Tag : friendship
Tag : friendship
I am continually reminded that we cannot do this life alone. God created us for community.
Before I could start work on a Doctor of Ministry at the King’s University, I had to complete some graduate course bridgework this year. I looked around and saw students far younger than me and thought, I’ve already done this. I don’t want to interfere with their experience. I will just go to class, complete the required courses and move on.
But what I realized is that God knew I could not do this without the support of friends.
Early on in the first semester, one of my professors asked if any of us students would be willing to pray for him. That’s what I love to do, so I raised my hand. Another classmate, Judith, said she would pray with me for him, so we got together to lift our professor up and that was the forging of a new friendship. She then suggested that another classmate, Alexis, join us so she did.
Technically, I am old enough to be these two women’s mother, but that has not been the type of relationship we three have experienced. We are purely friends with no age gap. We have texted each other words of encouragement. We have prayed for each other, and have studied together. When things got tough toward the end of this semester, they allowed me to vent, and I don’t know if I could have made it without them. Last night we worshipped together, and were in tears when we received prophetic words at a school event. And on Monday, we have a plan for celebrating the end of the semester, complete with lunch and a pedicure.
God knew what I needed, and on the surface, we really look like an unlikely trio, but it’s clear the LORD put the right personalities together.
Who has the LORD provided in your life to help you through whatever you are facing?
We might think we are self-sufficient, but our loving heavenly Father knows we need friends who we can encourage, and who encourage us on the journey. As I move onto the next phase of this school experience, I said to Judith and Alexis, “I hope we’ll be able to keep this friendship alive next year even though we don’t have classes together.” Something tells me we will.
I’m getting to be that age where friends are starting to pass away.
Tomorrow we will honor an old church friend of ours from San Antonio who died suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Beth had an underlying heart condition, so she herself joked that she probably would not live a long life, but even so, it’s still shocking when you get the call.
It’s been fifteen years since we lived in San Antonio but I believe the people God brings into your life—from childhood, college, that first job, and adulthood—are all a part of God’s plan for you. I can still hear Beth’s voice.
As a child, I remember being excluded a lot. I was a poor girl in a wealthy environment. I was extremely insecure because of my dysfunctional home life, so my personality was suppressed in many ways. But what I remember about Beth is that she was always inclusive. My husband was in an Emmaus small group with her husband. I was not in her Emmaus small group, yet when there were gatherings, she still invited me, and that was meaningful.
We even played tennis together in a tournament once and we were great doubles partners. In fact, we made it to the finals of one tournament and we were determined to win the title, but then it was obvious that one of our opponents in the championship match was fighting cancer. She wore a scarf to cover her head, probably because of the chemo treatments. Beth and I just crumbled in compassion and lost the desire to win at all cost. However, our opponents did not let down and proceeded to thrash us soundly!
The beautiful thing about a Christian friend’s death is that we are confident we will see them again. It’s goodbye for now. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Hebrews 6:19-20).
It’s a hope that I am betting my life on. It give me peace knowing that when a friend or loved one dies, it’s not the end if they have accepted Jesus as LORD and Savior. There will be an eternity of fellowship waiting for us when we cross over into the next life.
Yes, I am mourning the loss of a friend, along with so many others who knew her, but while there is grief, there is also joy that she’s with Jesus now, the One who made it possible through His sacrifice on the cross. Beth, save a spot for me on the heavenly court. I can’t imagine losing in Heaven.
Elle’s death hurt me beyond words; fortunately and unfortunately, it changed me. I regret it took me so long to learn her parting wish for me—to love a friend again. I had some healing to get through and some growing up to do. I am glad I was gifted with such a special relationship for a season.
I have learned that the Lord gives us each person in our lives for some special reason. That’s why He keeps saying that every one of us is so unique and valuable, The relationship I had with Elle was forged by Him in a way that reached the deepest part of my heart, in a way I had never expected or experienced before. This was partly because of the book we wrote together, but there was so much more.
For a long time after her death I was angry and then I just felt lost. Subsequently, I have kept a lot of people at arms length in my life and in my heart because I feared they’d die. It seemed as if so many people around me have teetered between life and death, and I didn’t think I had the heart, energy, or faith to deal with any kind of death after Elle.
