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Why We Crave Close Friends

Discovering Jesus in Genesis 1 can impact us in several ways.

First, the light dawns on who He really is.

How I remember Debbie in our Seeker’s Bible Study.

We had just read the opening of John’s thundering prologue:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 

Debbie pressed her fingers to her temples and scrunched her eyes shut:

This is giving me a headache! I thought Jesus was born at Christmas! How could he have been there at the beginning if he was born at Christmas? I can’t wrap my head around this!”

I smiled and thought, She has a headache because she is in the birth canal.

I could hardly wait to see the joy that would be hers when she was birthed  from darkness into light.

Discovering Jesus in Genesis 1 is a surprise to many — but probably not to most of you.

But what might be a revelation to you is seeing how discovering Jesus in Genesis

helps us understand why we crave close friends.

Because we are made in the image of, not a monolithic God, but a relational Tri-une God, a desire for relationship is wired into our DNA.

This is why God created Eve for Adam, but this has to do not just with marriage, but our need for friends and fellowship.

When I moved to Door County, Wisconsin, to live year-round, my moving van arrived on November 1st — the day that this tourist community closes up for the autumn leaves that bring them by the thousands are gone.

Shops close, restaurants close, and the streets are as bare as the trees.

My village of Ephraim drops from thousands of hotel dwellers to this:

 

I drove the three miles to the Piggiy Wiggly and didn’t pass another car.

I went to the little church I’d always attended, a little church

bursting at the seams in the summer,

but now there were seven (I counted) people scattered in the pews.

What have I done? I am going to be a widow in the woods in the winter

dying of loneliness.

In the past, when I was just here summers, I was busy with family and guests. But now I needed a friend right where I lived.

So I did what I have learned to do in my many moves.

I asked God to give me a kindred spirit friend.

My sister Bonnie had told me about a year-round neighbor who had told her he enjoyed Eric Metaxis’ biography of Bonhoeffer. I thought:

I bet that he and his wife are believers.

So, before I biked to the cemetery, I prayed:

“Lord, if one of them happens to be outside, I will go up to them and introduce myself as a sister in Christ.”

As I approached their home, I saw that she was outside filling her bird-feeder!

I rejoiced, thinking it was an I SPY God at work in my life! 

I hopped off my bike and starting walking across her lawn when an icy stare

cooled my pace.

She thinks I’m a Jehovah’s Witness or selling something.

She’ll warm up as soon as I explain.

I started talking rapidly as I kept walking:

“Hi — my name is Dee. I just moved here year-round. You know my sister Bonnie Rock. I wanted to introduce myself.”

I put out my hand but she didn’t take it.

Awkwardly, I pulled my hand back.

Silence.

Stony stare.

Scary.

“Ah, umm,” I stuttered. “Well, my sister told me your husband liked the Bonhoeffer book

and it made me think we might share the same faith?”

“We do not.”

“Oh, I see. Ummm, sorry — my mistake.” Oh Jesus, help me get out of this with grace.

“I like to feed the birds too.” (So lame.)

Silence.

“I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

She willed me to leave with a silent glare. 

I turned and fled, jumped on my bike and pedaled as hard as I could.

I didn’t cry ’til I got out of sight.

Then I pulled off and sobbed.

Lord, what was that about?

I still don’t know. But since studying The Song of Songs,

I do know that sometimes God hides to test and to try us.

 

So, I was going ot pass the test and keep on reaching out until God granted me my 

heart’s desire. I know that it is God’s will for me to be in community, for He said “it is not good for man to be alone,” and he said, “do not forsake gathering together.”

I should not give up seeking fellowship

any more than a hungry man should give up trying to find food.

I knew if I gave up, my life would be dark and lonely, like the turtle who stuck his head out in a hail storm and decided to never try that again.

Pulling your head in may feel safe, but it’s not.

We need people as much as we need food and water.

I would trust God though He was hiding and wait for Him to leap out and surprise me.

And oh, He did.

He gave me Twila, and that led to a church plant, and new sisters in Christ, like Debbie,

and always through you, my blog sisters, who indeed, have become friends!

This week we will look at Jesus in Genesis 1, and I also want you to think about a time when you SPIED GOD through an obvious answer to prayer — perhaps in friendship!

I’ve a story to tell, and I hope you will remember one too,

and also be on the look-out for more I SPY GOD INSTANCES each day.

SUNDAY

1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?

2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY

We know from John 1 that Jesus was with God at the beginning creating the world. I want you to watch this video carefully and see if you can spy the Trinity in the beginning, and again, when God chooses to create man.

3. Can you see the Trinity? If so, how?

4. Can you think of another time in the gospels when the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters and you could see the Trinity? If so, where?

5. For those of you who were with us in the study on the Trinity, why does the Trinity reveal that our God is a God of love in contrast to single person gods.

6. Have you “spied” God in any way in the last couple of days?

7. Notice the pronouns in Genesis 1:26. What light does this give you?

8. Before God created Eve, Adam walked with God — yet still, what does God say in Genesis 2:18? What does this tell you?

9. This doesn’t just apply to marriage, but to friendship and to fellowship. If you have tried to reach out and had an experience like I did, how could you speak to your soul so that you don’t give up?

10. This is also why Jesus came to establish the church. We need one another for so many reasons.  Watch this two minute trailer to a sermon by Tim Keller on the church and comment:

http://www.gospelinlife.com/sermons/the-church-9722

11. What are some ways to take risks in friendship based on faith? How should you respond if initial efforts fail and why?

THURSDAY-FRIDAY: GOD HUNT

One of the ways to spy God in our God Hunt is an obvious answer to prayer. I thought it might be fun to share answers to prayer in regard to friendship this week. I’ve got one that involves a blog sister.

Rebecca was one of the first to join the blog many years ago. I could not help but notice how conscientious she was in getting on early each morning and doing her Bible study. I also noticed the hunger she had for God. The more I learned about her, the more impressed I was with her. She also happened to be living in Kansas City, where I was living at the time. So we were able to meet face to face.

I have had a checkered history with administrative assistants, because I was blind to my control idol. But God illumined me and brought me to true repentance. (I share that story in Idol Lies.) Rebecca joined my pilot study of Idol Lies before it was ever published. I had been praying for God to show me someone who could be my administrative assistant, and I felt led to ask this woman who had demonstrated her character and discipline. But she lacked confidence and turned me down. However, in my spirit, I sensed she could do it, so I persisted. She finally agreed and she has been with me all this time, and has been absolutely wonderful. She has also become a dear, dear friend — and in fact, will bring her whole family, for the first time, to visit me in Ephraim this week. Rebecca is my obvious answer to prayer not just for the ministry, but for friendship. I love this picture taken of Rebecca on our cruise, for it shows her reflective heart. I know she’s a gift, not just to me, but to each of you. Truly we have a wonderful sisterhood here because we have women like Rebecca.

12, Can you share an obvious answer to prayer in friendship? On this blog or in your corner of the world?

 

13. Have you had any other “I Spy God!” instances this week?

SATURDAY

14. What is your take-a-way and why?

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146 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?
    I’ve never heard the story about the woman you first met. How encouraging for God often works this way-not in our timing. I Look at how abundantly He has blessed you with Twila, Debbie and The Orchard!!! When I met them on the cruise I sensed Him so strongly in community for you love each other well and loved those like me who desired to fellowship with you. AND…when you moved I was concerned for I didn’t want you to be alone…and I too asked, and what joy that HE answered abundantly.

    2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?
    YES. I have been mentoring middle schoolers and do love it and I love the leaders I get to work with. The leaders are mostly younger believers and it has been sweet. Yet I need that face to face Kindred spirit, older, mature woman I can meet with-who will challenge and encourage me and I she. There is someone who led a Bible Study I went to and she is older and spiritually mature-she is humble and Loves Him-I picked up on that right away. I connected with her and while I am not sure if she is the one yet, I am eager to get to know her better and wait on Him. My plan is to email her and ask if we can have lunch this Summer and then if I sense His leading, plan a time to meet weekly to get into the Word together.

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?  I like your story of the neighbor because it helps me to know that I’m not alone in often feeling like I have God’s answer to my prayer all worked out in my head…this must be it (!) and then it turns out I was entirely wrong…but God has a plan, and it’s HIS plan, and it’s good.
    2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?

    Oh I do long for fellowship and this season of the cancer progressing has been so terribly isolating and difficult.  Even though I have Him, and He is enough, it helps to know that even HE longs for fellowship, so I don’t feel so badly about the fact that I still feel so alone, even with Him.  Right now I try to stay a little connected via email and that has helped some, but I pray He allows me to get back to some semblance of “normal” energy, at least for a season, so that I can enjoy the company of friends more.  But, everyone eventually comes to the end of his or her life and for a time it may just be God and me and He will carry me through.  I look forward to the fellowship that one day awaits me, pure and unbroken. 

