Rejection- Take Mom’s Advice

 

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

Matthew 5:44 ESV

One of my children got a birthday card in the mail.

Why did that bother me so much? I mulled over the nagging pain in my heart until I decided what it was–REJECTION.

I never get a card from a particular relative on my birthday. All of my kids get cards, and I am skipped.

So that was it. Rejection. I had named it.

Now I could deal with it. I started with what “mother said”–one of her sayings I hated while growing up, mostly because she was right.

My mother often said, “It isn’t the action; it’s the reaction.” In other words, I can’t control what someone else does – only what I do or don’t do. That is completely up to me.

Mother’s words still play in my head today. I even say them to my own children when they fuss with each other.

On this day, I dug deeper into this newly uncovered emotion of rejection.

Verses came fast and furious to my mind.

Isaiah 53:3 ESV He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

So Jesus knew rejection. Okay, got it. He understands. So what?

Matthew 5:44 ESV But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

Well, it isn’t persecution like prison camp but I think the principle to pray for them might still apply.

2 Corinthians 1:5-6   1 Peter 2 :4-5 

Philippians 2:5 NIV   In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Romans 8:17 NIV …we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

So what do I do with this rejection I feel from family members? I have decided to accept it as sharing in the suffering of Christ. This rejection is allowing me to share more in His glory. It draws me closer to Christ as I am reminded of what He endured for me.

He was rejected by His closest disciples in His most desperate time of need.

His brothers turned their backs until after the resurrection, when James became an integral part of the early church.

Since my husband passed away, some family members have not been involved with me and the kids to the extent that I hoped. (It’s those “great expectations” that get me into trouble every time.) And I miss it. I want to be over and done with these feelings of rejection. Honestly, it allows people to have control over me that I don’t appreciate their having. It is like they have a chain around my heart and can tug it whenever. I am breaking that chain today. I declare myself “chain free”!

Do you need to break the chains binding you to a feeling that someone’s words or actions have over you?

  • Dig into Scripture
  • How did Christ deal with the feeling?
  • How should I deal with it?

Often others don’t even intend on inflicting hurt on you. They are dealing with their own grief in a way that may not be healthy, or they may need help you can’t give. But you can PRAY.

Father in Heaven, thank You for knowing the emotions we deal with. Your Son felt rejection from those closest to Him. Help me break the emotional chains trapping me today from other people’s actions that I cannot control. I lay those at Your feet. Amen


 

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Elizabeth Dyer lives in Oklahoma with her six children named after Bible characters, a large dog named after a grandfather, a noisy cat named after a German race car driver, and guinea pigs named after candy bars!  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and is learning that she only THOUGHT she knew what trusting God was–widowhood has taken that “faith walk” to a whole new level for her. Psalm 94:19 has become a special verse for her family – “Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”

 

Our team at A Widow’s Might would love to send a speaker to your next event. Email us at admin@anewseason.net to get information about our speakers.

Do you want to read more articles by Elizabeth? Read them here. 

Another article about loving and forgiving our inlaws by Kit.

Here’s a great one by Leah about hurting people who hurt people.

Totally Blessed but Still so Broken

Recently I’ve felt all broken, like a puzzle pulled apart right in the middle of plotting my new life portrait. I mean, when God gives us a second chance aren’t we supposed to focus our eyes in front of us, hearts overflowing with unheralded hope? But instead, I feel like I’m betraying Him with blinders on my eyes and hurt in my heart.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you know you’re blessed but still you feel broken in pieces. So instead of praising Him you’re imploring Him.

Maybe we can work through this together.  Widowhood’s puzzle comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, colors and contours. So even though my picture may look a lot different than yours, we all begin with one piece: death, loss of a large part in the puzzle we once knew.

Right now, I’m in the first year of putting pieces of the ‘remarried widow’ portrait together. I’m blessed because of my sweet second chance! The colors, contours, truths, type of love and fears of another loss create an entirely new appearance. It’s exciting, awesome and downright wonderful….really, it’s also very scary.

