faith, friends, life, love

Fierce Love

In my last blog, I mentioned another friend and promised to write more about her. So here we go!  

Like my other friend, she’s pretty dang awesome! 

I giggle at the differences in my two friends, because this one does not have the gift of silence in any way or fashion. In fact, silence may actually be painful for her! But she has an amazing gift of her own. 

Her gift is loving the broken. Since I’ve known her, she’s always had this gifting. There have been times I’ve seen her fight it, but she can’t for very long. It always shines through. Even if she refused to act on it, it was burning in her heart. 

She is one of those people who will crawl down in the pit of muck and grime with you, wallow, get messy, and set up camp until your ready to leave, all the while reminding you that you’re not suppose to be there. 

She has a heart for the unlovable and broken in a way I deeply respect and admire. 

She’s taken in abused wives. Loved on hurting children. Walked with the alcoholics. Bailed people out of jail in the middle of the night. Fasted for months on end, as an intercessor in prayer. Stood in the faces of Pharisees and spoken the truth of God. 

Her love reminds me so much of Jesus’s love. Eating with the sinners. Choosing the tax collectors. Not judging the prostitutes. Leaving the ninety-nine for the one who strayed. Welcoming the prodigal home. Fighting for the sinner. And even, flipping the tables in the temple.

Although we can’t fully understand Jesus’s love, I think she “gets” it better than most.

After my sister’s murder, our family was so devastated and consumed by irrational emotions that we had an emotional limit as to what we could handle. The slightest little thing could be overwhelming to us. 

There’s not a lot I remember of those initial days, but I will never forget her stance. Anytime we were in a crowd of people, she was always near. Standing guard, ready to step in if it looked as if we couldn’t handle talking to one more person or if someone said something inappropriate (yes, unfortunately, that happens). And there were times, she acted on this stance. I remember seeing her guide people in a different direction so we could slip out the door. 

I find it a little funny now, because I picture her head to toe decked out in steel armor, shield and sword at the ready, fully prepared to fight anyone who might compromise us—and also the ones who might not. Lol! 

She is a mighty warrior. Standing guard. Ready to fight for that person’s cause, especially when they don’t have it in them to fight for themselves.

She has a fierce unbreakable love that, to be honest, can sometimes get her in trouble. 

But, oh, to have that kind of love for unlovable, broken people is something far too unseen in today’s world. Not only in today’s world, but in today’s churches.

I want to love like she loves. Just like I want to have wisdom in silence like my other friend in the blog post before. 

God put these two women in my life for so many reasons, but I’m confident that one reason is to teach me both of these unique gifts. I learn a little more each time I’m with them. 

I’m thankful for my circle, my people. Life wouldn’t be near as entertaining without them. 

Do you have someone in your life who teaches you how to be a better person? I’d love for you to tell me about them in the comments below. 

friends, silence, wisdom

Wisdom in Silence

I have a friend who has an amazing gift of keeping quiet when needed. To me, this shows a great amount of self control and wisdom on her part. 

I’ve admired this quality in her for as long as I’ve known her. 

But there’s a flip side to it, too. There have been times I have desperately wanted her to give me answers but she has remained quiet instead. Irritation can rear it’s nasty little head if I let it, and the gift I so admire, suddenly, becomes the gift I want her to ignore and just tell me what to do. 

But you see, it’s not her job to tell me what to do—that is … unless the Holy Spirit tells her to. 

And to be honest, I’m seeking answers from the wrong person at this point. 

We all need great friends. Someone who we can be real with. Someone who knows all the good, bad, and ugly—and still loves us. We need these people in our journey of life. 

But there are times, if we’re not careful, we can get so connected with a person that when a crisis arises the first person we call is that friend.  We forget to run to our Father. He’s the one with all of the power. Our friend is just a supporter, a carrier of burdens, and a comforter. 

But the Holy Spirit is all of these and more. He has the power to soothe our soul and intervene on our behalf with God who has the power to heal, change a situation, or help us see something in a different light.

“Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain. God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way God wants.”

Romans 8:26-27 NCV

Our friend can only do so much. Why is it that we expect more from them? 

Maybe because we unintentionally put them in the place of God? (Ouch! That’s stings a little. And not the message I intended to share, but it’s good, so it’s staying.) 

I want to be more like my friend. I want to know when to share wisdom and when to sit quietly. I want to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that I hear Him say, “share this” or “Shhh, they aren’t ready. Give Me time to work in their heart to hear the truth in the way it’s meant to be heard.”

“There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Ecclesiastes 3:7 

Which leads us to my point of this blog. Sometimes people are not willing (or in the emotional state of mind) to hear some truths. We must be careful with our words, even when our words are truth.

One of the most popular things said to me after my sister was murdered was “God is in control”.

Well…  yes, He is… but… 

In the middle of traumatic grief (grief that had a wide variety of crazy emotions attached to it) that was not what I was ready or wanted to hear.

In fact, my anger (in my grief) grabbed a hold of that and chewed it to bits. 

So, if God is in control, then what you’re saying is that God allowed my sister get raped, murdered, and dumped in the woods for 6 weeks until someone finally found her body? (Uhm… pretty sure that’s not what they meant to happen when they said it.)

With all of the crazy emotions I had running through me, that is immediately where my mind went. 

So you see, probably not the best thing to say to someone in a situation of loss. (Just a little inside tip;) 

It’s truth. But not a truth a grieving person may be ready to hear during this season of their life.

Better truths are to remind them “God loves you.”  “What was meant for evil God will use for good. Maybe not right now, but He will use it at some point. Hang in there. I’m with you.” 

It could be that we are suppose to remain silent until the Holy Spirit tells us to speak. It’s hard to be quiet when someone you love is hurting. It hurts us when they hurt. We want to comfort. We can even be afraid they may wander from God. So we force words (truth) on them in an attempt to control the situation.

My friend walked with me down a dark and ugly road for a long time after my sister’s murder. There were times I pushed her away, times I allowed her near, and times I was not a good friend to her at all, but she hung in there with me. Never giving up on me. And guess what, 90% of the time she was silent. She was there, giving me the comfort I needed and refusing to allow me to completely isolate myself, but without words. And in that 10% of the time she did have words, I trusted her words. I listened.

“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.”

Job 2:13 NLT

This one verse is such a powerful statement to us as we walk with someone through grief. More often than not, we get it wrong simply because we become uncomfortable in silence. 

Oh, my friend was praying, pleading, and even found herself angry at God at times, but it was all behind the scenes. She was my intercessor. Held my arms up when I couldn’t. And she never once left me.

Her silent strength means more to me than she will ever know. And I hope, if ever needed, I can be the same for her one day. 

“Later, when Moses’ arms became tired, the men put a large rock under him, and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands—Aaron on one side and Hur on the other. They kept his hands steady until the sun went down.”

Exodus 17:12 NCV

**I also had a Hur, another friend, who stood beside me and never left me. (More about her in another blog.)**

We need friends in our lives. We need them to hold our arms up when we are tired, but we have to be extremely careful not to place them higher than God. (If they are a good friend, they don’t want that position anyway.) 

And last, we need to learn to be a friend who listens to the Holy Spirit, speaking when He tells us to and practicing silence when He commands. It’s not our place to fix. Yes, we desperately want to help them get better, but our place is to walk beside them and be an intercessor in prayer for them.