FRIENDSHIP PROBLEMS: LONELINESS

lonely-woman-in-bedroomI asked you to write with your friendship problems and I, and other women who are reading this blog, would prayerfully try to help.

In this first week, the overwhelming problem that kept coming in was loneliness. I thought about how caring the women participating in this blog have been, how wise, and I am praying we will be a help by speaking comfort and truth in love. I’m counting on you! It did occur to me that a lack of response would exacerbate  loneliness, so I’m pleading. I also know there are many many lonely people reading this blog, longing for help.

WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES ISOLATE YOU

When you move to a new city where you don’t know anyone, when you go to a new church where people already have their friends, or when you are divorced or widowed, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by loneliness. I’m beginning with this letter from a woman who seems like she would be a terrific friend, yet circumstances have isolated her. I’m calling her “Ellen.”

I am recently widowed.  My husband of 41 years died of metastic prostratic Cancer a year ago.  It was a long 3 year journey to his Homecoming.  As I hear it is common with primary caregivers, relationships seem to have disappeared in that journey.

I feel like I have a clean blank slate and am virtually starting over in most areas of my life.  I have sold my house and downsized to a smaller house in a new neighborhood. I have joined a new church which I really enjoy, but they have virtually nothing going on for widows.  I do attend an evening Bible study there.  I work two days a week for a non-profit as a nurse and I am starting my own home-based business from home, so don’t have a lot of time.  But I sure would enjoy a Christian gal friend or two.  Everyone seems so busy and wrapped up in their own lives. My two best friends live out of state.  One is getting remarried this month and for obvious reasons isn’t very available even by phone.  The thing I miss most is someone to share my heart with.  I am at a loss as how to get past a surfacy relationship to where sisters can share each others burdens.  Actually, to be real honest, I’m having trouble even cultivating a surfacy relationship with anyone.

So how do I make some new friends?  I wish there was something like “Christianfriendshipmatch.com”!!!

I loved “Ellen’s” letter and hope she will feel free to participate this week too.

“Ellen’s” situation is primarily circumstantial. Sometimes life takes a turn that isolates you. You move to a different state, far away from family and friends. In her situation, being the primary caregiver for her husband meant her fellowship with friends had to go on a back burner for three years, and essentially, the fires went out. The pot is cold. Now she has had to move to a new home, a new neighborhood, and a new church. Pray and see if the Lord gives you wisdom to share with Ellen. I also have a Bible study the might give wisdom. Share as you feel led. I will too. We live in a world where circumstantial loneliness is common, and will probably affect most of us at some time.

1. Think of a time when you may have experienced circumstantial loneliness — where it was not because of a disagreement with friends, or inordinate shyness, or the fact that you might be abrasive, but the circumstances of life have swooped you up and left you solitary. How did you feel?

2. Did any of you do something that led to a change in your circumstances? If so, what?

3. Mary, Ruth, and Jonathan were all “isolated” for different circumstantial reasons. As you study the friendships of Mary and Elizabeth, Ruth and Naomi, and Jonathan and David, see if you can discover a common thread. Write down anything you can glean about why they might have been isolated, and what they did. (You may have to read some context. Be good detectives.)

A What did Mary do in Luke 1:39? (How far did she travel? What else do you see in this verse?)

B. What do you learn about Ruth in Ruth 1:16-17; and Ruth 2:11?

C. Describe what Jonathan did in 1 Samuel 18:1-2?

4. What common thread do you see? How might this apply to someone like Ellen?

5. Ellen likes her church, but it is not meeting her friendship needs. What might she do within the church to possibly lead to change? What groups might she look for outside the church?

6. What can Ellen’s letter teach us who are secure in a group of friends? If Christ is burning in our hearts, how might we respond to the Ellen’s in our path?

7. What will you remember from this week for yourself?

Next week we will look at a letter from a woman isolated in Alaska — both by circumstances, but also, and this is an important issue, by the fact that she has had strong disagreements with her friends. What do we do when we are separated by seeing life differently than our friends?

COMMENTS (100) Post a New Comment ↓
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1. I’ve been thinking about this off and on for several hours — and am as puzzled as I was a few hours ago. I’ve rewound the tape of my life about 16 years and see that I am in a similar situation today. Even my initial feelings are the same.
16 years ago: new job, city, church, etc. Although I missed my friends, I felt HOPEFUL. But it took me years to feel as “at home” here as I did where I lived before. I had been in the previous city for 5 years going to school, but because I met like-minded people right away in the previous community, the period of loneliness there was short.

Now: I was a primary caregiver for a long time (my mom lived with me for 8 years, and then I visited her out of town for 2 years). I’m still tired and I miss her, but I’m hopeful again. Given my track record here before, I’m wondering if my hopefulness is based on ignorance.

2. I was pretty outgoing and tried (what seemed like) everything: I prayed for Christian friends for years. I volunteered in a ministry & at church. I started to make friends—who moved. Attended Bible Study (but as Ellen indicated, people there had their own families/lives). I saw a psychologist who told me I need friends, not a psychologist — and that she saw others from here in the same situation!! The “Christianfriendshipmatch.com” idea isn’t so far-fetched :) I considered responding to dating ads (placed by females) in newspapers to see if they were interested in friendship or placing an ad myself (there was no category for that and I didn’t have the nerve to place an ad under the wrong category). I attributed feeling more “at home” to purchasing a house, but my mom moved in with me shortly after I bought the house (she may have been one of the reasons I felt at home). As her health status declined, I became more isolated from the things I was involved in (but those activities hadn’t “worked” for developing friendships that had regular contact anyway).

What is “sort of” working: Trying to re-establish connections with friends and family members (at a distance). Taking some distance classes (and Bible Study!!) with other Christians (was glad to see the question about Mary/ how far she walked to see Elizabeth). I started the “distance” focus when I couldn’t leave the house very much. As I’m typing this, I can think of several women I’ve “met” who might be interested in semi-regular phone conversations. And class was a good place to begin to assess if a friendship would be safe.

I’m also wondering about focusing more on spiritual issues with friends/acquaintances at work. I don’t know how it can be so easy to develop (Christian) friendships in some places and so difficult in others. The good news is that I am not tempted to become too dependent on Christian friends (instead of on God), as I did earlier in life. At times, I suspect God is preparing me to move into some type of outreach where Christian friends are not as readily available (at least geographically).

In summary :) I can’t give very good advice when I haven’t done very well myself!

    Reply

    Renee,

    Thanks for the prayers. Glad you don’t think the “Christianfriendshipmatch.com” isn’t so far fetched. I laughed out loud at the thought of responding to some of these women looking for men and asking them if they would like some female friendships. Thanks for making me laugh! “Laughter heals like a medicine.”

