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“Relational Mentoring”

  
Can I just say I love my Girlfriends?!

Some of them I’ve known for decades, and some I’ve received in just the past year or two.  Some have seen me with uncovered grey and bedridden in a hospital.  Some have watched me go through an emotional PMS moment and a burger and sweet potato fries to top it off.  Some have seen me in a full meltdown and offered a shoulder and box of tissues.  Some have seen me humbled by the use of a walker and a cane and didn’t blink an eye of judgement.  Many have been front row center to the ups and downs of my life ~~ and they still love me!

I can never get enough hang time with my Girls ~~ I’ve learned so much from so many ~~ how to ‘relax’ and let God plan out my day (much less my life) ~~ how to ‘step back’ and appreciate the blessed experience of being a mom to children who actually love and respect me ~~ how to ‘lace my words with grace’ so that I can communicate the way God intends for His Message to go through me to others ~~ how to simply ‘pause’ and see the one standing in front of me and wrap my arms around her in sincere love and genuine care when she needs a friend most ~~ relational mentoring.

Many of us have ridden tidal waves that would knock the most experienced surfer off their board.  And some of us have actually fallen off that board.  But by the grace of God, there was a Sister standing on the shore to help pick us up, brush the gunk off  and get us standing back up.  

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.  Proverbs 17:17.  NLT

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend.  Proverbs 27:17.  Voice.

To be there for ‘her’ in her time of need ~~ to help her gain clarity for a situation ~~ to help her sort things out so she can make those hard decisions ~~ to share your life’s lessons from your past so that she can avoid those same mistakes ~~ transparency, vulnerability, and a lot of love.  

Sometimes it’s to offer a safe place where she can ‘unpack her bags’ and just be herself without being judged.  

This is my hope ~~ my dream ~~ for this forum ~~ that in the nurturing love of Christ, we may come together to lift UP a Sister who may not have a Girlfriend nearby, but is able to ‘connect’ here ~~ in this safe place.

Thank you for stopping by ~~ I hope to hear from you before you leave this page!

Linda 

“Why me?”

  

Before you start to judge me ~~ just remember: there’s a baby picture of YOU laying around somewhere that’s equally precious!

Most of my life I have wondered, “why me?”

Why did I have to grow up under these ‘special circumstances?’

Why did I get the ‘short genes?’

Why do I have these limitations?

One day, I came across the story of Queen Esther.  And then God showed me a different perspective of my life.  He changed my lens so that I could see things His Way.

You see, Esther lost both of her parents at an early age.  She was orphaned as a child.  But the love of a distant relative, her father’s cousin, prompted him to step forward and take on the responsibility of raising Esther.  While we don’t know if her uncle (that’s the relationship the Bible gives it during that era), Mordecai, was married or if he had any children of his own,  we do know that he took a step of obedient FAITH to fulfill a calling he believed to have come from God.

Mordecai raised Esther as best as he could; I’m sure he made a few mistakes along the way.  But he managed to train up Esther to embrace his faith and belief in the One True God so that she made it her own.  She learned all the customs and traditions of her people the Jews.  

But part of me can’t help but think that at some point Esther may have had thoughts like, “Why did God have to take both of my parents away from me so soon?”  In essence: “why me?”

And as we find in the Book of Esther, she becomes Queen in a Persian country by the “selection” of King Xerxes.  Again, “why me?” may have echoed through her mind.

Then as the story tells us that the fate of the Jewish people are in the hands of Queen Esther.  She has to make a hard decision. (You can read all the details in the Book of Esther.). The deciding moment of her lifetime ~~ the main reason she has been immortalized.  And I can be certain that “why me” echoed through the chambers of her fast beating heart.

Who knows?  Maybe you were made queen for such a time as this.  Esther 4:14 The Message.

I embrace my Sister, Esther ~~ her obedient FAITH took her places and taught her that at all cost, rely upon God first ~~ and He will bless you.  God did not explain ‘why’ her circumstances were as they were.  But Esther continued to walk forward.

For such a time as this ~~ maybe all those painful days of yesteryear were available to me and you for character building.  Maybe God knew that we would wrestle to hang on to the very threads of His Garment ~~ but that tested us to the point of strengthening our grip.  Maybe the pain in feeling abandoned and neglected were permitted so that you and I could learn to embrace tightly around the One Who said we’re worth dying for.