    1. So sorry you are going through such an isolated, difficult time. I will pray for  someone to come alongside you “with skin on”. My heart aches for you!

    2. Mary–you are such a rare jewel. I can honestly say you have impacted my life in ways no one else has, and cause me to go deeper in my faith, to trust Him more, and to not fear the “hard” quite so much. I’m sad I’ve yet to meet you face to face, but so thankful for our email “conversations ” and how He uses you in my life–always pointing me to Him, His sovereignty. Prayers and love always dear friend❤️

    3. Yes, Mary. You are so dear to us here. Your warmth, honesty and testimony of trusting the Lord in this season of life is a triumphant display of who our God is! He is enough when you feel alone even with Him. And I love what you said about the fellowship that awaits you and all of us who believe-pure and unbroken.

    4. Mary my heart goes out to you. I have been thinking and wondering how you have been doing. I am sorry I have not been connected here. I pray you can have that fellowship you long for HERE and now:)

    5. Mary, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you with what you’ve been going through physically these past several weeks; how draining it must be and leaving you without much energy. But, how I would love for you to have a friend come and even just “sit shiva” with you….if only for ten or fifteen minutes. I hate it too that you feel so isolated.

    6. yes Mary, he will carry you through. Love and hugs sister!

    7. Mary, This breaks my heart yet at the same time encourages my faith how you cling to Him. You are amazing. Lord Jesus unless your plan is different we ask that you would bring a face to face brother or sister to Mary in this season. Our hearts cry out for Mary and we ask as you kiss her with your presence here and in your word that you would touch her in other ways with your presence through your body. We trust your sovereignty rules over all for you have a plan-how we rejoice that you have encouraged us through her here on the blog. In your precious name, amen.

    8. Oh Mary! How I wish all of us could be with you in this trying time. Please imagine all of us holding hands around you and praying for you we love you so much dear sister

      1. Yes, Cyndi, I too can imagine that sweet time of prayer. Love to you, Mary.

  3. 1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?
    The story of you meeting your neighbor for the first time. How horrible! (What, was she afraid you were there to steal her husband?) I am certain that I wouldn’t be able to step out like that again.

    2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?

    I was just this week praying about the need for a friend although I really don’t feel the desire to have one, (I think there is something not right about being like this).  This morning after spending a terrible night (I didn’t get any solid sleep until 6:30AM) I woke up late for church. As I was going through the motions of getting ready and telling myself that I’m not going to make friends by staying home (and my husband does sound and was already there) and I need the fellowship, I stayed home anyway rather than being late and looking like I just got out of bed. I decided to spend some time praying about the fact that I don’t connect with people very well and I lack the desire or drive to even make the effort.

    After praying I opened up the blog and THIS is the topic…

     

      1. I’m not really alone though. I work with people all day, it’s a closed sterile area of the hospital so I have constant interaction with my co-workers. I have tons of family, too, I guess that’s why I don’t really feel the need to have a friend.

        In the past, what I thought were solid close friendships, some lasting for several years, were pretty much just a matter of being situational “friends”. When the situation (church, homeschool group, job, etc.) changed the friendships ended.

        I understand the “for a season” aspect of friendships, but it just seems like a lot of work to try to have something with people who aren’t really interested or who I thought were interested, but weren’t.

        1. Dawn, I too have struggled when “for a season” friendships have ended. I remember a woman who was the leader of a Bible study I attended. We seemed to connect, and for a season, we talked on the phone a lot and got together a few times. She was really genuine and caring and would even say “I love you, Susan”. Her daughter was away at college during that time, and when her daughter graduated and came back home, it seemed that the friendship evaporated. I wondered if I was sort of a fill-in while her daughter was away. It was painful and then I questioned the genuine-ness of the friendship. Anyway, praying for you, Dawn.

    1. Dawn…..from what you shared on our prayer page, I know you’ve had a very painful week. I personally, am inclined to step away and not want to face ‘crowds’ in the face of my own pain.  I do hope you will find comfort from Jesus and just one comforting friend.  I personally, cannot face ‘small talk’ and trivial things that people talk about at church social times or in other crowds, when I am severely hurting.  I hope that you have some small group or one on one time where you will sense God’s healing through the love of others.  Praying for you now.

      1. Thank you, Wanda

        1. I agree with Wanda.  Definitely sometimes when we are very down we tend to want to withdraw, sadly at the very time when we are most vulnerable to tactics of the enemy and most need to be in fellowship!  Prayed right now that He would bring a lasting friendship into your life that would be a blessing over and over.

    2. Dawn The Lord answers prayers and the timing is always perfect. He so cares for us. I pray you get the clarity of His voice leading you and what might be making you feel that way.

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?

    The word picture that Dee painted when she described Ephraim and then said she was “….a widow in the woods in the winter”.….. alliteration sticks with me anyway, but this is such a poignant phrase.    I had a cousin who died young of cancer last winter and his wife, who is now a young widow, is downsizing to a town home and I went to her moving sale this weekend.  I hadn’t seen her since the funeral, at which time, she was so surrounded by loved ones and support and so relieved that his pain was over and he was with the Lord, that the reality of her own pain had not set in.  This time, I saw her tears and her aloneness and the misunderstandings she was having with her sons who just don’t seem to get how much their mom needs them to come around now….and to help her with all she’s going through.  I’ve tucked away Dee’s book ‘the God of All Comfort’ for her and am looking for the right opportunity to give it to her.  I think that is soon.

    What also stuck out to me was the story about the woman feeding the birds and how devastating that exchange had to have been.  And then to wonder all these years and still not know why it was so painful instead of promising.  Especially, as it seemed so much like the way God was leading.
    2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?  
    YES!  and I was thinking of this at church and after church and even discussed it with my husband on the way home.   Our pastor and his wife have good friends from Sweden, who they met in seminary and who are visiting with them this week and shared in the music of the service today.  Pastor D. shared that they met each other at a time when both couples were lonely and had left familiar environments.  AND that this was a 4 for 4 relationship.  Some are 2 for 4 or 3 for 4 but it’s rare to have a relationship with another couple where all four are friends with each other.  I’d never put into words that ratio way of thinking.  But that’s exactly what I have been craving.  In our new church,  we feel comfortable now, we can converse with many people, my husband has found a fishing partner, I have some women friends who do children’s ministry with me,   but we don’t have any mutual ‘couple’ friends.  The craving for this has been stronger of late.  So the timing with the comments in church today and then this lesson makes it clearer.      What have I done that helps?    Well, getting into a ministry at church has helped a lot. I feel I have ‘some people’ now and could call several people to help me if a need arises and/or have coffee with.  Since we didn’t move to a new home (just a new church home)  I still have my old church friends….but it is harder to see them when we don’t attend the same church too.   What I DO need to do, and we just talked about this driving home, is to invite some women out for coffee and also to figure out a time to invite a couple or two to our home.  Or to go out to eat or some other event with another couple.  Also, we signed up for our church retreat which should help us know people at a deeper level.  

  5. 1.  Spying God thru an obvious answer to prayer. There was a white water time in our marriage, and when I realized just how deeply in trouble we were, I turned to God in my spirit with my hands held up to Him, pleading for His help. He picked me up and held me for the next month. It was still painful and I still had to go through it rather than around it, but His Presence was palpable. And I remember when He set me down and said it was time for Him to again walk alongside me. I imagine when death comes, it will be like this. He will pick me up and never set me down again.

     

    2.  Crave fellowship? How big a font can I use to answer YES! I know because of all the times I yearn for someone to talk to about the Lord, bouncing His truths back and forth. For all the times I ache to laugh deeply with a sister over silly things. All the times I want so badly for someone to speak growth, encouragement and exhortation into my life.

    When we were newly married, an older friend asked if we had made any friends our own age in our new community. We had made some, all older, people who had reached out to us. So we made a list of all the possibles and started praying for them as people, and for a way to connect. We started calling these people and saying, “we have a bucket of cookies. Can we come and visit?” That was forty years ago, and a lot of those people are still dear friends though we have moved twice since then. I have to say I didn’t fully realize what we had until we moved away and looked back at it. Now we are at a different season in life. The people we seek to connect with are often very busy and our bucket of cookies doesn’t seem to work. But we still pray for them as people and for God to open ways to connect. It is much looser than I would like. We share a meal here or a phone call there, and I am learning to trust God as He supplies what I need in the line of friendship. He also reminds me to cultivate His friendship most of all.  This blog meets a lot of my needs, so thank you, everyone.