Someday I’ll tell the full story of how it all happened, how God was the One working against me as I resisted remarriage. He went ahead without my consent (as if He needed it!) and put it all together so beautifully that I had to welcome His blessing!

But now I’m here with all this newfound hope somehow feeling broken in the midst of my blessing.

You see, saying ‘I do’ for a second time did not put me all back together again. The loss of my first love sometimes lingers. I’ll say it straightforward: Grief doesn’t just go away, replaced by remarriage. Past puzzle pieces remain intact because God gave them purpose. And for me, they occasionally resurface although fewer and further between.

When I celebrated my first love’s birthday last week at the memorial given by his comrades, his fellow firefighters, I fell flat. The puzzle of my new life portrait came apart like a sudden pressing pause, then quick rewind to raw loss.

I was reminded this journey is much too complicated to reconcile with a walk down the aisle. Of course, in my mind I knew remnants of grief over Kevin would always remain. But it wasn’t until I couldn’t catch my breath that I realized how paradoxical it would feel. My new husband holding my heart listening intently about my lost love. He sweetly saw my struggle as I poured out my heart.

Listen, ladies. Don’t get me wrong! New love is amazing, fresh, a God-given gift if it arises on your widowhood walk. It adds depth and opportunity to fill new dreams. It’s been an awesome display of God’s love in my life! But we have to remember: it’s not all about happiness and healing….although both are byproducts of any relationship done right. (Here’s more about that on Happily Whole: It’s Not All About Being Happy)

I’d never steer you away from another man if your puzzle pieces are put together with prayer and God’s purpose. But, as widows, we have to be real. New love sometimes underlines what we’ve lost. I’m pretty sure, as God continues putting my puzzle together, I’ll always feel a little unmade.

And, you know what? That’s okay with me. Because one thing I can say I have learned without a doubt as I continue to reconcile my past and present puzzles is that God is my number ONE. He is my ONLY constant, my first Comforter and my life’s Creator! I will follow Him wherever He leads!

So, I suppose it’s also alright the way we sometimes know we’re blessed but still feel all broken, pulled apart and pieces missing. He leaves some pieces out of our puzzles so our constant, our Comforter, our Creator has space to fill us in.

No matter how broken we feel, the blessing is still always real!

If you were wondering about more of my second chapter struggles, here’s one on Happily Whole all about the blessing of blending… families and buttercream: Buttercream Blending and Messy Motherhood

Now, with you all in my heart and in my prayers, I’m headed back over to Happily Whole to continue writing a new recipe!

Live Well and Be Blessed,

Katie

Setting Goals the Godly Way

Fitness. Yes, I want to talk to you, my sweet sister, about the value of your wonderfully made body, that wonderfully made masterpiece God lovingly crafted for you, and one reason you must tend to it’s condition. Oh, I have so much to say but too little time.

I could tell you about all the feel-good facets of fitness. I desire to define the many ways how eating clean and taking care of your body improves your health, the way you feel, your sleep, your hormones and your energy. The benefits can fill this page plus so much more!

But that’s not what I want to focus on today. I’d rather use our limited time together discussing one amazing benefit of disciplining yourself to care for your body. It goes far beyond what I’ve already mentioned.

It starts with revealing the value you place in the image of Christ you carry with you each day: Your body. If you’re not caring for your very own image of your Savior, where’s the reverence? (OUCH! I know that might hurt because for a long time, it convicted me. But hear me out.)

The seemingly only physical pursuit of consistent healthy activity can serve Him as it helps you focus on your faith in many ways. Think about it: You are a WHOLE person consisting of a body and mind inseparable from your soul until your physical death. Your WHOLE SELF is one big blessing all wrapped up in the package of your body. So yes…healthy living CAN help you focus on faith.

