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Life is a journey…..this is MINE

Why I’m choosing to be joyful… — December 2, 2015

Why I’m choosing to be joyful…


It’s just over 5 weeks until my baby arrives (well to the dr’s due date…the baby will decide when he or she comes).

I’ve been blessed to have a mostly easy pregnancy.  As my nurse says they love boring pregnancies like mine.  People tell me I’m glowing, and that I look great.  And that’s lovely and encouraging…until you post anything or say anything anywhere about how excited you are..and then you get all the parental nightmare comments.  “Enjoy it now because soon you won’t”  – every pregnant woman right now has to endure these statements.

Well let me explain that no matter how hard parenting gets, no matter how exhausted I’ll be I will still be grateful to God for granting me this desperate cry of my heart.

My husband and I didn’t meet until last year.  We were married this year, and fell pregnant immediately.

I spent years wishing and waiting to find a husband, this husband.  I spent years wishing and waiting to have a baby, this baby.  I spent time wondering why, why I was alone, why I didn’t have the family I longed for.  I spent time crying in my heart for this very thing I have right now.

As 30 approached, and then 31 and 32, and then 33 happened I couldn’t understand that if I had this longing in my heart for a family, for a husband, for a baby that why it wasn’t happening.  Did I have unresolved sin that I hadn’t taken to God?  As 33 was approaching I thought maybe it just wasn’t part of my life plan, that maybe my nephews and niece were to be my focus, because I really do love them like my own.  Being an aunty has filled me with so much joy…walking to the door of my sisters home and hearing them jump with joy to see me, excitement for adventures with me…it was and is fulfilling in its own right.

And then right around 33 happening, this man came along.  I resisted getting to know him until God swiftly pointed out that I didn’t even know him…and so I got to know him.  And it didn’t take us both long to figure out this person, this person is and was THE person.

In the months of our engagement we talked about children, we decided how many children we’d like, but mostly we prayed about it and gave it to God.   Both certain that God, as the creator of life, is in control of when (or even if) a baby would be given to us.

A few quick weeks into marriage and we believed I was pregnant but we would have to wait two weeks before we could do a pregnancy test.  We were excited.  Every day we read things online that gave the “top 10 signs you’re pregnant” and correlated the changes in my body to what these lists said.  Every day we prayed “God if we aren’t pregnant then let us continue to be faithful to you, but if we are please keep us safe and strong and let this baby grow stronger each day.”  My husband prayed when we drove, or when we woke in the morning, or when we went to bed at night.

When we did the test and could confirm what we knew for sure by that point my husband prayed again.  Thanking God for this blessing, for knowing our hearts, and asked for His protection.  We had peace and joy and blessing and love.

And I know people mean to be well-meaning…they want to give you advice, we are after all new parents who really probably don’t have a 100% clue of what we are doing, but on those days when I’m overwhelmed and exhausted, when I haven’t slept and I’m sick, and my husband is exhausted but he still needs to go to work because we have bills to pay, and I can’t remember my own name, let alone figure out just what my babies cry means, it won’t be the “reality check” statements that will get me through, it will be the people who told us “hey parenting is difficult and exhausting but the dark moments will pass and when your baby smiles at you, or snuggles just a little closer to you, that you will forget all the troubles” those are the statements that will help us through.

I didn’t spend tears wishing for all this, or reading friends “I’m so tired and exhausted” posts on facebook being slightly sad that I wasn’t experiencing that to now decide that the reality of motherhood is too much.

Every uncomfortable belly kick is a reminder that new life is growing inside me, a relief that my baby is living.

I’ve spent years longing for all of this, so I’m not going to give myself a mind-set that it will be too much.  And if people are saying the negatives as a way of justifying how crappy they felt in the beginning, well you cannot rain on my parade.

I am choosing to relish this.  I will pray each day for God’s strength to be a better mother this new day than I was the day before.

Every pregnant woman has to endure negative comments from other women, and I just don’t understand why.  Why can’t you, before saying something negative, think instead of how to lift up and support this woman?  Why do you want to see the joy momentarily leave her eyes while she questions if she is doing right or wrong?

You don’t need to say “you look huge” or “are you sure there’s only one in there?” or “enjoy your alone time now because you’ll never have the chance to relax again” or “well you’re excited now but wait until you haven’t slept for days” or “make sure you keep your husband happy so he won’t leave you or resent the baby” or all the other negative things you think it’s your duty to inform us weaker, inexperienced newbie moms.

If you are a mother, you have a wonderful life experience to draw upon to build up others.  I’m sure when you were me, you were grateful on the hard days to hear what you were doing right…and probably needed to hear that most of all on the hardest days.

So politely and kindly I’m saying please keep that nothing nice to say to yourself.  I’m filing the negative under “I can’t hear you” and instead I’m choosing “Always be joyful” and once I’ve got the experience down I’m going to choose that for other moms too.  I will keep in my mind how it feels to hear the worst and instead I’ll choose to share the best.  Not because I’m fake pretending everything is awesome, but because if motherhood was so terrible no one would ever have more than one, and we’d have gone extinct long ago.  And I can’t imagine a world without beautiful babies and loved children.  After all love saved us, and it will save a new mom on her hardest days.

 

Resurrection… — April 14, 2015

Resurrection…


It’s been years, YEARS, since I wrote on here.  I decided the last time I made an entry, all the way back in 2012, that I would re-find the passion from previous seasons and get back into the groove of writing.  And then I fell off the wagon.  I left my keyboard somewhere in storage, along with the part of my heart that had anything to say.

Fast-forward almost three years, and I’m newly married.  Life is vastly different.  That person that used to write in this blog is completely changed.  But also a better version of who I was as well.  The maturity of someone in their 30’s means a better balance to life and a maturity that has been developed into something deeper.

Fairly soon after that last entry, I started a ladies only, single ladies only, bible study with a focus on intentionality.  Bringing a foundation of approaching life in a few areas, with an intentional focus of how to grow, live, lead, and love the place you are at.  We covered career, family, friends, emotional aspects.  Our group of Left Hand Ladies focused on growing and living a Godly life.  We cried together.  We ate far too much chocolate.  And for two years we developed a deep, lasting friendship group.

Then as seasons go, it ended last year.  I’d intended to lead that group for two years.  And for two years I did.   It was the right amount of time for that season.  But it was tough going.  I learned a lot about myself.  And faced a trying time developing better leadership skills.

As much I loved that group, by the time it was over I was emotionally drained.  And ready to drop everything.  And drop everything I did.  I knew I couldn’t keep my head in all the roles I was leading.  I could tell that this time was the time to step back from everything, absolutely everything.  And I felt guilty.

I prayed to God, asking him to give me permission to take this time out.  I’d had a lot of commitments and I felt like I would be letting many people down if I just stepped back.  But I knew I had zero capacity to lead well.  And thankfully God wasn’t putting the pressure on me to work through it.  He knows my heart, and knew what I needed to do.

Stepping back was good. Peaceful.  And God filled it with plenty of time to renew my energy.  And plenty of time to read and re-fill myself.  I didn’t expect to be so changed as I am.

During this re-charge time God connected me to a man, who would become my husband.  In that time from June to April, life changed in leaps and bounds.

And now I’m back.  Renewed, refreshed, and looking to the future of this path.

Resurrection is looking good.

Jesus WOW. — May 29, 2012

Jesus WOW.


WOW.  That’s a word we like to use a lot in our culture.  Wow is pretty good as summing up quite a lot of things that are good, bad or ugly.  With the right intonation it signifies a situation pretty credibly without the use of more syllables or further explanation.

Tonight’s “WOW” is of the Jesus kind.  The kind that is said because you have no other way of describing what is happening….our earthly words cannot really explain the feelings, thoughts or prayers behind a situation.  Jesus WOWS have a lot riding on them.  Jesus WOWS make the world a better place.  Jesus WOWS mark an occasion in a spiritual journey, a milestone in a persons walk.

If you haven’t had a Jesus WOW – let me know, I will pray for you!

Myself and three friends received a card today.  Unexpectedly.  It was delivered to Promontory Church for us.  It didn’t name us but the sender was sending it to the four of us who had helped her many months ago.  The staff at the church didn’t know who it was for until they did a little thinking and put some pieces together.

The card said:

“Thank you for your help.  When I think of all the things you’ve done, I simply can’t just stop with one…so thank you again and again!”

