Archive for Friends
How many of you have a pen-pal? No, not an online buddy you IM or chat with instantaneously. I’m talking about a good old-fashioned, hand-written letter-writing pen-friend. (That was a lot of hyphenation!)
I have had many pen-pals over the years. For me it started in elementary school with Sara from Leander, TX. That was back in 5th grade, and I was instantly hooked to learning about people from other places.
Then there was
Sanna from Finland
Natasha from S. Africa
Dima from the Ukraine
Sylvia from Poland
Inga from Latvia
Ligia from Romania
Amy from Alberta, CAN
Sana from Virginia
Krzysztof from Poland
Magdalena from Poland…
And finally, my dear friend Natalia from Poland whom I’ve have written to for the last 8 years or so. We started writing in college when I found her name through a Polish-American heritage organization. She was studying International Studies, English and Spanish. I was studying International Studies, Polish and Spanish. It seemed like a perfect fit. Almost a decade later we still write and share our lives with each other through snail mail. It is such a joy to find a letter postmarked from Poland arrive in my mail box every couple of months or so!
Letter writing has its virtues, at least in my humble opinion, and I’d like to share them with you. (It seems as though my posts of late are focusing on simplicity and I feel as though God has been trying to impress this lesson on me!)
First, letter writing provides practice in penmanship! Go ahead – laugh! But it does. The art of fine penmanship is waning in our digital world. And even though I consider myself one of those people “born digital” I have a deep appreciation for what was. Think of all the men who were scribes and recorded the words of our Lord. Penmanship is still a virtue in my book!
The next virtue is metalinguistic awareness. You’re probably thinking, “WHAT?!” Metalinguistic awareness is the knowledge and understanding of your own use of language. Writing to another person – especially someone whose first language is not English focuses you to think about your language. I consider myself to be a thoughtful person when it comes to my words. I choose them carefully, and I try to use language accurately and precisely. It is a virtue that comes in handy as we are called to speak and share the Gospel!
Cultural awareness and empathy grow out of writing to others who live and experience life in very different ways from our own. I think it makes us more sensitive to the needs of others, and we become more effective witnesses when we have an understanding of this. Americans are spoiled and we often take our wealth for granted. It is a real eye-opener to correspond with people from around the world. Furthermore, I believe that letter-writing is a personal and intimate way of getting to know someone. Think of all the letters the Apostle Paul wrote. He was a master at this form of communication and it helped him to forge and foster relationships…
Lastly, and maybe most important in my mind is the virtue of patience. Old-fashioned letter writing develops in us a sense of patience. Too many people today crave instant gratification. Sending a letter via snail mail will not provide you with immediate feed back. You must have patience and consideration. It takes time, but time and absence make the heart grow fonder. I have spent years and years waiting for letters to arrive – and the joy that I experience when a letter arrives… well, that’s the kind of excitement I imagine we’ll have as we finally see the Lord after patiently waiting for his return.
So, consider who you might write to, and send an old-fashioned letter. Wait for a response and relish in the experience of that letter finally arriving!
But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Rom 8:25
Originally posted at MissWisabus.com…
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 15:5-6
A few days ago, the ladies at (in)courage offered up a pack of cards to the first few takers as long as the recipients promised to send out the cards to encourage others. I jumped at the chance and thought of the women I know who could use a little encouragement right now.
One fighting cancer.
One with a somewhat difficult and longed-for pregnancy.
One with a hectic beginning at a new job.
One experiencing a family tragedy.
One who has received a bad report from the doctor.
Some have gone out already, others are waiting to be mailed. What I hope is that these beautiful cards will bless those who receive them, if just for a moment, and let them know that someone is thinking of them. Praying for them. Hoping along with them for a good outcome, even when the chances don’t look good.
I learned not long ago from a cousin that her grandmother (my Paw Paw’s half-brother’s wife) used to have a card ministry. I’ve heard of those, but never known much about them. Being a part of the National Day of Encouragement and sending out these cards has made me consider the possibility of doing this on a regular basis. It was a blessing to me to share my heart and pray for these women. I know how I feel when I receive a card in the mail — like someone cares enough to have taken the time to write me a little note. So few do that anymore. What a blessing it must be to be on the receiving end of a card ministry. Have any of you ever been a part of one or known someone who was?
Today is the National Day of Encouragement. Take a little time to contact someone and let them know that you care and that they are valuable.
In the spirit of the True Woman Movement, I thought it appropriate to recognize the true women in my life who have drawn me closer to Jesus. Through their Christlike attitudes and actions, I have come to the knowledge of Jesus as my savior and grown more deeply in love with Him! I created a list in my journal a while back of all the people who have impacted my walk, and it is truly fitting, as all the people on this list turned out to be women! Where would I be without the impact of these faithful women?
