Tag Archives: Friendship

My Two Friends

My Friend Ruthann is a friend for life, faithful and loyal. We can go for long periods of time with no communication, and yet, when we do connect, it is as if we have never been separated by time and space. She is a Christ Follower; there is abundant fruit in her life to make that truth apparent. She is a godly woman.

Ruthann has had MS for over 40 years. Indeed, she has always said, “I have MS; MS does not have me.” Her courage and grace, as she has lived with this chronic illness, have been inspirational. Her focus has always been on Jesus who has made her an overcomer. Because of her, those of us who have known her, have known what an overcomer is.

My friend the Holy Spirit keeps me company each day. He gives me strength, courage, and wisdom. He counsels me. He comforts me. He is the Mighty God.

Recently I learned I have polyneuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy. I have begun to face fears and possible outcomes: will I remain mobile? will I be able to prepare meals and do housework? will I be able to dress myself and feed myself? In the midst of these whirling questions, the Holy Spirit has kept singing to me. He has sung the song, Who am I, written by Mark Hall. “I am a flower quickly fading… Here today and gone tomorrow…And you’ve told me who I am…I am yours.

When I finally called Ruthann, to share my new diagnosis, there was the instant empathy and support I had counted on. In fact, as I shared, she said, “Mary, it sounds like you are reading my biography.” She told me that during the season of coming to grips with her diagnosis of MS and wondering all the what ifs, the Holy Spirit had said to her, in essence: “Nothing has changed, Ruthann. You are still mine. Nothing can take you out of my hands.”

The Holy Spirit had spoken to me, and Ruthann confirmed and repeated the message. My two friends have spoken truth.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.” From Isaiah 43

I have neuropathy, but nothing of importance has changed. My life is still on the same bedrock of truth: I am His. He has me. He always has and always will. There is peace.

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Invisible, Not Imaginary

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Long ago a wise boy named Tim told me, “I like Jesus and Snuffleupagus.”

In a neighborhood named Sesame Street lived Big Bird.  His best friend was a four legged, gentle, soft spoken creature called Mr.Snuffleupagus.  They hung out and confided in one another.  Amazingly, no one else on Sesame Street had seen Big Bird’s best friend.  They erroneously believed that Bird’s BFF was imaginary. That didn’t really matter to Big Bird because he and Snuffy kept enjoying one another’s company and being there for each other.

Long ago in Bethlehem on the first Christmas, a BFF quietly moved into our neighborhoods.  Not everyone encountered him.  But to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, who welcomed and received him, he became the most incredible best friend forever.

That Best Friend is Jesus.  He is fully man and fully God.  He is all knowing and all powerful.  He delivers and saves from sin and death. He is loving, kind, merciful and fun. He tells us to cast our cares on him because he cares for us.

Like Big Bird, it doesn’t really matter to me if you know my Jesus is real or if you think he is imaginary.  My BFF, Jesus, is real to me.  I know him, and he knows me.  We hang out and enjoy each other every day.

Jesus isn’t exclusive.  He has room in his heart for an endless circle of friends.  He wants you in that circle.  May you uncover and unwrap the gift of his friendship underneath your Christmas tree.

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Surprises

Our maid-of-honor, who loves surprises, planning them and receiving them, recently came to visit.   I prepared a surprise for her.   My husband and I took her to a place she had never seen.   Since she loves taking pictures of wildlife and nature, I knew she would be thrilled with our destination.   Since she loves art and antiques, I knew she would enjoy browsing the shops in the picturesque villages along the shoreline.   I made reservations for a suite in a historic barn.  Even though we told her where we were going, she had no idea of what lay ahead.

When we arrived at the barn, we took her to the suite and let her wander around, smiling with pleasure over her oohs and aahs.  We asked her to pick which bedroom she wanted.

She chose the one upstairs, the one close to the sitting room in the top of the silo.

As the weekend unfolded we experienced joy together as we shared the beauty of orchards, woodlands and Lake Michigan.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you,  I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  John 14: 2-3

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”  I Corinthians 2:9

Someday Father God will welcome those who love him, welcome them home to the place He has prepared for them.  He will no doubt smile with great joy as they ooh and ahh over the surprises He has waiting for them in that place of beauty beyond their ability to imagine or comprehend.

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