Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ladies, Do You Have a Good Girlfriend: PART 2

This won’t be long, but I just had to share. I have a girlfriend who is currently walking through treatment for breast cancer. I try to stay current on her treatment dates and times, and yesterday was her 3rd. She’s always on my heart so much on those days. I just pray the Lord’s blessings upon her as she endures this journey with so much class and grace.

So yesterday’s post was about girlfriends, right? Yesterday, I was a ranting advocate for every woman finding a way to have meaningful friendships with other women. Now who knew that when I published the post on yesterday my sweet girlfriend would be reading the post while receiving her chemotherapy treatment? And get this. One of HER girlfriends was there reading the post along with her. Below is a quote from the text message she sent me. I started to post a screenshot of the actual text, but she’d probably get me for putting her predictive text bloopers on display to the general public. 🙂

“….my other sister friend and I read your blog during my treatment! How ironic is that? You write so beautifully and today’s message was right on target! I’m so glad to say I have those kinds of friendships! I can’t imagine life without them!”

All I could say was WOW and that’s still all I can say! I feel like in a small way I was there with her yesterday as she received her treatment. This blessed me so much I just had to share it. See y’all. GIRLFRIENDS! I’m telling you, they’re a blessing.

Until next time, my dear girlfriends…

P.S. Notice the pink font in honor of my friend. 🙂

Ladies, Do You Have A Good Girlfriend?

I had a conversation with one of my girlfriends yesterday. Our talk time came in at just about 35 minutes. It was brief but boy did it pack quite a punch! Impactful! Yeah, that’s what it was. Impactful…  As we hung up, I thought to myself, “This is one of those things that we as women don’t do often enough.” We don’t have impactful and sharpening conversations with other women. They don’t have to be long. They simply need to be impactful, and transparency is what creates the impact.

Why do so many women feel they cannot have a good, healthy friendship with another woman? A strong friendship. A nurturing friendship. A sisterhood. Ok, I’ll admit, growing up with three sisters maybe gave me a bit of an edge in this department. Maybe. 😉 That’s why I feel compelled to use my edge to help others see how very important this is. Note, I didn’t say easy, just important.

Hear me out a minute.

Who better understands the issues faced by a woman than another woman? No one! So, by sheer design, to think that you can only have a good friendship with men can’t help but be a faulty theory. Even though it may appear to be reality in your world, trust me there’s probably more to the story than you’re telling or even more to the story than you realize.

Dig deeper. If that’s your story, I dare you to dig deeper. If you dig deep in your past there’s likely a reason why you don’t trust women or are challenged to try to get along with them.

Let’s face it. It can’t be that every woman in the world is out to get you or that every woman in the world doesn’t like you. You’re special, but seriously? If you can’t get along with any other woman, the common denominator in every scenario is you. So maybe we need to search ourselves and figure out why we can’t have good, impactful, iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17) conversations and friendships with women.

I just love it when I have a conversation (phone or in person) with one of my girlfriends and I walk away inspired, encouraged, and just feeling like “OK! It’s not just me dealing with this. Someone else is going through this same thing. Someone else is fighting this same crazy battle.” It takes transparency to get there, though. Women have to be more willing to expose themselves (for lack of a better phrase) so that we all have a shot at wholeness, confidence and liberty. Dare we begin to believe we can talk it out, work it out and get through some things together.

Together. That’s what iron sharpening iron is all about.

I had to write about this because it’s one of those things that really, really gets to me. It’s one of those areas where I feel we as sister girls are doing ourselves a dis-service. For us single ladies (yes, I’m spoken for and 39 days away from being a married woman, but TODAY I’m still unmarried), we often dream of and pray for a wonderful mate to come our way. If we can’t even maintain a normal, healthy friendship with a woman (who is LIKE us) how on earth do we think it will be seamless to understand a man (who is SO NOT like us)? Now that’s a rant for another day.

I am blessed to have 3 sisters I can talk to and on top of that have at least 3 solid relationships with other women I know I can call on and know I can trust. They’ll tell me when I’m right, and more importantly, they’ll tell me when I’m FLAT WRONG! They’re not just talking to me to to tell me things that make me feel good. They actually care. And these are reciprocal relationships. They are not one-sided.

There will be times when you may call one of those good girlfriends and they may not come through in the way that you needed them to in that moment. Cut them some slack. They won’t be all-powerful or all-knowing, because they aren’t God. Extend grace and keep moving. Know the heart of a person (women AND men, alike). If you know that their heart is not malicious then you will understand what comes out of them at that imperfect moment is just that, an imperfection. It’s not malicious. It’s not to hurt you. It’s just an imperfection. And we all have ‘em.

