I’m a Carrier… of friends

(a pic of my friend, Stephanie from

several years ago)

It sounds crazy at first:

Woman with strong female friendships live longer lives.

and,

Woman have less stress & feel better about themselves when  circled by trusted friends that are girls.

Hmm, but when you think about it, it makes sense.

Last weekend my friend Nancy told of some scientific findings

that show how important these friendships are. She shared’um

with a room of Pastor’s Wives & Woman in Ministry.

So good. So true.

The ladies I consider my closest friends are different colors,

different ages, live up the street, across the country or

on the other side of an ocean, but they all

bring a plethora of beautiful things to my life!

I value them.

Pray for them.

Text them.

Send them crazy pictures that remind me of them! 🙂

Email & FB them.

Call them…though it takes many rounds of phone tag before we actually connect.

And occasionally I actually even snail mail them… amazing, right?

When we “turn into adults” it becomes more of a challenge to develop and nurture solid frienships…

but it’s worth it! Jesus taught this… Well, He created us this way…

[box]Galatians 6:2 “Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.”[/box]

I want to be a better “burden carrier” and quicker to be an encourager!

Friends, I love you!

(and thank you for doing these same things for me…

I’m healthier in so many ways… because of you!)

How do you nurture friendships?

What makes them work?


 

 

 

People Respond to…

People respond to our LOVE,

not our attempts to “give them what they need”

or to “teach them what they’re lacking.”

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think of someone who has left a wonderful mark on your life…

is this phrase above true of them?

 

 

“For even the Son of Man (JESUS)

came not to be served

but to serve others and to

give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

 

 

My Friend looks like a Cookie

There’s a lot of sweets that I can easily resist… ok, not A LOT, but some.

But one treat that’s on the top of my list?

Homemade SUGAR COOKIES with colorful frosting & sprinkles!  mmm

These cookies resemble my many friends. Let me ‘splain. (Princess Bride word)

Cookies & Friends are:

Sweet

Different Sizes & shapes

Though similar, never exactly the same as another

Some have broken hearts from time -to-time

Sometimes they break your heart

Some of them just aren’t “all there” (interrupt that as you may)

Some are wrinkled (don’t be offended, it just happens)

Decorated in various colors & sprinkled with joy and laughter

As much as I enjoy cookies & love my friends, they share another thing

in common:  They cannot meet all my needs!

Cookies obviously CANNOT be the ONLY thing in my diet.

Friends CANNOT be my only source of encouragement, strength or fun.

My relationship with JESUS must be my MAIN source.

HE fills me up & cares for me like no one else.

So while I’m trying to resist the temptation to snarf down another

adorable Valentine Cookie I’ll be reminding myself,

“Jesus fills me up and His joy is my strength!”

I’m Too Old for That


In recent days I’ve connected with…

– an amazing single pastor in her 30’s

– a 20-something lady from another county with more experience
in youth ministry than many life-timer youth pastors

– a classy lady in her 50’s whose house is from a magazine
and her entertainment skills put Martha Stewart to shame

– a young married mom of 3 kids, ages 4 and under

– a single 20-something who ministers to preschoolers all day

– a young married lady who will soon be planting a church
out east with her husband

– a southern bell (sorta) in her 30’s who is married w/one child
and has preached several times recently at her church

– a lady in her mid 40’s who sends me encouraging texts and
blesses many other church planter’s wife in Michigan

– Another lady in her 20’s who is leaving the suburbs next week
 & moving into the city… cuz it’s where her heart is

– A young Mom who also left the burbs a year ago & moved into the city
with her husband & little boy, and happens to gives piano lessons to
her pastor’s kids as a ministry

– A 40-something who gives sewing lessons to the muslim girls
in her neighborhood, just to show them the love of Jesus

– A 40 year old lady who’s life closely mirrors mine… but her address
is in Maryland… too far away

When I was younger I thought I  needed that ONE friend…
that ONE person who could fulfill all my friendship needs.
But I’ve later realized that diversity is beautiful!
Not just race, but background, age, outlook, calling, etc….

All of these woman are my friends…
and each of them fill a different “spot” in my “friendship need.”

What I contribute to one friendship is vastly different from what
I give to another friendship. And vise versa.
But they all mean a great deal to me.
They’re all counted as cherished gifts from Jesus.

Yeah, I used to think I really needed that ONE best friend,
but now, I’m too old for that (and hopefully too wise for that, too!).