    1. Love your imagery in this post Mary!

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?
    What stands out is your bravery in risking the introduction to the neighbor. Sorry it turned out that way! Wow! I would have been very tempted to be the turtle!
    We moved to a new place about three years ago, and it does take time to get to know people. All our neighbors are retired and were wondering what kind of people we were. Later I found out that one couple was praying for “good people” to move in during the time that the house sat empty. I think we passed! We took homemade bread to all the neighbors at Christmas, and I think that helped.
    2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?
    With our move, it was the fellowship that I really missed. We moved from a community with lots of kids and knowing everyone. I had a prayer/walking/running partner who had kids the same age. The first year in our new place I looked up different Bible studies to attend. I went to a women’s retreat, not knowing anyone, with the intention of trying to get to know others. I ended up in a room alone because the other people who were supposed to be in there didn’t show up to the retreat! (Later I realized that the alone time was what I needed. I was homeschooling three of my children that year.) I got involved with children’s ministry at church and went to one of the Bible studies that I found on-line. Getting involved with others who are like-minded is how friends (and fellowship) are found.

  7. This is a hard topic for me right now. I do have a close friend who lives a long ways away. We have been friends for a long time. We call frequently and lean on each other through tough times. However, I would like a close friend nearby to visit, share spiritually with, maybe go shopping with and laugh with. I have lived here almost 10 years and I am discouraged. Most of my connections are church related. They are nice people but no one who is seeming to really see me as a close friend. I have prayed for a long time for a close friend and all seems quiet. But perhaps God is at work behind the scenes.

    1. I’ll be praying for you Diane. 10 years is a long time to wait.

    2. Diane, my heart and my prayers are with you.  Wish we could have coffee together and just talk.  Someday we won’t have all the distance that separates us from people here, and won’t that be glorious?!

    3. Diane, I love your attitude- but perhaps God is at work behind the scenes. He always is and I hope you will find a friend close by soon.

    4. Diane I know you are a pastors wife. Do you think that makes it difficult? Just thinking of my own pastors wife. My heart goes out to you and I pray you can find the friendship close by. It gives me a pause to think on a few things I have felt tug at my heart and have not responded to. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Liz, yes, I do honestly think that being a pastor’s wife makes it harder – expectations, etc. But I also wonder if it is my quite introverted personality.  It is hard to access objectively just how much impact being the “pastor’s wife” is. If you feel the ‘tug’ at your heart, please respond.

        1. Diane thank you for the encouragement. I have allowed the tug to kind of fade away, I have to say I think I am an introvert as well. I love to have fellowship time but the time spent on that during any given week is small. When I am not working I spend a great deal of time alone and do not mind it one bit.  My fellowship time is usually walking with a friend, praying together, conversation over a cup of tea nothing much outside of that. But I love those things. I rarely get together for just a social event or fun time outings.  Not saying that is right but just the way that it is.

           

    5. Diane, you’ve shared with us before your longing for a close friend right where you live. We’ll keep praying! I would love to have you over for tea if I was your neighbor!

    6. Thanks, ladies. I appreciate your prayers. I do appreciate you, my blog friends, and the depth of caring and love for God’s Word here.

    7. Praying for that friend for you, Diane.  If I were in your church I’d be pursuing that friendship with you!

    8. Diane, today I understand this more than ever. I have a dear friend (more like a sister) who lives very far away. I needed to talk to a friend who would relate to my situation; one who knows the parameters well, this morning. I cried that I really didn’t have anyone to talk to and decided to pray. He is silent. The women I have as “friends” near me have busy lives of their own. We only get together every so often these days. I miss the closeness of a friendship.

  8. SUNDAY 
    1.   What stands out to you from the above, and why?
    “Because we are made in the image of, not a monolithic God, but a relational Tri-une God, a desire for relationship is wired into our DNA.”
    This is a wonderful affirmation indeed of why we crave close relationships. And as the triune God dance with each person, our relationships with others must be a dance, too!
     
    2.   Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?
     
    Yes, I do. There is a longing to connect to somebody. The feeling of loneliness is a gift to some degree since it creates in us a yearning for relationships. We start with the best relationship there is and that is with our triune God and then He gifts us with relationships here on earth. Dee, I have been kind of like you especially when I first came to the US. Aside from Richard who is still my very best friend, I craved for female friends. For what seems like long of a time, God seemed to have withheld from me a close friendship with another woman. Not until I realized Jesus as the best friend ever (then Richard), did true friends came into my life. I prayed through all these times and found 1 or 2 friends through the changing seasons of my life. Mind you, aside from praying I had to initiate, pray some more, persist and pursue these friendships. So many women nowadays are so busy!

  9. Thank you for writing about this topic! I do crave fellowship! I just went through an intense week with my 1 year old. He was sick for 5 days with a fever. My nights and days were so mixed up. So tired. I felt so alone and disconnected. My husband is not a believer and we have 5 children. (VERY helpful man but not spiritually uplifting.) I decided to storm the gates of heaven by submitting online prayer requests to a church (not local) who prays fervently. I’ve been attending a church for six months now but have not made any  deep connections. I love to sit and discuss the Lord’s word and learn about what he is teaching the other person individually. In the past, I have had times of fellowship which were so encouraging but recently I am feeling so alone. It “feels” like being a square peg in a round-shaped world. I just spent time praying about this very thing this morning. I open my browser to check on the study and this is the topic. So neat!

    Thank you!

    1. Tiffany, I believe you got a kiss from the King! We are so glad you found us!

  10. What a good topic!  I have never felt so alone now that I am a middle aged single woman with adopted children.  Talk about a MISFIT in society.  I had a good group of middle aged women with whom I had a deep godly friendship.  They are still there, but all has changed.  Now I have no time for lunches or dinners or outings with working, homeschooling, and taking care of my children.  They have evidenced some small resentment toward me, in that I have not much time for them anymore.  I don’t even sit with them in church anymore – sitting instead with my children.  We don’t fit in with the other married couples and their children.  We just don’t fit!!!  Today’s Sunday School lesson was about the need for women to stay home with their children instead of pursuing careers.  Almost all of the women in the class are married and have that choice, even if it is difficult.  I do not have that choice to stay home with my children.  There is absolutely nobody else to provide for us.  My teen daughter cries for me all day when I leave her to go to work.  When I’m home, we need to homeschool as she is so far behind academically coming from a foreign orphanage.  I just LONG for a friend who has walked in my shoes and who understands.  How sweet to turn my aching, empty heart to Him and find a resting place and peace in His presence.  He did create in us a longing for human fellowship, but ultimate fulfillment of that longing is only found in Him.  All voids in life cause us to turn to Him, and for this I am grateful.  I’m also so very thankful for Dee and all the ladies who truly are a sisterhood to me.

    1. Miriam, I am sorry to hear this about your friends. I would rather like to think that they would have embraced your adopted children as well, perhaps reaching out to them, too, as your friends, and taking an interest in them as well, and including them in activities you all could enjoy together.

    2. Miriam, such a difficult thing to bear so much responsibility alone! I will pray for a close friend for you.

    3. For two years a single mom came to our house and home-schooled with me. I encourage you to find a couple other women with kids your age even if they are married. My single mom friend was a wonderful encouragement to me. Homeschooling should be a great uniter not a divider. I will be praying that you find a group of homeschooling moms that you can do life with for these next few years. As an adoptive mom myself I know you will need other moms and dads to come alongside and as you raise children from trauma.

    4. I will be praying diligently for a homeschool mom that would let your children come over during the day so that you we’ll have a little more freedom to be mom. I can’t imagine what it must be like to try to work and homeschool. We adopted a 10 year old from China and I know how draining it is!!!!

    5. Miriam, My heart aches when I read your post.  My eyes bugged out when I read that you had a SS lesson on the need for mothers to stay home with their children rather than pursuing their careers.  You — and many others — don’t have that choice.  I recently read some stuff my mom wrote when she was 41 or 42 and a widow.  God was and is good — And life sometimes was hard/painful.  Praying for you now.

  11. What stood out? Dee your story of approaching the woman had me. Such bravery. Also FELLOWSHIP stands out. True fellowship. I am so blessed to have it and my prayer is for those who do not. I facilitate a Woman’s fellowship group every other Friday morning at my church. It has been such a blessing! Woman coming together from multiple different churches as we are the church. Such unity.