For such a time as this ~~ could it be that your present struggle(s) have been ushered in to allow you to develop a greater dependence upon the One Who’s calling you out ~~ ‘come take this step with me.’

Sweet Girlfrind of mine ~~ I encourage you today ~~ examine where God has brought you and the talents and gifts with which He has given you ~~ for maybe ~~ just maybe ~~ you have been brought here for such a time as this.

“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return.  And when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”  Luke 12:48b. NLT

Why me?  Maybe because you have been blessed with so much that can be used and shared and given away ~~ talents and gifts and blessings.  It is my prayer that you will not ask why me, but rather say use me.

The photo above was taken of me at the age of 4.  I was the designated flower girl for a wedding.  At the very last second, the ring bearer bailed out.  My grandfather placed the pillow in my hands and said “go.”  

Are you being told to go?

May you have a magnificent day, Girlfriend!

Linda



“On Relationships”

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Relationships are the very essence of a woman’s life ~~ she breathes and thrives and identifies her person based on her relationships.  When things are going awry, she re-examines her place in a relationship, carefully analyzing where she may be needing to enhance or build up or improve herself for the sake of  the relationship.  Oh, but when things are going well, Sister, you can bet she’s dancing and engaging and loving life to its fullest.

Friendships are God’s gifts to us ~~ He loves on us through the blessings of the presence of others in our life.  Some of us have had to ‘learn’ how to be a Friend ~~ you’re not alone, Sister, I’m in your company.  Through much trial and error, those of us in this category have had to bear down and swallow the pride pill hundreds of times to get past the self-criticisms and the judgmental attitude towards others (when we’re critical of ourselves, we are equally, if not more critical of others) in an effort to accept and appreciate the beauty of the differences and unique qualities of others.  The key here is transparency.  Be real, be raw, be authentically YOU!  And never be afraid to be genuine, for you are imaged after GOD.

Family is inherited ~~ so the choice has been made by GOD.  This is the “relational boot camp” in life.  Love ties us all together under one roof and through the branches of the same tree.  Common blood running through our veins and DNA imprints our connections ~~ most times.  Sometimes the drills and obstacle courses of the family relational boot camp can seem so intense and difficult to overcome ~~ but many times, love keeps us together ~~ most times.  Survival may have meant you successfully learned how to treat others as you would want to be treated ~~ support, encouragement, wisdom, guidance ~~ most times.

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.  This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”  Matthew 7:12 NLT

But what if you squeaked through the family relational boot camp and the scrapes and wounds never really healed?  What if you never had a mentor or Friend to guide you through establishing friendships?  What if you’re reading this now and are wondering when things will finally make sense or people will want to be around you and you around them?  What if as an adult woman your struggles are still the same as they were when you were an adolescent young girl in high school?

Start small ~~ Small Groups ~~ Small Group Bible Studies.  In any church environment, the bigness of a building can often intimidate the most tender hearted and introverted spirit.  Reach outside of yourself ~~ even if it means tiny sacrifices (social activities may need to be readjusted) ~~ extend yourself in love and grace, and the same will likely return back to you.  Don’t give up ~~ don’t give in to the temptation to run the other direction.  Love is right around the corner, Girlfriend.

If any of this sounds vaguely familiar to you, if you have lived through any of the difficult times and your “scars” are proof of the battles you’ve encountered, what Step of FAITH are you being called to take today to help out a Sister in need?

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4.  NLT

Now, get on out there and love on somebody, will you?  She’s probably standing right behind you.

Linda




“What Would You Tell Her?”

  
If you could go back in time and speak with ‘your younger self,’ what advice would you give her?

I posted this question on Facebook and received some very interesting responses.  There were some responses that I’m sure were really hard to put to ‘print,’ because they resonated with past ache and pain that left deep wounds ~~ some wounds that have yet to heal.  Some responses sounded like the warning sign at the railroad crossing, especially the one that said, “Don’t marry your first husband!”  Some responses contained a bare all, unveiled conversation with the ‘younger self’ that urged her to have her priorities in place before adventuring into relationships and business deals.  In most responses, there were the scars of life lessons learned.  ‘Oh, if only I knew,’ was the theme song of many women. 

How do YOU answer this question?  What advice would YOU give your younger self?