To Be Known

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.”  – Acts 2:46

COVID strikes again. My son’s basketball game was cancelled. The one I was so excited to watch. The one I was looking forward to all week. The one I was going to get to watch – in person – with his siblings as a family. The one he was going to get to start as Point Guard and lead the team to victory…of course.

“Why, God?” I pouted.

Some kid on another team he played last week popped positive for COVID-19 and now my night is ruined. My hopes, dashed.
My source of joy, cancelled.

Or, so I thought.

“What are you doing tonight?”

Jeanette’s text interrupted my wallowing.

“Nothing.” I replied.

“You wanna come to my IF table…it’s like salve for your soul,” she said.

“What is that?” I typed back reluctantly.

“Fellowship. Candlelight, linen napkins, and good food.”

I was invited to the table.  

“We talk freely about one God topic, sometimes even how the fire isn’t lit. It’s a safe, open share of mature women who speak life and share love and griefs,” she continued.

A sacred gathering of four women from various backgrounds and ages who met once a month to dine, sip wine, and share life. Real, raw relating.

Why not.

I pushed pause on my disappointment and pulled up a chair to the table.

Since I was a guest, we enjoyed a round of introductions and the cozy conversation warmed me up from the inside out along with our fifteen-bean soup and cornbread.

We laughed and dined and shared our moments.

Family. Frustration. Fatigue.

It’s as IF God knew exactly what I needed and who I needed to be with at this moment.

Friendship.

To be known.

“What’s is God saying this year? What does He want you to focus on?” Shaye, the hostess, asked.

“For me, it is follow through. God has called me to write a book and to share what He has done in my life with others,” I said.

“What COVID taught me is that there is no more time. The time is now, and I need to be faithful to write it, share it, and live it out.”

We can hope in a God who knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we need and how to meet our needs at the right time in the most intimate way. We are His and He cares for us in simple, special ways.

For me, it was over candlelight conversation with new friends.

Thank you, Lord for the intimacy of being known. You meet our deepest needs and care for us in ways that demonstrate your devotion to us.

For more information on how to “Gather women around your table once a month, creating a space for them to feel known and providing an environment for conversation about following God and giving Him away,” check out https://www.ifgathering.com/.

Advertisement

God Wink

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:13

I rolled up to Carin’s house and she jumped in. Adriana’s Cocina beckoned. Chicken fajita omelet with mouthwatering, red chile potatoes. It had been way too long. So much catching up to do.

God drew us together the first year I moved to Castle Rock, Colorado through women’s Bible study. I finally listened to the Spirit and dipped my toe back in the water of fellowship with women. My scarlet “D” of Divorce shattered most bonds I previously had or believed were real. Judgement. Gossip. Abandonment.

Women whom I loved like family and women who were family cut ties and told lies when I split from my ex. It left a bit of bitter on my palette, like spicy chile without the relief of lime.

Carin was my litmus test, my “is the water warm” experiment. 

It was a God wink. He had my back, and she met me step by step, week by week, willing and warm.

Not only did she understand the agony of the ripping away, she knew God’s word. We shared the gritty, grimy truths of divorce, and we meditated on the glorious, gracious truths in the Scriptures. I waded in and saw that the Lord was good.

He is good.

Years later now, I’m not in the women’s study she leads. Circumstances and ministry have brought me to another group. But God knit our hearts and experiences together, so here we were “catching up” over breakfast.

Our struggles, our stories, our current Goliaths reminded me how sovereign God is over all. Every word we shared was ordained by God. Good medicine. “Like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11) God winked.

“I’ve got you girl,” he whispered to my soul.

We were made to carry one another’s burdens, to walk with each other in and through the yay and yuck of life. This is a picture of the hope we have in Christ, the One who laid down His life for His friends.

The frantic and the frenzy of life can get in the way of meaningful divine appointments between people. When it feels hopeless that your hectic will let up, look up. God plants moments of refreshing; look up to see them and obey. It’s not a coincidence that you bumped into that old friend. It’s not an accident that you got a flat tire and had to abandon your plans for a quiet weekend at home with your person. It’s a God wink.   

Thank you, Lord for knowing what we each need at exactly the right moment. For drawing us close to one another and for shining light in our lives through the love and laughter of friendship.

Friendship Tree of Life

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 (New International Version)

May of 1995 marked a turning point in my life. Literally. I learned to do a perfect pageant turn and wave – step, pivot, step, pivot, Vaseline smile…wave, my arm floating softly through the air from side to side like the leaves of a Del Mar palm. And…it was the beginning of some of the most treasured friendships I have had in my lifetime.

We met at the 50th anniversary Fairest of the Fair pageant as Miss Chula Vista, Miss Escondido, Miss El Cajon, and Miss La Mesa. Though none of us was crowned that night as Miss San Diego County, we won something more valuable than the glamour of that moment – true connection. A longing fulfilled.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 talks about the value of a friend. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

In our case, it’s a fourfold cord ornately woven together through triumph and tragedy, paradise and pain. We have watched each other’s babies come into the world and stood beside one another as marriages crumbled. We have held each other through countless challenging moments, listened and laughed, loved each other’s families as though they were our own, tattooed our bodies together, driven and flown miles to get a little face time, and offered words of affirmation and encouragement as life’s moments warranted.

This past weekend was just such an occasion of togetherness – a friendship tree of life. Golden, Colorado Girls Weekend 2019. My heart is full.

We were created for relationship, for friendship. Friendship with God and others. It is a heavenly whisper that we are not alone. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13, NKJV). My hope is full.