    It has been almost 2 years since my husband and I separated. I am waiting on God! Anyway it was one of the most humbling things I have ever done as I was the one who left our home. The day I came to my small little place I did not want to be seen or talk to anyone . I quickly discovered  The Lord had a different plan. I saw this woman walking toward my house with bare feet and an apron on. I was polite and answered my door she introduced herself and quickly mentioned her church and a yard sale they were having if I needed anything. My ears quickly perked up. I asked her what church she went to and when she told me I shared that church had a special place in my heart. I had a very special friend who had been killed in a freak accident who had gone there and the people there were so good to her. I asked the woman if she knew her and she began to cry. My friend made such a huge impact on that church in the short time she was there. At that moment the light bulb went on and I realized the woman I was talking to was a woman my friend had spoken about that was especially kind. I had always wanted to meet her and give her a big hug. That was what I did just then we hugged and cried thinking of our friend and I truly felt like the Lord gave me a very big hug and I was kissed by the king with an assurance I was just where He wanted me to be for this time. She now comes to our fellowship group and although I do not get together with her a lot as my schedule is a bit all over the place knowing she is there is such a comfort.

    I have missed this community of beautiful blog sisters! I check in now and then but struggle with computer time. It is amazing how many different ways we can fellowship even online. My craving I admit though is face to face time:) I pray for those who are praying for that for themselves.

     

    1. Liz, that’s a pretty amazing thing that God brought you to move to a place, after you separated from your husband, where you would meet this woman who was a friend of your friend who was killed. It’s almost unbelieveable, and definitely not a coincidence. Nobody could orchestrate that but Him.

    2. Wow Liz! That’s a great story and I can’t believe it’s been nearly 2 years. I’ve missed you here. Glad to see you again!

    3. What a wonderful story, Liz!  A kiss from God and something to look back on in times when you may feel He is not there.  I cling to those types of memories during dry seasons.

    4. I love your story, Liz!   Sometimes, the Lord just gives us those ‘jaw dropping’ experiences of His hand in orchestrating the common events of our lives.   Those times, as Mary E. says, can carry us through a lot of the mundane days when He seems silent.

    5. what a wonderful story, Liz! Thanks for sharing it — you’ve encouraged me to be alert for those moments.

  12. 1. What stands out to you from the above, and why? 

    The awkwardness of your meeting with the stony faced woman! Oh my gosh that would have been awful. You say you have never met up again? I would hate that situation.

    2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?

    I love to talk (normally). I love a good, intelligent conversation or even debate. I know this because I usually try to strike up the conversation when I am in a group of people. However, in the past few years I have tried to listen more than speak. I also like to be with others, but I crave my time alone too. I guess that’s because I have so many people in my house right now and I miss my time alone.

      1. Lol!

  13. 1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?

     

    It seems that this topic has struck a nerve with almost everyone here, myself included! The awful encounter with that woman….believer or not, I just cannot fathom treating anyone like she treated you, Dee. Icy stares, silence. It must have been awful and I know I would’ve done what you did….as soon as you were out of sight, you burst into tears. Had it been me, I would have had a very hard time reaching out to anyone again, at least not for a while.

     

    2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?

     

    Yes, I crave fellowship. Real, meaningful, authentic friendship. Friendship that goes deeper than acquaintance-type friendship. However, it seems that the majority of the people I know are at the acquaintance level, and only maybe one or two at a deeper level. Growing up, my mom had so many really good friends. Every week there was one of her friends at our kitchen table, the coffee pot on. I always imagined it being the same when I was an adult. But none of my mom’s friends worked (mom’s almost 90 and very few women of her generation worked outside the home). I have a friend who is also my neighbor and who lives a few houses down from me. I invited her over in February, and the next time we got together was just last week when she had me over. Most women today also don’t like to talk on the phone; you text. So, even though I would say she’s a good friend, it’s hard when you only see each other every 2 or 3 months. Everyone seems to be too busy these days for friendships, and friendships take time. At church, there are women in my Sunday school class that I don’t even know who they are. And everyone I know there is at the acquaintance level.  I find church to be one of the loneliest places, so much so that I struggle with the desire to go on Sundays.

     

    My heart is also heavy for my son who just moved to Houston, TX. He will start work mid-July, but for now, he’s getting settled into his new apartment and surroundings. He called yesterday; he was out for a walk on a nearby bike path….alone. He said he’s met some of the people who live in his building….just saying “hi”….but he said he seems to be the youngest person there. He does have a couple of friends who are from Penn State where he just graduated from, who are there for the summer for internships, and he’s already been getting together with them, but I know it’s got to be hard for him. I can’t imagine moving to a big city and not knowing anyone. I pray for him a lot and hate to think of him feeling lonely.

    1. Susan,  I ache for your son too.   My closest friend in my area has the same situation as her son is all alone doing a grad program in Columbia, SC.  He did have some friends early on when he was first there but bit by bit, they’ve all finished their programs and moved on.  It’s so hard on her to wonder how he’s doing.  He calls her on Sunday nights and they talk for 3 hours or more.  I think because he just hasn’t really had anyone to talk with all week.  🙁    I wish you and my friend could meet.  How you would encourage each other.    ~   Also, your observation about woman who work vs. woman who don’t interests me because here I have sometimes felt that ‘if only I had some work colleagues’ I would have someone to talk to every day.  I haven’t worked for 10 years and even when I did, most of my day was spent alone. I rarely had anyone affirming my work but the bursts of interaction I had did help fill a gap. But in later years,  I often envy my friends who are at a job or a part of a department and can muse with others on a day to day basis.  (though I know office politics are often less than pleasant). Most women my age (especially 10 years ago when I resigned from my job) are still working and though I long to call some of my old friends to see if we can have lunch, they are never available because they’re working and have family plans on the wknd.  What conundrums we woman have.  🙁

      1. Wanda, I couldn’t reply to your reply below….I don’t work full-time, just two days a week, and my days off are days for catching up on housework, or going over to my parents to help them, or being with my daughter….as a woman, you know! The list is endless! I do get lots of interaction with people at work; I work in a hospital as a home care coordinator, and I’m out rounding on the floors and interact with different staff; my co-workers, the other coordinators – we share a small office but honestly, most days we are all so busy there’s not much time for conversation. I know them at the acquaintance level. My old job was different – we were all actually pretty close and did things together occasionally outside of work. I miss them a lot. I guess what I feel is so missing in my life is meaningful connections with others. There are times when I need someone to talk to, and realize, again, that I really don’t have anyone to talk to. Sadly, meaningful connection is also lacking in my marriage. I feel much of the time that being around my husband is like “sandpaper” – it’s wearing me down. Our conversations are often not pleasant. I never imagined that life for me would feel so isolating. I’ve done a couple of Bible studies at my church; same thing – people are nice, but no friendships ever developed. A few years ago I was the “liason” in my Sunday school class for two missionary families – it was my job to give updates on what they were doing and arrange an activity when they came into town; however, there was one time that I was expected to perhaps have one couple stay at our home which I knew wouldn’t go over well with my husband who doesn’t go to church….I eventually stepped down from doing that.

    2. Susan your comment here about church being one of the loneliest places caught my attention. Is it a large church? I went to another church this past weekend which is VERY RARE for me but I was staying down at my Moms house. It was a large church. I was amazed that the only people who said hello was the person at the door coming in and the person at the door going out. I imagine people can just slip in and out so easily there without anyone ever noticing. When a new person comes to my small church they are so loved on. You cannot enter our church and go un noticed. However I am sure some people do not like that???  The Pastor was preaching from another campus so he was on a screen. It was a very different experience for sure. So I can see how one might feel lonely. I am surprised even at your Bible studies though that the relationships do not go a bit deeper. Is it a large group? I have found even in small groups when they get too large you lose that intimacy. and even at our small church it so often can be come on Sunday a little bit of surface talk and then see ya next week with little fellowship going on during the week.

       

      I also was thinking how we can pump our gas without going inside. Get food at a drive up. Do online banking. and now one of the stores in my town you can shop online and just pick up your order without walking the grocery store aisles.  Not to mention all the other online shopping we can do. Then there is going to school online the list goes on and on. I have a handful of people I know who do not go to church anymore as they feel the sermons they listen to online are enough. Many younger people just want to text and do not talk on the phone anymore. Just thinking how this is just disconnecting us vs connecting us.

      1. It is a large church; not huge, but large! My Sunday school class has about 25-30 ladies….attendance fluctuates. It’s only for women, and so about 99% are single, divorced, or widowed. It seems that the older women who are widowed all stick together, as well as the single, never married or the divorced ladies. Their little groups are well-established. There was another married woman that I am friends with who stopped going because she realized she wasn’t ever going to really fit-in, and she goes to a class with her husband’s brother and his wife. People say hello, or you make “small talk”, but for me, that’s about it. It gets discouraging. Walking through the hallways of the church is just a sea of faces of people I don’t know.

        I agree with your second paragraph….although we are “more connected” than ever through social media, etc…it seems as a whole, our society is in truth more disconnected and isolated than ever.

