What She Needs Most

winter trees

I have a friend preparing for battle. Actually, it’s the same type of battle she has fought before but this time it’s different, because she is already tired from fighting it for a long time already.  Previously, she had enjoyed a lengthy respite with joy and hope that the good health would last and last and never stop. What she needs most is not to lose her grasp on hope but even more importantly she needs to know most that God has not loosened his grip on her.

But the respite did cease. The ensuing battle has caused her to suit up again with the armor she has worn many times before, so many years ago. Not quite as shiny as the first time she put it on, but still ever so beautiful and true to fit…in perfect design by the one who made it for her. There are some battle scars on the armor, which I hope and pray will remind her of victory and not defeat. If truth be told, she has never taken that armor off. But perhaps it had felt lighter during the wellness years and may seem quite heavy and difficult to wear right now. I want her to believe that the armor is light while resting upon her yet heavy enough to protect her from stinging discouragement and fatigue or the feeling of hopelessness or to be tempted to doubt the promises of God.

Winter Tree

I want her to be brave, once again and suit up in the protection of that spiritual armor. Putting on spiritual armor simply means that she continually clothes herself in the Lord, relying on His gifts and graces through this trial. What she needs most is for her friends to stand firm with her, to help hold the armor in place through prayer.

She is one of the strongest women I know. Perhaps her strength has come from those previous battles and dark storms…her leaning into God, listening to his voice to calm anxiety. No, anxiety sounds too simple of a description. It’s more like a tsunami of everything difficult. I don’t think of God’s voice as being soft and quite, otherwise, how can we hear him over the chaotic noise and pain of the battle rushing and overwhelming us?

God speaks with words and remarkable things happen. What she needs most is to hear God’s loud words, his voice to speak into her storm.  For her to know his presence with her and to have an unreal, supernatural peace from the gospel of grace in her life. What she needs most is to know she is treasured.

She has been a voice of grace words and peaceful comfort to so many in need, reminding them of the strength they have through Christ. What she needs most is the relentless prayers and grace words from friends to lift her up.

Late Spring Tree

She is a warrior. She has hidden so much of God’s word in her heart. Memorized it. Feasted on God’s word and experienced the sweet satisfaction of God forever keeping his promise to give her what she needs most…at the time that she needs it.

What she needs most is not to forget that it will be so.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:5


The Whole Armor of God Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God… Ephesians 6:10-18

The Stuff of Friendship

the stuff of friendship

I’ve been gone for a week. I traveled with friends to the Orange Conference 2013. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out. I invited six friends to go with me. This was the first time for them to experience an Orange Conference and I suspect they will continue to unpack what they heard and learned for weeks to come.  I’m still chewing on the great stuff I heard. I’ll write about that great stuff later, but right now I’m focusing this moment on the stuff of friendship.

Those six friends that accompanied me to Atlanta are new friendships in the making. They don’t know me well and most have not heard my story of being rescued by Jesus Christ. They don’t know my family, my children and grandchildren. They don’t know about the crazy wild and fun adventures my family has experienced or the deep sadness of loss we have dealt with. These new friends do not know my history, yet they are now part my life story. And you know what, I am now woven into their story, too.

I had to stop and think about that…I am now woven into their story, too. My new friends have opened a small window into their life story and I have offered them a glimpse into my history. The stuff of friendship is messy when everyone’s history is dumped on each other. I realize it takes time for friendships to become engrained with trust, laughter, and acceptance of the real messiness of junk. All of that junk that keeps us bending the knee in prayer and surrendering in submission to God for help. The stuff of friendship means that I give them grace when they mess up and they give me grace when I fail.

The stuff of friendship is built on the foundation of Jesus, the number one example of what being a real friend is. While Jesus was all God (think about that! ALL God!) He was very comfortable hanging out with the “worst ” of people. The worst of people who needed a real friend to impact their history…nasty and messy people with raunchy stories that would soon be filled with supernatural beauty of healing, forgiveness and life change. Jesus added more fun and laughter into their lives. He gave them something real to be happy about!

Those friends of Jesus were transparent before him. They spilled their guts and messiness all over him. They wanted more of Jesus and he welcomed them into a new life of freedom and victory. He took their mess and began to rewrite their stories. Jesus offered them a way out of their messy junked up life. Their history was forever changed.

The stuff of friendship is like that. We are the voice of Jesus into a broken world, shouting beautiful words of hope and joy, sounds of laughter, having fun and sharing stories of real life change. We can help shape another person’s story, add grace from God’s truth and begin to weave it into the life of a new friend’s life story. The stuff of friendship is the stuff of stories full of God’s redeeming grace.

So, I’ve been gone for a week. I walked in the door of our home very late. My husband was waiting for me. When I walked in, very tired and weary, he was there to embrace me and he said, “Finally, you are home! It’s good to see you!”

The stuff of friendship is woven into our marriage, our life together means transparency and acceptance of all the junk and messiness that we are capable of and we continue to love each other through it all.

My husband is a handsome introvert. Introverts find their strength and rejuvenation with retreating into a quite respite by themselves. Introverts are very contented with alone time. I know this about my hubby and since our friendship is woven deep and knotted with life, I am very happy to give him time to be alone.

That’s why I treasure the words he said to me, “I am most contented with me, myself, and you!” No longer is it, “me, myself, and I” but YOU.

The stuff of friendship is about including the people whom God moves into our stories. It’s knotted up in the life of each other. It’s including all of those “YOU’s” out there into our life. We have very little time left to make a difference in the lives of our families, much less into the lives of friends that God brings to us.

We are people needing the stuff of friendship…the catalyst for a deep devotion, and sustaining faith in God.  Friendship and loyalty that can single-handedly make it possible for us to survive.

“Friendship” is a mild word for such an extraordinary and holy connection, for what can be the most sustaining, life-giving, death-defying relationships some of us will ever experience. My closest friends are the reason for my deep faith in God, because through them I have discovered what superhuman intimacy and devotion are. ~Anne Lamott