Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Gift of a Friend

There are no greater gifts than friends who 
walk with us until new worlds and visions
and possibilities are born in us. 
~Ann Voscamp

I am realizing more every day 
the value we have in the gift our friends.
There are twists and turns on this journey
and often we find ourselves lost and 
disoriented, and maybe we feel alone.

And a friend comes along and says,
“I’ll stand with you."
Maybe they face similar circumstances
or maybe they just want to stand next to us--
in that space that feels empty--
until we have a little more strength 
to stand alone again.

Recently a huge twist on a familiar road 
challenged many of us who had 
walked together for years.
But friendships built along the way
sustained us through challenging days.
I know that the kindness and love of
these friends helped me remain standing 
on some of the hardest days.

It's come through a text, a cup of coffee,
a hair appointment, a bunch of flowers,
an overnight welcome, a glass of wine,  
a prayer, a chat on the sofa, a walk,
a gathering around the table.
There are many ways of friendship in Christ.
For all who have walked with someone
as a friend, you are valued. 
You are a gift. You are an expression 
of the love and kindness of God.
Perhaps you are the reason that someone 
is able to move forward, secure and
confident that God has a future full of hope.
When we invest in a friend,
 we make an eternal investment.

May each one of us aspire to be
that kind of friend.
We all have lives that matter.
Let’s give them away where ever we see
someone who could the gift of friendship.

Love each other in the same way
I have loved you.
John 15:12

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Incubating Pause

"Learn to pause . . . or nothing worthwhile 
will ever catch up to you."  ~Doug King 

There are many kinds of life pauses:
catching our breath pauses,
time out pauses, getting out of town pauses,
locking yourself in the bathroom pauses.
Often we take them because we can’t 
take another breath otherwise.

But there is another type of pause 
that isn’t a response to pressure.
It is a response to change.
It is the "stop your life" pause that
comes because life has been interrupted.
It usually involves loss:
relationship, health, career,
home, status, sense of belonging. 
Any of these can make us feel like our
entire life has been put on pause.

Depending on the magnitude of loss,
it can take a while to adjust.
We can feel angry, alone, sad, invisible.
But as time goes on, we begin to see
this pause as an incubation--
no perceptible outward signs but
new growth being developed within.

These pauses, filled with emotion, try to
convince us that loss has the final word.
But God's love for us, which attaches hope 
to our future, assures us that our incubation
is preparing a new beginning. 
New beginnings are always designed to
expand our understanding of God,
His beauty and His love for us.
"Your beauty and love chase 
after me every day of my life.” Psalm 23:6

Sometimes they need to catch us.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Building a Stairway

“The purpose of life is to be useful,
honorable, compassionate, 
to have it make some difference 
that you have lived.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the sweetest ways for
us to make a difference is by helping 
others believe that their lives matter.
The battle everyday is for significance.

The bottom line is that life can be hard.
And sometimes hard shows up unexpectedly.
Something comes up, whether from 
inside or out, and we can feel overwhelmed,
discouraged, sad or insecure.
We can believe that our lives don’t matter. 

That’s why little things matter a lot.
We give someone a smile or a compliment,
send a text, email, or letter,
ask someone how they’re doing and
listen with our whole heart,
affirm them in a way that is meaningful,
tell them we care about them,
notice that they do something well, 
offer a perspective that helps them see
their circumstances a little differently.

Oh, the power of an uplifting word!
It always accomplishes more than we think.
When someone takes a deep breath of courage,
everyone around inhales with them.
We always gain more than we give.
Encouragement builds a stairway 
that helps others climb higher, 
up to where light can help them see
more clearly. Even if just one step.

Kindness through encouraging words
has the power to build stairways.
A beautiful way to live a life that matters.
Encourage one another daily
Heb 10:25