I had begun praying for a group to critique my writing when I lived with my husband, Jim, on the tiny South Pacific island of American Samoa. I wrote to tell my friends and family about the awesome tropical island we lived on. My writing became, for me, a way to express everything from our first reactions to our new culture to how I was scared out of my wits when a huge millipede dropped off the towel I was drying with.
I needed to know if what I wrote was worth possible publishing or fodder for the waste basket. Did it have merit even a tiny bit?
It wasn’t until we left the island after seven years and savored the taste of America again, that I found a small group of ladies who also had writing in their blood.
Now over twenty years later, this small group of ladies still encourage me along my writing journey. They have become special friends to me. And when friends come alongside, their glue holds me together. Each friend exudes a special bonding element that works wonders. God created this glue in each of us.
“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).
There are times, however, when we simply have no one around to lift us up, making special holidays, like Valentine’s Day, a real downer.
I think of the years in Samoa when I visited women in prison who had no one caring for any of their needs. This also occurs in America in prisons and many other places where people are isolated and have no one to care.
What I have found, however, is a special friend who is available to all of us. His name is Jesus. The kind of love He offers us cannot be found in a card, long stem roses, or chocolate candy. His love is greater than all the world can ever offer. I run to His amazing love often, remembering what He said to His disciples:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Many times when friends are not near—Jesus is. We may not even be aware of His presence. But when we acknowledge Him He makes His presence known to us.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34: 18).
I have experienced His presence many times. And you can, too. I have come to know and understand that when we call on God, He’s right there for us. We may not see Him, but we can be aware of His presence. Here are some truths from the Bible I have found that render peace to my soul when I am weary or discouraged.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
When we call He hears and He comes to us and will not leave us.
“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’” (John 14:23-24).
Can you imagine the Lord Jesus and the Father living within you? That is the promise we have when we cry out to the Lord.
“How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you” (Isaiah 30:19).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
He is there, just as He said. He will strengthen you and me. He will help us. He will be a shield surrounding us. How great is our God. He is truly amazing.
Help is near. Just call.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY…every day.
Beautiful, encouraging words, Judy. Thanks for sharing from your heart.
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Thanks, Betty, for your kind words.
Amen and amen!
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Thanks for your Amen! I’ll add another. I so grateful for your response.
Thank you for sharing truth in such a heartfelt way, Judy!
Thanks for your encouragement, Carol
I liked this, Judy, and thanks for including the TC picture.
Thanks, Donna. Appreciate your comment.
Thank you, Judy, for counting me as one of your friends. I love you too.
I especially like the verse about “Take my yoke upon you” because of the picture it reveals. Yokes were used to join two oxen together so they could share the load. It’s a perfect picture of Doing Life Together. Jesus wants to do life with us, too.
Well you certainly are one of my friends. Thanks for the word picture of a yoke that makes out lives so much more livable and certainly of our group as we “do life together.”
I should have read this on Saturday…or Sunday. I was in such a funk and feeling sorry for myself. Your words encourage me. Love you dear friend.