    Ellen

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I have my last child a senior in high school, since I was almost 40 when he was born, I am older than most in this situation. My 2 small grandchildren live 5 hours away. But in the last year I had opportunity to help a young mother with 2 small children after she had leg surgery. (She also has 2 gradeschool children). This turned into me seeing them bi-weekly usually, and we all became very attached to each other. I realized this grew into my substitute grandchildren. Their grandparents lived several hours away, so I filled that role for them. The children looked forward to me coming, the mother enjoyed my companionship. I felt needed and loved. I imagine next year when my son is gone to college I will have some quiet nights and long afternoons since my husband works long hours, and I work part time. I know I have given this advice in the past: find someone who needs help at your church or through some other organization. This is a great way to begin what may become a very meaningful connection. Mothers of young children need help. You could volunteer in the nursery at church to meet some of these women. Pay attention to who has surgeries to recover from. Does your library offer some book discussion group? Is there a missions committee at church or some other ministry that needs workers? Small groups that meet in homes?
Ask your church secretary, she usually knows who has special needs. Giving of ourselves is a great way to connect meaningfully with others.
I agree that most of us are content with the friends we have and don’t reach out to new faces unless something “wakes us up.” In fact, asking the church secretary or the ushers who are aware of the newest people would be a great place to start in finding others who also are wishing they had a friend.

    Reply

    Jill,

    Thanks, I like your idea of the newest people in the church. That would be a great place to start.

    One of my problems is that I don’t quite know my niche @ church. My husband was an ordained Catholic Deacon and the church thing is hard as it reminds me of the ministry we hoped to have together. He was just ordained in 2005 and had hoped that this would be his ministry for many years.

    God Bless,

    Ellen

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Since it’s getting late tonight I won’t be able to get to the questions until tomorrow or the next day, but I wanted to respond to the letter from Ellen.

Ellen, if you are reading this, please know I am praying for you! I know how it feels to be isolated and I pray that God will bring about a better situation for you through His infinite wisdom and love.

    Reply

    Thanks. You are so caring. May God bless you. Ellen

Ellen,

First of all I so appreciate your willingness to put your story out there, you are going to help a lot of women. I so want to answer this but I am afraid I might type a book of things that might not be helpful to you! I will try to be brief..Well, don’t count on that! :0)

You are speaking my language! Even though my situation is different than yours, I have been through the exact same thing! I was in a “Friend Desert” for ten years after we moved from Missouri to Kansas. I had to cut the strings of some pretty deep relationships.

So, God brings me to a place where it is the hardest thing to break through the superficial!! The county in Kansas that I live in is nothing like Missouri! :)
It was so bad, I recall going to a church and there was a wall even among the women I thought for sure would love to reciprocate with me. I was shocked. It was so different! I made an effort-was involved in ministry opportunities and stuck with it for a few years but nothing ever came of my efforts. It was really strange, and I was the busy one with four kiddo’s and a husband who works two-three jobs!

SO.. Where I am at now is that even though I prayed earnestly, God showed me that it was in His timing. He isn’t moving me.. I am in Kansas. God isn’t flippant about anything, even bringing deep friendships our way. He gives us His divine appointments!

God showed me that he also wanted me to give a little too. What if he had a ‘superficial’ type friend He wanted me to get to know. What if He wanted me to be patient with that friend and show them grace. Is it o.k. that it takes longer for them to go into deep waters? Yikes! I hated to hear that.. But, the truth is that they are made different than I but they need fellowship with other women like I do. what if they are afraid to open up because they have been hurt? He started showing me where I needed to change. It was hard.

Over time I let go of my ‘longing’ and decided to extend grace and just give it more time with certain people to get below the surface. God had some flowers bloom that were huge surprises. A couple of women whom I thought I would have to wait for years just opened up. I can’t explain how He does that, He just does it.

God plants the seeds of friends in my garden. I like to think of it like God takes a package of various flower seeds and we can’t see what the flowers are. He plants these beautiful seeds and when they bloom then we find out what kind they are! What a surprise! God did that with me with several women here in Kansas. It was a huge shock!

Oh and recently? God has brought a dear woman and her family in our path. Her son and my son hit it off at church. She is new to our church as we are too.

At first I assumed she would be superficial so I was.. She is from Tennessee, so she opened right up. I found myself hesitating!! haha! Go figure. I firmly believe this is God’s divine appointment.. You see, she just found out her husband has an aggressive form of cancer.. They have two young kiddos. The week we met them they were just finding out. I am making an effort to call her today to find out what the cat scan results are as to whether or not it has spread.

I will pray for you Ellen and I encourage you to continue to pray for deep friendships. A lot of times it takes us taking that first step and opening up our hearts to these friends. Sometimes we might get hurt sometimes we realize that this friend is one of the flowers God has planted!! I just kind of put myself out there.. I want to be honest about who I am in Christ to others. If a friendship develops then great, if not then God has someone else.

There is nothing sweeter than having a sister in the Lord who will love you in the times of rejoicing and in the times of struggle. Who will be your tail lights in your blizzards and yet who will not come off as judgmental or lording it over you, but also have teachable hearts themselves. Those women are precious gifts God wants to give us! He doesn’t want us on this journey by ourselves.

SOrry for the book.. I wanted to edit this but ran out of time! :0)

    Reply

    Rebecca,
    I appreciate your emphasis on God’s timing. . .and the idea of God planting seeds, but we don’t know the kind of flowers until they open up :) I like your examples— both the “negative” (when years of involvement in ministry didn’t seem to bring friendships) and “positive” (putting yourself out there, extending grace, honesty). Your response demonstrates the importance of waiting on God and being faithful to Him, even when the “right” steps (e.g., involvement) don’t seem to work. The seeds/flowers illustration helps me to see that God is working behind the scenes before I see the flowers!

    “Ellen,” I’m praying for you, too— that God will encourage you with those friendship flowers. Maybe churches are made up of a whole bunch of people who are, have been, or soon will be in situations without friends??

      Oh and I had another thought.. May not be that helpful, but I think sometimes God allows us to be in these deserts to strengthen us and to teach us-NOT to punish but so that He can reveal Himself to us in a deeper, intimate way-He wants us to experience him-He is with us. I think He wants us to see him moving on our behalf, and strengthen our faith. Sometimes these places or seasons are good for us. HARD to say but I have found that to be true also.

      Oh and I am Still learning and growing in this area that is for sure because I know I will encounter new seasons as time goes on!

    Reply

    Rebecca,

    “Pray for deep friendships” Got it! Thanks

    Ellen

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I can relate to loneliness, too; I think in some way, we all can.
We live in an increasingly isolated world! I look back on my childhood and remember moms at home, and neighbors coming over to visit on our front porch, and almost every Sunday was a family dinner with my grandparents.
My loneliness started when I had my first child and went from working full-time as a nurse to per diem, 3-4 days a month. But during the days, the neighborhood was pretty empty. Most families both husband and wife worked. I spent alot of time taking the kids to visit grandma and grandpa at their house. It was lonely.
I feel lonely alot at my church. It’s a big church, and my husband is not a Christian so I go with my son and daughter. If for some reason my high school age son can’t come on a Sunday, and my daughter is in her Sunday school class, I sit alone during worship service. I look around at all the families together; because it’s so large, you can sit surrounded by people you don’t know.
Even though I’m married, there’s a loneliness in not being able to share a whole side of myself which is spiritual, because he doesn’t want to hear that stuff.

