Friendship on Purpose

“We were made to love and be loved, But the price this world demands will cost you far too much, I spent so many lonely years just trying to fit in. Now I’ve found a place in this circle of friends, In a circle of friends we have one Father, In a circle of friends we share this prayer.” (Point of Grace; Circle of Friends)

These words from Point of Grace’s song Circle of Friends have always been words that have spoken straight to my heart. But I am realizing even more how important and amazing it is to have friends grounded in God’s love.

Growing up, I had a hard time making friends. I was an emotional child. And I also was the kid that was picked on and bullied (in some senses of the word.) There were many who picked on me relentlessly. As they hurled those words at me, tears always ran down my face. I remember being called “cry baby” and “orange juice spiller” and other names. Little did these individuals know the brokenness that I was experiencing in my life. Their words continued to add to my brokenness.

In elementary school, I met my best friend Mandy. Mandy was a year older than me but she was held back because she had a kidney transplant. Mandy and I were pretty inseparable growing up. And we always stood up for each other. After high school graduation, we both went our separate ways. I went off to college. While at college, Mandy met a really great guy.and shortly after I graduated college and started seminary, they got married. I came home to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. During my seminary days, Mandy and I lost touch a little bit. But every once in awhile, she would call and we would talk like old times. I graduated seminary and moved back to North Dakota/Minnesota. While I was working in Dilworth MN, Mandy’s mom called me one day to let me know that she had passed away. I was heartbroken. Even though we had gone our separate ways, she was still my best friend; my very first best friend.

While working at camp, I made some really great friends. At seminary, I was blessed with great friendships as well. And while serving at Dilworth Lutheran, I met and made some amazing friendships as well. All of these friendships were/are grounded in God’s love for God’s people. Many of these friends were there when I needed them the most! My best friend Joni was someone that I met through camp. She is a dear soul sister in my life and has been there for me in many ways. There is also my friend MW who is a dear brother in Christ. I am so blessed that God had our lives cross. We have been there for each other through thick and thin; through the joys and the sorrows.

As I have grown older, I will admit that finding friendships has had its challenges. In fact, when I moved a year and a half ago, that was my deepest darkest fear; not being able to find friends. Yet God has blessed me immensely. (I should have known that our good God would come through like God always does!) There is my friend EG, my friend CT, my friend KW, my friend MJ and my friend KG. KW and MJ have since moved away but I am so glad that God had our paths cross. These individuals are my prayer partners. They are my soul sisters. CT and her hubby have shared their home with me. We have broken bread together. I cannot even begin to describe how thankful and blessed I am to have these individuals in my life.

And to my surprise, I have been blessed by amazing friendships through online community as well. I have never met these women in real life but yet I feel like I have known them for a long time because they have been open and shared their stories with me. I grieved for dear Kara Tippetts (and her family) because she was open, vulnerable, and taught me; taught us how to love well. There is power in community! At Kara’s memorial, they shared a quote from her that reminds me of God’s great, great good; a great, great good that is found in dear friendships and relationships in my life. Kara wrote “The absence of suffering in my life is not my good. The nearness of God is my great, great good!” And, my friends, I believe one way that great, great good is manifested is through friendships; friendships that are with us in the midst of our suffering.

I hope and pray that I am as good of a friend to my friends as they are to me. I want to be the friend who brings a meal when my friends are suffering. I want to be the friend who always lifts her friends up in prayer. I want to be the friend who drops everything to be there for her friends. I want to always be that listening ear and shoulder to cry on. I want to be, in the words of Jennifer Dukes Lee at InCourage today, the kindness giver, the Kleenex bringer, and the joy donor. (Read Jennifer’s post here: The Secret to Being the Best Kind of Friend)

I want to be those things MOST OF ALL!


Linking up with these lovely ladies:


 

Linked Together

The dirty dishes in the sink have finally been put away. The light in the kitchen is still on. The sounds of Cutthroat Kitchen are on in the background. And the residue from frying a little piece of steak is still stuck to my George Foreman grill. And it will sit there just a little longer as I spend a few moments in prayer as I write this post and pray for the family of dear Kara Tippetts.