Here’s how it works for me. When I’m disciplined in my self-care, I find it easier to connect with my Savior. My mind doesn’t wander as much, I possess energy allowing me to stand up to daily struggles with Him at the forefront and I simply experience the satisfaction of knowing I’ve honored the body He masterfully made.

All that good stuff resulting from healthy routines can be harnessed and used to energize your honor and service to our Savior!

But when I turn to food as my cushion of comfort or I neglect my physical fitness for less productive patterns (like too much TV or internet surfing), I easily slip into a cycle of self-loathing. I feel lazy, I lack focus and feel unprepared to face the challenges of my day.

I know need a daily structure including some kind of self-care. Fitness helps provide me with one source of structure. If I’m feeling weary, even if all I do is go for a walk or dance around my room (and I do, it’s true!), I’m able to offer my new-found energy to Him.

I take it one step further, and here’s where I wonder if you’ll come with me: I always begin warming up my body as I wrap my mind in prayer. In fact, it’s such a habit to commit my fitness time to Him, that it feels cold and unwelcoming to exercise without inviting Him in! I put on my praise music, I move and I pray.

You see, this daily goal of mine for self-care really starts with SOUL-care. 

We’re all in different places on the path of life, health and physical fitness.  I’m aware what I’m describing may not be right for your routine. But, you see, no matter where we are or what we do, isn’t it true God gave us these bodies as physical vessels to carry our very souls through the life He’s called us into?

If for no other reason than out of awe in His amazing creativity and how He’s cradled these beautiful bodies in His mighty hands, should we not care for them?

So, I’ve finally made it to my main point: Setting godly goals. When we remain focused on Him, even in our fitness, our priorities and goals always start with a prayer. So, set your goals with God firmly in your head and heart. He knows your physical needs even more than you do. A godly fitness goal honors your Creator God and it puts us on a path of success simply because He’s set the stage.

As we focus on our physical needs, let’s always keep in mind what 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

If you happen to be looking for some tangible fitness tips to help you get going on your goals, here’s an article from Happily Whole: 5 Keys to Fitness Success

Living Well in Widowhood

As widows, it’s easy to lose motivation to care for the beautiful bodies God gave us. Living alone means no one is watching. Or even those of us with children still find ourselves searching for something soothing to munch on as we sink into the couch cushions wishing for comfort…comfort food can’t give.

Why would a widow really care about wellness!? After losing that one person we felt this life was worth living for, what’s the point of caring about what we wear, how much we eat or if we exercise at all?

I know how that feels. I recall wondering whether I’d ever feel appealing, if my ‘presentation’ truly mattered or if caring for my own body’s health was enough to make me want to move again.

But because, before the death of my husband, I already possessed the professional mindset and personal passion for eating well and exercising regularly, I forced myself into my old healthy lifestyle. I felt relief at first simply because I could return to something that felt normal to me.

But, it was still different. As a widow, even my most ingrained habits felt surreal and uncomfortable. What was I doing it all for anyways? My drive, my motivation and even my energy waned when I thought about living well all alone. I certainly didn’t need to try to look good naked!

But then my perspective started changing. I felt this conviction to live well but in a new ‘inside-out’ way. You see, I sought healthy habits starting with my soul and then let that perspective seep out into how I treated my body. Living well in widowhood had nothing to do with what the world taunts us with–all those empty messages of diets, fitness fads and socially acceptable aesthetics held no weight in my new little world.

I had learned that living well as a widow, my own self-care, had a lot more to do with my sanity than any opinions or my appearance. I lost the love of my life but gained a new perspective as a woman working in wellness.

Even after I started dating (under protest, I might add…more on that in THIS POST), I refused to admit I cared about my aesthetics. And you know what? I honestly didn’t! Even if I married this guy, I wanted to maintain the more soul-satisfying, ‘inside-out’ approach I’d been exploring.