After reading “Ellen’s” letter, one thing that did come to mind is how often I’ve heard a woman by the name of Miriam Neff on the Christian radio station, and she has a website http://www.widowconnection.com. She is widowed and I’ve always found when I listen to her she has alot of insight and wisdom to share with those in the same situation, so perhaps Ellen will want to check out her website.

Finally, I would like to say to Ellen that my heart goes out to you in the loss of your husband. It must be really, really hard to be missing him and having all this new change in your life. I will pray for you today, and give yourself time to heal and may God comfort you today.

    Reply

    Thank you, Susan. I will look into Miriam Neff and her ministry. Thank you for your condolances. I do need to give myself time to heal. God does comfort me.

      Ellen,

      I can’t imagine what you must feel like and how lonely it must be for you right now. Just want to let you know I am praying for you..

      “Lord lift up Ellen’s spirits today-reveal yourself to her in a mighty way, Lord we just thank you that you know her heart-you know her coming and going and her every thought..Lord I think of Rembrandts hands and how that reflects your nurturing side and yet your strong side..Lord be both mother and husband and father to Ellen today..Hold her..cry with her..Lord be her soothing balm today..Help her as she goes through the grieving process and Lord in your timing bring along that friend who will be your taillights through this blizzard she is going through..Lord we thank you for friends and especially those jewels out there who are your hands and your feet who love others like you do. We ask you would send this kind of woman to Ellen. We praise your precious and holy name Jesus.”

Ladies, Here is something I found via a friend on F.B. She posted this in her notes this morning. Not sure if it relates to Ellen’ situation or not but it is pretty timely! I think she has some insightful thoughts. I have her permission to share it:

“I have been thinking more about this Susie Larson quote, that I posted here a couple of months ago.

How do we know if we are held captive by others’ opinions…When our goal is more to impress than to bless.

As I try to fit in with my peers, I’m often thinking about how to appear laid back and without cares. It is a prized character trait in society today. Not getting too worked up over anything, and not caring too much about any issue or person for that matter. Maybe I’m off base from your perspective…I’m just saying this is how I see things going down.

At Life Group tonight, some of my friends were talking about the same type thing…that we, as women, tend to let other people call us, other people befriend us on facebook, or more simply put, let others make that first move. It ends up, though, that lots of women end up feeling lonely and isolated.

I also buy into the thought that people don’t really want to know me…people don’t look at me as a friend…people certainly don’t look up to me. The thing is, it just isn’t true. Not everyone thinks about me in a positive light, but most people are just as insecure as I am. And with the Holy Spirit residing in me, I have something else for people to see…to want…to look up to. I remember how I felt when I met the person who eventually led me to Christ. I thought, “He’s totally different, I wonder where that peace comes from.” I respected him for that peace. Bottom-line…my insecurity is a bad excuse to be stand-offish about relationships.

So, in light of my goal to bless more than impress, I’m going to have to start making the first move, going beyond the cool, laid back persona, in order to really bless others. I’m not saying I need to start attacking people, but that my insecurities are holding me back…holding me back from God’s blessing in my life…holding me back from becoming that blessing to others.”

    Reply

    This is very good Rebecca and yes! so timely. Thanks

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Dear Ellen, I am a stay at home mom. I wish I had a friend who had time to be an Auntie to my son! Not a babysitter…but someone who would come for coffee and I could teach my son how to spend time with an Auntie….how to treat a woman with tenderness and grace… We do not live near relatives and we live very rural. Maybe there is a mom in your church who needs an Auntie. I was a pediatric nurse for many years. Loving children is a way to love mommys and daddys. We lived in Canada for three years. One year at USA Thanksgiving we had a dinner for some elderly people in our neighborhood…so my son could see older folks and be a hospitable kid…it was funny cause when he asked if he could hang their coats they did not know what to do…they would look at me and look at him…it was awkward. Once they realized what I was doing we had a grand time. 5 couples came…. We laughed the evening away. My son needed those folks..I needed those folks….Zach dresses up in his tie…and felt so good to be kind and gentle
.I love the story of Mary and Elisebeth…I wish I had an Elisebeth…I do not…I want an Auntie so bad…but it is not to be right now..I have reached out…in the old days when someone livedin the backwoods of Alaska…missionaries would seek them out…those days are gone….I miss the simpler life…..

    Reply

    I love the story of Mary and Elizabeth, also. Something to ponder the distance thing.

    I pray that God will send you an Auntie for your children and a friend for yourself.

    Reply

    Barbara
    I parayed especially for you this morning that the Lord will send you a friend. I thanked him for the technology of computers and internet and for your connecting with us here. Blessings my friend!

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Hello everyone. I have been sitting on the sidelines for a couple of weeks gleaning and was planning to keep doing so until I finished current Bible study I am participating in @ church. But after I read this week’s blog topic,I knew it was time to return.
Before I get started, I would like to tell you Dee that I have read through the Friendships of Women for the first time and loved it. Thank you for doing a rewrite. I am finally in the season of my life where I can appreciate your wisdom. (translation: I’m no longer living as a control freak):0)

Ellen
Thank you for trusting Dee with the ache’s of your heart. I have found that she truly has a heart for the hurting. She yearns to help and has enlisted us to come along side of you and hold you up.Know that I prayed for the right words to share.
I too am in circumstantial solitary. I am learning that this season of my time in solitary has been designed for me to learn to lean on God and no one else. I have a tendency toward relational idolatry so not having a best friend right now is a good thing for me. Dee brought this topic up in Friendships of Women and after reading her wise words that’s when I made the connection for myself.
Personally, I have determined to become the friend I want to have. Have you thought about inviting someone out to lunch and being a listening ear? Are you a hugger? Have you hugged the women at your church yet? You may not be comfortable hugging others you don’t know well. I am finding that when I reach out to others as I want to be reached it helps with my own personal healing.
Looking back on my life I have had many acquaintances but not one best friend who sees me for me. Currently, I have many peers in my church family but many of them are involved with their families and we only connect at church. I admit sometimes that’s quite frustrating for me.
But the Lord has not forgotten me. He has brought a friend into my life who is my age and she sees things about me that I don’t. We made the connection here on this blog and she’s the type of person I would enjoy getting together with. We have quite a distance between us but I don’t mind having a long distance friend.
So how do I answer your question “How do I make some new friends?” I hope this doesn’t come across as trite but I suggest becoming the friend you want. Take the risk and invite someone to lunch. I too will be praying for you.

    Reply

    Thank you, Tammy. So far the lunch thing hasn’t worked. But I’ll keep working on it. Thanks for the prayer.

    Tammy, I love this: “Personally, I have determined to become the friend I want to have.” That spoke to me loudly..Great thoughts!

“Ellen” I read your letter and was left wondering about your courage, wisdom and compassion. I imagine you must have so much of those qualities after going through such difficult things. I admire how you were willing to be transparent enough to formulate a letter about how you feel as you look around now. That kind of willingness to be real takes a deep quality of character that I really admire.