It has a very pretty design of some orchids.  And it appropriately, sweetly touching.  However, it was the hand written letter inside of this card that makes the Jesus WOW.  (I sure hope He doesn’t mind my reference like this…)

This past winter Chilliwack had some days of great snowfall.  It was cold, it was snowy, and it affected quite a number of people.

The City of Chilliwack tweeted about the need for snowangels (a program that connects individuals who are in need of driveway and walk way snow shovelling when they are unable to do this themselves).  I saw the tweet during one of those snowdays, and rounded up some friends to head out and clean up some driveways.

The ladies, Ashley Clark, Madeliene Boudreau and Teresa Moore and myself got together all the snowgear and shovels we could find and headed out to save the day!  Well that’s how we felt in the beginning while we had lunch before we went to shovel.

The first location was pretty fun, we felt quite great…like champions of the snow!

The second house, well the shine had worn off a little, we were cold.  We were wet.  We were starting to get tired and sore.  Then the coordinators of the program called and asked if we could do another driveway.   We reluctantly agreed.

After we headed right across town and found the address we quite regretted our agreement.

We arrived to the monster of driveways.  The only thing it had going for it was that it was flat.  Aside from that it was the longest of all the driveways we had cleared – putting the others together did not equal the length of this driveway.  It was also the deepest one.  The most snow and ice we had seen all day.

We trekked up to the house and said hello to the owner.  This lady had been stuck in her home for days.  The group of us had the foresight to load up with essential groceries which we had delivered to everyone we had visited.  She had pretty much ran out of everything so our small container of milk, bread, potatoes, etc was a great help.

THen we got to work.  It probably took us at least an hour to clear this driveway.  We had decided to only clear a necessary path from her garage to the road.  It was too big to do more.  We kept reminding ourselves the entire time that this was for God.  The more we shoveled and sweat (I think we ended up in tank tops and snow pants for the work was hard!), the more we ached, the more we reminded ourselves that this was for Jesus.  We sang worship songs, etc.  We just decided to make it as enjoyable as possible.

Back to the card:  So the letter inside this thank you card we received said this:

“Promontory Church

I have been remiss in thanking you.

In January we had a big snowfall.  The “Snow Angels” from your church, four lovely women, cheerfully, happily & singing, dug out a lot of snow from my driveway.

They were absolutely charming.  They prayed for me and asked if I would like them to pray for anyone and I said my husband in Eden care home.

I had not been able to see him because I had been snowed in for 10 days.

Thanks to their kindness I was able to visit him for what I did know was the last time.

He passed away January 25th, just days after they shoveled out the driveway.

Thanks again.”

That is my Jesus WOW.   If we had given up or not wished to take on that last driveway, this kind sweet lady may not have had that final visit with her husband.  Either she prayed or he prayed.  I might never know.  But the important thing is that a prayer was answered.

Tonight as my friends and I read this card and pondered upon this moment we couldn’t help but be struck by God’s hand in this.

Often we get weary, the to-do list in our days is long.  We often go through the motions.  We often have to dig really deep to do that very last thing on the list.  Yet, that very last thing that pushes you is also the thing that has the greatest impact.

I’m not sharing this for any self-serving reason.  Rather, I’d hope that you would be inspired.  Please step outside your self.  You may not know why that “last thing” has landed on your plate. You may not know why no one else has stepped up to do this.  (We actually were appalled that on this street no neighbour with a freshly shovelled driveway had not made their way over to this lady’s house….one guy would have even used the snowblower for his and we didn’t think it was very nice that they hadn’t come across the road….trying NOT to judge here!!)

But thinking or wondering why no one else, or why you doesn’t really matter.  We may be praying for something and never seeing results for our selves, but you can never measure the number of times that you have been an answer to a prayer.

That act of kindness that seems so random to you may just be the life changing moment a stranger had desperately cried out for.

I can’t believe that we were so honoured and chosen by God to help this lady.  I can’t believe that He would find us so valuable to His Kingdom that He would wish to use us in this way.  I sat back tonight and just thought “Good God” in the highest way possible.  He is so mighty, and we are so designed to be a community.  You, me, the world….every Christ follower is needed for the good of His word but also for the neighbours we have never met.

There is probably a LAST THING on your to-do list for today.  I’m not saying that you need to burn yourself out trying to accomplish the impossible, but try to accomplish the possible.

