“Come to Me … because I am gentle and humble in heart …” Matthew 11:28a, 29b NIV




Through my honest sharing, I hope that God will ignite your heart with encouragement in a fresh way that only He can make happen. If you’re reading this right now, I believe it is because He has led your eyes to land on it. God knows where you are right now and He has some life-giving words to share with you. I hope you will read on.

I am sitting here at my laptop thanking God that it still works. It’s a long story, with moving and not using it for a while, so I wasn’t sure if it would still light up. It did, and I’m thankful. Of all things, I’m sitting at my kitchen table with a glass of water, two Bibles, a box of Kleenex and undergarments spread out to dry.

My house is usually in somewhat show order, but today my house and I are far from show order. I’m sitting here barefoot, in mismatched pajamas, still wearing yesterday’s left-over make-up much smudged from crying — and it’s 3:30 p.m. and counting. These last few days, I have been counting the minutes until I can self-medicate and go to bed. Did I just say that?!




Why am I telling you this? Because I don’t want you to feel alone, like I often do when so horribly missing the mark. I won’t leave you here with me in this dark place, though. That’s a promise. I have some good news coming.

Just a while ago I finished watching a “feel-good” Christian movie, a rare thing to do in the afternoon, but it’s been an especially painful day and I just wanted to not think.

Have you had days like that?

Can movies even be Christian?

Anyway, there was a part in the movie that referred to Matthew 11. So, after the movie finished and, still feeling frighteningly low, I peeled myself off the couch and thought I would try to read the whole chapter since I wasn’t sure to which verse they were referring. I asked the Holy Spirit to please sit with me, hold me, and help me see what He wanted me to see. I knew even getting to the table to do this was a work of God, so I held out some hope that I’d feel better after having done it. Besides, what else was I going to do with my time? There I go, being too honest again. Ugh…




As soon as I started reading, I felt the reassuring Presence of Jesus, so while continuing to read, I talked to Him and the Holy Spirit. Some parts seemed stern, but I couldn’t deny how powerfully I felt God’s sweet nearness. I recognized in a tangible way just how alive the Word really is. It is not just words — it is really alive!

As I read, I noticed that Jesus was frustrated with the people because they thought John the Baptist was too Prophet-like, fasting too much and not drinking wine. They also accused him of having a demon. Then they said about Jesus, “He comes feasting and drinking; He is a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sinners.” There you go, friend: Jesus is a Friend of sinners — sinners like you and me with none of us having gone too far that His love can’t reach us.

Jesus was not a glutton or a drunkard, even though He befriended, ate and drank with the “worst” sinners. The thing is, He came to save the broken and the hurting, not the self-righteous who believed they had no need.




Then I drank in the following words, already feeling an enlivening in my spirit with renewed hope:

Come to Me . . . because I AM gentle and humble in heart . . . Matthew 11:28a, 29b NIV).

Those words spoke to me in a way that I could feel, while reassuring me with the reality that Jesus is my Safe Place. He knows every inch of me and yet He still calls me (and you) to come and bury ourselves in His embrace — His embrace where He warmly holds us near to His heart. It is so easy for us to approach one who is gentle and humble, but we often don’t consider Jesus this way. Instead, we feel condemning arrows, sent from the evil one, causing us to hide in shame.



The truth is that we are never out of Jesus’ all-seeing sight even when we hide. His eyes are not watching in order to slam us against a wall, but His eyes are watching to beckon us home — home to His heart, His heart filled with love and compassionate care. Yes, precious child of God, Jesus is your Safe Place — and mine.

Can you imagine Him sitting next to you right now?

He is — and He longs for you to share your honest heart with Him. When you do, you’ll find He is tender — divinely tender. Also, it’s okay if you don’t have all the right words. He’s a reader of hearts.

LORD, through all the generations,You have been our home. Psalm 90:1 NLT.



Merciful Holy God, you see each one of us right now. You know our stories. You know our pain and You know our joys. Thank you not only for continually being our refuge, but also desiring to be.

You, O LORD, are our holy place, our utterly safe place. You raise our hearts to hope in You, to see with more clarity Who You are and that of Your affectionate love for us.

You bend down low to hear the cries of the broken-hearted and You listen with understanding to hearts too pained to express with words.

You are exquisite with empathy, knowing we are frail as dust. Your compassion is stirred to encourage and help those who look to You. For You will never cast aside those who look to You.

Now may we rest in the sweetness of Your Presence, LORD, and feel the reassurance of Your nearness with peace.



If you’d like further encouragement regarding the LORD Most High being our sheltering Safe Place, read Psalm 91. You will be blessed.

Melody Bollinger

Melody Bollinger

Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer

Melody is an imperfect woman loved by our perfect God. She longs for others to share the same intimacy she has with Him, knowing and experiencing Him as tender-hearted and relational. Melody lives in the scenic Texas Hill Country and has a beautiful God-given daughter and son-in-law who reside in California with their two adorable rescue dogs named Courage and Wonder. Learn more about her new book: Loved One: An Invitation to Feel God's Love and to Experience His Desire to Be Your God-Sized Help.

Photo by: Christine Lee Smith Photography

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