I will start with Mrs. Poppen and Mrs. King. These two lovely ladies were my pre-school teachers. I went to a Lutheran pre-school, and these women sowed the seed of faith in me at an early age. I didn’t go to church growing up, but they taught me that He’s got the whole world in his hands! Thank you!
Bonnie. Dear sweet, Jesus Freak, Bonnie! We became friends in elementary school. I remember going to her house for a sleepover in middle school. The smell of leather sofas always triggers a memory of that party. It was at this party where I first heard of d.c. Talk – and I was introduced to “Jesus Freak.” I still didn’t get it then either, but the pouring out of faith was a testimony! It was at Bonnie’s church where I first accepted Christ. She took me up to the pastor one Wednesday night, and there I was accepting the Lord! Thank you!
In high school, in addition to Bonnie, were Rachel and Annette. We were the fearsome threesome! Rachel took Annette and I to her Baptist church where I attended youth group and learned what it’s like to really know Jesus! It was a youth leader, Mrs. Radel, that kept me going as her life was a powerful witness of what it meant to be a TRUE Bible-believing Christian! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
College can be a rough time, as young adults face challenges to their faith. I was no different. I swayed back and forth before returning home and attending Roberts Wesleyan. It was here I met Shelly. Shelly! Oh, how I have been blessed by the continuous and deep faith in Jesus she has! While I don’t see her often, Shelly is one of my few Christian friends who really gets me. I have been inspired to grow in my own faith because of her. Thank you!
Last, and certainly not least, is my dear friend Elizabeth. Yes, our dear administrator here at Godly Gals! I believe God destined us to be friends and partners in this ministry! I’ve known her only 6 years, yet I have known her a lifetime! We have so much in common, especially our faith and perspective on the world around us. It is important to have allies, and she is one of my strongest. She has sharpened me and I am stronger in my faith today for it. Thank you!
These are my True Women. Who are yours?
I was talking to an acquaintance recently and the topic of attending church came up. I didn’t really know where she was going when she started, but it soon became clear.
“It’s not that I don’t believe in God,” she said. “Or the Bible or in loving your neighbor or any of that stuff. But why would I want to go to a place where children get molested? Why would I want to spend my time somewhere that was allowed to happen.”
I nodded my head. You can’t deny what she says. It happens in churches. Even though pastors and the leadership try their very best with background checks, getting to know the character of the people who are working in their buildings, there are some people who slip through the cracks.
She continued, “I mean, my daughter goes to church and that’s fine. I just don’t want to be associated with a place that allows those kinds of things to go on.”
Wait wait wait. Hold up. Her concern is pedophiles being a threat to children…but she allows her 5-year-old child to go? Something doesn’t sound right.
I wanted to continue the conversation, but other things came up and we were away from the topic pretty quickly. It’s been on my mind ever since. Pedophilia isn’t something to be blamed on the church entirely. It’s not the only place it happens. Changes in society often color what goes on inside churches. If pedophilia is a symptom of the deterioration of society in general, you’d better believe it’s going to find its way into the church as well.
But that really wasn’t the issue here. She had talked herself into a corner. If her true concern was the threat and reality of child molesters in the church, a concern so huge that she wouldn’t step inside the doors of a church building herself, then why would she allow her child inside without the protection of her mother.
While there is some truth in what she’s saying, her claims don’t match up with her actions. It’s easy to use something that is a well-known cancer in the church today as a reason to stay out of it. But it’s clear by her actions that it’s what she’s using as an excuse for no change.
What’s your excuse?
I started thinking about the number of things each of us could and sometimes do use to keep out of the body of Christ.
I don’t need to go to church to praise God.
All the church wants is my money.
No one wants me there.
I don’t have the right clothes.
I don’t want to make that kind of commitment.
What’s yours? Is there something keeping you out of fellowship? What is it based in? If it’s that you feel one church is out of line with scripture or some other valid reason for leaving, are you actively seeking out and praying for a new church family to join?
Podcast: Play in new window
We talk about the disintegration of a friendship whenever it involves a non-believer.
Podcast: Play in new window
We discuss what happens whenever a friendship dissolves, some ideas on how to handle it, and moving on. This episode deals with friends who are believers. The next episode will discuss how the approach may be different with someone who is not a believer in Christ.
Podcast: Play in new window
Jolene and Liz discuss what they’re reading, movies to see, talk a little about Fireproof, the book The Love Dare, breast cancer awareness and various forms of cancer that affect women, and share their families’ seasonal traditions.