Now, as for me, I want to challenge you.  YEP THIS POST COMES WITH A CHALLENGE!!

This coming winter, when the residents of our city are in need of neighbours to brave the cold and shovel  I want to know that you will volunteer.  If you have energy, are able-bodied and you can shovel – I better see you out on our streets shovelling!

Maybe snow shovelling is impossible for you….well then…this is still a challenge for you.  We can volunteer in our community a million ways.  Kidcity at Promontory Church needs volunteers for the summer…they are even willing to let you help out just once – your one Sunday could impact one child or another volunteer in way that you might never know….but what an incredible way to serve your neighbour.   You could volunteer for foundations, ushering….and again be that impacting answer to prayer.

We are taking part in the Love Chilliwack day up on Promontory – sign up and help there….or find something in this town to do that does speak to your heart.  Or even if it doesn’t speak to you but you know that you really can do it – that one thing you do might just be answer to a prayer that you haven’t even believed.

As for me, and my friends, I don’t think our journey with God will ever be the same.  This letter did something tangible to our faith.  The evidence of intercession that surrounds my walk will for sure be a Jesus WOW for a long time.

Sometimes it takes giving up in order to carry on. — May 20, 2012

Sometimes it takes giving up in order to carry on.


Normally my posts are about things that stir my heart, or something I’ve struggled with and overcome with God, etc.

I normally don’t blame God for anything.

10 days ago was a pretty different story.

For the first time as being a Christian, I gave up on God.  I didn’t stop believing that He exists.  I didn’t doubt the great things that He has done.  I did, however, decide that praying for the things closest to my heart did not work.

It wasn’t a crisis of faith, Per Se.  More a crisis of prayer.  Maybe that’s really one and the same.

A few weeks ago I went to our PCC Young Adults group (my last time, not because of what happened after that night but just because I work later now, and I’m just moving on – it’s time, in a good way).  I don’t really remember what the topic was (I’m going to use the excuse that I got there late, due to the fact that I was working, so that’s the reason I don’t know what it was specifically we were talking about………..erm.)

At the end of the discussion a few people shared some names of who we’d like to pray for in our lives.  We prayed for those people and went on our way.  The names of those that we’d all shared to pray for were then shared on our webpage in order to keep those names in our minds.

Thus started one of the worst weeks for my family.

Mostly all of you know that no one else in my family is a Christian.  It’s always on my heart that they will find a way to God.  And will be saved for eternity, because let’s face it, the main reason we really want our loved ones to find God is so that we can then spend the rest of time in heaven with them and don’t have to be separated from those we care about the most.

The desire to have my family have a relationship with Christ is always in my heart.  It’s there like that shadow of grey that can hang over you on the sunniest of days.  It keeps me at 99% rather than 100%.  It’s carried.  It’s a burden (but not in the unwelcome sense).  I pray about it, but sometimes it just becomes a pray in the prayer list.  It’s tough when it starts to become years of praying for the same thing and nothing changes at all.

I did say that it became the worst week…so I’ll get back to that.

SO prayers were shared, prayers were posted.  We prayed.  (At least I did, I assume the rest of the Young Adults group put these names into their prayers).

And Satan must have been pretty rankled by this incessant prayer. I imagine that when we pray for something deep in our hearts that it must sound like white noise from the tv on it’s highest volume to the ears of satan, which might be why he rears his ugly head in such an angry fashion.

So as the prayers continued for the week, my family entered quite likely our most unhappy, unpleasant week together.  After a few days of misery, I gave up.  By giving up, I threw a temper tantrum like an unruly two year old at God.  I stomped my feet, I cried, I wailed.  And then I crossed my arms, stuck out my tongue, and sat in the corner and refused to speak.  And probably kicked a few innocent cats that walked by.

The week in question was leading up to Mother’s Day and my mum’s 50th birthday.  So it was an important week in my family.  And I was mad.  I was mad that I had not thought ahead and had chosen this week to start my prayer crusade for my family.  My internal dialogue went something like this:

“What a stupid week to ask for prayer, you know satan doesn’t like it and that he’d try to make a stand against you, so why would you do this to your family this week of all weeks”

“You’ve been praying for them for years, why would you step it up on this week?  Do you have a desire to really destroy your family?”