Tonight I was told by someone (I don’t even know very well) that I’ve been really angry…. so angry that my comments about everything to everyone had made me pretty hard to be around. Until now, I actually didn’t even know that my anger was coming out that way.

That sort of got me wondering if sometimes the depths of our emotions in the middle of or just after really difficult changes might be one of those steps to getting ready to move on to other things. I saw the emotions that go with the process of transitioning between one life situation and moving into another as an emotional chaos. Sort of like a woman trying to figure out what to wear on one of those days that NOTHING fits quite right.

I guess I was just wondering if sometimes we expect ourselves to pick up and move along to new things before we are fully done with grieving the things we miss. So maybe we are busy looking for something that looks and feels like what we once had, because we haven’t completely been able to process the loss in a way that allows us to fully recognize new things when they come along.

    Reply

    Amber, Good posting!: “I guess I was just wondering if sometimes we expect ourselves to pick up and move along to new things before we are fully done with grieving the things we miss. So maybe we are busy looking for something that looks and feels like what we once had, because we haven’t completely been able to process the loss in a way that allows us to fully recognize new things when they come along.”

    This, together with your analogy of trying clothes on when NOTHING fits (I can relate!), is getting my brain wheels turning. :) I think you’re right; when we’re grieving, it’s hard to recognize that what’s new and different may be good because we’re trying to duplicate the past. Hmmm…your posting is opening my mind to possibilities.

      Renee-I’m glad you caught that connection.

      I often draw the things I try to explain. I was thinking about how I might draw a picture of what I was describing and feeling… clothes and accessories flying around the room without any real reason to explain what is wrong with them (today at least) seemed like a practical analogy that wouldn’t be too difficult for some women to follow.

    Reply

    Great encouragement Am! I’ll be thinking about that twice!

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    Amber,

    Your comment about “expecting ourselves to pick and move along to new things before we are fully done with grieving the things we miss” really resonated with me. There is a grief retreat in a couple of weeks that I’ve been vascilating about going on. I believe that God is speaking through you to me that I have some work to do! Thanks.

      Ellen-

      I lost one of my very closest friends to liver cancer about 18 months ago. So many times I’ve wanted to just move along out of the sorrow and locate some new friends. I just find that I get so frustrated because those friends I do encounter just don’t end the longing ache I still have for my friend. She wasn’t my husband, so I can only guess that what your feeling and going through is likely much more intense and life impacting.

      I’m telling you where I’m relating to your loneliness in the case of loss because I don’t want to come across like I’m suggesting you have to fix up yourself before your able to make friends. I just was trying to suggest that your heart might need a little freedom to get through the emotions…. because you’ve been through some pretty difficult things. You may have set aside some of your feelings in order to care for your mate. A few years of emotions are probably going to take awhile to work your way through now that you are in a place that it is possible to do so. So I wanted to suggest that maybe being really tender and patient with yourself as you learn to do and experience new things might not be a far fetched idea.

      If your able to go to that retreat…. then it might be good, to work your way through some of the things your feeling with others that don’t need you to formulate words to express. Maybe your friend of the heart, that is going to help you walk this journey is waiting for you there.

    Amber, great advice! This reminds me of Ecclesiastes and the seasons God takes us through..As you said sometimes we aren’t ready to move along just yet and we tend to force it or push it along when the season isn’t done yet.

      I suppose it is comforting to be reminded that God is in those seasons….. even if we are trying to get out of them before we are fully finished.

        Amber
        I like your thought…”trying to get out of them before we are fully finished.” God has a work he is doing in this particular season of my life and I find myself trying to get ahead of him and I get crushed. The crushing experiences are driving me to pray and take a good look at what’s coming out from the inside. God is peeling layer after layer and I’m so glad he’s the one doing the peeling!

        Great insight Tammy! God is doing that with me too.. :0)

    Reply

    Great post Amber!

Ellen,

A friend posted this on F.B. I thought it might encourage you during this season of your life:

“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.”
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

    Reply

    Rebecca
    Needed to hear these words as I am surrounded by nothing by dust in this desert. (I consider this blog as my oasis in the desert) I have been reminding myself alot lately that this season will pass. My problem is I want it to pass now. When my marriage died I learned through DivorceCare that I have experienced emotional heart surgery and should give myself at least 5 years toward recovery and healing. What I find amazing is that I turned 45 right after the annulment of my marriage and with that advice I expect to experience something wonderful for my 50th birthday. I love that the number 50 biblically represents FREEDOM. What a wonderful word!

      Tammy, Me too!! I feel the same way about this blog.

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    Beautiful song Rebecca! Thanks for sharing that! :)

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My computer is back! Thank You Lord. I see I have some catching up to do. One thing I would like to share. On the way home from BSF last night Joey said he had fun! Thank you for praying. Love to all of you. Anne

    Anne, that is encouraging! God is working!! I will keep praying for Joey!

    Reply

    SOUNDS SO GOOD – THANKS SO LORD

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Last night I read over all your responses and marveled at your wisdom —
welcome to Barbara, with her wonderful insights from experience. Good thoughts about a time to grieve, to draw near to God, to allow that.

I was helped in my grief journey by counseling, and many communinites have Grief Share — they have a website that can help you find out if there is a group near you.

I’d love to hear your answers to the threads that link Mary, Jonathan, and Ruth too — everyone!

You are a precious loving group.

And Ellen, thanks for jumping in!

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I had to leave my church because leadership would not deal with a serious issue … I am lonely. As I think about Mary, Ruth, and Jonathan I think about the intimacy they shared with one other … that kind of intimacy is missing as said in Dee’s book, “Friendships With Women …” The depths of intimacy which was shared with the same sex. I say that because as said before, I come out of a lesbian lifestyle into the land of true love in Christ. Even pastors treat me like a criminal or like I have a disease when I tell them and others my background, which to me is a testimony to the power of God; therefore, I do not hide such light.

But, I get lonely as a result. No one seems to understand my heart to love God with all I have and to love others with such purity … Mary, Ruth, and Jonathan had such passionate devotions to God, then to the other … this to me makes all the difference in the world … This devotion I try to have, recognizing the value another has and by also nuturing my own value God in which God has bestowed upon and in me. His love heals and restores.

And God is jealous for our affections, which to me is what is done when we find ourselves alone: It is a chance to nurture our affections in intercourse with our Lover of our souls ….

    Hi livingloved! Wow.. I had to respond as I am heading out the door and checked in to my favorite ‘oasis’ blog! :)

    Loved your honesty and must say that my best friend and sister in the Lord used to struggle with being a Lesbian.. We were roommates at the time she shared her struggle with me. Instead of running, God had me stick with her and minister to her. Actually I didn’t even consider running. It really wasn’t that hard because I knew the depths of my sick soul and how I needed God’s mercy, and I loved her so. I told her yes God can help her overcome that desire..Just keep delving in the word, and she did, and we prayed and He did a miracle in her heart! To this day we are best buds.. Sisters for over 20 years. She is married and we call each other almost every day.. God is good and anyone who would make you feel dirty for your past really has some deep issues of their own that they need to deal with before God. Anyway, so glad you shared and I will pray for you for that sweet, deep friendship as well!

