Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Friendships and Mentors and Cans of Worms

 

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-2


My Bible titles this passage, "The Value of a Friend."

A few years ago, I attended a women's event where the theme was mentoring. It reawakened some things in me that had been dormant for too long. I made some commitments to Yahweh regarding using more of my time on other people and I came away feeling energized in my calling to women's ministry. 

Shortly after, the Father tested me in those commitments---as is often His way! I was in a room with many women chatting and laughing and getting to know one another. I had visited with a few friends and was wandering around looking at decorations. (These kinds of events always make me feel awkward. I struggle with small talk---always want to get to the nitty-gritty!) I was just hanging out when the Father told me to start looking at the people more closely. 

I noticed a woman standing off to the side a bit, not talking with anyone. I'd only chatted with her briefly in the past and didn't know her well, so I went up to say hello again and see if I could bumble my way awkwardly through my normal kind of 50/50 introvert/extrovert conversation. 

I took her hand and said, "Hey (Friend), how's it goin' tonight?" 

She smiled and said, "Oh fine!" 

I could have stopped right there. I mean, right? That's the ultimate Sunday morning Christianese phrase: "I'm fine!" 

Sometimes it means, "I've got a lot of stuff going on but don't have the time/desire/interest/strength to discuss it with you." 

More often it means, "I'm struggling and I really do actually want to tell you but you're just making small talk and I don't sense I can trust you with my heart."

For a split second I thought about giving her the pat Christian response, "Oh great! I'm glad. Well, have a good night!" But, praise Yah, He spoke stronger to me than He had in a long time. So, I pulled out my can opener, looked her straight in the eye, and opened up that can of worms. 

"No really, Friend, how are you?"

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When I read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, I think about all the lonely people out there. There's a lot of them, you know. I read, "For if they fall, one will lift up his companion," and think, "Who will lift up the one without a friend?"

I've had a saying for a long time that I once thought was clever---maybe it was, for its time. I used to say, "I've only got enough emotional energy to spend on a couple of friends."  

Wifing/mothering/homeschooling 10 people is tough, y'all, and there was a brief time there when it was absolutely all I could handle. The Father allowed my outside-the-home ministry to go dormant for awhile so I could put my focus in the right place. I think I allowed it to go on a little longer than He would have liked, though. I got comfortable in my solitude. I also got selfish.

However, now I think of that phrase and I know that time is over. I feel so driven to speak the Father's truth and encouragement to all those lonely women---cans of worms popping open all over the place! (Gummy worms, please. No pork gelatin.)

I want to be that friend that sticks close enough to lift someone up when they fall and point them to help and healing in Yeshua. I'm praying the Father will help me become more and more usable in this way, and that he will bring just the right relationships along. Who has time for small talk? Not this girl. But I've got lots of time---all the time He's given me---for cans of worms. 


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