“This is always happens when you pray for something, it gets messy and it SUCKS”

“What did you think was really going to happen?  Did you actually think that somehow this week your family would start picking up a bible and want to go to church?  of course not, so why pick this week?”

And on and on it went.

You’ll notice quite immediately that my self-dialogue did not include God.  In fact, as things were getting messy and the arguments were happening (about things that were completely unrelated to faith) I stopped talking to God altogether.  And I didn’t even notice that I’d stopped.

Until the Saturday afternoon of that week.  I quit.  To quote my self.  “I quit everything”.  I was quitting praying, my family, my life…whatever it was that I could quit I was going to quit.  So take that God.  I’m not doing this anymore.

And after that moment things got better.  There were some “I’m sorry”‘s exchanged within the family.  Plans were re-made.  We drew a line under some stuff and decide to re-group as a family and continue on with our plans.

And for Saturday, Sunday and Monday my family spent more time together than we had probably spent in a long time.  And it was good.  It still had some of the awkwardness from the week before hanging over the time…but in the true British fashion we smiled and kept our stiff upperlip in place until the feelings subsided and we could believe in our choice to let it all go.  After all we are family, and blood is thicker than water, and at the end of the day we all do love each other.

I chose not to go to church at all on that Sunday.  It was the 3rd Sunday I’d missed since becoming a Christian.  And because of my temper tantrum heart at that time, it felt good to not go.

A few days later, it clicked to what had happened.  I gave it all to God.  On that previous Saturday when I thought I was sticking my tongue out to God, what I’d really done was tell him to deal with it because I’d given up.

I should have given him the control a few days earlier and saved myself and everyone else the heartache.  But at the time in the emotions of what was going on I couldn’t find the light.  I was trying to control everything was going on around me.  Instead of speaking to God (which I’d thought I was doing) I was trying to tell him what to do.

The biggest thing that happened on that Saturday was that I had had my first moment where I was so angry with God that I couldn’t speak anymore.  It scared me.  It hurt me.  I have no idea how he felt about it.

The two friends I’d talked to at the time (which wasn’t intended, they’d just both happened to message at the peak of my temper tantrum….thanks friends!) told me to keep on praying.  I wrote to them that I wasn’t going to pray for my family ever again.  And immediately after those statements – they both said, in complete disregard to what I’d written that I needed to “keep on praying”.  I was a little mad at what they’d said, but I didn’t tell them that.

A week later and I’m really doing ok now.  We’re talking again….or rather I am listening again.  And life continues.  No one in my family is picking up a bible….but I’m still praying for it.  I’m praying for a lot of other things too.

Sometimes it takes giving up in order to carry on.

We are meant to live for so much more — January 20, 2012

We are meant to live for so much more


We are meant to live for so much more.

And many days we live for a lot less.

Jesus is the more we should live for.  Yet the trappings of our lifestyles make us live for less.  And we don’t serve the way we really should be.

In order to live for more you have to understand what Jesus lived for.  I’ve asked a few people this in the last few days and everyone says for us, he lived to wash away our sins.  While that was the ultimate act he did for us, our sin is what he died for.

Jesus lived to show us how to really live.  He loved people.  He cared for those who the rest of society had cast out.  He helped heal the forgotten.  He exuded patience that cannot be matched.  He set the bar real high.

In Mark 12:28-31 Jesus explains what the most important commandment is:  “one of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate.  He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked “of all the commandments, which is the most important?  Jesus replied “The most important commandment is this: Listen, O Israel!, The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.  The second is equally important: Love your neighbour as yourself.  No other commandment is greater than these”

So you might already love the Lord your God with all your heart.  But are you loving everyone else as yourself?

I sometimes question what it really means to be a Christian.  Not because I doubt my faith.  But because a lot people use “being a Christian” as their opportunity to hate and destroy.  I could change the word to “Christ follower” that the trendy term at the moment but it’s still the same.  You’re still part of that same body of people.  A rose by any other name…etc.  But what are the defining things that we do that set us apart?  Aside from loving Jesus, what sets us apart? 

At church on a Sunday we get excited when someone accepts Jesus as their saviour.  And it truly is something to be celebrated.  But that’s not the end of the story.  It’s the beginning.  If you’re at a church that has hundreds of souls “saved” each year but your missions teams never grow, or you never impact a community or you never see growth in outreach beyond increasing your attendance and offering…well something in your church is missing the point.