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      May God give me somebody like you, I almost cried when I read your post. Why not me? Why can’t I have someone that would stick with me? Thank you for your response and prayers. Blessings!

        Livingloved,

        As your name ‘livingloved’ says God will bring that woman or “women” to you in His timing. It is hard to wait I know! He wants for you to have a close, godly friend. I really believe He will.. Just pray.. I will make sure to pray for you too!

        Thank you so much!

        Thank you!!!

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Hi all!
Would love your prayers as I get the results from a pet scan I took on Monday! Thank you ladies – appreciate you all!

    Fellowsojourner, will do that now..

    Lord, I raise up my sweet fellow sojourner to you. You are our mighty God, a fortress, Lord you are our hiding place and your wings are where we can take refuge..Give my sister refuge in your hiding place as she waits for her pet scan results..strengthen her today and Lord I ask you would do a mighty work on her behalf and ask that her results would come out good. Regardless, Lord may your plan be fulfilled in her life and thank you Lord for her obvious desire to please you and bring you glory with her life regardless of what challenge comes her way. You have made her strong and have taken her into deep waters that a lot of us in this bible study haven’t gone, and from what I have seen she is a bright light in the midst of it and we give the credit to you Lord! Wrap your loving arms around her today and give her your peace.

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      Amen! Let it be so, Lord Jesus! Thank you Rebecca!

        I’m praying for you, also, Fellowsojourner. ( Rebecca, your prayer is so beautiful, I just prayed it over and over for her.) I’m here reading and praying for you all each day. I also want to thank all of our Veteran’s here and passed on for the sacrifice they gave for all of us. I honor you.

        Thanks Joyce!

3 A What did Mary do in Luke 1:39? (How far did she travel? What else do you see in this verse?)

Mary traveled 70 miles. She arose and went. Could have been right after she woke up. “She went in a hurry” sticks out the most.. I think it was so awesome of God to let Mary know about Elizabeth through Gabriel after he told her about the fact that she was going to be carrying Jesus. Knowing about Elizabeth was her ‘balm’-for me I would have thought..”Thank you Lord, I am not alone!”.. God knew she would need someone to rejoice with and knew she needed godly support and encouragement. He also knew she would walk a thousand miles if necessary to see Elizabeth. Elizabeth is godly and God just shed his grace on both of them in a huge way-how great it was that they could get together and share and rejoice over it.

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A What did Mary do in Luke 1:39? (How far did she travel? What else do you see in this verse?)

B. What do you learn about Ruth in Ruth 1:16-17; and Ruth 2:11?

C. Describe what Jonathan did in 1 Samuel 18:1-2?

4. What common thread do you see? How might this apply to someone like Ellen?

I am not too good at reading into things, but I do see that all 3 left the security of their families, they branched out of their “safety zones.” Also a thought and a verse came to my mind that all 3 of these loved before they were even loved and the verse that I thought of was: “We love Him, because He first loved us.” I think what we can take away from this in our friendships is that sometimes we have to leave our comfort zones and reach out to other people instead of waiting for them to reach out to us!

I am kinda of a shy person by nature, but one thing I have learned is that people love to be loved and sometimes God blesses you and you are loved back!

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    So true!

    Fellowsojourner,

    Great point about all of them loving before they were loved. I think that is the bottom line. If we love others as Christ loves us..Him giving us the ability to truly love.. Then regardless of where they are at or what they are going through we can commit to them and trust God to give us the wisdom to comfort them and help them as well as receiving wisdom from them in our rough seasons.

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I have finally been able to read over the posts. They are very good and I would like to dive into the questions.

1. There have been times when I was new in a school, in town or on a job. I felt very much like there was something wrong with me. I was all of the things mentioned above and felt that I must not deserve friends. The truth is that I did not know how to be a friend.

2. It was God who changed my circumstances. He opened up my schedule and gave me the desire to join a Mom’s In Touch group. It was like He took the lid off of my world. I had never really had Christian friends outside of my church. Looking back I can see just how narrow my vision was. I thought that my friends had to be from church, not realizing that there are many of ‘other folds’. I feel a little silly as I look back. I’m sure that in my head I knew better but it seems that my heart is so slow to follow. Anyway, that was the beginning and from there I met Christians from all over town! It was so freeing.
But deep friendships have been rare. I am not good at superficial relationships and the ‘girl talk’ that I have seen other women engage in. To me it seemed exclusive and sometimes at the expense of another. That may seem like a very biased thing to say but that is how it looked to me from the outside. It sounds like some baggage from middle school!

4. The common thread in all 3 of these friendships seems to be commitment. Mary set out on a 70 mile journey in a hurry to see her friend. Ruth committed to stay with Naomi in her bitterness rather than return home to her parents. The text states that Jonathan committed himself to David.
It makes me think. How committed to friendship am I when I expect the relationship to ‘click’ and if it does not I pull away or at the very least expend no energy on it. I did not realize until this very moment that I have done this. On the other hand, I can push people away if I try too hard.

5. Ellen is in a difficult situation because of her grief. I’m sure it can be paralyzing in many ways. I think I would look for a woman in need of ministry that she can give, just one, and reach out to her. Commit her self to serving in a way that she is able. She may also look for Christian fellowship outside of her church. If she has time to volunteer she could do it at a faith based homeless shelter or crisis pregnancy center. Mom’s In Touch has been the best organization I have ever been involved in. Even if she does not have children, she can pray for the children of the other moms and the schools. Our public schools are so in need of prayer, especially the mass of children who have no one praying for them. It only takes one hour a week and she will meet women of prayer.

6. What can Ellen’s letter teach us who are secure in a group of friends? If Christ is burning in our hearts, how might we respond to the Ellen’s in our path?
I had an eye opening experience a couple of years ago. A person in a church that I visited occasionally complained about another woman who felt left out (who happened to be a relative). I did not think much about it until I found myself in the same situation. This is what I think we must do. We must share our friends, not keep them for ourselves only. When a woman walks up to the edges of a conversation, invite her in, recap what is being discussed for her so that she can join in or at least feel like a part of the group. What I saw was the attitude that ‘these are my friends, you go find your own’. I wonder how much of that goes on in churches. Exclusivity has got to go.

Something I find in myself that I have already mentioned is the tendency to pull away from someone I feel no connection with. I see now that this is so wrong because that woman may feel that there is something wrong or lacking in her when all it is is something lacking in me. So I think that I should make the effort at friendship even if I think it will go nowhere because if I have learned anything about God, that is the one that will lead to friendship. This thing in itself is what I will remember most from this week.

B. What do you learn about Ruth in Ruth 1:16-17; and Ruth 2:11?

Ruth took a chance..took a huge step of faith in making her commitment to Naomi. This was circumstantial and wasn’t because she did anything wrong. Naomi was bitter and depressed. I am sure hard to be around-but I hate to be too hard on Naomi..Losing both your sons and your husband.. That was a hard pill to swallow.. Ruth had a lot on her plate though in her commitment. Also, as we all know she had to enter a new land, new people, away from her comfortable ‘ways’ of living. It must have been like walking into a room with a blindfold and trusting someone else to guide you through the room. There were a lot of ‘unknown’s’ she had to face in her commitment to Naomi-yet she was there for Naomi. I think this is how Ruth trusted God in this situation.

