I’ve watched a lot of cross-country races in my day. All three of my kids participate in the sport, so I’ve become a big fan. One of my favorite races is the Steven Thompson Memorial Centipede. It’s unlike any other high school meet my kids’ teams attend because the athletes run as a single unit for the first two-thirds of the race. No joke: all seven members of the team hold a rope while they run.
For the final mile, they drop the rope and finish the race as individuals. But each athlete’s finishing time is driven, in large part, by the strength of their team whose collective pace positions them for the final mile. The fastest athletes finish slower than they do when they run alone and, often, the slower runners finish faster.
The prospect of moving 800 miles away filled me with grief.
As an introverted person, anticipating the loss of the friendships I’d built over many years was deeply painful. I feared losing the proximity that wove my life into the fabric of others’. I feared distance would unavoidably change, or even end, those relationships. I was, in many ways, ready for a new adventure, but the thought of starting over relationally was a heavy weight in my heart.
My friend’s words were a surprising gift. And the remedy to my ache…
For more of my writing on friendship, click here.
Too many of us feel isolated and lonely.
Sure, friendships take time… time we don’t always feel we have to spare. And yet, I don’t think we can afford to not spend the time on relationships. God designed us for it!
The theme at LIFT (an event I spoke at last week; if you’re local to Boise, I hope you attended!), was community and connection. Our aim is for women to live inspired, fearless, and thriving lives. And we believe that’s best done in community.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to “share.”
I knew the tears would well up in my eyes. (Insert cursory feminine joke about mascara here.) And I haven’t known these women for very long, so tipping my emotional cards felt (extra) risky. We were discussing hypocrisy in the Christian life and how our social masks put an intimacy barrier between us and others. My story was relevant to the topic and even illustrated the point, all while pressing on tender parts of my heart.
He had everything to lose. Everything.
As Saul’s son, Jonathan was the presumed heir to the throne in Israel’s newly-founded monarchy. The title. The throne. The crown. The power and prestige. The responsibility. The joy. All would be his.
But that’s not quite the way things worked out.
Saul’s heart turned from the Lord, so the prophet Samuel was sent to anoint the next king (1 Samuel 15). And he didn’t go looking in Saul’s household. Instead, a shepherd named David had the office conferred upon him. But years passed between David’s anointing and Saul’s death. Saul’s jealousy of David flared hot.
It’s a phrase we commonly associate with being robbed.
This posture–hands raised–was the position held by Moses throughout the battle between Israel and the Amalekites. My pastor taught out of Exodus 17 on Sunday and his words have stirred in me a most needful lesson.
After calling Joshua to lead the troops into battle, Moses climbed the hill and raised his staff in his hands overhead. As long as Moses held this position, Israel gained ground. When he grew tired and his hands fell, the Amalekites had the advantage on the battlefield. His actions are a poignant example of prayer, both literally and figuratively. With his hands raised heavenward, his prayer became the conduit for God’s power.
The first few weeks of 2015 have been–to put it mildly–a bit bumpy. I don’t have permission from the people involved to share the whole story with you, but what I can say is this:
I found the sweet part of what’s been such a bitter taste in my mouth.
I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. Both in equal measure. I’ve felt like a novice swimmer trying to escape a torrent of ocean waves, pummeled as I try to reach the safety of shore. Because of the delicate nature of what we’ve been facing, the need for privacy has forced us to maintain a “nothing’s wrong” posture in the rest of our lives. Which is exhausting in it’s own special way.
Yet the desperate quality of my prayers (and tears) has acquainted me with the suffering of others in a way that my regular, less-than-perfect-but-better-than-I-deserve kind of life doesn’t. I have found myself praying for those in my circles who are also suffering more frequently, and with much more heart, than I customarily do. I am attuned to their needs in a way I normally am not simply because I can’t bring myself to leave the foot of the Cross.
I’m confident they’ve been trained.
Fire alarm batteries know how to strike with the precision of Seal Team 6. Their needy chirp to be replaced always occurs in the dark of the night. When it’s cold. And when my husband is out of town.
When you’re already overwhelmed (and trying to sleep), this is not a welcome noise.
It was almost comedic. Our outlook biases are so mismatched.
There we sat in her living room. Stacks of paper sequestered neatly in manilla folders, alongside a laptop and coffee mugs. We met to discuss the Bible study we’ve written and our next steps with it. (I’ll tell you more about the study another time, I promise.)
After plotting a loose project map and timeline, our dialog turned to what might come of this study… how God could use it to reach into hearts of women. I wish you could have heard it. Listen in on some clips of our conversation:
Some say truth is relative.
I’m counting on them being wrong. If it’s relative, then not only is my salvation in jeopardy, but my mental state is, too.
My theme verse for this series is Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,think on these things. — Philippians 4:8 ASV (emphasis added)