An Abiding Friend

An Abiding Friend

Hey! While most of my life was spent in Colorado, I am happy to now call Oklahoma my home. I am amazingly blessed to have a supportive and God-fearing husband who is also a terrific dad to our four kiddos (who we had in a 3 year 9 month time frame). I love to drink coffee, sing, hear people’s stories and have dance parties. I am passionate about my relationship with Jesus and desire to share that gift with every person that I meet. My hope is that I can encourage someone today with and through the Word of God and His steadfast love. ::psalm 27:4::
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Love is not affectionate feeling

I’m a People Person

When I say that I love people, I mean that…I LOVE PEOPLE. Just being around new people or in a group setting gets me excited. Does anyone out there feel the same way? There is just something so fun and refreshing about seeing new faces, hearing everyone’s stories, and growing relationships. It’s truly the main reason why I love hosting large parties or get-togethers. I will invite a good chunk of my phone book, for no other reason than I genuinely want to share life with others. Sure, it may increase the budget for the party, but if there is something to celebrate, I want others to share in it with us! Why not, right?

I have always sincerely believed that the more people you surround yourself with, the more encouragement and joy there will be in your life. Truly a “the more, the merrier” mentality.

For over thirty years I have never seen a problem with being wired that way…that is, until lately. As I started to think about planning birthday parties for my kids and summer BBQs and began looking at our list of “friends” to invite, I realized that while they may be on our guest list, we may not be on theirs.

** Now, before you think that this is turning into a big ol’ pity party, I can assure you it’s not. So please don’t give up on me yet! **

Believing Lies Based on Missed Expectations

The truth is, I am a sinful human being and am guilty of reacting in my flesh frequently, so I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t initially feel hurt, betrayed, and bitter at one person’s “oversight” of my feelings. This weird encounter (which truly did nothing more than leave me feeling awkward), completely opened the floodgates of undealt with emotion from over the years. It’s as though I had a flip book of memories and times where I was hurt by a friend flipping rapidly through my mind, taking my thoughts to extremes and probably exaggerating what really happened by 1000%.

Y’all, my mind was out of control. I truly was walking with some nasty lies.  Thankfully, my wonderful mentor (mom), was there to listen to me ramble as I talked myself in circles until the truth punched me in the face: IT WAS MY FAULT.

You heard (or rather, read) that right: The pain I felt was actually my fault. Why? MISSED EXPECTATIONS. Here is the hard truth I had to receive:

Any expectation I placed on another was a setup for relationship failure from the beginning.

The moment I decided what type of friend they should be to me was the moment I became less of a true friend myself. I focused on how they treated me, rather than on their heart and how I should treat them.

A Godly, yet Complicated Friendship

Of course, as with everything, the Holy Spirit oh-so-graciously reminded how I was wrong and pointed me to the Word and the friendship between Jonathan and David. You guys, talk about a complicated relationship. You can read all about it in 1 and 2 Samuel, but this passage about this one selfless act essentially sums up how Jonathan was a true friend, despite all the circumstances and trials that the two faced.

 “… Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself… And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow, and his belt.”

1 Samuel 18:1-4

I love how Beth Moore puts this into perspective…

“Clearly Saul intended for Jonathan to become the second king of Israel (1 Sam 20:30-31), but this son had other plans. In David, Jonathan saw character fit for a king. He was so determined that the throne be occupied by God’s chosen instrument that he offered everything he had…Jonathan sacrificed himself. He removed his royal regalia…and placed it on David.”

 Jonathan literally gave up everything to help encourage and support his friend David in all that God had called him to be. Nowhere does it say that David ever reciprocated that love and sacrificed as Jonathan had, yet Jonathan remained loyal to his friend. Better yet, Jonathan remained loyal to God.

Philippians 2:3-4

You see, it shouldn’t matter how others treat us.

