God be the love to search and keep me
God be the prayer to move my voice
God be the strength to now uphold me
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me

from “O Christ, Surround Me” by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (2004)

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Whenever he sacrificed, Elkanah would give parts of the sacrifice to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But he would give only one part of it to Hannah, though he loved her, because the Lord had kept her from conceiving. And because the Lord had kept Hannah from conceiving, her rival would make fun of her mercilessly, just to bother her. So that is what took place year after year. Whenever Hannah went to the Lord’s house, Peninnah would make fun of her. Then she would cry and wouldn’t eat anything.

“Hannah, why are you crying?” her husband Elkanah would say to her. “Why won’t you eat? Why are you so sad? Aren’t I worth more to you than ten sons?”

1 Samuel 1:4-8

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Hannah was hurting. She wanted a child more than anything, and Peninnah was making things worse by taunting her. When Hannah tried to talk to her husband Elkanah about how she was feeling, he just didn’t understand.

There are times in our own lives when we feel unsupported or overlooked. There are times when kindness seems way too rare and it feels like all we have to offer to God is questions. But there’s more to Hannah’s story than today’s verses. Even in the midst of uncertainty and deep sadness, Hannah will keep showing up. When hope is a little hard to find in our own lives, may we remember that God invites us to cling to faithfulness even in the messiest parts of what it means to be human.

Allison Wehrung

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God of compassion, you know my heart. When things feel too heavy to carry alone, let me share the burden with you. Help me to feel your life-giving love with each breath that I take. Amen.

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With a hopeful heart and Spirit-filled steps,

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Allison Wehrung

Rev. Allison Wehrung lives in Oxford, MS, where she’s the campus minister at UKirk Ole Miss. Her favorite things include local coffee shops, making art, and the messy work of being a human who follows Jesus. You can follow her visual wonderings at

I Come to the Garden Alone

Jim McConnell

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