What’s so interesting about this new approach to my old habits is that I’d never felt so comfortable in my own skin. It’s like God was blessing me with peace and new purpose in an area I’d always felt I was racing in.

I realized, like all the other aspects of my life, self-care was another area I needed to surrender to my Savior. I mean, if God made my body and then sacrificed His Son for my salvation, I’d better honor the vessel He gave me for my process of sanctification!

And when I embraced that belief, God got all the glory and my mind relaxed with new motivation to live well.

Sisters, God gave us our bodies. He calls us to care for the temple of His Holy Spirit out of honor, no matter what stage we are in. And as long as we’re alive on earth, let’s remember we are each blessed with a mission to carry out and we need our bodies to do it.

I have so much more to say about your inherent worth in Him and how lovely you already are! But for now, feel free to read more in this post on Happily Whole: Prepare to Surrender for Self-Cleaning

Love and Prayers to you…now go and LIVE WELL as WIDOWS!

~ Katie

If I’m Being Honest….

I’m not sure how to say this. Maybe it’s a little risky or maybe you won’t agree. Perhaps you’ll want to place me in a different category since I recently remarried. Will you think I’m not a widow like you? Will you disregard my messages because you feel I’m not walking alongside you in loss?

Or maybe those are just my own fears, my own assumptions still causing me to ache with your pain, a pain I still feel but from a different perspective. It’s a pain I place in a special place in my heart so I can live freely inside a new love.

You see, I never really wanted to remarry. I was content, comfortable…to the point of a bit complacent…in my widowhood walk. I’d even found a certain kind of quiet happiness living alone with my two little girls as I cradled my life in comfortable grief.

Yeah, I carried my grief with care and treasured its comfort in a life I’d become a bit too comfortable in. I treasured the tears. Because if I ever relinquished my reality, would I lose sight of the love of my life? Would I forget to linger in my beautiful memory’s of love and loss?

God did this. He changed my life. He took my heart and held it in His hand until I was willing to walk away from my comfortable little complacent life. And here’s the thing: It didn’t make me happy. He didn’t show me how a new man with an entirely new life plan would transform my quiet kind of happiness into the crazy, giddy honeymoon kind of happiness.

Instead, He showed me how changing my life YET AGAIN is all about Him, not happiness. Sure, eventually the call into a new relationship rattled me from heart to bones! It was nerve-rackingly exciting at times. I fell in love with my new man with all my heart! He’s a man I can easily honor, love and respect. He tenderly cares for my girls and I in a way I could have never imagined. I am blessed beyond measure to hold his love in my heart. Today, sisters, he is the one my soul loves. (Saying it out loud awkwardly surprises me…it’s a strange kind of tender truth.)

So, it’s good…but it’s not all about happiness. I walked away from ‘content’ because it’s so much more about building Christ’s kingdom! The crazy happy only came after I realized my uncomfortable call to another kind of kingdom work.

So, no. I would have never married again unless I knew the call was closer to Him. I never would have followed my human heart to a home with a new man unless God gave me the plan. 

And, yes. I do feel crazy happy on this other side of calm and content. But, believe me, it’s not always bliss! I mean, who wants to marry a widow who’s self-proclaimed a bit messy and over-thinks everything?

But you know what? I’m no further away from the past love of my life. I linger there, I treasure the lessons and even I long for aspects of him. So, it’s complicated. But it’s all about His kingdom!

My sisters, I’m still one of you. I remain on the walk of widowhood, but in a remarried sort of way. My hearts and prayers are with you and that’s why I’m still here!

Here’s more of ‘If I’m Being Honest‘ on my blog, Happily Whole. Click Here: If I’m Being Honest. 

 

 

More of Who We Were Made to Be (& a carrot cake recipe??)

I keep on thinking about this idea of a *no fear* New Year, about taking risks for what I know is right and courageously living out loud wherever He calls me…as a mom, a wife, a woman, as His warrior walking around in my own little spec on this world.