If God has placed on our hearts to love, support, and walk with someone as a friend (Amos 3:3), we need to be faithful to that calling, not only in the good seasons, but also in the hard ones. This isn’t about how they make us feel, but rather about being who God has called each one of us to be and how we are to make others feel.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… encouraging one another…” 

-Hebrews 10:24

Unconditional Friendship

I still love people and will continue to throw huge celebrations. The difference is, when I call someone friend, it holds no expectation of them. It simply acknowledges that regardless of their choices or how they may treat me, I will continue to welcome, love, and encourage them as Christ does me.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

-Romans 15:5-7

So what do you say, friend?

Are you willing to take the road less traveled and pursue a life of obedience to the Lord in seeking out the welfare and accomplishments of others over yourself, even if that means giving while never receiving? To be that selfless, abiding friend like Jonathan, full of love and encouragement so that he/she may pursue who God has called them to be?

An Abiding Friend_ C.S. Lewis Quote

A Call for Unity Among Younger and Older Women in the Church

A Call for Unity Among Younger and Older Women in the Church

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
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Discussions over unity in the church are often in regards to denominations, but what about age? Do you feel unified with those in the church who are a different age than you?

The Attitude between Younger and Older Women

It is tempting for those of us who are younger to ignore the words and ways of those who’ve gone before us. We might cast older women off as irrelevant if they don’t see as we do.

“The way they do things are outdated,” we might think.

This attitude can make older women feel like they aren’t respected.

This is not completely the fault of the younger ones. It can be challenging to adapt to new ways, and sometimes change is frowned upon. Sometimes young women really don’t know that they are invited to play a part too, or perhaps the nature of the gatherings are inconvenient for those with children in the home.

This can make the younger women feel like they aren’t respected.

It can go both ways.

This is not how God wanted his daughters to relate to each other. It must make him sad to see this divide that happens so often.

Erasing the Divide between Younger and Older Women

Paul gives us some thoughtful advice in his letter to Titus.

“But you are to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching. Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.” Titus 2:1-4

God’s church is multi generational, and he designed it so that the younger might be encouraged by the older in their faithful living.

As Younger Women…

This means that as young women, we need to embrace the insight that the women who’ve gone before us have to offer. It means that perhaps we step outside of our comfort zone and attend that Ladies Night or bible class- even if we are going to be the youngest one there. We can always bring a friend with us.

When I’ve opened my heart to my older sisters in Christ, I have found welcoming arms, listening ears, mentors, help when I’ve needed it, and best of all, enduring friendship. I’ve also found that these women are usually accepting of new ideas and love to see younger ones get involved. If we are respectful of what their life experiences have taught them, we can learn quite a bit! When you see older women, go and talk to them. Invite them over to your house for coffee or tea. Bring a meal to them when they have had surgery. Offer them some baby gear to borrow when their grand babies are visiting. Listen to them. Pray for them.

As Older Women…

For any older women reading this, I ask that you not give up on us younger women. Seek us out. Ask us about our ideas. Let’s work together to blend our women’s ministry with changing generations. Offer your advice to us in loving and encouraging ways. Smile at us when our toddler is acting up in worship service. If you have it in your heart, offer to watch our kids so that we can go out with our husbands. Babysitting is very expensive these days so most of us aren’t finding alone time for our marriage. Invite us over for coffee or tea. Tell us about the struggles you faced as a young wife and mother, and share how you’ve grown in Christ. Listen to us. Pray for us.

We are All Both Younger and Older

There is always someone younger we can encourage, and there is always someone older whom we can be encouraged by. Let us strive for unity as women in the church. Let us be sisters in Christ, encouraging each other to live godly lives!

May those who don’t know Christ, see Him in our bond with each other, and want to be a part of the family. May we bring glory to God together!

 

 

How to Help Those Going Through Divorce

How to Help Those Going Through Divorce

I am "Mom" to Chloe, Allie, & Emilia. I am wife to Misael Escobar. I am a child of God. I love to learn about other cultures and learn about others life experiences.I am always a "work in progress". Through many struggles I have become "me" and I am finally happy with the person God has led me to be.I am excited to see where God will lead me in this life.
Jennifer E
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Going through a divorce is never a “club” one aspires to be a part of, but it happens.