I have an idea of what I think the steps should be after you get saved. 

You have to learn how to speak about your faith.  Jesus recruited people through walking the walk.  People around heard and saw that he was doing good things.  That he was above and beyond the ‘normal’.  But unless he could articulate why he was walking the path he was, it couldn’t have had a profound impact.  We have been given the 5 senses and in order to connect with others we have to use those senses.   What you say and what you do have to match up.

Jesus had compassion.  “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick”  Matthew 14:14

Jesus was and is a loving, caring, feeling, comforting, compassionate person.  When we suffer, he is suffering with us.

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.  but if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it”  Matthew 16:25

The disciples that lived with Jesus faced the real possibility daily of losing their lives.  Real discipleship means that we need to show real commitment.  We have to pledge ourselves completely to his cause.  If we are so consumed with protecting ourselves while carrying out the very things that we know Jesus would want us to do we’ll begin to die in our connection to Jesus.  We would stop being faithful in his true word and not believe that he would protect us when needed.  That doesn’t mean taking stupid risks, like heading into a crime-ridden downtown street in the middle of the night alone,  God protects us when we complete our missions, but he doesn’t always protect stupidity.

Serving God is one of the most rewarding things that you can do a Christian.  That moment when you start to serve another is akin to picking up the cross, sharing the burden in some ways, but lightening the load for someone else.  It definitely feels good to do something nice for someone else but even more satisfying is that moment when you know that God used you, your abilities, your person to do something for His Kingdom.  The ultimate servitude doesn’t serve your ego or another person, it serves God.

Serving God isn’t just teaching at Sunday school (although the kids department could reallllllllllllly use some extra hands, hint-hint), serving God happens in many ways.  It can be something as simple as picking up a licence less friend for church to teaching a bible study.  It can be that moment when you help a disabled person with groceries and you ask how you can pray for them…that’s service.  It can be calling that friend you haven’t talked to in a while and discussing a bible story, which helps them open up their hearts to something that is affecting them right now.

Serving God at your local church though, that brings community and serving together.  Being part of a team that sets up the Sunday environment is rewarding.  Being a smiling face when you greet guests at the door sets the tone for a guest to enjoy the service.  ensuring that family gets to sit together, serves God’s kingdom as they experience the words and teachings as a family. 

I love evangelizing – those unexpected moments when I can share a story about what God has done in my life, in the lives of others, and who He is.  The first time I brought up my faith to a stranger in a coffee shop my heart was pounding but I just knew that God wanted me to say something.  I didn’t want to, I wanted to refuse, but it just kept playing over and over that I really needed to speak.  I did.  It wasn’t well received.  Over a year and a half later I saw the fruit of that one “chance” moment.  That woman is now a Christian herself and accepted Christ.  I didn’t really remember what she had looked like, yet she remembered me.  When she approached me to thank me for my comment that rainy day it took me a few seconds to place her face, yet the words I’d said were still etched in my heart.  There were many things that followed that day, but there was link in a chain.  As other life events built up she was able to recall various “God moments” and when the hardest times hit, she was able to piece all of that together and come to church, to find strength, and to find that she could be free from the bitterness of hatred, that forgiveness could be a choice she made with God at her side.

So when you share your faith and it seems like it is rejected, don’t assume that it will never do anything for the Kingdom of God.  Most times you just don’t get to see it happen.

If you want to live for more, make it so.  Open your bible and apply it.  Approach a leader and get involved.  Ask God to direct your steps and daily decide to live for Him.

Friendship. — December 27, 2011

Friendship.


What else could I possible write about right now?

One of my closest and dearest friends just left to go to YWAM Newcastle, AU.  It was the worst moment I’ve ever had at an airport, and I’ve said goodbye at airports a few times in my life.

To be a friend isn’t something to take lightly.  When God places someone inside your life with the explicit relational intention of being your friend, it’s because God is asking you to help Him work within their life, or to have them do a work in your life.  It’s a serious responsibility.

Too many people take friends and friendships for granted.  They are fragile things.  These friendships require love and commitment to make them work.  They require an emotional investment from you to make them work.  They require time. They require honesty.

Friends should hold you accountable.  Friends should celebrate every milestone.  Friends should encourage you to make the changes necessary in your life.  Friends should be able to recognize what is best for you. Friends should be….your friend.  Period.  In the highs and lows.  No matter what.  But you should never abuse your friends.