And something just occurred to me:

Living courageously doesn’t mean we exist without fear. Real courage means we act in the face of our fears! We keep on doing the hard things despite barriers, fears and where the world wants to lead—even if it means it feels like we’re swimming upstream.

And, you see, when we abide in Christ, He claims our fear so we can walk out with HIS courage when we can’t stand on our own. He steadies us when the current gets bad and saves us right when we think we’ll sink.

As women….as widows….there’s so many possible fears and frustrations we may face each day. But, no matter where this earthly walk takes us, we can not only escape our fears but we can extinguish them by abiding in Him!

And believe me, although I’m now remarried, the grief my heart still holds for the husband I lost brings me to my knees at the most unexpected times. I fear whether I’ve made the right choice, I fear I won’t be a good mom for my two daughters and my three new step-daughters and mostly I fear I’ll someday lose a love again. It could drive me crazy if I think about it too long!

But, I cannot live consumed in those fears! I have to live in CHRIST who gives me courage to go wherever He calls me. Ladies, let’s hold hands and hearts and walk boldly as we abide in Him!

For a little more on this message and, yes, how it inspired me to makeover a carrot cake recipe, read more at Happily Whole here: More of Who We Were Made to Be…and a carrot cake recipe

Welcome to Happily Whole Mondays

Please join us in welcoming back our dear sister Katie. She originally joined our team, writing for A Widow’s Might Ministry, in 2012 after her beloved husband Kevin journeyed to heaven, after a brave battle against cancer.  As God healed her and moved her forward, she took some time off and then returned as a team member, writing for a New Season Ministries.  Recently, Katie took the summer off to embark on another journey, the journey of getting remarried and merging two families.  We are so proud to share with you Katie Oldham has now become Katie Hagen.  We have been so blessed to walk this journey with her.  All along the way, she has had a great passion for overall health, fitness, and well-being.

Please join her as she shares about herself and her passions.  We look forward to our Mondays with Katie through her incredible ministry, Happily Whole.

Sweet Sisters, I love you and I don’t even need to know you! We’ve all held hands and hearts through the common thread of grief…grief only overcome with our great God! I‘m Katie, creator at Happily Whole, my blog born out of grief and a deep desire to serve the Lord through my passion for living well. You see, sometimes Satan highjacks our sensibilities and we succumb to either neglecting or… over-emphasizing our physical bodies. But God’s given us these beautiful bodies so we’re to take care of our temples, without worshipping wellness. Every other Monday, I’ll post a piece from Happily Whole so we can live-well together FROM THE INSIDE OUT— nourishing foods and refreshing fitness, all with a foundation in faith! I’ll share some struggles and some successes but even more I’ll just be real. I pray we’ll walk with the Lord together, glorifying Him in ALL we do, even our health and wellness. https://www.livinghappilywhole.com

Much Love and Blessings,

Katie

People Are Messy

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NIV)

This is my first article since I took a break in May from writing. A LOT has happened in my life during that break! Some things I saw coming and others were a total surprise. My only daughter graduated high school and went off to college. I had to put one of my dogs down. My dad had some serious health issues and had to be hospitalized. I made the difficult decision to take a break from a very special relationship. All the while, I was still running my home, working a full time job, and continuing in my volunteer roles.

During this time of major change and struggles, I had to step back and reflect, and I realized people are messy! This world is messy! I am messy! My world is messy!

So, as I faced this new unknown I asked: Who am I? Whose am I? I was led to the passage of scripture above. I am an adopted child of the King of Kings. My Savior is my advocate. I am in Christ and therefore a new creation. The old is gone and the new is here! God doesn’t count my sins against me.

People are messy! The world is messy! What do I do with that? People don’t act the way I want them to or react the way I want them to. How do I react to this messiness?

If I am I being honest here, my reactions sometimes are anger and resentment, resulting in broken relationships. This isn’t the picture of a new creation. It’s a picture of I…me…mine…! That’s old and it does not have love in it, so Christ is not there.