(NOTE: I have more friends than those listed, but these are
ones that I’ve connected with in the last 8 days.)

Be Veeery Afraid! or NOT!

They were rebuilding the wall around their city.
Decades before it stood strong & proud.
They had to clear the rubble just to get to place where the wall
once stood.
They worked hard.
God had started this project & He’d finish it.

The people around them were ticked.
They made fun of them.
They pointed out the hugeness of the job.
They threatened.
They weren’t messin’ around.
Their purpose was to intimidate God’s people.

Still, the wall construction continued.
Their leader, Nehemiah, made appropriate preparations
and then kept on working.

Intimidation seems mild.
It’s not.
It means FEAR!
To be AFRAID!
That’s not mild. That’s opposite of God.

Fear STEALS our purpose & destroys our ability to obey God.

We’re God’s people & we get intimidated – rather easily…

By listening to lies
Sometimes people, media, situations lie to us.
Sometimes it’s our own pathetic “self-talk” – nuf said

Letting ourselves become Discouraged
It’s seems noble & somehow OK, but it’s really just selfishly
thinking about what WE want, how this is effecting US
and what WE think should be happening.
That’ll keep us from God’s purpose.

Fake Friends
When a few people turn on us we can fall into fear mode
and begin to pull away from everyone we’re serving.
“Don’t be close, you’ll get burned.”
That is not the character of God.
This certainly keeps us from God’s purpose… that’s fear.

Obviously there’s tons of things that can put fear in our
minds… but it’s up to us whether we’ll allow it to stay &
grow in our hearts.

Nehemiah
-refused to sin
– prayed for strength
– didn’t let any of the list above keep Him
from accomplishing God’s purpose.

Which… is good, cuz his purpose directly affected the
people around him.

So does your purpose.

What fears tend to make you stop or at the least pause
from your purpose for a moment?
How to you go on?

First Time Moms

Over the past few months I’ve collected some thoughts
about parenting that may encourage you,

perhaps enlightening you
or maybe even slightly tick you off.
Hopefully they’ll cause you to think, pray about some things
and become an even better parent to the precious child God’s
entrusted to you.

Smile

Keeping Smiling. You WILL sleep again, it’ll just take
time… and you WILL survive until that time comes.

You are NOT the only one who has felt overwhelmed,
so don’t feel guilty & do NOT have a pity party. Keep
doing what you can.

Letting baby cry from time to time (when you know his
basic needs are met) won’t hurt him.

Doctors don’t know your baby like you do. Trust your gut.
(Our pediatrician reinforced this!)
Don’t push your child to do things. We all know you’re a great parent
already! (Don’t make baby “prove it” to us.)

Yes, people love your child, but stay attentive to those people.
Their non-verbal communication may be saying, “OK,
I’ve enjoyed them, please take them back now.”
or “Grr, will you please deal with your whinny child?”

Sometimes friends enjoy time with you… just YOU.
Getting a sitter from time-to-time will keep strong friendships
strong… we Moms need solid friendships. It’s worth the
effort to nurture them.

                                  
                                    When you’re on the phone,
                                    please be on the phone.

If you must stop to speak to your child, 
keep it short. 
No one wants to listen to a 
three minute explanation
of “why mommy is one the phone & 
can’t play with you right now.”

Discovering that your child is extremely gifted in an
area doesn’t mean you’re an extremely gifted parent,
it just reminds everyone that God is an extremely
creative & generous creator!

If you have yet to discover your child’s “talents”
don’t panic & don’t push. God forms each child
according to His plan. Your prayer & patience
will allow Him to reveal those talents in His time.

When someone tells you, “Oh, of course you have time..
just do it while the baby is sleeping,” is crazy & has no
idea what the life of Mom is like. So just smile & nod.
No response needed. (And go ahead & take a nap yourself
while the little one naps!)

Plan for tomorrow, but don’t worry about it. You have
just enough strength for today, so don’t waste it on
wondering about the future.

Just when you get into a groove your child will get into
another stage of life… it’s the way it’s supposed to be.
So be flexible. We can’t expect our kids to grow if
we’re not constantly growing, too.

Things that are “so-the-right-thing-to-do-now” may
be viewed as “just a fade” in a few years…
so be careful to choose what is best for you & your
family now matter what “all the other people are doing.”