Kara and I never met, yet I have felt our lives linked ever since I first read her blog Mundane Faithfulness. Kara was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and today she finally was welcomed into the arms of her dear Lord and Savior. Kara leaves behind her beloved husband Jason and their four children. Throughout her journey, Kara was so full of grace, authenticity, vulnerability and pure faith in God. (Her words continually reminded me of several dear friends of mine who are currently battling cancer and whose words speak the power of community and God’s love for all of us!)

Earlier this evening, I popped onto Twitter and saw a Tweet that shared that Kara had entered into her Lord’s arms today. As I read that Tweet, I found myself thinking about the chain links to a fence and how those links connect together to make the fence complete. At the churches I have served, whenever we have had a special milestone blessing (3rd graders receiving their Bible etc), I have tried to have the congregation stand and place their hand on the person next to them or in front of them to link back to the ones being blessed at the front of the congregation. My favorite piece is being at the advantage of seeing everyone linked together. It is a powerful witness…to look into each face and know that no matter what we are linked together as brothers and sisters in Christ. And that is what I am reminded of today as we know that Kara heard the words “well done good and faithful servant.”

As God’s beloved children, we are all linked together even though we may have never met in person. I think of how many times in this life I have been blessed by reading someone’s words or by talking to someone I have never talked to before. God has a way of linking us together in ways and places that we never imagined which is why we grieve those that we have never met yet feel like we have known forever.

Knowing that we are all links to the fence, my heart still breaks for Kara’s family and friends. How do you say goodbye to a dear friend or family member especially when it doesn’t seem fair and seems far to soon? How do you share how someone has blessed your life in more ways than you ever imagined?

What I do know is that it is not easy to say goodbye. Throughout my thirty six years on this earth, I have had to say goodbye to my maternal grandparents. I have said goodbye to one of my favorite high school teachers who saw gifts in me before I saw them in myself. I have said goodbye with friends as they have said goodbye to children they never got to even hold. Each of these goodbyes has not been easy, but the hardest for me was my high school best friend Mandy.

Mandy and I were inseperable growing up. She was just a few years older than me but had a kidney transplant which held her back in school. So we ended up in the same grade. As we graduated, we both went our seperate ways which eventually led me to seminary. Every one in awhile my phone would ring and Mandy would be on the other end. We would laugh like old times. During one of her calls, she asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I was honored that she asked and flew home from seminary to be a part of her special day. I will never forget that day…she was so happy! Not long after that wedding, a year or so, I got a phone call from Mandy’s mom letting me know that she had passed away. Sadly we had lost touch as our lives went in different directions, but my heart was still breaking. Mandy was my first “best friend.” I remember standing in the church office, tears streaming down my face as I listened to that voicemail.

Saying goodbye is indeed a part of life, but it is still so hard. There are days I wish I could shield us from the hurt but then I am reminded of the words we hear  Jesus say “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Jesus is with us through it all. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, but then, on the third day, Jesus rose. HOPE AND RESURRECTION! That is what it is all about. I am reminded of these words from one of my favorite Psalms. “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”–Psalm 30:5

The weeping is fresh tonight especially for those who love Kara so much and so deeply, yet God promises that joy will come with the morning. And knowing that joy will come with the morning, I am reminded of the quote on Kara’s website from our dear Martin Luther: “What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?” So, honoring this beautiful soul and remembering how we are linked together like chain links to a fence, I ask you, my dear readers and friends, how will we live our days even in the ugliest darkest spaces? And what will YOU do in the mundane days of faithfulness?

Persevering in Prayer

“So I say to you, Ask and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds; and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”-Luke 11:9-10

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”–Romans 12: 12

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”-Philippians 4:6

I’ll admit that I haven’t always been the best at praying. Yes, I have indeed prayed to God when things in life were at their very worse. And there have also been times when I have praised God for healing or simply lifted to him prayers of thanksgiving. And there are still some days when I wonder if God hears my prayers at all; hears the very desires of my heart. But the truth is that God does hear those prayers.

I think of the time when my Mom was in the intensive care unit at a hospital because her lithium level had gotten too high which had caused her kidneys to shut down. I remember sitting in my dorm room that February day when my phone rang. And I remember running down the stairs to the computer lab in my dorm building where I sent a quick prayer request out to my camp friends. Moments after I returned to my room, my phone rang again and this time it was a friend who was reaching out in prayer for me and my mom. I will forever remember that sweet gesture of friendship.