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
1 John 4:12-17 NIV

Scripture clearly states that we are to have love for the messy people of this world. We are to respond with love and in love. Love evaporates anger, resentment and repairs relationships. When we love, Christ is in us and people see the Savior, the One who made us a new creation.

I am a work in progress and this is the big area of my life that God is working on. It is very easy when people let us down or don’t react the way we want them to, to walk away and just move on. There is hurt for a time, but eventually you get out of the habit of having that person in your life. Jesus loves us when we are our messiest and that’s where He meets us. Can’t we try to meet others there too?

That’s what I’m working on…responding in love with the author of LOVE and then showing this messy world that Christ is in me. I don’t always hit the mark, but Christ always responds in love to my pleas for forgiveness and I start again. I encourage you to respond in love too!

Dear Lord, Thank You for forgiving me and meeting me where I am in my mess. Thank You for loving me in spite of my messiness and, Lord, please help me to remember how You deal with me when I encounter others in their messiness and may I respond with Your Love. Amen

Joy Brings Generosity

2 Corinthians 8:2 NIV

In the midst of a very severe trial,

their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty

welled up in rich generosity.

I know about trials. How about you? I’ve had a few in my life. Not just the small ones, like my manicurist retired. No, real trials. Loss of income, loss of security, loss of spouse, loss of identity, loss of love.

Here is a passage from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, bragging on the behavior of the Macedonians.  Paul said the Macedonians were in the middle of severe trials. What was it? I didn’t find a clear answer to that question, but with the words “extreme poverty” in the verse, I have a little guess about their trial.

Do we really know what “extreme poverty” is? We see pictures of third world countries, and we might be moved to tears by the pictures and stories. “Extreme poverty” isn’t doing without cable or cutting out my hair color appointments. It isn’t even reducing our meals to beans and rice or downsizing to an apartment. “Extreme poverty” is something I cannot even “wrap my brain around”, something much more severe than many will ever experience.

On a recent weekend trip to St Louis with some of my children and my mother, we had to take an emergency bathroom stop in a tiny town near the highway. Literally, a one-bathroom town.  My kids were shell-shocked, I think. Looking around them, they wondered aloud if they even had internet here! My children definitely can’t fathom  “extreme poverty”.  I now threaten to move our family to this town whenever they act entitled to certain benefits or abusing the privileges they do have. It would be cruel and most harsh, according to the kids!

But it is curious how Paul commended this church. They were a model to the rich Corinthians. They didn’t just have joy, they were “overflowing” with joy! I stopped reading and found myself looking inward. During my most difficult trial, was my life overflowing with joy? When the Macedonians were in much worse difficulties than I can even imagine, their joy was contagious! Is that as convicting to you as it is to me?

This hits home in my life. I remember a situation at church one evening when things were falling apart for me emotionally. How different it would have been if, during this rough period, I overflowed with JOY  instead of anger and frustration.

Besides joy, these Macedonians were richly generous.  How could Paul use such opposites in his sentence? Wealth and poverty? Do you look at your checkbook, like I do, and decide there isn’t much left for anything generous? I have to continually remind myself to give first to God’s work (for me, it is my local church and its missionaries) and then make the rest work.

This verse really encourages me to dig deep to define “generous”. Don’t stop at money—explore other ways and pray for creativity. Maybe you could pull some weeds in order to make a certain area at the church look a little more “loved”. Maybe you could volunteer time to help with children or babies. Maybe it could be visiting the hospital rounds with one of the pastors – you perhaps remember the feelings there better than most.

Pray for creativity in your generosity.

I believe God is wanting all of us to be more like the Macedonians– to be the example of overflowing joy and generosity.

Even in difficulty, we can have joy.

Joy is not dependent on a full bank account or  marriage or health or income.