But what I have realized, in the almost four years since she’s been gone, is that we all are teetering. That is, we are all teetering on the edge between life and death—both physically and spiritually. Our lives are fleeting. Yes, it’s a cliché, but unfortunately, it’s a fact. I’ve seen it with the passing of my beloved Grandma, Uncle, two Aunts, and up-close twice with two of my dearest friends. I’ve witnessed the anguish and prayed for a lot of people who have walked through the process and pain of dying and death. These last few years, I’ve witnessed the pain, struggle, and teetering with my mother as she battled cancer. And finally, I witnessed the journey, struggle, and death of my father-in-law.
There is only One whom each and everyone of us has to hold onto, God. Everyone else will fall away in some form or fashion —relationships end, ties break, and yes, there’s death. However, a dear friend told me, “When it comes to the moment where we teeter closer to death, it is only God that is with us, even though physically others may be around. He truly is all we need.
Yes, life is fragile and temporary but the next one is more real and eternal. And every now and then when death draws near, we get to see and long to be where our Father waits. And Jesus, who is the light and love, waits for us to come home. We may all fear death, sometimes not so much the idea of death itself, but the pain of dying. What I have learned is that while our hearts may yearn for heaven because we know the blessings that await us, we need to keep doing our best to faithfully complete the work the Lord gives us.
For many who have not reached this state of consciousness and growth yet, I ask you to open your hearts again. Stop rejecting those around you, rather do as Jesus asked —no commanded us—to do, LOVE. Bring people in. Bring them into your life, your family, your home, and into your hearts. Stop manipulating religion, politics, race, and anything else as an excuse to reject, but rather use them all as reasons to love. Love our uniqueness, love our differences, love our different paths, and most importantly, love others as you wish to be loved. Unconditionally.
May the Lord forge a friendship for you where you show love and are loved so deeply that it blesses you even when the piercing sting of death hits your heart.
We would love for you to join us for POP Chat this Wednesday, February 24th at 6:30 p.m. when Pearls of Promise Team Marketing Director, Aurora Ortega Geis, will be speaking about “How to Navigate Change.” Aurora is a Business Strategist, Leadership Coach and the Founder of A GO Strategy, a Leadership & Life Coaching, Consulting and Digital Marketing Company.
Our Worship Leader for this POP Chat will be Renee Rollins. Renee is a Singer/Songwriter who has performed at the Olympics. She is currently the Worship Leader for the Pre-Service Prayer at Gateway Church’s Shabbat Service. Her music has been heard locally on Dallas radio stations and in Hawaii, her home state.
Sign up for POP Chat at: https://share.hsforms.com/15bHBupdrTBugXxD9Y8Q_MQ3jo4z
Have there been times when you were afraid/ fearful? This is obviously a rhetorical question, but what I want you to think about is what you did or didn’t do about that fear?
When I think about being fearful, a sweet memory comes to mind. It was my first trip to Oklahoma to visit with my dear friend, Kim. We had become close friends when we lived in Prosper, Texas together. Gathering daily for a walk once we dropped off our children at school, we would talk and talk and talk as we walked.
Now there’s just one thing you need to know about Kim before we go any further. Kim has four children, all adopted from Korea. Kim and her husband, Joe, adopted each one of these children with the understanding that more than one of them had some special needs. While God blessed her with four beautiful children, there were, in fact, two of the children who have life-altering special needs. Over the years, Kim and I had talked about all of our children and their needs, trials, and how we deal with the ups and downs of parenting. I felt familiar with many of her family’s challenges. Still, I had only visited with her children minimally, an hour here or there at birthday parties or little visits at her home, but nothing truly immersed. This particular visit would be a three-day adventure, and I would be staying in her home.
Some of you may not think this is a big deal, but as Kim shared with me, many parents with children who have special needs can sometimes feel apologetic if their child has behavior issues that could be wrongly interpreted as poor parenting, such as unruly or abrasive behavior, destructive tantrums, and so on.
I want to confess that as I had agreed to come and visit, I was, in fact, afraid. Specifically, Kim shared one of her daughters was in the middle of a medicine change and dealing with side effects of moodiness and increased agitation. I wasn’t afraid of her daughter’s behavior, but rather of the uncertainty I may say something or do the wrong thing that would upset her daughter. Afraid that I may witness a meltdown. Afraid that I would witness something I couldn’t help change or fix. Also, I was fearful that our friendship would be tested, and I wouldn’t measure up as a friend who could handle, accept, or understand her special needs children.
