma counsellor for years, I did my masters degree in counselling therapy and worked with both victims of trauma and abused women here in South Africa. I get your heart and hopefully I can read your book sometime, well done on getting it published and for being so open with your heart. There is no info on my blog about my new book coming out, because I am having an author website built where all the info will be on there. I would love to share it with you when its up next week, would that be okay? Will visit your blog again for sure, bless you! Aliyah (


    1. That would be lovely, Aliyah. So keen to hear more. I loved discovering your blog. My Mum graduated with her counseling degree a few short months before she passed away, but the impact her studies had were huge. She shared so much wisdom with me in those last months…and it and my experience of EMDR therapy and PTSD counseling has gotten me so interested in how our human minds work.


  5. Hi Anna, I am not sure if my last comment posted? I found the follow button which I could not find, thanks so much for finding me on my website, ahhh I wish you lived closer tooooo! Wow, I just value you for sharing what God took you through and how He uses those places in our lives to deepen our walk with Him. Will try get your book soon! I pray for God to open your husbands eyes to His Grace, I am sure you are an example of Gods Love! Bless you and will lift you up in prayer for your new book! On my blog I have no info about my new book, but will send you the link to my author site when it gets up this week, exciting. Hope we can keep in touch, blessings!


    1. Yes, I got it…have just gotten home from a night out with friends…so responding late. Looking forward to staying in touch too. Thank you for your encouragement here.


      1. NO Problem Anna, shew, it just kept on not showing up! Its almost 1am here in South Africa, so time to hit the snooze. Have a wonderful evening! ALiyah


      2. It’s midnight here too, so I’m off to bed too. I remember that our time difference was the same….have a South African friend living here in NL.


      3. Oh that is so cool! I am so used to communicating with friends in America, that it is crazy. I also have family in Canada and the time zones are really crazy! I hope you had a wonderful Sunday, Blessings!


  6. Anna, I am constantly amazed at God’s loving provision for our needs, when we don’t even know what to pray. His love has been displayed by the unmistakable connections He orchestrates in my life. I lost my precious son of 21 in December to a work accident.. Death will never have the same sting, as God has given me a glimpse through the veil, and assurance that my dear boy is better than ever. Best wishes on your new book! I know God will use it to His Glory.


    1. Thanks, Debbie. Your story has been such an encouragement to me…I have been given a window into God’s great love and provision for you and Roma via your blog and it has been so beautiful to see. I’ve been praying for you though too because although we carry that steadfast hope of what is to come it can also be so very hard in the here and now, in the missing of those who have gone ahead of us.


Comments are closed.