Father God, show me where I can be more generous. I want the joy of my salvation to be evident to everyone I come in contact with today. I am reminded that the joy of the Lord is my strength, not so many other things I try. Amen

 

 

elizabeth 325x325

Elizabeth Dyer is a writer/speaker with  A Widow’s Might/A New Season Ministries, Inc.. She resides in Oklahoma, amid earthquakes and tornadoes, giving her ample opportunities to trust God! Her six children, large dog, noisy cat, and guinea pigs keep her busy enough, but she still finds time to have coffee now and then with a friend.  Elizabeth lost her husband in 2012 and loves to share how God is leading her on this new journey.

 

 

Want to read more about JOY? Pursuing Joy by Lori

Finding Joy in Trials by Nancy

 

Get on the Roof

 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” Proverbs 17:17

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:31 (NIV)

I have friend drama!   Yes, can you believe it?  A woman- a widow- with drama.  It’s shocking, right?

The other day I was sitting with my daughter talking about the journey she’s embarking on as a pre-teen girl, and the friendship roller coaster ride that will last her entire life.

I walked her through some of my good and bad experiences. We looked at what Scripture says about friendship, particularly the three verses above.  I use these as my cornerstones on friendships now.

I reminded her of the key truth:  She has no control over her friends and what they may or may not do.  But, she has complete control of her actions, her words, and how she reacts to those drama-filled, hurtful or hard moments.

She can be the kind of friend she wants her friends to be to her.

I explained to my girl, she will fall short and she will completely fail at times on this friendship roller coaster. Yes, there will be drama. Yet, she is covered by grace and should just strive to be a friend that honors God and loves well.  I even promised her that friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts.

Recently, I needed to remind myself of all this. I got an “in my face” reminder of a lost and negatively-changed friendship, and it stung. My friendships have changed throughout my life.  But in the last five years, many of my friendships have changed the most drastically.  It’s tough to know you’re no longer who you were to some friends.  You can’t be and have some of the friends the way you did as a married woman.

It’s even tougher as I pray and walk this journey when I realize, maybe I wasn’t the friend I wanted others to be to me.  YES!  I do indeed bear some of the burden and responsibility throughout my life for my friend drama.

In the book of Mark there’s a rather brief story where Jesus heals a paralytic.  In Mark 2:5, Jesus forgives and heals the man because of his friends’ faith.  It says, “When Jesus saw THEIR faith,” He forgave and later healed the man.

If you look closely at this story, the men had traveled carrying this sick man on a mat to where Jesus had stopped. When they arrived there was no room for them to enter the home where Jesus was teaching.  So, instead they climbed on the roof and hoisted the man up, then dug a hole in the roof and lowered him down.  This took great time, sacrifice, care, love, commitment, and effort.

They were friends who were willing to climb on a roof for another.

Friends who were willing to get messy and dirty!

Friends who were willing to sacrifice time and energy!

Friends who were willing to be greatly inconvenienced for another!

As I have walked this journey I’ve had a few friends who got on the roof for me, and I’ve had others just not willing or able to go there.

Through my own experiences, I now know I do want to be a friend who will get on that roof every time!

I also realize the challenge is this; in the midst of anything I have going on, I need to strive to be the kind of friend I want others to be to me.  Remembering, I can shine Christ and show grace throughout.  And when I sin and fall short, I can give it to Jesus, be forgiven, and just try again.

Father, I pray for all of my friends- past, present and future.  I thank You for how You have grown me and taught through each friend You’ve brought into my life.  I pray You bring a willing heart to me and every one of my sisters to be the kind of friend that loves well and honors You before others.  Help me lead with love and grace even during the tough friendship moments, and help me to accept the changes with grace, and honor You in every moment.  In Your Precious Name, Amen.

 

295163_1927953164696_1418199297_31839733_2097799_nErika Graham is Director of Operations, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her.
If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at admin@anewseason.net.
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/erikag