Today a friend is celebrating her birthday...as I thought about her and thanked God for her I reflected on how God has impacted me through her. I could express my thanks to her (again), but I've decided to come here and share some lessons with you. It's always good for me to remember; I pray it will also be encouraging and insightful for you, a way to honor her and glorify God.
God Connects Though The World Divides
My friend and I really have an unexpected friendship...miles are between us, seasons of life divide us and our past experiences really haven't connected us, but God. God has united us...He's brought us together and shown me yet again what it is to be in the family of God and be blessed with another sister in Christ. Though we don't share the same name, town or backgrounds we have the same Father in Heaven and that my friend is a wonderful connection. The power of the Holy Spirit is amazing and I'm grateful for the work He's done in my life.
Our Words Matter
My friend's words have blessed me in various ways...they've encouraged, comforted and instructed me. She has spoken Truth to me and pointed me to the Bible, words that truly transform. My friend has also reminded me that my words matter as well...my gift of encouragement really does make a difference and is one God can use. Proverbs 18:21 is true, "The tongue has the power of life and death..."
God Uses Our Story
My friend has quite a testimony and she uses it for God's glory. Her's is not the story anyone would choose, but it is one God has used. And as I've thought about this, I've been able to see how He has used it for three different things. One, and most importantly, He's used it for His glory. My friend uses her words and connections to shine a light for Christ. She is not ashamed of the Gospel and thus is able to do what she's been created for - glorify her Creator. Our good God blesses her obedience and uses my friend's story for her own good. It's been a joy to watch my friend succeed in her endeavors and grow in her faith. I often hear her say, "Blessings follow obedience." She shares these words because she experiences them! I've been blessed to be on the receiving end of the 3rd and final way God uses our stories...for others' growth. I've been impacted tremendously through my friend's story...hearing of her experiences and watching her live out her faith have touched me immensely. Her story has given me hope, reminded me of Truth and taught me countless lessons. It has also challenged me to allow God to use my story for His glory, my good and others' growth as well.
There's Power in Prayer
My friend has a heart for prayer. She is quick to lift others up and willing to share the role prayer has played in her life. She has taught me much about prayer and God has used the prayers she's prayed for me. A few years back I remember her praying, "tender her heart" and something along the lines of "help her see herself the way You (God) do." I wasn't sure I needed the first part, but knew the latter was necessary! God understood exactly what I needed though and has continued to answer these prayers and many more. My friend has also taught me there's much power in praying Scripture and because of that lesson my prayer life has grown.
We're Leaving a Legacy
It can be easy to say, "I want to leave a legacy", but the older I get the more I realize that wanting to leave a legacy is not enough. We all leave a legacy...that's a given, but we can choose if it's a good, Godly one or not. My friend is doing that...she's impacting those around her with her words, actions and prayers. She's a woman of faith who is building the kingdom and discipiling believers. She's never echoed Paul's words, but when I read these verses I think of her.
"Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1
"Join together in following my example, brothers and sister, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do." Philippians 3:17
"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:9
When I'm my friend's age, I want to be like her! Not because she's perfect or has a wonderful life, but because she's shining her light for Christ, keeping her eyes on Jesus and growing in her faith. She has taught me much as a Christian, wife, Mom and friend; I pray I've shared a bit of those lessons with you. I encourage you to think about the Godly friends who impact you and thank God for the work He does through His body!
I also challenge you to think about the kind of friend you are...do you take time the time to invest in the people God connects you with? Are you aware of the impact your words have? Have you let go of the story you want and embraced the one God has given you? Do you allow Him to use it? Are you a friend others can count on for prayer? What legacy are you leaving?
It's great to thank our friends with words, but it's more powerful to show them with our actions! I've let my friend know she's appreciated and I've shared some lessons with you, now I pray I can do some of the things she does. I'm asking God to help you, her and me live out Ephesians 4:14-16 - "Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does it work."
This blog post is part of Michelle DeRusha’s #MyFaithHeroine contest, in connection with the release of the book 50 Women Every Christian Should Know. Find out how to participate here.