C. Describe what Jonathan did in 1 Samuel 18:1-2? Jonathan committed himself to David and it wasn’t dependent on whether David was with him or not. Jonathan didn’t go with David yet he was o.k. with it.. It was a step of faith to trust David with God on David’s journey. They were one in the Lord-they had a deep brother-hood bond together.

4. What common thread do you see? How might this apply to someone like Ellen?

I think As Anne suggested they made a commitment whether near or far and the central person driving those commitments was God and the love he gave them for their friends. I also see a common thread of ‘grieving a loss’ in Ruth, Naomi and Jonathan. There is a lot going on here.

I firmly believe God will bring someone into Ellen’s life who will commit to her and who may even have some similar experiences going on that they can both relate too.

It is hard, but if Ellen takes that step of faith and looks around I think her eyes will be open to that woman or those women He will provide. Whether it be through a ‘grief group’ or perhaps a woman at church. Sometimes it will take her making that first step, or God may bring it to her.. Either way God knows every part of Ellen inside and out and He knows exactly what she needs and when.

It could be that superficial woman and God may want Ellen to give her more time, or perhaps not? Not sure, but I do love God’s surprises!! Usually he makes it abundantly clear this person is from Him, and I love how the flowers in our gardens are different..Some of my friends God sent to help turn my face from a desert time, and some He brings for me as a comfort and some to be a comfort too, some are for a myriad of seasons as they have been friends for decades and we comfort one another in our seasons..Some He brings for needs I didn’t even know I had and he surprises me with a relationship He wants me to mentor.

God is faithful you can count on that and He proves in His word over and over He doesn’t want us on this journey alone, and time after time has shown us how important deep committed friends are as in Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Mary and Elizabeth, etc..

Ellen, You do know you have to keep us updated as time goes on as to how God is working in your life! We will be dying to hear how He is answering this need. :0)

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I love how you keep seeing more and more. You are each like an individual log thrown on the fire — it is blazing.

I loved Anne’s practical way to bring someone into the conversation.

Glad to have Livingloved back too.

My speaking in Nashville went well and today I head to Milwaukee to meet with Jill Briscoe about how to finance this prison ministry — would covet your prayers.

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    Thanks, Dee, hugs … praying.

    Lord I thank you again for the heart you have for women who are lonely and in prison and in need of you. I thank you Lord that you have raised up women like Dee and Jill and given them the same heart you have for these women. Lord give Dee safe travel as she goes to meet with Jill. Give them sweet fellowship in you and your wisdom as to how to finance this prison ministry. I ask that you would make it clear to both of them how you want them to go about this ministry endeavor. Prepare the hearts you have lined up to assist them in this..Help them to trust you every step of the way, and show them once again your sweet surprises as you reveal yourself to them in this! Thank you Lord for the many times you have so faithfully revealed yourself to Dee and encouraged her as she walks with you and perseveres in her ministry with women.

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    Lord, how You love these women who find themselves in prison. As hard as it is for us to understand this kind of love, we know it is true. This is their divine appointment with You. Thank You for bringing them here. We know that their fear and suffering is great and for this reason our hearts are knit to them. We also know that You are able to meet not only their felt needs but also their real need which is Your redemption and presence in their lives. We love Your ways Lord. As Dee meets with Jill to plan for raising funds for ministering to Your daughters, show them the way. Meets their needs out of Your abundant riches. In Your economy nothing is wasted. For this we offer praise. Amen

5. Ellen likes her church, but it is not meeting her friendship needs. What might she do within the church to possibly lead to change? What groups might she look for outside the church?

* I think the grief groups Dee mentioned earlier are great! OH!! I can’t believe I almost forgot this.. Ellen, you might want to look for a BSF or a CBS group in your town. They are all over the place and a GREAT, GREAT way to get to know other godly women who go into deep waters..REGARDLESS of where you are at, I have found God to be the great provider of friends in these groups outside of church.. There are catholics, presbyterians, etc.. women from different denominations there.

BSF stands for “Bible Study Fellowship”.. Anne is currently in one now and I have been to one when I was single. CBS stands for “Community Bible Study”.. I went to one of those last year and it was AWESOME. You can just google it and you may find one in your area going on now!

6. What can Ellen’s letter teach us who are secure in a group of friends? If Christ is burning in our hearts, how might we respond to the Ellen’s in our path?

* I agree with Anne, Never do the clique thing. I know it is natural, but some natural things aren’t always good-especially in the body of Christ.

* I think that sometimes we think that if we haven’t gone through something a friend has gone through like grief over a husband’s death that we can’t be their friend or their balm in this season of life. I think we tend to categorize them and think well they will be better off in this group of people.. We categorize, old, young, divorced, single etc.. Yes there is a place for that but sometimes there isn’t..Yes he pairs us with people who can relate, but he also pairs us with people whose situations we can’t relate too. We need to have our eyes opened at all times to those God puts in our paths.. I firmly believe people we run into at church, the store, in our neighborhood, are God’s divine appointments. It is by no accident. It may just be a casual hello or conversation he wants us to take part in with that person, or it could be the start of a beautiful deep relationship. As Dee said, we can’t put too many flowers in our garden, even Jesus didn’t do that during his ministry here so we can’t go deep with everyone we meet. I think we just need to be sensitive to how God wants to use us in that person’s life.

7. What will you remember from this week for yourself?

I am still thinking on a few things God is teaching me, but I think sometimes I get too focused on my family and a bit overwhelmed with busyness and I think I have no time for others.. to meet others’ needs, but God is showing me I need to make time for others and just follow His lead in it in regard to time constraints. Also, it is a great example of Jesus to my boys when they see me ministering and loving others.

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Hi all! Just wanted to tell you I had a great report at the doctor – all clear!!! :) Thank you for your beautiful prayers! God is good!

    PRAISE GOD!! “Lord, thank you for this clear result for Fellow sojourner and the strength you have given her through this. Thank you for your light that shines so brightly in her life whether she is in good or bad health and the time you have given her here on Earth to continue to be your arms and feet in others’ lives.”

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    Thank you, Lord!

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    That is wonderful Fellowsojourner. Thank You Lord!

Ladies,

This may sound trite and totally off topic, but I need prayer.. It may not seem urgent either but it is important to me. ;)

I am going to start taking guitar lessons..I have wanted to play and sing for a long time and perhaps be able to put into music some things I have written to God later on.. I sense a change God is taking me to..a different place in music.. Not sure where it will end up so I am waiting for Him to show me and at the same time pursuing different stuff..It could be that He wants me to sing and play and write stuff at home. Not sure yet of His direction. Also, when I haven’t sang consistently in a while it takes longer to warm up and I have noticed my ability wanes to sustain vocally in a set of music-like when I work up a set of music like eight or nine songs..I tend to start losing my voice toward the end and feel some mild pain in my throat even though I am singing correctly. It is different..