“Ask and it shall be given to you”

I remember the many prayers that were lifted up like “cups raised to receive” (a line from a poem from a seminary friend’s friend) after the Haiti earthquake happened. I remember how our prayers were collected for Renee, Ben, and Jon all over the world and the United States. And I also recall hearing the stories that Renee and Jon shared of the Haitian people reaching out in prayer to and for them.

“Ask and it shall be given to you”

Several years ago, when I began my Lenten discipline of praying through my Facebook friends list for Lent, I could never have imagined the ways that it would bless my friends and even me. I cannot even begin to tell you how absolutely wonderful it has been.

This year as I have prayed for my friends, I immediately recall the prayers that I have prayed for them over the last several years. There is my high school classmate who tried for a long time to have a child of their own with her husband. Today their daughter is a year old. “Ask and it shall be given to you.”

There is the friend who just a few days ago asked me to pray for a new job for him. And today on FB he updated his status to say, “I have a job.” “Ask and it shall be given to you.”

There is my new blog friend who returned to her apartment after they had a fire there and realized that her family and her needed to move on. She struggled for days trusting that her prayer would be answered. But they now have a house! God indeed heard every prayer lifted up for them. “Ask and it will be given to you”

There are the prayers I have prayed for unborn children.

There are the prayers I have prayed for the health and well-being of family and friends.

There are the prayers I have prayed for the end to violence and suffering.

There are the prayers I have prayed for peace.

There are the prayers that I still will pray!

Sometimes these prayers have been answered in ways that I have expected and other times they have not been answered in ways that I have expected. But the truth is that God is faithful and indeed hears every word that comes from my lips and is raised to him. I know that there are still days that I will question if God hears the prayers for myself, but the truth is God hears them too. And those prayers are being lifted for me by those near and dear to me.

Prayer is an amazing holy gift that reminds us of the power of God and God’s love for each and every one of us. God does indeed hear every prayer. And because God does hear every prayer, I will continue to persevere in prayer…and ask that you do to.

Because, my friends, there are still prayers that will need to be lifted up to the one who hears and answers them.

Gathered At the Table (Five Minute Friday)

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Gather.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

“And he took the bread, blessed, and broke it. And said “This is my body given for you.” Then he took the wine and blessed it saying, “This is my blood shed for you.”

Each week we gather at the altar where together we share in bread and wine. At that holy table, our joys and pains are shared. At that holy table, we are forgiven of our sins. Together we gather around this holy meal.

In this community of faith, people of all generations gather around this table. There is the 5th grader who took wine for the first time and was completely shocked by its taste. Now she asks for grape juice every time. There is the little one whose parents have let her partake since she was little. And there is the 90 year old woman who continually gathers at this holy table and meal. The wafer is placed in her well-loved well-aged tender hand.

That 5th grader continually gathers with her parents and sister each week in worship. During the meet and greet time, she runs up the aisle to find me and embraces me in the most tender love-filled hug. I miss the weeks she is not there.

And then there is the community of families who gather with their kids and learn and grow together. This Family Sunday School group has blessed me in more ways than I can even begin to count or imagine. I get the opportunity some weeks to gather with the youngest of the kids and teach them about faith.*

And then there are the 7th graders who I get to gather and teach Confirmation. I hope and pray that they are learning something from me. And in addition, there are the youth that I get to spend every 1st and 3rd Wednesday with as I we gather for food, fun, and fellowship. Last night there was a small but mighty crowd. We simply spent time together which included a little of the board game Taboo.

I am blessed to gather in community with the most awesome and amazing friends and family. We have broke bread together and gathered around each other’s tables sharing in life’s joys and sorrows.

And who knew that my life would be blessed by social media as well.—God knew, didn’t he?

For the last several years, during Lent, at the end of the day, I have gathered around my phone to pray through my FB friends list. I cannot even begin to tell you how gathering around these people has been such a holy experience for me! And I gather knowing that those same friends are praying for me…and the deepest desires of my heart too.

And I gather around Twitter for the #fmfparty Twitter party almost every Thursday as well. This community has blessed me too. I never thought that I would feel the way I do about these awesome blog friends. And I am excited that the first ever #fmfretreat is going to be during the time my sister and are in Nashville.  I hopefully will get to gather and meet many of these new friends #inrl (in real life) as we gather again around food and around a table that is forever bonded by God’s love for each of us.