And… just about the time you’re convinced that this
parenting job is making you completely loopy…
you’re probably right.. so take a long look into the
eyes of that adorable little off-spring of your’s and
you’ll remember that they’re worth every bit of it!

(A parent who has
briefly given-in to
the insanity around
her. She may or 
may not be me!)

Sometime parent-insanity is actually referred to
as “stopping-what-you’re-doing-and-just-getting-
silly-for-a-few-minutes!” That’s ok… it’s FUN!

Weeds

 Our house sat empty for months before we bought it.
It was in decent condition, but the weeds were starting
to feel right at home.
































(Before)


Honestly, we’ve only lived here a few weeks and I
had already stopped noticing them.
I was used to those weeds.
They were almost decorative.






























(Before)

But then…
Our friends came to the rescue!

About 15 of our wonderful friends came over on Saturday
and pulled weeds, and raked, and pulled weeks, and
helped fix the pipes so we can water the lawn next spring,
and did I mention that they pulled weeds?

























(after)
My life is the same.
So is your life.
We have areas that we ignore, don’t wanna deal with,
so we don’t.
Then weeds grow. Little compromises that junk up our lives.
Little attitudes that are sin. Plain & simple.
We get used to them.
It takes honest, Jesus-lovin’ friends to point’um out
and help us decide to get rid of the weeds.
Then, great friends go the next step, too, and
help us establish a working system (like the water pipes)
that will keep the healthy growth happening.
Do you have friends like this?
You must BE one to have one.
(and your life must be respectable before you can
earn the right to speak truth into a friend’s life)

Shh… or not?

Have you noticed that it’s often our tendency to clam up,

stop communicating, keep things tucked inside
when we MOST need to express them?
What’s the deal?
Maybe guilt? …
“We shouldn’t think this, we’re Christians, we’re supposed to turn
the other check.”
Maybe hurt?…
“The other person should be the one to initiate this conversation.”
Maybe anger?…
“I have to cool down first, then say something.”
(but that was weeks ago)
Maybe fear?…
“Saying something will just make it worse.”
(but being quiet just breaks things down anyway)
Maybe the Martyr syndrom?…
“I’ll just suck it up. No biggie.”
(but it is or you wouldn’t still be thinking about it)
or Maybe any one of a zillion other reasons…
———
Ephesians 4 (several verses)
“Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other,
making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

“Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.”

24 “You must display a new nature because you are a new person,
created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy, and true.
25 So put away all falsehood and “tell your neighbor the truth”
because we belong to each other.
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.”
Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil. “
———

I have to check my own heart & motives first (through prayer).
Then proceed with humility and caution.

How do you decide when you should speak up?
How do you motivate yourself to speak up,
to confront, to say what’s going on inside…
without being a jerk or full of accusations?


This post is NOT about Baking!

Baking!

I love to bake!
Haven’t done too much of it this year, though.
BUT…
while I was making a couple batches of yummy treats & adding
the ingredients together it struck me…
– All the things added to cookie dough are kinda gross on their own:
raw eggs, baking powder, flour, sugar, etc…
– But mixed all together and then baked they’re irresistible!
JUST LIKE THE CHURCH!
-Each of us has something to offer, but by ourselves were not
very appealing or effective.
– Mixed together and baked in the warmth of the Holy Spirit
our efforts are WONDERFUL!
So…
eat and cookie… (or two) and thank God for the Christians
He’s put in your life.
Name them.
Pray for them.
Then go eat another cookie…
it IS Christmas, after all!

I’m expecting…

HA!

I am NOT expecting a BABY...

But I’ve been thinking about what I DO expect…
from people.

Sometimes I expect too much.
The kinda thing where I’m thinking they’re do
this & that and when they don’t
I’m disappointed & frustrated.
(I forgot to give them the “script” of our friendship…
how dare they not be able to read my mind.)

Sometimes I expect too little.
The kinda thing were I just figure the other person
is probably gunna take the easy way, the wrong way,
and let me down. So I put up my defenses and hold
them at a distance so it won’t hurt when they, of course,
let me down.

Both kinds are WRONG!

My love for Jesus should fill me with kindness & compassion
so that I’m understanding & considerate. (Colossians 3:12-14)

His love should give me courage to look for the best in others
and learn to “hope for all things” good. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

My expectations are changing.
I’m expecting myself to expect the BEST & LOOK for it..