Oftentimes, friends and loved ones very much want to help and ease the pain, but are either at a loss for what to do, or they try to fix the brokenness. Having gone through a divorce twelve years ago and having the privilege of leading in the national support group DivorceCare for five years, I have heard and seen a lot! So, here are some practical do’s and don’ts of helping friends who are navigating the painful road of divorce.

serve-one-another

 

DO:

1. Freezer meals

As a single parent, working and having to think about making dinner and just planning ahead is beyond difficult. Stocking your loved one’s freezer with already-prepped meals is especially helpful so that on the hard days there is a no-thought-required meal ready and waiting.

2. Gift cards

If you don’t like to cook then a gift card would be great too. Choose places like Boston Market so that they can stop and get something on the way home from work.

3. Fill the empty time

Take your friend out for coffee or lunch on the weekends they are without their children. Going from being a full-time parent to being alone for two days is very hard at first. All that extra time gives them a lot of time to think about the divorce and to worry about how this is going to affect the children. Your loved one now has time to fill their mind with “what-ifs” because the dream of what they saw for their life is over and they can’t see a new dream yet. They are in the deep stages of grief and will be there for a while.

4. Be their family at church.

If you see them at church sitting alone, ask them to sit with you.  Everyone in my DivorceCare class has a really hard time going to church. It is beyond painful to see all the “happy” families and hear all the analogies of families/marriage in sermons, etc. Even though most people don’t notice, it’s easy to feel like everyone is looking at you and wondering why you are alone.

5. Encourage them.

Text them and let them know you are thinking about them, praying for them, and maybe send a verse about God being an ever-present being.

DON’T:

1. Don’t try to force them out of their feelings.

Did you know that if you are in an active healing process (counseling/group therapy) for every five years someone was married it generally takes a year for them to heal? So don’t rush them into feeling better.

2. Don’t encourage them to start a new relationship. This can delay healing and actually create more pain to heal from.

3. Don’t say, “I saw this coming” or bad-mouth their former spouse. Even if that is true, it compounds the hurt and emphasizes in their mind the failure they feel.

4. Don’t try to give advice unless you have been in the same situation. You can be a friend by listening and being there, but encourage them to seek counsel from someone who is further down the road, a professional, or a support group.

These are just a few things that I hear over and over from people who are going through this process. It is a marathon and not a sprint. Above all: be patient. The healing process is painful but possible and it helps so much to have loving people walk alongside you.

it-helps-so-much-to-have-loving-people-walk-alongside-you

If you have experienced divorce, what was encouraging to you?

 

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Recycling Christmas Cards for a Heavenly Purpose

Recycling Christmas Cards for a Heavenly Purpose

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

The holidays for 2017 have come and gone. If you are like my family, you’ve already put away most of the Christmas decorations and your usual routine is beginning again. For me personally, one of the hardest parts about cleaning up the festive decorations is knowing what to do with Christmas cards from friends and family. The giver of each beautiful card put not only their money, but also their love into the card they’ve sent. I usually save pictures from a few of them, but many are doomed for the trash. It feels wrong to just throw them all away, at least so soon. Some of my friends cut pictures from them to use for future gift tags, which is a great idea. But I find myself wanting to appreciate my Christmas cards for a little bit longer.

I recently heard of a wonderful idea for recycling your Christmas cards and extending their joy throughout the year. Place them all in a special box or basket in your kitchen and every so often at dinner, take out a card, talk about the family you received it from, and pray for them. How lovely is that? Talk about how you know them, a memory you share with them, or why you are thankful for them. You might know specific issues in their life that need prayer, or you might give thanks to the Lord for putting them in your life. You could choose to pull out one card a week and pray over that family all week long or perhaps daily until you’ve gone through them all. It’s up to you!

Prayerfully remembering the ones God has placed in our life is a wonderful way to continue the spirit of the holiday season all year long! 

Father God,

We thank you for the people you put in our lives to find love, family, and community with. We praise you for those who help us know you better and encourage us in our walk with you. For those we love who do not know you, we ask that you use us to help them see you. May we see the ones who need life spoken to them and offer them your word. You are so good and we love you.