At the holy table, we gather and are fed by the relationships and love of a God who calls us to be who God created us to be. “And he took the bread, broke, and blessed it and said “This is my body given for you.” And then he took the wine, blessed it and said, “This is my blood shed for you.” Amen!

*This is where my Five Minutes stopped but I had to finish out my thought. This word prompted so much in me tonight!”

To Remember….

Remember=”to have or keep an image or idea in your mind of (something or someone from the past)”; “to cause (something) to come back into your mind;” “to keep (information) in your mind;” or “to not forget something.”

This morning I woke up and immediately began to “remember.” Five years ago today, the earthquake struck in Haiti. My friend Renee (we worked at Bible camp together), her husband Ben and Ben’s cousin Jon were in Haiti when the earthquake hit. Ben lost his life that day. It is believed that his last words were breathed as he sang the words “God’s peace to us we pray” and then it was silent.

I was in Gettysburg Pennsylvania that January day. I was a small group leader for the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event (all diaconal minister candidates are required to do the formation event.) My small group and I were talking about prayer that Tuesday morning when one of my students said she wanted to share a song with us. She pulled it up on her laptop and we strained to listen to this beautiful song. The song was song by Jon and Ben and talked about “hands parted after prayer like cups raised to receive.” (The words were  words of a poem that a seminary classmate wrote). So that morning we listened to the song and than later that afternoon we found out that the earthquake had taken place. Immediately my IM box was popping up with messages from friends letting me know that Ben, Jon, and Renee were in Haiti for a J-term class and that they had not been heard from yet.

For several days after, as you can imagine, there was much confusion. On Thursday morning, one of my students and a dear friend called and asked me where I was. I told her my hotel room and she asked if she could come to me. The minute I hung up the phone that morning I knew that something was wrong. Shera came to my door and informed me that it was confirmed that Ben was gone. We cried and held each other. We proceeded to breakfast where we were asked by the rest of our group if we had heard anything. Shera couldn’t get the words out. I was on auto-pilot and all I could keep repeating was “Ben’s gone.” From breakfast, we gathered in the chapel and worshipped together. When it came time for communion, tears welled up in our eyes as we recalled the words from the song we had heard just a few mornings before “hands parted after prayer like cups raised to receive.”

After worship, we all went to our small groups. My small group was in charge of leading worship that night. The girls decided that they still wanted to continue with our original plan; to sing the song “Freedom is Coming” etc. We made one small change; to play Ben’s version of Psalm 30 as individuals entered into worship that night. “Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Now you understand why this verse has become one of my faves). The next day, at the airport, we found a blog post where someone posted Ben’s sermon from his senior year at Luther College. It talked about how the song “Freedom is Coming” was one of the most influential songs in his life. (Anyone else get goosebumps. I know I did that day…and still do!)

It is hard to believe that it has been five years today since the earthquake hit. I found myself waking up this morning. My cell phone clock confirmed today as January 12th. Grief has a way of swooping in and declaring to us the date even before we realize what day it is. Today I was reminded of that again. Immediately I took a breathe and began remembering.

And throughout the day I was continually reminded of the promise of hope and Resurrection. A couple of friends texted to say they were thinking of me today. I went to start my car this morning and an envelope was taped to my driver’s side window. I opened the envelope. Inside was a note talking about how it wasn’t it much but hopefully it would brighten my day. With the note was a McDonalds gift card. Then from there, I got to spend the day with one of my dearest friends and dear colleagues as I headed to our YouthWorkers meeting. We spent the day talking about the ELCA Youth Gathering this next summer and tips we wished we knew when we went for the first time. Tonight at Curves, I shared the story of Ben, Renee, and Jon and the promise of hope and Resurrection.

And today Renee and Jon are married and expecting a baby. What a beautiful promise of hope and Resurrection! Ben’s music still lives on. (Check out the website Ben Still Sings) Another reminder of hope and Resurrection! And for me Psalm 30 especially Ben’s version will always hold a special place in my heart. It is currently playing as I type this post and it is such a breath of fresh air for my soul. It is a song that continually reminds me of the power of hope and the power of Resurrection. (However sometimes grief does sneak in and cause the tears to flow…today is one of those days)

Mourning into Dancing (Click here to listen to Ben’s version of Psalm 30)

Dear Friends (Five Minute Friday)

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Dear.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

Growing up, I was the kid that was teased and picked on. Yet I was lucky to find a dear friend in elementary school who became my best friend. Mandy had been held back in school because she received a kidney transplant. Mandy became my best friend. And due to health concerns, Mandy passed away at a very young age. I miss her every day, yet God has blessed me with even more amazing and dear friends along the way.

A year ago when I moved, I was so worried about making new friends, but I should have known that God would come through so HUGE for me. I have the most amazing dear friends. There is my friend EG who sat in the ER with me when my Mom was there and is always so much fun to spend time with. There is my friend KG who is just so much fun to be around and who loves life to its very fullest. There is KW who has since moved but who I am so glad is a part of my life. There is my dear friend CT who is very much my soul sister. These dear girls are my prayer partners and friends for life. I don’t know what I would do without them! I am so very thankful for each of them.

There are also my dear camp friends and my dear seminary friends. There is my dear friend STM who introduced me to the InCourage community. She is one of my favoritest people in the world. I am so excited to spend time with her in January and to meet her little girl little Miss Lucy. I am so ready for baby snuggles! I am trying to relish in every moment, but there is a huge part of me that thinks the end of January cannot come fast enough.

And these are only just a few of the dear friends I have been blessed with in my life. As a blogger, I have always seen my blog as a place for me to express myself and share my thoughts. I love receiving comments and seeing that others are reading my blog. But I never imagined the community that I would find along the way. I have found community through the write 31 days challenge and the Five Minute Friday. I have spent the last three Thursday nights on Twitter chatting and praying with women all over who simply get me and are a part of my tribe. There has just been something so incredibly holy about finding community with these dear women who get me and understand me for who God created me to be.

This community has allowed me to guest post on several blogs where I have been able to share my story. This community has introduced me to wonderful dear women who I can share my heart and soul with. My heart loves opening my phone and seeing a Voxer message from one of my dear new friends. It is almost hard to put into words what it means to chat with each of you and know that I am not alone in this crazy messed up world. And because I love these dear women so. I am participating in my first ever FMFpartySnailMail. I put my first letter in the mail yesterday and am impatiently waiting for my first letter to appear in my mailbox.

Thank you, dear friends, for loving me.
Thank you, dear friends, for being a part of my tribe.
Thank you, dear friends, for being welcoming.

And, dear dear friends, know you are always welcomed here.
And, dear dear friends, know you are indeed loved and treasured by this dear soul!

Gift Giving and Receiving (Five Minute Friday)

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Give.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

I am one of those people who loves giving gifts. There is something so joyful about finding that perfect gift for a family member or friend. This past year I have been blessed by amazing friends that have been brought into my life. My friend CT and I both have birthdays in September. After our birthdays, we were going to a meeting of youthworkers and got their early. CT, myself, and another friend were looking in one of our fave little stores. I thought to myself I need to find CT’s birthday gift. I sneakily looked around the store and found a gift for her. I snuck up to the counter and paid for her gift. I then stuck it in my purse. When we got to the restaurant, I pulled out the gift and gave it to her. She was like, “You little stinker. I was going to buy your birthday gift too. But I couldnt figure out how I was going to do it with you in the store.”

After we finished eating, CT told me that I had to stay in the car while CT and our other friend went back to the store to pick up my gift. I patiently waited for them. CT picked out my gift and gave it to me when they got back to the car. It was an insulated drinking glass and straw with the words “Life’s too short to be anything but happy.” CT told me that it was indeed the gift she had spotted early and that it reminded her of me. It was so fun to give each other our gifts and every time I drink out of that glass I think of my friend and the gift she is in my life.

Gift giving is such a blessing, yet as I look at the world around me, there is so much more I wish to give the world and my “hopefully someday children.” I want to give them safety. I want them to feel safe at their schools and not fear that a gunman is going to come into their classroom. I want to give them a world that is full of God’s justice and God’s peace; a world where there is not violence, racism, etc. I want to give the world peace, love, and hope. And as I wish for a world filled with these things, I know these are things that only God can give us. God gives us love, hope, forgiveness and is the one who can ultimately grant and give peace.