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    Lord, thank You for leading in Rebecca’s life. Please give her grace and ability as she studies guitar. Lead her to just the right teacher and provide funds for the lessons. Bless her and multiply her time as she adds to her busy schedule. I pray that You will continue to guide her in ministry through her musical abilities. Amen

      Anne, Thanks!!!!

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    praying …

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    Praying for you Rebecca!

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Livingloved, I was just reading over the posts and thinking about Rebecca’s prayer for God to bring a friend or friends into you life. I echo that prayer to the Lord. As I think of your need I remember the Celebrate Recovery group in my area. It is a group that I think was born out of ministering to people having addictions. In my area it is ministering to people breaking free of every kind of besetting sin you can think of. One of the leaders here came out of a gay lifestyle and was married in the last couple of years. If you can find a group in your area I think you will not only be ministered to but minister to others. Praying for you dear sister.

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    Wow! I just googled Celebrate recovery and found a group locater on their site.

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      Anne, I was married after coming out of the lifestyle for 13 years, have 4 beautiful children. We(their father and I) both had/have stuff. But, now, reminding myself who I am in Christ and that I am His and how much he pursues me goes beyond human sexuality and friendships. God is always faithful, when man/woman isn’t. “Sacred Romance” by Eldredge is the book I am rereading … which is so perfect, besides the Bible and I and II Peter.Especially II Peter 2. I think we really have to watch what might be replacing a nuturing relationship with God, as I have said.

      Nowadays, we have so much “help/s”, maybe too much, when God wants to be our Savior ….

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      That is wonderful Livingloved. You do have a lot to give in sharing your testimony! I don’t imagine the enemy wants you doing that! I pray that God will put you in the perfect situation to share.

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Maybe! Thanks!!

I have been thinking: I musn’t, though, want the creation more than the Creator…this is always our balancing act, is it not?

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    Right! He must be first before any other relationship. He will teach us and guide us into all righteousness.

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praying for all, even though I might not mention it, praying …

    livingloved, Thanks sooo much! :)

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    Thanks livingloved! :)

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7. What will you remember from this week for yourself?
I always love reading all of your comments, it makes me think – as Dee says it’s like “logs on a fire.”

I loved Anne what you had to say about commitment:
“4. The common thread in all 3 of these friendships seems to be commitment. Mary set out on a 70 mile journey in a hurry to see her friend. Ruth committed to stay with Naomi in her bitterness rather than return home to her parents. The text states that Jonathan committed himself to David.
It makes me think. How committed to friendship am I when I expect the relationship to ‘click’ and if it does not I pull away or at the very least expend no energy on it. I did not realize until this very moment that I have done this. On the other hand, I can push people away if I try too hard.”

Rebecca, I like what you said about commitment about God driving those commitments and giving them each a love for their friends.

Here is where I have a bit of a struggle. I have a friend I have been friends with for over 30 years since I was 20, I am now 51. She lives overseas, we have kept in touch over the years and I went to visit her a couple of years ago, and it was just like picking up where we left off. (And this might go with next week’s study) , but about a year after that my friend told me she was separating from her husband, and i waited, I tried not to form any opionion, because my friend was one of the godliest women I knew. I wanted to be there for her. But as I listened to my friend, she gave no good reason, no biblical reason and as gently as I could I told her so. Eventually, she started backing away, then about 6 months later said she had found someone else. This is my beloved friend – very hurtful. Since then our relationship has just went downhill. She has never been a great writer – but enough. When I have asked her if anything is wrong she says no nothing. Here is my problem: I love this lady, God has put within my heart a love for her, God has also used her to bless my life, how do I reach out enough to let her know I am committed – God put it in my heart, I am sure and how do I know what is enough and what is too much? Thanks for letting me ask my friendship question! :)

    Fellowsojourner,

    Great question.. Wow that is a hard one. I can see why you are struggling! I think you have already done the right thing. Now the best thing you can do is pray. Maybe send her a note not mentioning her situation at all.. Just tell her you have been thinking about her, and that you miss and love her. I wouldn’t tell her you are praying for her though.

    I hearken back to when I first came to know the Lord and my sister in law who was discipling me was doing a bible study with me called “the pursuit of holiness.” I was only around a year old in the Lord but still had some things he was cleaning up in me. I decided to go and live with a guy as I always used to do before knowing Jesus, but this time i felt a bit uncomfortable which was the Holy Spirit, but I did it anyway.

    My sister in law didn’t say anything, just asked if I thought it was what God would want me to do..Then she just prayed for me-she told me later she had to hold her tongue when I would call her from his house and the times we would meet and do our study. After about two months I couldn’t take the conviction from the Holy Spirit anymore.. It got to the point where I just literally fled.. I firmly believe it was because Angie was praying for me. The conviction was something I didn’t used to have. I ended up leaving him and before I left I told him I was a Christian and God doesn’t want me to do this anymore and that I was making a commitment to purity. It floored him.

    Not all stories end up this way, but He ended up giving his life to Jesus after that and my brother discipled him! God strengthened me to remain pure as well. That was the end of me living with someone before marriage and by the mercy and strength of God I remained pure until He brought me my husband.

    Anyway, if she is a believer the Holy Spirit WILL convict her so she really needs prayer. I would pray that God would bring her to her knees somehow and that she would get into His word/bible study and that God would bring her a godly woman in her community to minister to her.

    Who knows how this will turn out.. She may stay in rebellion despite the promptings of the Holy Spirit.. some believers do..who knows, but God has all that in His hands either way. I am SO thankful that the results aren’t up to us. ;P

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    Thanks Rebecca – it’s good advice – thanks for sharing! :)

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I love to pray … so, its my pleasure … even though my time here is few and far between … I pray we go to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith for deep fellowship … that is what I have been doing…

I want Christ reflected in all I do and say, and also I want that in my family and friends and Christ’s body … I want his heart manifested. Mary and Elizabeth exalted the Magnificent One … David’s and Jonathan’s devotion so much reflects God’s devotion towards us, and Ruth and Naomi reflects the deep kinship we can have with our in-laws ( also, Mary’s and Elizabeth’s relationship: cousins?)

I think God chose these examples to show us what seems impossible for man to relate in such depths, both male and female, is not impossible when we devote our whole hearts to knowing God and calling and imitating His ways. The power to achieve these kinds of relationships comes from the same power of the resurrection, Glory to God!! Its supernatural … and we get to live it here on Earth …. God’s prayer in John 17: that the love from which You loved me may be in them ….

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I went to see a Norman Rockwell exhibit at the NC Museum of Art today and as we went in the front door there was huge marquis for a Rembrandt exhibit next November! I wonder if the Return of the Prodigal will be part of it?

