Women don’t need to learn how to build a shelf or organize a closet. They need friendship.

my new friend Tishala

It is amazing to me sitting here tonight how puzzle pieces come together.

My personal and professional and ministerial (what a word) yearnings seem to be finally lining up, and they go something like this:

Love people. Reach out to people. Serve people. Let people fill you up. And then do it again.

yourfriendFor the last week, I have been visited by friends, you know the kind – the ones who are really family- who know me so well that they can fill me up with a few words, a look, a anecdote, a hug for my babies, a bag of Doritos, a 30 minute walk. I spent the last week getting my “love tank” filled, almost effortlessly. There were simple group dinners and leisurely talks oceanside and one night that will live in infamy when my girls were allowed to get in the hottub, past bedtime, in their clothes, because they wanted some extra minutes of fun with Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Liz. I live off those moments. I savor them.

Because you know, we spend so much of the rest of our lives in the trenches. We spend so much time trying to Figure It Out, Do The Right Things, Be The Best –

“The more I try to be the best, the more I get the worst.” – Amy Grant

– that sometimes, we wear ourselves out trying and never accomplish anything.

Well, you might say – I know I say it – God didn’t give me this skill/talent/gift/motivation to just sit here. I’m supposed to be doing something. How can I change the world if I am just sitting here, folding laundry? How can my voice be heard if I’m just singing in the shower? How can God speak through me if the only thing I ever say is “JUST A MINUTE! Mommy’s hands are FULL!” ?

So we try harder. We pack our schedules. We Pin good ideas and implement a few. We research. (aka “Google stuff”). We discuss. We blog. We comment on other blogs. And we try.

I am not here to tell you to stop trying. I won’t. But what I am saying is, just for a minute: pause.

Do you see it?

Do you hear it?

“It” is what God has for you right now.

For me, today, it was a few very specific women… a few praying in the altar, a few scattered around the sanctuary, a few in seats just feet away. I had nothing profound to offer them. I am not a prophetess, a deaconess, a pastor, or any other Title of Distinction. I don’t pray like a good old saint, and as good as I can be with words some times, emotions often render me tongue-tied.

I am a mom, a wife, a battle-scared girl with a somewhat colorful past. I am an idealist but also a cynic. I do not trust anyone, but I love everyone. I am braver than I’ve ever been, but still afraid of a lot of things. I am a wordsmith… I observe, I read, I write… but none of that is what I have to offer any of the hurting people around me.

I have love. Arms. Tears. Smiles. Friendship. A desire to connect. A desire to know, and to be known. A desire to see, and to be seen. A desire to share what God has done for me, and also to share my latest pop culture obsession (ABC’s Scandal) and gluten-free bread recipe. A kitchen that will always at least have coffee and tea and chairs and a welcome mat. That is what I have to give. That is what I will not run out of. That will not make me tired. That does not involve a formal description, a meeting, a committee, a project plan, a Facebook page, a marketing plan, a weekly report, a group of investors, a hashtag, a logo, or any angst, fear of rejection, suffering by comparison, or even possible failure.

nofearinloveIf I give friendship and get nothing in return, so what? The gift is already mine to give.

Lord, forgive me for spinning my wheels trying to come up with a plan. Forgive me for putting my offering in a box or letting anyone else tell me what it should be. Thank You for opening my eyes to what already is and not just what “could have” been or what “might be.” Help me to love as You do:

the potential-friend sitting alone
the potential-friend whose husband is mean
the potential-friend who lost a child
the potential-friend paralyzed by fear of losing her child
the potential-friend who never feels good enough
the potential-friend who will never love me back
the potential-friend I will never see again
the potential-friend who is way prettier, skinnier, and seemingly better than I am
the potential-friend my other friends won’t like
the potential-friend who won’t accept it
the potential-friend who will abuse it
the potential-friend who will change my life, for better or worse.

I have been blessed with friendship – ones near and far, some who fill me, some who challenge me, some who seem to forget about me but then come back around. I am blessed. I have nothing to lose by loving big. It is what God called me to do from the very beginning.

Ask, “Is the juice worth the squeeze here?” and sometimes it is. – Jen Hatmaker

When the juice involves loving another human being in her need, it will always, always be worth it.

for levity’s sake: