Thursday, April 19, 2012


A friend of mine once told me she was praying for her daughter at school, that her daughter would be a friend. A great way to pray. 

I want to be a friend too. How about you?

In friendship, there is give and take. Sometimes I stop and ask myself if I’ve been giving lately or if I’ve been taking lately. That’s a good pair of questions for figuring out if we have a balance. During some seasons, there’s a reason for more "taking" (like if you’ve had a baby and friends bring over meals—receiving is a necessity). And during other seasons, you can be the one giving (when a friend’s parent dies, for example, you can reach out to them). 

Here are some keys I’ve learned about friendships:

Don’t play favorites. There are people you will connect with more than others. People you’ll trust more. People you’ll let get closer, but respect every person. Treat every person with compassion and grace. God doesn’t want us to play favorites because every human is important to Him.

Stay humble. We wouldn’t have one friend without God’s grace. He knows friendship is key—it was His idea. He even calls us friends. If we become prideful, we run the risk of alienating friends and losing them. The best approach is humility. The people in your life are gifts from God. Treat them accordingly. 

When there are misunderstandings, trust God to minister to your friend and to you. Stuff happens. You can have the best intentions and be misunderstood. It’s painful and can result in rejection, but the key is to trust God, pray for your friends, and watch what God does. He’s doing a work in both of you during this time. 

And finally, pray for your friends. This is the most valuable gift you can give. They don’t even have to know you’re doing it. Just lift them up. Pray about the issues you know they’re facing and the behind-the-scenes stuff you don’t know is happening (because there’s always something). 

Thank God for friends. Just knowing they’re there can get you through some of the darkest days.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tell Him What Hurts

A child stood before me, quite distressed. Over five years old, but unwilling to talk about the source of those tears. 

“I can help, if you tell me what’s bothering you.” I searched for the cause. Was it pain, or worry? Fear?

Finally, it was as if my coaxing words clicked and I heard, “I don’t know how to say it.” Well, at least we were getting somewhere.

I’ve been carrying a burden lately. Do you ever do that? We’re supposed to cast our cares at Jesus’s feet because He cares for us. (see 1 Peter 5:7) And, like that child, I don’t always know what is wrong. I just know I hurt.

But as I was trying to minister to the kiddo, God spoke to me: Tell Me what’s wrong. I can help.

He also aches to help. As a mother and a compassionate adult, I know I can comfort children and I want to. But I need to know the source before I can be effective. God, on the other hand, knows exactly what’s going on, even better than we do. So, why does He want us to express it?

For one thing, it helps us understand ourselves.

For another, knowledge is power. We name the source of our discomfort and suddenly it can’t lurk and torment us. We’ve brought it into the light.

And finally, God wants us to share our pain because He wants intimacy with us. He wants us to express what’s on and in our hearts, what’s filling up our thoughts or bogging us down. What’s worrying us.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah 
(Psalm 62:8 NKJV)

Just as I read that verse this morning, it hit me. Yes, God wants to help us. He is able to hold the burdens, to carry them, to actually do something about them (when we are so often unable to), but He also wants us to uncrowd our hearts. I realize uncrowd isn’t a word, but follow me on this. He wants our focus on Him because He knows what good that will do us. When our hearts are preoccupied with worry or fear, we’ve less capacity to worship Him. All our energy is taken up and we’re weary and lacking victory.

But when we share our burdens with Him, He becomes our focus. He is magnified. He is able to move in the situation, or at least give us grace to wait while He sets things into place. Then we can carry on, feeling lighter, learning trust, and holding onto hope. We carry on with a renewed intimacy between us and God.

So, if you’re carrying a burden today, talk with God. Entrust your concerns to Him. Pour out your heart to Him because He cares for you.