        1. just a thought, Susan.   I know you’re working full time so I hesitate to ask,  but are there any special focus groups at church or ministry groups that are smaller that would interest you?   My guess is that in a large group, even these are large….but I wonder if serving together with a common interest would help you go deeper?   I suppose a small group Bible study would be the other thought and I’m sure you’ve been down that road.  I find it’s hard to ‘break into’ or ‘find’ the way to a small group that feels compatible.

           

          Liz,  you nailed it in your last paragraph.    I mourn for the loss of human interaction in our society.  I usually refuse to go to big box stores if my neighborhood drug store or hardware carries the same or similar item.  But even the stores that I used to frequent in our small town are closing up and have had to yield to the encroaching of all the super stores where everything is under one roof and likely has a drive through besides.  🙁    I used to go pick up my meds and spend 5 minutes chatting with the people behind the counter and even when I just called in my refill, a person I knew, answered and we chatted about high school basketball before she took my order.  Now, it’s all impersonal and automated.  Real people behind the counter but doesn’t mean they know me.

  14. 3. Can you see the Trinity? If so, how?

     

    I saw some imagery representing the Spirit at the beginning of Creation and the words “And God said, let there be light” and I know that Jesus is God….I noted the wording of “Let US make man in OUR image….”.

     

    4. Can you think of another time in the gospels when the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters and you could see the Trinity? If so, where?

     

    In the account of the baptism of Jesus, Jesus, the Son of God in the water being baptized, God the Father spoke audibly from heaven, and the Spirit descended in the form of a dove.

  15. “I do know that sometimes God hides to test and to try us.”

    That statement stood out to me. It is the other side of the coin we don’t like as well. Having to wait is hard for us. Uncertainty is uncomfortable.  But what a faithful God Who will come and surprise us with joy again and again.

    This past weekend my husband was gone for a couple of days. I am not used to being alone at night and even after all these years I find it uncomfortable. But as I lay in bed the other night I realized even if my husband is with me he is not as close as God is to me. God is always near. That is a promise from his Word. The Holy Spirit actually lives with in me and no one can get closer than that. He is my peace when I feel alone.

    But back to God’s hiding. I feel his hiding reveals my need of him.  My longing for and dependence on him.   Like we saw in The Song.

    Walking with God is never a mundane experience for long. He is always doing a new thing. And it is always for our good.

  16. 1.   Can you see the Trinity? If so, how?
    In the beginning God, (the Father), and the Spirit hovered (The spirit) and as God, the Father spoke The Word (Jesus). John 1 (In the beginning was the Word.?
    When God created man, He said Let us make man in our image (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)
     
    2.   Can you think of another time in the gospels when the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters and you could see the Trinity? If so, where?
     
    During the Baptism of Jesus. As He came up from the water, God spoke and the Spirit came down as a dove. Matthew 3: 16-1716 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (biblegateway.com)

  17. 6. Have you “spied” God in any way in the last couple of days?
     
    I am always looking for ways to get better at teaching my health science class and leading my Sunday School class. This morning, I was listening to the Discover the Word podcast and Elisa Morgan, Mart DeHaan and Bill Crowder were at their usual places at the table. I love their idea of the 4th chair in the conversation (that would be me) J. And the use of questions to move along the discussion! And I thought to myself, that’s it, Lord. You are giving me the idea of using more questions in class rather than just lecturing and giving my students the answers. It will also enhance our Sunday School discussion and encourage my fellow believers to dig into the Word more than they already are. I spy God!

      1. Dee, thank you for your encouragement. You have been an inspiration to me as you have continued to ask us thought provoking questions. When I started getting involved with the Navigators in the Philippines years ago, our leader used the inductive study. I relished those times when he would ask us to rewrite Scriptures and then come up with our own questions and answer them as a group.

        And this brings me to my need of practicing the art of listening to my students and my Sunday School class. I want them to come more excited to learn the next time. “Articulate”-some high school students may not even know the word let alone do it. With all the texting they do, abbreviated for the most part, this will be a new approach. Maybe I can coax those neural pathways to connect using questions, indeed!

  18. 2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?

    Yes I believe fellowship is a deep need for everyone.  But it takes diderent forms for different people. Whether it is a one on one experience or in a small group setting, an online blog or email connections we all have the need to interact with others at a meaningful level some how.

    About 27 years ago we were moving  from a community I loved being part of back to our hometown near family. I did not want to leave the special friendships I had made there and was not happy about going back where family relationships were strained and hurtful with my husband’s family. I had read Dee’s book and went to a “Friendships of Women” conference that Dee was leading in a small town in southwest Nebraska. As I listened to her speak I sat in a pew crying over the fact I was going to have to move and leave my sweet friendships. That day I told God ( yes I said I told God) “OK if I am moving You have to give me a praying friend. Someone  who really knows how to pray”.  What a gracious loving Father to put up with my impertinent attitude. After we had moved back I was invited and attended a small biblestudy prayer group. There was a woman fairly new to town that I didn’t know before who had joined that group and as I heard her pray that morning I thought to myself she really knows how to pray.  Later that week she called  me and asked if I would consider being her prayer partner. She was involved in an intense ministry to troubled women and felt she needed another woman to support her in prayer.  She was God’s answer to my prayer and for almost 30 years now we have shared a very special bond in Christ. I could write a book on the stories of what we have shared and endured together over the years.

    1. I’d like to read your book, Bev.    🙂

  19. 3. Can you see the Trinity? If so, how?      

    Oh yes.  What a spectacular video.   I love the effects of the light.  It made it seem like we really could imagine what it was like the separate the light from the darkness and more.    (the only thing I wish was in it, would be a woman next to the man as that is exactly what the scriptures read but only the man was shown.)      When the voice turns to the 6th day….it resonated so clear that here, God is using the pronoun ‘us’ and not just ‘God’.    It is still God, but it is the Triune God.   And the distinction when it comes to the 6th day, is remarkable, since that is when God created human beings.

  20. God Hunt!  Today, I went to my allergy injection appointment and immediately, when I got there, realized I had forgotten my Epi pen.  You can’t get your injection unless you have it with you, so I need to reschedule.  The God sighting?   Because, I suddenly had an extra 45 minutes in my day (the time my appt. takes), I was not in a hurry when I arrived at my cousin’s home.  I had planned to just stop by and pick up something I’d forgotten there on the weekend.  It was left by her garage and I didn’t even think she would be home.  But she was in the yard and had the day off.  She’s the one who lost her husband this winter and she is downsizing to a town home.  I was able to feel very comfortable saying,  ‘I’ve got some time.  I’d be glad to help if you can put me to work.”  Which she gladly did.  I ended up staying over two hours a friend also came over and we were able to accomplish quite a bit together.   Every time I try to plan something, I feel overwhelmed with schedule conflicts and questions.  When it just falls into place and I don’t even give it a second thought, I know that it is God’s doing. I’m really glad I forgot my Epi pen today!   I also told her about your book, Dee and I will be sending it soon.  She told me that she’s not sure where she is on the grief spectrum but knows that the books and messages that resonate the most are the ones from those who have lived through young widowhood.   She may not be ready to read and process more right now, but I know that she will open up that chapter in her grieving soon.  And I am praying that Dee’s story helps her in that journey.

    1. Oh that’s great Wanda! Yes, the Lord has plans that sometime surprise us! What a blessing you were to your cousin today 🙂  Dee, I felt so bad that your neighbor would treat you that way! I wonder if she had had a bad experience before? You were very brave & look how the Lord has provided! He has sent wonderful women to befriend & encourage me all through the years, in different seasons. Right now I have a neighbor 2 houses down who is a dear Christian & a soul mate. I met her cause my daughter used to babysit her kids, & when my daughter left for college, we started meeting every Wed am before work, to share & pray for our families & marriages. Her husband has since become a believer & I’m waiting for mine to turn next!! Its probably been about 7 yrs. If I go too long without fellowship, I feel lonely & dry & things get out of perspective. On the other hand I love solitude too, on my 1 day off.

      Dee, I have a new email address 🙂

    2. Love your God Hunt find, Wanda!

  21. 3. Can you see the Trinity? If so, how? 
    At the start of the video God is acknowledged as the Creator.  The writer is saying YHWH the Hebrew title for the one true God.  The Holy Spirit is described as hovering over the waters in the beginning of Creation and the first act in Creation is the Light breaking through the darkness.  We know from John 1 that Jesus is Light so He was present as well in the beginning.
    At the Creation of man God says “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness”.  That speaks to the Trinity since it is plural and not singular.