The dictionary gives the following definition to “friend”:

1.  a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter.

3. a person who is on good terms with another’ a person who is not hostile.

4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.

It doesn’t matter what the reason was for someone to come into your life, but it’s what they do with the relationship that matters.

This year I had a few friends, who I had thought were very close friends, people who I trusted, decide to end our friendship because of a job I had taken.  It was hurtful, it was done with zero conversation from them to even hear my side of what was going on.  I trusted those people with some pretty personal stuff…and now I’m left to wonder what they are doing with it.  I hadn’t needed to question their character until they abruptly ended our friendship.  The fact that it was so abrupt made me evaluate those people.  They obviously weren’t the people who I had thought they were.  It still stings.

In light of that though, I was able to take a look at other friendships I had.  I put those friendships under the same kind of scrutiny.  For a while I withdrew from those other friendships just in case I’d have to have the same thing happen.  I went into protection mode.  Now though, I know that God had wanted me to do this.

I spent some time looking at those close people in my life.  I could balance their thoughts and perspectives in my life and see if they lined up with the truth of how they lived their lives.  Did their words become played out in the actions that they took daily?  And those friends, who I call best friends now, definitely line up what is said by their mouths with the actions of their heads and hearts.

What God did for me during that time was illustrate that there are varying levels of friendships. 

Superficial:  There are those people who take from you, until they do not need you, and then they move on.  These are ok to have, you just have to remember to only share what you don’t mind being taken. 

Timely: There are those friends who will always have your best interests at heart, but they never become that close.  These people are great to have in your world, they can impart wisdom at an arm’s length respectful way that you will listen to.  They come and go seasonally through the storms that God puts in your path.

Core:  There is that other category of friend.  The one that is so blessed, it’s almost sacred.  These friends will be there for you on the days when you are having your pity party.  They are the friends that call, unexpectedly at the time when your world is crashing down.  They will always, in deep love, hold you accountable and tell you straight up when you are wrong.  These friends will never take from you more than you have to give and will never promise to give you what they cannot.  These friends are the earthly angels God desires you to make community with.

I can confidently say that I have at least 5 people like that last category in my life.  In fact if I took stock of that, I can almost certainly say that there are more likely 10 people who have that type of relationship with me. 

I pray for that core group daily.  I know when I need help, prayer, guidance, to be held accountable for anything – that core group will listen.  They will pray.  They will not judge me.  And they will be there to make me smile again.

Jeremy, the friend that just left, is a friend who tells it like it is.  We’ve definitely pushed our friendship on some issues – sometimes our views are pretty polar-opposite. But I value that we can say what is needed, when it’s needed.  He’s a friend who knows me inside out.  And that can be scary, letting someone know you that well, except he’s also as trustworthy as a person can get.

I am excited for his path.  He’s been there for me, to impart wisdom, truth and biblical accountability to me for months.  It’s my turn to be that for him.  And it’s great to know that at anytime we can call upon each other and we’ll always be there. 

The rest of our friend group is going to miss him like crazy.  Yet, it’s so bitter-sweet as we know that God is taking him from us in order to do the things that God needs to do.  It’s an honour to be able to witness God’s power and presence transforming someone.

Those other friends already stepped up to support each other in this change.  And WOW, to know that I have so many people who love me, is mind-blowing.  You are, if you’re reading this, loved and beloved and I pray for you right now to be able to recognise this in your lives friends.  🙂

Friendship is special, it is a family.  Treat it with the respect it deserves.  Invest in the friends you should have, respectfully change the relationships you need to, and above all, remember that your best friend will always be God.

Worth — October 4, 2011

Worth


Ministry cuts you open, tears you apart, destroy’s relationships, grows others, breaks you open, you bleed for those who care, bleed even more for those who don’t care, rakes you over the coals, God teaches your heart to break for things that break his, you are pushed to limits, forced to exceed limits, taught to humble yourself, have to take responsiblity for people who don’t have their act together, made to take courage in times when you are so fragile you think you are at the end, you cut yourself open to the wolves who feast upon you, you are exposed to all kinds of evil, THEN you have this ONE single moment where you SEE the hand of GOD move in someone’s life.  And it is all worth it.

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