Come on sisters. There has to be a reason why we won’t let each other close. Yes! You must be discerning about any relationship. Trust me; I learned that the hard way. You have to be discerning about who you allow into your world and let get close to you because everyone is not going to be a good steward over the things of you. Being discerning about relationships is key. That’s called exercising wisdom. Other than that, take a chance. Seek out, search for, and pray for good friendships with women you can trust. I promise you it will change your life.

I’m rambling here. I know I’ve touched on a lot of points, but it was just something on my mind today that I had to get out. What are your thoughts on the subject? I’d love to hear from you.

39 days and counting…

Until next time…

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bound, Broken, Desperate

“The Lord reassures me of His call each time I listen to the heart of or have an opportunity to encourage one of God’s daughters.  I see the pain.  I know the pain.  I’ve found the freedom, and I want to share.”

Seven or eight years ago one of my girlfriends invited me to attend a women’s bible study.  A group of women met for 8 or 9 weeks, reading and discussing the book Showing Mary, by Renita Weems.

I’ll be honest; I don’t remember much about our time together.  Yet the one thing I will never forget is the very moment the Spirit of the Lord enlisted me to share the pages of my life’s story with a young woman I didn’t know at all.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  She was bound.  She was broken.  She was desperate.  I recognize the bold, piercing stares of those three predators anywhere; I’ve seen them glare at me through my own mirror.  Bound…Broken…Desperate.

One evening, as this young lady was sharing the heartbreaking story of her then current situation with the group, I distinctly heard God’s whisper.  His instruction was clear. I was not to leave without tending to the wounds of my sister.  I had no idea what I would say to her, but I knew leaving that church without allowing the Lord to use me would be blatant disobedience.

So I did go speak to this woman.  What I said back then escapes me, but I left her with my contact information and an open invitation to call me anytime.

And she did.

I was honored to walk with her for years.  Our journey together blossomed into a beautiful friendship.  I’ve had the extreme pleasure of watching God transform her life, moving her from a place of darkness into the glory of His marvelous light of truth.

Saturday, while hanging out at a local mall, one of my girlfriends and I encountered a woman.  She stopped to talk to us after overhearing one word from our conversation. We later learned that pain laced with alcohol gave her the courage to pour out her brokenness on complete strangers.  Out of the abundance of her heart her mouth spoke, revealing stories of loss, adultery and abuse.  The look in her eyes was familiar – bound, broken, and desperate.

Before she walked away, I asked if I could pray with her, and she agreed.  As the three of us huddled together holding hands, her weeping became the forlorn melody to my fervent prayer for peace, healing and direction.  I can only imagine what other issues of her life rolled down her cheeks in the drops of her tears.  After my friend and I encouraged her a bit more, I gave her contact information, and she went on her way.

As Saturday’s dust settled, I began to reflect.  First, I thought about my encounter from days gone by with the woman who is now one of my sweet friends.  As the Lord would orchestrate, she called me on Thursday.  Next, I thought about my She Speaks Scholarship Contest entry.  I just narrowly met the Friday deadline.  Then, my thoughts naturally drifted toward God’s sweet daughter I’d met only hours earlier.  Tying all of this together, my mind came to rest, once again, on these words from my contest post:

“The Lord reassures me of His call each time I listen to the heart of or have an opportunity to encourage one of God’s daughters.  I see the pain.  I know the pain.  I’ve found the freedom, and I want to share.”

Today, I am

Father, in Jesus’ name, I thank you for continuing to use me.  Amen.

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago.  Today, I am re-sharing it as a contest entry (YES, I am at it again! lol) for another She Speaks scholarship.  The She Speaks Conference is for women, like me – writers, speakers, & women’s ministry leaders – whose desire is to serve our Savior by touching the hearts of His precious baby girls.  If you are one of those women, click here for more information on this scholarship and click here for more information on the She Speaks Conference.  On the official conference website you can sign up to receive conference updates from the She Speaks Conference blog and become privy to other scholarship contest opportunities.

I truly pray this post connects women who read it to my heart, but much more than that, I hope it connects them to the heart of the God who loves them so dearly.  As I re-read the words, my heart once again connected to that random, hurting woman in a local shopping mall (I think about her often) and that stranger-turned friend from so many years ago.  Even while we are apart, their hearts still tug on mine, not only linking my heart to theirs but linking it to the heart of my heavenly Father.  They serve as a reminder of the desire I have to serve Him by serving them, using my gifts as He sees fit.

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,