Kirsten Panachyda

Writer and Speaker

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The Weird Little Club

“Such a weird little club.”

Three of us stood in a little huddle in the far aisle of the church. Earlier, I had asked for prayer from a few people for Nicholas, who was in the hospital again for depression and suicidal thoughts. My son always gave me the gift of transparency: I could share his situation with anyone. Unknowingly, he also gave the gift of community to others.

“My daughter has been cutting.”

“He’s not eating.”

“My kid is so angry all the time. He hardly ever comes out of his room.”

“I don’t even know where she is.”

These parents have pain so raw, but so hidden. Sometimes they do not have permission from their kids to tell anyone, but it somehow ends up spilling out anyway. They hear a whisper, an echo of their agony: “Kirsten asked for prayer for Nicholas. He’s not doing well.” They are drawn; they come to me and pull their hurt from the shadows. They hold it out to me, bleeding and tender.

My heart breaks each time. But then we can help each other mend, just a little, just enough for the moment. We become blood sisters, as our words, heart-blood, and tears mingle. We pray those brief whispered prayers together, composed as much of hand squeeze and sniffles as language.

“This is such a weird little club,” one of my blood sisters says with a misty humor. “I don’t want to be in it. I wish none of us were. But… I’m so glad I found out you guys are struggling too. Thank God for all of you.”

Yes. Thank you, God. And thank You for bleeding with us, for us. Help us be Your heart toward the hurting.

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