Tag: friend

power of one word

Maneuvering the hallway lined with perfectly polished women, I keep my eyes downcast. Grasping my welcome bag and holding back tears, I rush into my hiding place: the ladies restroom. Why am I here? I must be crazy. Dabbing at my eyes, I catch my reflection in the mirror.  Good grief! Look at me!  My yard-sale find, a brown sweater, stares back at me reinforcing my unworthiness. As the tears begin again, I know only two things :  I do not have enough tissues and I do not belong here.

Attending a women’s conference in Charlotte, North Carolina seemed like a good idea six months ago.  Now, I am questioning my sanity and decision-making ability as I sink deeper into  yard-sale-girl-crying-in-the-bathroom-alone.  Staying here will only keep me locked in this dark and sad place feeding on the enemy’s lies.  Another woman, not wearing a yard-sale sweater, will eventually need to use the restroom.  Leaving my make-shift sanctuary is my only viable option.

Trying to re-establish my composure, I realize I need to do something, anything. A comfortable and familiar activity pops into my mind: eating! Yes, I will find something to eat. After making several wrong turns in the massive conference center, the lunch buffet for attendees comes into view. Choosing a table away from the chattering crowd, I engage my cloaking device for invisibility.  By burying my head in the thick conference notebook, I play invisible. However,  I am thankful my soda glass is not hidden as the kind staff continually fills it to the brim.  But then…

Hello.

One word. Just one word causes me to lift my head.

One word and I reach out to grab God’s life-line.

One word and I am looking into the eyes of a lady who is also searching and alone.

My new friend takes the seat across from me and begins chatting away in a lovely southern drawl. We easily slip and slide into each other’s life. We share. We laugh. We cry. We contemplate dessert choices and decide to get both.

One word. With one word, I am no longer alone.  With one word, I gain a lunch partner, a conference buddy, and a new friend.

My friend was brave to offer me one word; I want to be brave and offer one words freely to others. A simple one word like Hello. But maybe those who cross my daily path  need to hear the one word, Thanks, more generously.  My family needs to hear more often the healing one word, Sorry.

It is amazing how much meaning and power there is behind one word. But the greatest and most disarming one word of all is the name of Jesus. I want to be brave to offer ‘Jesus’  to someone who needs to hear this saving one word. I need to offer it to those outside of my church, small group, and safe places.  Maybe someone you know needs to hear the most important one word,  Jesus.

By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear. Isaiah 45:23 NIV

Only one word will cause others to lift their heads.

Only one word will offer a  life-line to someone who desperately needs it.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big God

There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound. ~Diana Cortes

Pulkeria is my friend. An uncommon name for an uncommon lady. Our friendship shrinks the geographical distance between us. It also manages to minimize the cultural and language differences too. I was reunited with my dear friend during my second trip to Tanzania. We both squealed with joy at our reunion, like two teenage girls at a One Direction concert.

A single rose can be my garden….a single friend, my world. ~Leo Buscaglia

Pulkeria traveled 12 hours, one way, on a body-jarring bus. She lives in a coastal city where the temperatures are high and hot. As friends do, I teased Pulkeria about her many layers of clothing since the temperature on this day was near 80 degrees.  And as true friends do, she returned the teasing by asking me if I was cold throughout the day. 🙂

Pulkeria and I had time to catch up as we traveled throughout Arusha National Park searching for animals that I only see in zoos.  She had seen some of the animals before but I took pleasure in seeing the incredible animals through her eyes. It was a precious experience. She was enjoying the beauty of her country; away from the hard realities of poverty for one lazy afternoon. Between the giraffe and zebra sightings, we shared, questioned, and challenged one another. It is an honoring opportunity to be stretched by a true friend.IMG_7843

We laughed a lot too. Our guide and driver, both male,  would occasionally turn around when they heard giggling coming from the back of the safari jeep. We did what girlfriends do – we poured into each other’s life. It was a delightful day.

When I knew the day was coming to a close and the dreaded good-byes were on the horizon, I asked Pulkeria how I could pray for her. I will not forget her response. She said it with a sincere but heavy heart. She said she needed a BIG God. Her life was filled with so many challenges as a mother of 5 and as acting Director at a large Compassion Center that serves 300 impoverished children. Yes, she wanted and needed a BIG God. Big problems = Big God.

She shared how she struggles with trying to solve everyone’s problems and answering everyone’s questions. She doesn’t know how to balance her family, work, and life responsibilities. She realizes the only way to keep her family functioning, her marriage flourishing, and her Center running is to have a Big God in her corner 24/7.

Pulkeria needed a big God. A big God for when she looks into the hungry eyes of the many children that surround her. A big God when families at her Center come to her with marriage problems, when she faces her Center’s critical needs for more classrooms and modern toilets, and when a mother pleads for groceries to feed her family.

Pulkeria was stretching me again.  I wondered how big is my God? How big does He need to be? Without the complicated challenges of living in a still-developing country, perhaps my God doesn’t need to be super-sized. Do I really need a big God in my suburban life full of excess? If I live small, think small, dream small, then my God will stay small. My faith will be small.

Shame on me. Shame on me for limiting God and missing out on everything Big that my God has to offer: a big life, big dreams, big love, and a big faith. Shame on me for keeping my Big God small. Shame on me for confining my Big God to my small life.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, or with the breadth of His hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Isaiah 40:12 NIV

No, there is nothing small about our God. He is only limited by my foolish and fearful restraints. Shame on me.

Yes, Pulkeria is my friend. I am thankful for this magical and profound long-distance friendship. Pulkeria will always have my love, my respect, my admiration, and my prayers. I pray she senses His Presence and sees the Shadow cast by our Big God. Then she will know her Big God is very close.

Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.  ~Washington Irving

Let’s Walk Worthy!