    4. Can you think of another time in the gospels when the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters and you could see the Trinity? If so, where? 
    At the baptism of Jesus, God speaks and acknowledges Jesus as his beloved Son and the Holy Spirit comes down like a dove  and hovers over Jesus so again the Trinity is revealed.  All three were present and interacting in Oneness

    5. For those of you who were with us in the study on the Trinity, why does the Trinity reveal that our God is a God of love in contrast to single person gods.
    Because love is not possible in a singular way. Love is a reciprocal action involving more than one person. Love is giving and receiving to be truly love. Love extends out but implodes in self focus and isn’t true love. It is a dynamic that involves other. The Trinity fleshes out the beauty of our God as a Triune God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit create a wonderful harmony of relationship together.

  22. 6.  Spying God. Little things like being assigned the bedroom I was hoping for when we visited family last weekend. Seeing the girl I am mentoring at church on Sunday and getting to connect.  She didn’t show or call the last time we were to meet, so this was good.  Feeling Him close as I work on this study.

     

    9.  I want to say to myself, this just means I need to try a different way; go back to the drawing board, but don’t withdraw.

  23. 3. Can you see the Trinity? If so, how?

     

    Well, I have to admit I’m not very good at these poetic-y things…I suppose the swirly bit at the beginning could be the Holy Spirit, and the light from the sun, Jesus. I’m not sure about God though. At the end, man could be representing God (in His image) although I think it’s heresy that I’m saying that (?), again, Jesus is the light (or is Jesus the man on earth?), no HS as far as I can tell though. Can someone help straighten me out?

    1. Laura……Bev had a good description a few comments above.    She wrote things that I missed so it was helpful for me.

  24. My I Spy:  So I’ve been praying incessantly in regard to my boy’s hearts over the years and for protection from the things they might hear from their older brother for it has caused them to doubt. So the Spirit moved in my two youngest boys hearts in small group time in Dee’s church last night and I am in wonder. 

     

     

      1. Rebecca and Dee, wow! This brings tears! I know how a bit of how hard things have been for your boys lately, Rebecca, and how you have pleaded with God for them! God is so good!

        1. Yes Diane, isn’t God good!

  25. I am in Ephesians and am having an I Spy: Verse is becoming radioactive after praying verse 17-21 for my boys: Ephesians 1:22,23 ” And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” After how He has come in His sovereignty over hearts, need I say more? :))

  26. In this past year as two children have gotten married and one has graduated from high school I have found that friends from college that have not had time for friendship because of raising kids and sports Etc have come back into my life in a life-giving wonderful way. It seems that friendship is often seasonal. But I’m glad that I have a few friendships that are more like bulbs then annuals. They may stay dormant for a few years but have come back better and More Beautiful. I miss my long hours with my oldest daughter for she is truly my best friend. But I am learning to be thankful for these rekindled friendships.

    1. I love this post,  Cyndi!   I can relate to those bulb friendships too but had not thought of it fitting the flower motif.   (Renee, here on the blog, is one of those bulb friendships for me!  We had lost touch for well over a decade until facebook!  We were friends in our college and early adult years and now, we are in contact often.  She invited me to this wonderful place.  🙂   )   I do so love those recurring blossoms!

      1. So glad we’re back in cahoots!  And glad you came here.  Hope we will be un-dormant somewhat soon 🙂

        1. 🙂

    2. Yeah, Cyndi. I love the dormant idea. I have a few of those.

  27. 11.  This is difficult for me on multiple levels. Taking risks in friendship – someone has to test the waters and see if this can go deeper.  But I often go too deep for the other, or I am afraid to even try. I can also think of times when others tried with me and I didn’t realize it. I missed their overture and therefore missed the moment, and usually the friendship.

    We tend to give others what we would like to receive, and it is hard to know what someone else would like. We are like porcupines trying to stay warm together.  We have to be vulnerable at the same time, with a trust that it will be reciprocated.

    what should we do when we fail? I’ve never thought of it before, but maybe to prayerfully apologize for not being, or for being too much. To ask for another chance, if that is where you sense God leading.

    When the other isn’t interested, maybe to adopt the attitude of wishing they were different, because we are both missing out.  And in the meantime, I will move on to a more receptive person.

  28.  God Hunt find of the day:      I know I need to get back to doing the study, but the past two days have been unusual for me.  And yet both of them had some great evidences of His leading.  Today’s…..I’m still wondering about, but I sure don’t think it was a mere coincidence.     My husband and I arrived at our local hospital at 7:30 am as he was scheduled for 8:30 surgery.   I sat down with my book (Dee…..I’m finally reading Gilead and hope to read the Robinson trilogy that you recommended.)  when another woman sat down next to me.  She immediately began to talk to me.  Long story short, within minutes, we realized that we shared a lot of common experiences:   first off, both of our husbands were there for basically the same surgery,  her daughter died of pancreatic cancer 2 years ago and because she, herself, had had breast cancer, she had learned of the possible genetic relationship between the two.  So did I.  As my dad and uncle had pancreatic, and when I did genetic counseling post bc surgery, I learned of that possible link. My cousin just died of this too.  We talked of at least 3 other things that we both had in common. When she told me that she was from Ecuador originally and I told her my husband had been there once,  she asked if it was a missions trip. It was.  I could tell she was leaning into me and wanting to tell me about her church and/or asking me about mine.  I have to say, I was not expecting her to say that she was from the Jehovah’s Witness church…..and her family is very involved and devout.  I think she caught the drift that I too, was very involved and devout in my faith.  It wasn’t the time or place to delve into the differences.   When she told me she and her husband loved bluegrass music, I asked if she knew a fairly well known regional bluegrass band that comes to our area every summer.  She did.  I told her they almost always sing at my town’s music in the park night one time in the summer.  I didn’t know if or when they would be there, but told her how she could find out.  I just looked it up now and see it is next week.  I have an inkling she will be there.  I wonder what might the Lord be asking of me in this?   I do usually try to go hear this particular group.  Will she be there?  She is actually soon to move closer to my community and she is looking for new friends.  I don’t know.  I need to pray.  Also……the real jaw drop about this exchange?  Her husband grew up in the town right next to my home town, 300 miles away.  Not at ALL what I was expecting her to say!    Too many coincidences.  “Now what?”, Lord.

    1. wow!

    2. I double that wow:) Look forward to the continuation if I can catch it here. I miss alot:(

    3. Wanda, you must keep us posted….this is pretty amazing! I’ll pray along with you for wisdom.

    4. Yeah, Wanda! Wow!

  29. 1.  What stands out:  “Pulling your head in may feel safe, but it’s not.”   Uh-oh, guilty — I do go through this in spurts, especially when I am tired.  The whole intro stood out because I will be moving.

    Anyhow, I mostly came on here to post that I will be gone off and on for a few weeks — and not bringing my computer (which wouldn’t have crossed my mind a year ago).  I will have my cell phone — and some reception, I think.  Will be following along, doing the study, and reading.   AND even though I haven’t posted much, this GOD HUNT business is really soaking in 🙂   and making a YUGE difference. (and I suspect even more of a difference when I am almost tech-free)

    Chomping at the bit for Dee’s SoS book to come out.

  30. . Notice the pronouns in Genesis 1:26. What light does this give you?
    “us” and “our” More than one person is involved.
    8. Before God created Eve, Adam walked with God — yet still, what does God say in Genesis 2:18? What does this tell you?
    It is not good for man to be alone. God wants us to have company, a helper.
    9. This doesn’t just apply to marriage, but to friendship and to fellowship. If you have tried to reach out and had an experience like I did, how could you speak to your soul so that you don’t give up?
     
    I speak truth to my soul. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 “ Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another especially as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 4:25

  31. 4. Can you think of another time in the gospels when the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters and you could see the Trinity? If so, where? 

    I guess I’m thinking at Jesus’ baptism…Jesus was there, the dove came down, and God spoke.

    “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.””
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    http://bible.com/59/mat.3.16-17.esv

    5. For those of you who were with us in the study on the Trinity, why does the Trinity reveal that our God is a God of love in contrast to single person gods.

    This get back to our Mike Reeves sermon. How good that was! The Father loves the Son, the Son in turn loves us, the Holy Spirit is the connection between us and Him. We are all connected! Single person gods need their followers to come to them to worship them and then they will “receive” whatever it is the God promises. The follower has to do the “work.” There is no relationship as the Trinity has with us. It is intertwined and difficult to break; as is a three strand rope, compared to a single strand rope.

    1. Laura, Great answer to number 4!

  32. 5. For those of you who were with us in the study on the Trinity, why does the Trinity reveal that our God is a God of love in contrast to single person gods?
    I agree with Laura. Love is relational and God is Love. In the Trinity there is this beautiful dance of Love between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit for they are one yet separate-This is who He is therefore He is relational and He made us for Himself-to join in the dance. Love is sacrifice for one another rather than demanding a sacrifice from one another so we fell and God wrapped himself in flesh to redeem us. I see this in the Trinity when Jesus gave Himself up for us in obedience to God being willing to be torn apart from the Trinity on the cross so we could be brought in. In contrast, single person gods demand a sacrifice from us in order for us to receive their approval but not their love and they are just that-single person gods-not relational.
    6. Have you “spied” God in any way in the last couple of days?
    Yesterday as God encouraged my mamma heart through my sweet sisters here in Ephraim. Hearing their stories, and they are godly moms, who are suffering a child or more turning their face from God and to see their trust in Him in the pain and hearing how He has met them, and they exude His joy.
    7. Notice the pronouns in Genesis 1:26. What light does this give you?
    God said, Let us make man in our image according to our likeness. “Our” is The Trinity.  I speak of God making us in His image-and we are and we are image bearers but we are made in the image of the Trinity-wow, pretty powerful.  I need to ponder more.
    I remember a dear friend saying it was interesting how God made us reflecting the Trinity: He made Adam, and Eve who was made from His rib and they become one and have children who are part of their one-ness-(three).

  33. This morning, I just want to again ask for your prayers.  In just two days, I will have my boss over for supper.  She is an MD, super smart and talented in many areas, but totally without God.  She is spearheading an effort to place on the South Dakota ballot physician assisted suicide.  She knows that I plan to share with her the gist of three sermons about the search for meaning, from Ecc.  I will be telling her about searching for love, for significance, and for satisfaction.  Please pray that God will open her heart to His truth, and that I will be a conduit and not a hinderance.  I so appreciate this community of praying women!

    1. Mary, Wow! Such a great opportunity. You have been placed under this MD for such a time as this. Lord, may it be so (like Mary, the mother of Jesus) that you honor Mary with her desire to share the gospel with her boss by granting her favor. (Like Nehemiah when he came before the king). Let Mary know and feel your presence as she visits with her boss. May your love shine through Mary.

    2. AMEN to Dee and Bing’s prayers and I am pausing to pray for your meeting right now, Mary B.

    3. I will pray Mary.

    4. My prayers are added to the others Mary B. God is at work for sure.

  34. My God hunt for yesterday: Invited a few friends over to help me out with a presentation but no one was available except 2. One of the 2 later texted me and said she couldn’t make it. The last one was still available and she knowing there will just be the 2 of us invited me to go out for dinner. I decided to postpone the presentation thinking it was not meant to be God’s timing.

    So we met up at a local restaurant and over dinner had the most relaxing time together. Conversations flowed freely (we asked thoughtful questions, Dee, of each other). Liz is a very accomplished lady-has a PhD in philosophy, a dean of a catholic seminary for many years, a great cook and piano player, etc. a generous friend AND single. The latter description is emphasized because I find her the most selfless person ever-whereas she could be spending her money on herself, she is always looking for ways to serve others. When she invited me to dinner beforehand these were her words, “Bing, you are so busy doing good things for others (like my students preparing for contest), I would like to do something for you. How about dinner on me?” She is a reflection of God, Jesus’ hands and heart and the Spirit’s ministry of presence to me yesterday. God knew I needed a friend.

    BTW, she invited me to her place after I get back from contest to watch the movie “The Shack”. I know we have talked about it here. I am praying for a time to talk to her about her faith and assurance of salvation. Please pray with me.

    1. What a lovely experience, Bing.   Sounds like a friendship emerging and how encouraging for her to recognize your caring heart, even as you have complimented her qualities.

    2. Bing, Keep us posted on how this goes. :)))

  35. 6. Have you “spied” God in any way in the last couple of days?

    I really have not had any God experiences lately. I thought there was one last week with my daughter’s boyfriend finally getting a job, but it ended up not working out. Perhaps there is something better for him that is coming? It is discouraging, as I have been praying for him to find something soon. It is stressing our family life all around. I will continue to pray.

    7. Notice the pronouns in Genesis 1:26. What light does this give you? 

    God says, “Let us make man in our likeness…” There is more than one present. I have never noticed that before!

    8. Before God created Eve, Adam walked with God — yet still, what does God say in Genesis 2:18? What does this tell you?

    He didn’t want Adam to be alone; He said that was not a good thing. He made him a helper.

    9. This doesn’t just apply to marriage, but to friendship and to fellowship. If you have tried to reach out and had an experience like I did, how could you speak to your soul so that you don’t give up?

    I think I would say to myself that there are many different personalities in the world and God has the right ones in mind for us; we will eventually “find” one another. I haven’t had this problem up until this point in my life (finding friends), but I suspect I will in the not too distant future when my husband and I lift our roots and retire back in Texas. I’m hoping it will happen in the next five years, and although I have several friends and relatives near our retirement location, it is far enough away that I will need to meet new people. I suppose I could start praying for that now, couldn’t I? I could pray that God sets a friendship for me to find when I locate a church, that might stick. Since I don’t work in the summers (mostly) I could start going down to find a church and meet people. We just have to figure out how to buy our retirement home while I am still working so that we can have a place to stay when I go there. It is linked to our selling our present home which is in dire need of renovations (and adult children who also need to leave) that seem to be never ending…

  36. 6. Have you “spied” God in any way in the last couple of days? I spied God in my daily personal bible reading this week. I have been slowly reading through the gospels since the first of the year.  Taking my time and looking at my favorite commentary along with my reading.  I just finished reading the 14th chapter of John.  It stood like I had never seen before that John 14 is a clear representation of the Trinity.  Since we have been doing some study on the Trinity here I was tuned into seeing how all three persons God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit are displayed and intertwined in this passage. It was personally a very encouraging chapter considering Heaven is a loving Home being prepared for us who know Him and the sweetest of fellowship will be ours in that place.

    7. Notice the pronouns in Genesis 1:26. What light does this give you? 
    God is not a solitary being but plural because He refers to us and our.

    8. Before God created Eve, Adam walked with God — yet still, what does God say in Genesis 2:18? What does this tell you?
    “It is not good that man should be alone”  This puzzles me alittle bit because there are many times just being alone with God is enough and in fact is needed and really satisfies my soul. But yet everyone seems to need to connect with other human beings in friendship and fellowship at some level.  God put it in us to need others. Even physical touch is needed.   It has been observed in orphanages in years past that a child born and left without  human any physical contact will wither and die.

  37. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR RENEE!!! praying your day is full of joy and you really feel His overwhelming love for you! You are such a gift to us here!

    1. Happy Birthday, Renee!!!!!!! 😀

      1. Happy belated birthday Renee!

    2. Happy Birthday Renee!!! :)))) Yes, you are indeed a gift here. Amen  to lizzy’s prayer!

  38. 9. This doesn’t just apply to marriage, but to friendship and to fellowship. If you have tried to reach out and had an experience like I did, how could you speak to your soul so that you don’t give up?

    Oh yes I have tried to reach out and have had similar experiences to Dee’s. I am learning several ways to speak to my soul. One is to be sure I am not too busy to invite others into our home for it is all His.  I love how Dee cried out to Him when it wasn’t the right person. He is faithful and passionately desires to meet us and love us through one another-so He will answer and this I speak to my soul. :))
    Dee’s story encouraged me to wait for Him, commune with Him and trust that He will move. I sense Him already moving this week through a friend I invited to lunch and through a desire I have had for a while to invite our new youth pastor, his wife and their four boys over for dinner but I’ve hesitated due to our busy-ness.

     
    Another thing that I need help with is just being present letting the Holy Spirit move in conversation as opposed to me moving it. I hope that makes sense. I have learned I tend to do that, but Jesus has shown me this and I know He will help me. Love is sacrifice.

     

     

  39. 9. This doesn’t just apply to marriage, but to friendship and to fellowship. If you have tried to reach out and had an experience like I did, how could you speak to your soul so that you don’t give up?

     

    I am fairly tenacious in persisting to reach out initially for friendship.  I can think of a lot of times, when I’ve made the first move and engaged someone in conversation and if it goes well, maybe to have coffee….or just follow up with more conversation.   But I am such a big chicken about sharing my faith verbally.  Unless there’s a spark…..maybe even a pretty large flame…..of interest,  I almost never insert Christian words in my relationships with people I don’t think are believers.  I do try much more so, to show my faith by helpful and caring gestures.   Maybe this isn’t the point of this question?  Maybe you are asking about pursuing friends who are already Christians?  I do have some fairly vague memories of falling flat on my face with someone.  And I think my modus operandi  is to keep my expectations so low and move so slowly, that unless it feels pretty ‘safe’,  I don’t move forward.  But that’s not really talking to my soul!   I think that’s NOT talking to my soul.  I think that’s letting fear of rejection win.   This is a hard one to answer, for me.

