Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“…She and her dear girlfriends went among the hills, lamenting that she would never marry.”
“What Can I Do For You?”
“The best vitamin for making friends is … B1.”
What can I do for the friends in my life who need me?
“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.”
“The hearts that never lean, must fall.”
I received a prayer request from my friend Liz, who lives in Scotland. While we have never met, I feel a bond between our hearts for we have, over the last year, been able to count on each other. I must admit I didn’t understand what had developed between the two of us until yesterday when Liz emailed me and asked us to pray for her because she was having a brain scan. All of a sudden, my “worry gene” kicked into overdrive. With such a distance separating us, I felt overwhelmed by a sense of powerlessness. I didn’t know what I could do for my friend who was so far away.
I will admit, this feeling has come over me, more than once, here in Transformation Garden. As I read every prayer request, I often find myself with the deepest longing to try and “fix things.” We women are like this – we’re fixers. Whether we are applying a bandage to a little one’s finger or a big one’s heart, we want to use our talents and gifts to repair and heal.
When we can’t, it’s easy to feel useless or unsuccessful. We aren’t doing enough, we conclude. In fact, we sometimes even go so far as to think we aren’t doing anything worthwhile at all.
It is for this reason, I am so blessed by the story of Jephthah’s daughter and her friends, for another one of the key lessons we can learn from her life is that by our friendship, we offer gifts to others, that to those on the outside may appear inconsequential, yet to the receiver, are of greater value than all the gold in the world.
As I read Liz’s request for prayer I began to think, “What can I do?” – I suddenly realized that while I can’t solve every financial problem you may have or every marital situation that is breaking your heart or heal every disease that strikes, I do have the power, to tap into the resources of my Father, whom I might add, is not limited in any way. And this is the phenomenal gift God has given each of us in Transformation Garden. As friends, even though separated by geography, culture and time, the unity in our voices in support of one another, through our words of prayer and love, yields such a reservoir of power from which we all can dip. And there is no problem, fear, challenge or pain which attempts to flood our lives that will wash us away. Our daily friendship, through prayer and word, provides a flood-gate that prevents us from being destroyed by the tragedies life throws at us.
Years ago, there was a popular song written by Bill Withers, called, “Lean On Me.” The final stanza of this song said: “Lean on me when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. For it won’t be long till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”
Quite often, in our desire to be tough and lift our load alone, we forget that we all need someone to lean on at one time or another in our lives.
Let us not forget, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus went to his three closest friends, Peter, James and John and asked them: “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me” (Matthew 26:38, The Message). The Son of God didn’t ask his friends to do some difficult task – to give Him loads of money – or to solve all His problems. Instead, He asked His friends to be there so He could lean on them. He wanted them to pray for Him and to be a comforting presence as He bore a heavy load.
This is exactly what Jephthah’s daughter needed – she needed her friends to be there for her with words of encouragement, tears of empathy, and hearts of love. She was not asking for problem solvers, she was asking for caring comforters. She needed to be surrounded by those who could be a balm to her broken heart.
I wonder, “How many times in each of our lives, do our friends need someone who will give their presence as a gift to “watch” with them, or to “lament” with them, or just to walk silently in the mountains of heartache with them.
As I lifted my friend Liz to heaven in prayer, these words to one of my favorite songs, “I Will Pray For You,” have kept running through my mind: “I will pray for you, I will pray for you, through every darkness, through every light. This road ahead of you, I cannot carry you, but I can promise, I will pray for you.” (Steve Mac, Chris Farren, Blair Daly)
The friends of Jephthah’s daughter came to her aid when she called, not to take away her problems with their earthly solutions, but to embrace her in cords of love, for their love transcended all everyday problems as they enveloped their friend with the dew of their tears and the refreshment of their gentle comfort. May we do the same for our friends, everyday.
“God evidently does not intend us all to be rich, or powerful or great, but He does intend us all to be friends.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A true friend is the gift of God, and He only who made hearts, can unite them.”
“Heart Of A Friend”
“The hearts of grown women come with cracks and tears, for our hearts have been lived in – the residence time has inhabited.
Our hearts have beat to the tune of life’s pain and adversity, as we try to keep pace with the daily journey.
Our hearts have been used to heal others, and yet so often, forgotten to be cared for by those who receive from a loving heart’s stream of blessings.
Our hearts may carry scars and sustain the marks left by years of bruising treatment.
Yet in the company of friends, a well-worn heart can feel the repair of love.
What beauty lingers in the broken heart, now soothed in the company of a friend’s presence.
What a bounteous ability to return a healed heart to a world of those who need the flame of friendship to burn brightly again within the chambers of their fractured hearts.
Oh, friend, whose healing love makes light appear, may the flood of comfort continually pass between your heart and mine.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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