Before the visit, Kim called me with that much-needed intel about how the children were doing, what I might expect to see, and some simple do’s and don’ts. She even asked me if I was sure I wanted to come. I was afraid, but instead of backing out of the visit, I went anyway. I wanted to love on my friend who had moved away and whom I had missed. I wanted to show her love by loving on her family the best way I could, and I prayed it would be enough.
It’s when we are most afraid that we have to lean into love. Fear is going to come, and fear will go, but LOVE is constant. So when you’re afraid, when you are most fearful of all the what if’s, make sure you look inside and remember why you’re going to do what it is you’re going to do. LOVE.
I thank God that love does not require perfection. The trip to see Kim and her family was a success. I learned a lot more about living with children who have special needs. After the trip, my friend shared she had also been afraid. She said it’s a lot to ask a friend to come alongside the chaos that can, on occasion, be her life, and that she felt more love for me because I was willing to take on the challenge.
So remember, when you are afraid or filled with fear, GO ANYWAY. Show love the best way you can and gather all the precious moments with your loved ones.
Need a spiritual lift? We’d love for you to join us for our next POP Chat, tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. CST. Our guest speaker is former Principal, Current Life Coach and Ministry Leader, Starlet Bell, and her topic is “Praying and Fasting for a Turnabout Year.” Our guest Worship Leader is Author, Singer-Songwriter and “Bible Chicks” Podcast Host, Carole Brewer. It’s one hour of Worship, Teaching, Discussion and Prayer. The entire Pearls of Promise Team will be there as well! Here’s the link to sign up:
My friends and I decided to take a girl getaway weekend trip to Houston/Galveston. One of my girlfriends, the coordinator extraordinaire, sent us photos of the hotel and our activity itinerary. We were on the phone for hours laughing and giggling as we prepared for this getaway. She said, “Don’t forget your swimsuit. We are going to have fun, fun, fun!” We had snacks to munch, the perfect music to listen to, and places to stop along the way.
The day before we left, we checked the weather forecast. There was a storm coming but we thought, Maybe it won’t affect us. The morning of our departure we all met at our girlfriend’s house and were ready and eager to leave but we decided to pay close attention to the weather before we departed. To our dismay, we saw that Hurricane Delta was getting ready to touch the area where we had planned to have fun, fun, fun.
What do you do when you mind is ready to do something that seem to be so right? We discussed the alternative, since we were already packed and had left our individual homes. I was 45 minutes from home, which was already a getaway for me. We pondered on what we should do and decided to cancel the trip. What now? We decided to stay in Dallas and spend the weekend at our girlfriend’s house. What an awesome weekend it was. We went out to dinner, watched movies, played games, had a manicure session, prayed, laughed, bonded and enjoyed each other.
When circumstances change it is good to know you are not alone.
After sitting and meditating on what happened, how much fun we had and how we got to know more about each other, we realized that God was in the midst of all the planning. Sometimes we are so focused on having our own plans, we fail to see the hand of God in everything we do. We left the weekend with great admiration and love for each other.
Proverbs 1:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” The Lord determines our steps. This shows us that God is in control and He directs our path. Everything we go through has a purpose and it is to benefit the kingdom of God. Had we gone on that trip, we would have been having so much fun, we would not have gotten to know each other and understand what each other was going through. When we listened to each other’s stories we were able to saturate each other in prayer even after we left to go our separate ways. God is awesome.
One of my favorite scriptures on God ordering our steps is: “The Lord directs our steps so why try to understand everything along the way” (Proverbs 20:24 NLT) Will you let Him into your plans and let Him guide your steps? He knows the way. Trust Him.
May God richly bless you.
You won’t want to miss our next POP Chat on ZOOM Wednesday, October 28th at 6:30 p.m. CDT when Pearls of Promise Ministries Founder, Lisa Burkhardt Worley, provides a powerful message called “TMI: Why God Doesn’t Give us Too Much Information.” Joining Lisa will be popular Worship Leader, Renee Rollins and the entire Pearls of Promise Team, Dr. Lynnette Simm, Rosemary Legrand and Aurora Ortega Geis. Just click on the link to register.