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3.A. Luke tells us that Mary made haste to go see Elizabeth. I like that rendering. Mary must have been the one who told Luke this part of the story for only she would know such an intimate detail. I like the wording ‘made haste’ (so old English). It’s gives us the picture that Mary got to Elizabeth as fast as she could. There must have an incredible bond between these two female relatives even before their supernatural encounters with God. It was every Jewish woman’s dream to birth the Messiah and Mary was afforded the great privilege. Elizabeth was afforded the opportunity to birth the last prophet. I wonder if they discussed the Old testament prophecies about their sons while they were waiting for Elizabeth’s due date.

B. I have recorded on my DVR the movie The Book of Ruth. I haven’t watched it yet but it looks pretty good. Christian singer Carman plays Boaz.
What I learned about Ruth is that she was fiercely loyal to her mother in law Naomi. Ruth observed her ways for ten years and I wonder if maybe Naomi treated Ruth better than her mother did. Ruth knew life would be better with Naomi.

C. Jonathan bonded with David the moment he met him. I like how Peterson renders this in the Message, “…He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend.” There was something about David that drew Jonathan to him. David was a bold, fearless young man who was loyal to God. He could back up his talk with action. Being the son of the king I’m sure Jonathan couldn’t be friends with just anyone. He had to be cautious and wanted someone who thought like himself.

4. The common thread I see is bonding. I agree with Anne and Rebecca. Commitment is there but, I think before you commit yourself to someone in deep friendship, there has to first be a bond.

To someone like Ellen I would say to keep looking for the bond before you seek commitment. (I hope that makes sense)

With Christ burning in my heart I would befriend the Ellen in my path yet not be pushy. Building friendship takes time.

7. What’s my takeaway?

What I love about this community is the freedom we have to share without fear of judgment. I am gleaning so much needed wisdom.

My takeaway is Dee’s blazing log metaphor. Each log may not be from the same tree but each shares a common purpose-being a blaze of love in the name of Jesus Christ.

This has been so good, and I appreciate each of you deeply.

I will post a new letter this afternoon — one of the hardest posts I have done — please pray we will respond with the love and wisdom of Christ.

Thank you for praying for my ministry — I’m working now with Linda Strom and we will need your prayers all week as we had into the prisons to film. A warden could bring it all down — and we need the enemy kept at bay.

Love to you —

share your last thoughts on this one — and have a wonderful Sabbath.

In reading all of these scriptures, I learned a little about the power of loyalty. So many people know how it feels to have people leave them, sometimes it is even parents. I think this kind of experience makes loyalty something that needs to be learned and practices because it just isn’t as common as it once was for people to remain loyal to one another.

Mary needed a loyal friend when nobody else believed her, so the Lord provided it. Naomi needed a rescuer even though she was ready to go it alone. Ruth also needed to be rescued, but she had some options and hope in being rescued that Naomi didn’t have. Ruth sacrificed her security to make sure that someone she loved deeply also was rescued. By standing beside one another, and not worrying so much about their own needs they both got everything they needed. David and Johnathan also needed loyalty, because their experiences and positions in life probably caused them to realize early that not everyone can be fully trusted.

In thinking about Ellen, she expressed loyalty to her mate. It cost her something, actually it cost her great deal of things but she made that choice even when things were difficult. In looking at these scriptures I also noticed that the acts of loyalty that seemed to have a cost at first, actually brought with them great rewards later. I think it might provide some hope to know that the costs Ellen payed in order to remain loyal will also be rewarded, since the Lord remains the same and blesses those whom He loves. Ellen’s’ reward for her act of loyalty must still just be on its way.

I take away, some new perspectives on the cost of being loyal but also a realization that there is a payoff for those choices if we can stick with it long enough to get through the cost of the journey.

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    Wow, Amber! Excellent insight and encouraging posting. Thanks :)

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Dear Ellen~

My first time to read Dee’s blog…she is a dear woman…which you already know!

I was widowed 4 years ago after pastoring with my husband of 25 years….we have grown children which were young when we married…After my husbands death, I had supposed that I would remain single for ever, but God has filled a part of me with a wonderful Christian man who leaves me speechless….! Dee would know that is a difficult thing to do!

While I was single, a mentor friend of mine from one our pastorates in Eastern Washington, became a widow….she began a group called: “The Widow’s Might”. Her vision is to invite churched and Non-churched women that she meets in her community to participate in “talkitovers” and then as the widow in the scripture in Matthew gave her “mite” for the offering in front of Jesus along with the rich folks who gave large silver trays and other loud clanging pieces (for notice). Jesus just noticed her. He loved her….he didn’t give her money back, he knew it was important for her to give….so as we have lost our loved ones in life, we can become a mighty force with other widows….always with an uplifting attitude of gratitude, we can share our faith with those who have not known Christ’s love, and we can busy ourselves with reaching out instead of looking inwardly….that has been so easy for me to do….to look inwardly when I am hurting….it takes effort, but God can lead our footsteps as we reach out to our sister in similar losses. It is just an idea…a sweet ministry my friend Chris has.

I will continue to pray for you Ellen…..God is so good to come along side of us and minister in the wildest ways!

Joyfully,

Trish

Reply

Trish — so good to hear from you. And what a wonderful ministry you tell us about. Thanks so much…

Dee

Hello Everyone, I heard the radio show today on friendship as I was driving. I have to confess my eyes swelled with tears because I know that has been a challenge in my life and I”m 55 years old. I would love to have friends, but so far I have not been successful. Yes I get lonely but I try to ignore my feelings and deal with it. I’m marry to a wonderful husband of 33 years and I would just like to talk to other women at times. There has been betrayal, hurt, and lies and I haven’t had the courage to confront and challenge many of these times. I would like prayer and wisdom. I don’t have a problem with approaching others but some don’t feel like engaging. Pray for me.

    Reply

    Yvonne — I’m impressed you found this on my blog! I am going to copy it and put it on the current post so you don’t get lost. There are some wonderful women on this blog who would love to pray for you — and would love to have you join our Bible study too if you like!

Hi Everyone, this is Yvonne again. I just finish some of the blogs and they are encouraging and heartbreaking. It’s amazing how one persons said that the psychologist informed her that other women were getting help for loneliness like her. I’m thinking if all of these women including me could be vulnerable and open up to each other, then most of the loneliness could be solved. Maybe we don’t know how to be kind and loyal to others. Or we expect to much from humans who are frail just like we are. Maybe that’s where the love of God needs to come forth and allow love to teach others and ourselves about forgiveness.

    Reply

    Yvonne, welcome to this blog. Thank you for these wise words above. You said much in just a few sentences. I hope that you can join us in our current study. It is so good and we would love to hear more of your thoughts.

Yvonne,

Hi!! I am eating an early lunch this morning and found your new post here in my e-mail. So glad you posted again! You have several responses to your posts on the new blog post by the women here..I am SURE you will be encouraged. We have been praying for you and would love to have you join us.

Just scroll up and click on the ‘blog’ link at the top and you will get right to it, it is the new post that starts with “Rob Bell…” and then has a picture of a lamb. then scroll to where it says comments and read. You are being prayed for!

Anne, LOL! You and I posted this EXACTLY at the same time! :-)

    Reply

    Too funny!

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