One Lovely Blog Award

I really am not that lucky of a person. I have put my name in many times, but have never really had my name drawn except this one time. My friend SKDO and I were at Hobby Lobby for a scrapbooking event. We both registered our names. We were walking through the store when SKDO looked at me and said, “I think they just said your name over the intercom.” We went back to the area and sure enough they had drawn my name. I won a scrapbooking basket that had approximately $50 worth of scrapbooking supplies. I told SKDO that she must be my lucky charm! 🙂 Being that I am not that lucky of a person, when I get accolades from someone it truly makes me feel really good.
 



I am honored that my new #write31 days friend Barbara who blogs at Barbara’s Blog nominated me for a very special award; the One Lovely Blog Award. She wrote this about me, “Theresa and Tara have followed my blog since the beginning of the write 31 challenge. I have been encouraged to continue writing during the whole 31 days because of their uplifting and supportive comments.” I am so glad that she has felt encouraged from my comments. I also (as a fairly new blogger) am humbled that Barbara nominated me for this award.

As part of the award, I am to post seven facts about myself so you can get to know me a little better. So here goes nothing….

(1) I am a published poet. I have had several poems published in my seminary’s publication. I also have had a poem published in the poetry.com poetry anthology.

(2) I only have two first cousins and we are all girls born on the third of a month; June, January and September 3rd. My sister came along and broke the trend. We have decided she wanted to start a new trend though; both her and our dad were born on the 26th of a month; August and September.

(3) My absolute favorite color is GREEN! When my friends and I go shopping, they always spot green clothing items and will wait to see how long it takes for me to find it.

(4) I LOVE cinnamon gummy bears!

(5) I am a HUGE Nebraska Cornhuskers fan! My mom’s family is from Nebraska and my sister and I were both born in Nebraska. The day my Mom was in labor with me, my dad, the doctor (a dear family friend) and my Grandpa were talking about the big game they had played that day. I always joke that I was destined to be a Huskers fan since it was the first thing I heard when I came out! My best friend gave me a stuffed Herbie the Husker (which is special to me since Mandy passed away several years ago) and my mom had a homemade Husker quilt made for me.

(6) I worked at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp for approximately 7 summers. It is one of my favorite places in the world. It is located on the shores of Lake Sakakawea!

(7) I love babies!!! I could sit and cuddle with them all day long! I cannot wait to be a momma someday myself.

And now it is my turn to nominate some lovely blogs. This is so hard since I have gotten to meet so many wonderful people during the #write31days challenge. I am sorry if you get nominated twice my friends. Just know I don’t expect you to post twice! 🙂

Ingrid is one of the first people I met through her blog during the write31days. I have always felt so welcomed at Ingrid’s place. And I have loved every bit of her words!

Kirsten always posts blog posts that make me think. I honestly cannot get enough of her words either!

Therese was also nominated by Barbara but I had to give her a shout-out. I feel like I have known Therese for a lot longer than I have known her. Her #write31 days was all about her journey with depression. I am thankful for her bravery in sharing her story.

Anna is one of the sweetest women that I know. She isn’t afraid to share her heart. I met Anna when her and her husband were working at one of my fave places in the world. Even though the  miles seperate us, I am so very thankful for Anna’s heart and her words. Love you dear sister in Christ!

Erin is a young lady I am glad to have met through the write31 days challenge. She is a beautiful soul and I love her words!

Stephanie and Jermaine (husband and wife) also participated in the #write31 days. As a poet, it was so fun to find their blog. I cannot wait to see what their next project is. I am thankful to be on this journey with these two beautiful souls.

Dana is this amazing woman of Christ. I feel like I have known her a lot longer than these 31 days as well. I love Dana’s heart. I first met Dana through one of her Sunday posts where she shared her heart through her music. It was so beautiful! I love that Dana is always willing to encourage me. I love that we have been getting to know each other better by voxing with one another. God brings people into our lives at the right times and at the right places. I feel that way about our friendship. Dana understands my heart and is, in so many ways, my dear soul sister!

Sarah is one of my dear friends. She recently returned to blogging after being away for a little while after having her first child. Sarah and I worked at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp together. Sarah is a dear friend and I am so happy to see her blogging again. Miss you friend!