In the name of Jesus we pray,

Amen

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

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Tis the Season…

Tis the Season…

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D
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Tis the Season…

..to be lonely.  Everyone is shopping and spending time with family and friends.  It is such a busy time.  But, the holidays can be a very difficult time for so many people.

tis-the-season-to-be-lonely-pin

I lost my grandfather eight years ago right after Christmas.  I was extremely close to him and was his caregiver during his last two years.  When he passed on, I was devastated.  I did not deal well with it so I went to a grief support group to help me better deal with it.  I still attend on occasion, mostly around the holidays because that is when it is most difficult for me.  I also continue to attend these meetings because it has become a time of fellowship with a wonderful group of mostly older ladies.

The most important lesson I take from these ladies is that with our loss things change.  We do not always like it, but it does.  When we lose someone, it changes our routines and our traditions.

For some people, this can even mean the loss of their remaining family, a wife that loses her husband and they have no surviving children or an child that loses his last remaining parent.  These are the people that can feel particularly lonely.

james-1-27-pin

The Bible even tells us several times to care for the widows and the orphans.  During the holidays, this can be as simple as visiting someone Take some cookies or fudge.  Have your children make a homemade ornament and take it to them.  Take a group of friends and go caroling.  Invite them to go look at Christmas lights.  There are so many little things that we can do that would mean a lot to someone else, something that would help them to feel not so lonely.

 What are some things your family has done?

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

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The Tradition of the Silver Box

The Tradition of the Silver Box

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

One of the most sentimental memories from my childhood is Christmastime. The glow of the Christmas tree on the night of Christmas Eve. Candles lit throughout the house, special trinkets on display, festive music filling the air. The glowing fireplace filling the room with warm air, stockings hung on the mantel. Such beautiful traditions took place in this setting. Under the tree were beautifully wrapped packages–our family gifts, of course, as Santa had not yet visited. The sweetest gift we had to offer each other, however, could not be wrapped, but was symbolized by a small silver box that hung on our tree.

 proverbs-16-24the-tradition-of-the-silver-box-pin
Proverbs 16:24 tells us that kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Words of affirmation and life are something we all need from others and something we should be able to sincerely express to those around us.
kind-words-are-like-honey-sweet-to-the-soul-and-healthy-for-the-body
Family so often gets our worst. They are the ones on the front lines when life is stressful or frustrating. How beautiful it is to take a moment to say something lovely and life-giving to each other.
Our family had a special tradition of passing a silver box around on Christmas Eve, and with it, saying something kind to each other. We each took a turn to speak about every person. While it’s important to speak encouragement all through the year, there was something extra special about doing it at Christmastime. Our remarks to each other required time and forethought. Our kind words truly were a gift to each other. A sweet and precious gift.
Our silver box tradition was based upon the book Silver Boxes by Florence Littauer. In this book is a special poem that we read each year before we exchanged our kind words.

“Silver Boxes,” by Michael Bright

My words were harsh and hasty and they came without a thought.
Then I saw the pain and anguish that my bitter words had brought.
Bitter words that I had spoken made me think back through the past;
Of how many times I’d uttered biting words whose pain would last.
Then I wondered of the people I had hurt by things I’d said;
all the ones I had discouraged when I didn’t use my head.
Then I thought about my own life. Of painful words I’ve heard;
and of the times I’d been discouraged by a sharp and cruel word.
And now clearly I remember all the things I might have done;
but, by a word I was discouraged and they never were begun.
Lord, help my words be silver boxes.
Neatly wrapped up with a bow; that I give to all so freely, as through each day I gladly go.
Silver boxes full of treasure, precious gifts from God above;
that all the people I encounter might have a box of God’s own love.

On a night where God’s love is at the forefront of our minds as we are thinking about the babe Jesus, it is a beautiful thing to share God’s love in the words we say to each other. Oh, that our words might be silver boxes!

As we are mindfully preparing for our Christmas this year, let’s look for ways to speak life to each other, and to encourage each other with words as sweet as honey. The best part about this tradition is that is costs nothing, yet it is truly meaningful!

Merry Christmas, friends!

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