    1. Wanda, I can relate! I have learned in this county to keep my guard up and keep my expectations low and move slowly too.  I live in a superficial county where no one gets very deep and the goal that everyone strives for is to look like they have it altogether- among believers and non-believers. It is very hard to get beneath the surface and one has to be careful what we let others know-I do regret telling our small group about our oldest’s turn away from God for after that two of the boys in our group started treating him differently-pretty much stayed away from him. My son picked up on it and asked me why I told them because now they treat him differently. 🙁   In our next group this Fall I will be cautious but don’t want to close up either so we need prayer. Sorry I rabbit trailed but I love your authenticity and thought you wouldn’t mind, and knew you would pray. :)))) Love you.

      1. Rebecca

        It is interesting how regional differences come to play in how much we are safe to share with others.  I see the boundaries very clearly, in the area where I grew up, more so than where I live now.  It really does seem to be ‘look good and don’t talk about anything emotionally painful.’  Only physical needs are shared and valued for prayer etc.   Seems just the opposite of the early church heresy that taught that physical matter is of no consequence and only spiritual matter should be tended.  Some churches have pushed it right back the other way.  As in everything else, balance is often hard to find.   I do think we and our kids can become vulnerable when we share about our kids faith struggles.   And yet, as moms, it is what sears our hearts the most…..so it is something for which we need prayer and support.  I completely do feel your pain Rebecca.  And I know that the waiting can be filled with roller coaster-like days, but the peace of God will  guard your heart, dear friend.

  40. 5. For those of you who were with us in the study on the Trinity, why does the Trinity reveal that our God is a God of love in contrast to single person gods?

     

    The Trinity models for us relationship as it should be. The Father, Son, and Spirit each love, honor, and bring glory to the other. They each complement and promote the other, and model unselfish love. And Jesus’ relationship with His Father, as He modeled while here on earth, shows us how our relationship with God should be.

     

    6. Have you “spied” God in any way in the last couple of days?

     

    Wednesday evening I texted my son who has moved to TX and he replied with something upsetting; don’t want to get into it here, but something that could have posed a big problem for him and he was worried about it. I told him I would pray, and I did. I asked God to please intervene and to just “help”! And that He would reach out to my son and give him peace. The next day I heard from my son and the problem was resolved. I know that God is good even when a prayer isn’t answered, but I am thankful that He answered this one!

  41. 10. This is also why Jesus came to establish the church. We need one another for so many reasons.  Watch this two minute trailer to a sermon by Tim Keller on the church and comment:

     

    This was a very important point made by Tim Keller that the church was created by Jesus and it only makes sense it is important to Him we be in fellowship with the body He created.

    Our church has built a new building and God willing we will be moving in this summer.  My son who is the pastor just preached in the last few weeks two sermons on the importance of the body and our need of one another. The first he titled “I Like Jesus….Not The Church”  which speaks to that same truth of the importance of the body.  I find it interesting how important it is to the persecuted church to meet together.  Believers in countries where they can be killed for their faith regularly risk their lives just to meet with other believers. There is a deep need in them to have fellowship with one another.

    I want to also note that I have been a believer since I was a child and a part of a local body of believers wherever I have lived. I have on several occasions been deeply wounded by members of the church. So much so that at one point I never wanted to step foot in a church again.  But God would not give me that liberty and in His sovereign grace over time clearly brought good from the evil intended against me.  The stories are many but all the glory goes to God.

  42. well, my dear blog sisters.  The supper with Maria is over.  She listened to my notes of the three sermons and seemed receptive to taking a copy of the notes, as well as wanting me to email her the link so she can listen for herself.  But also unmoved.  She doesn’t like “organized religion”, saying they all think they have the only way.  She is also put off by people who claim to be Christian but aren’t good people, and knows lots of people who don’t believe at all but are really good people.  I didn’t try to counter her much, choosing just to listen.  For this time, it seemed enough to have given her the truth that I did, and now wait for another time and opportunity.  She was open to our doing it again some time.  Thank you more than I can say for your prayers!  If you think of her, please continue to pray that God would break up the hard ground of her heart.

    1. Mary, I still believe this all sounds very hopeful.  Sometimes I think we want to have such an encounter all wrapped-up at the end with the person accepting Jesus as their Savior, but He can move in the person’s heart, with or without us! I remember several years ago when my dad agreed to meet with a pastor from my church. It lasted a couple of hours and he heard the gospel presented to him. He was deeply grieving the death of his grandson, my nephew. After the pastor left, I also talked to my dad, just telling him about a couple of verses that were meaningful to me. I didn’t feel it was the right time for me to probe or push any further; I could tell he was emotionally tired. Much to my surprise, I later learned that my dad began reading John’s gospel on his own, and that he prayed to Jesus all by himself. So I think there is much hope in that Maria took a copy of your notes and wants to listen on her own to the sermons.

  43. Mary, that is exciting. The outcome is up to the Lord! He’s the only One who change hearts. Reading a lot of the past week’s entries has been very inspiring. Yes, God is on the move! I will say that I have “spied God” in His loving kindness this week…my oldest son has been here since Mon & we celebrated his 30th B’day with him yesterday. I had the day off work & we just hung out together; played scrabble, watched a movie & chatted. Then I made his favorite Aussie dessert, pavalova, for dinner & put candles in it  🙂 My youngest son is flying in tonight for a week, & then I’m driving with him to Wash DC to help him get settled into a new apartment before he starts his 1st real job beginning of July. Just having their company & enjoying eachother is such a blessing . Thank You Lord! I do pray that they will turn to Him, but that is in His big hands 🙂

  44. Happy Birthday Rebecca!!! You are such an incredible gift to us all! Your love and passion for the Lord truly shines through you and inspires us to draw nearer to Him. Praying your day is filled with joy!

  45. 10. Comments on the 2 minute video:

    Oh Tim Keller how I miss you! He really knows how to get me thinking hard…basically he is saying that Jesus was put here by God to form the church. It was His real role in coming here to earth. I have had this conversation (about church and going to church) with my second oldest recently. He claims that his communing with nature is his spiritually (though I’m fairly certain he believes in God. He just wouldn’t want to put himself “out there” and have to do anything about it). This was because we were talking about Sarah’s boyfriend potentially having to work Sunday mornings and not going to church with us. He was defending not going to church (you can”do” church anywhere), and (as usual) I tried to defend church and the importance of fellowship. I’m like Wanda; I tend to fall flat when I am trying to defend my faith 😩.

     

    Tim Keller has just given me the “out” when I want to counter someone who says they believe in God but don’t want to go to an “oraganized” religious house. I can ask them first if they believe in God and therefore Jesus, and if they do, then explain that God literally needed someone to come to earth to breathe the church into existence! This was Jesus. It was to leave a legacy for us, to spread the Good News and help others see what they were missing and encourage them to stop the missing. We are the link between earth and God. He loves us and wants us to be His voice that tells and body that demonstrates His love. This can happen anywhere, but we are with other likeminded souls, we rejuvenate and encourage each other to continue to have faith when times are tough.

    1. Happy Belated B’day Rebecca! You sound like such a Spirit filled woman & raising your boys must be soooo challenging. May the Lord fill you to the brim & keep giving you all the Strength & joy you need.  🙂

  46. This has been a good exercise of looking for God at work in our lives and around us in the lives of others.  I have been so blessed by much of what has been shared. I need to be reminded that God is near at all times in all ways whether I “feel” Him or not. His Word is so clear of that fact. Jesus never leaves or forsakes us and the Holy Spirit indwells us.

    I do want to share one prayer request. I mentioned our church is moving to a new building.  It is basically finished and we are almost ready to move. But we have a huge problem. The new water line that was buried and brought on to the property is not giving us pure water. In that new section of line it is being tainted and this has been going on for over 3 months now. We cannot hook it up or move in until the state gets a 0% of contamination reading. We have 2 weddings and a church convention coming up in a few weeks.  They have been trying all kinds of fixes.

    Many have been praying  faithfully and last Sunday we had a special prayer meeting. They tested this week again and it hasn’t changed. This is a very real test of faith because we all know God is able to fix it in a heartbeat but He has said no so far.  We are a small town and I do believe our testimony is important in how we respond to the city people in charge. My prayer is that God will glorify Himself in an obvious way in our community.

    1. Oh, Bev, tainted water at the church is a HUGE issue. I will be praying that you get the issue resolved soon.

  47. I need to say that I enjoyed the Keller preview about the church and Jesus’ purpose being to establish the church. As Dee said so well, Keller is such a gift to the church. I have heard SO many people say that “I can be a good Christian without going to church”. Keller’s point is a good one; it makes me want to listen to the whole sermon.

  48. Thank you once again, Dee for having Tim Keller here. I was introduced to him and his writings by a friend before finding him again on this blog. The church, the Bride of Christ-we have a calling to be a part of it and to bring others to a relationship with Him and become one with us and proclaim the good news.