Julia is a diaconal sister who I am so blessed to have in my life. I always enjoy reading her blog.

Well I think that will be my nominations. I seriously could nominate so many more! But I don’t want this blog post to get too long. Please stop by and give these ladies some comment love!

I am so very thankful for each and every one of them (and each of you!) I am so glad you all have allowed me to stand on your “holy ground.” LOVE YOU GALS!!

Standing on Holy Ground

“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.” ‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Then he said, ‘I am the God of your Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.” –Exodus 3:2-6

How often do we look for that sign of a burning bush within our own lives? I know there have been many times in my own life when I have wished that God’s voice would come to me in a burning bush. But as I have looked for that burning bush, to no avail, that burning bush has been no where to be found!

Maybe I have been looking in all the wrong places. Perhaps God is putting burning bushes in our path, just not like we would expect those burning bushes to come into our lives. The truth is, I believe, that we are experiencing our own burning bushes throughout our lives. We experience those especially when we see someones heart or someone shares their faith with us. I am reminded of a quote that I read today on a friend’s FB page. The quote reads:

“We stand before a burning bush whenever other human beings share with us something of their relationship with God or something of the moments of their hearts. In such moments may we always realize that we stand on holy ground.”–Margaret Silf

These words speak so much to me. As I have sat in my friend’s house, sharing a meal with her and her daughter, I have found myself on holy ground. As I have sat in yet another friend’s house and heard her heart, I have once again found myself on holy ground. As I have watched my Confirmation students create cards for someone other than themselves, I have found myself on holy ground. As I have shared in numerous families joys and sorrows, I have found myself yet again standing upon holy ground. As I have read new blogs, accepted new Facebook friend requests, and voxed with new #write31 day friends, I have realized that I am standing upon holy ground yet again. When another friend bravely shares her heart through her music, I find myself surely standing on holy ground.

There is something incredibly holy about standing on holy ground with others who understand me and my heart. God truly wants us to share ourselves with each other. God wants us to show who God created us to be with each other. God wants us to be authentic and even gentle with ourselves. That isn’t easy because God is so much gentler with us than we are with ourselves. And because of that God places incredible people into our lives so that we can stand on holy ground together.

I am thankful for the ways that I have experienced and will continue to experience holy ground in my life. And I am thankful for all of you who have shared yourself with me and have allowed me to stand on holy ground with YOU! May we all continue to share our stories with each other and may our eyes be opened to those times of holy ground in our own lives.

 

Finding My Tribe

“You know, the ones that make you feel the most YOU! The ones that lift you up and help you remember who you really are. The ones that remind you that a blip in the road is just that, a blip. They are the ones that when you walk out of a room, they make you feel like a better person than when you walked in. They are the ones that even if you don’t see them face to face as often as you’d like, you see them heart to heart. You know, that kind of tribe?”–Jennifer Pastiloff

I came across this quote on Pinterest today and it stopped me in my tracks. Because my heart has been so full lately with the love and kindness of friends; old and new. So much so that I think my heart might burst with joy at any moment! I have been blessed with amazing friends who do all of these things for me. Friends, spending time with you, chatting with you and so much more makes me a better person because you remind me that I am indeed good enough. You also remind me that God places individuals into our lives at the right times and places. I am so thankful and blessed that our lives have crossed. I honestly don’t know what I would do without you!!!

And to you, my #write31 days friends, through your words, I have seen your heart. And your heart is exactly what I have been looking for in my friendships. I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky to come across each of your blogs and stories. Thank you for sharing your stories and being vulnerable with me. There is pure gift in sharing our stories and it feels absolutely wonderful to know that I am not on this journey alone. And your stories make me realize there are others out there like me. Others who cling to the promises of God who tell us “YOU are indeed good enough!”

Because, my friends, the truth is you too are GOOD ENOUGH! In fact, you are more than good enough. God created you in God’s image “fearfully and wonderfully made.” And by clinging to that promise and trusting in God’s love for me and each of you, I sit here humbled, amazed and awed that I have found “my tribe;” a tribe that makes me a better person, a tribe that lets me know I am not on this journey alone; a tribe who isn’t afraid to pray for each other and a tribe who know who and whose they are. Thank you for being a part of my tribe, my dear friends!