Trying to make it through life with His help.

Archive for August, 2014

Being Obedient: The Last Key

As I told you in another post, I have a special relationship with keys. Not only do I have the set of keys in the photo I posted earlier, but I have several other keys that I have gotten since people know I like them. A couple of years ago, a friend gave me a set of keys she found. They’re big, substantial and dark. Beautiful. It was actually my first set of keys after I knew I needed to find the set of four.

IMG_6126Not long after getting that first set, I went to the LifeWay store at the Mall of Georgia and found necklaces on the sale rack that had a key attached to a black cord. Each key had a different word engraved on the front and a Bible verse on the back. I gathered all of them up, sat in the floor, got a Bible from the shelf and looked up each verse to see which one should be mine. I settled on Grace, Psalm 84:11

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

I’m not exactly sure why I picked this one, it just felt right. Plus, I went to Grace Fellowship Church, so it just seemed like it should be mine. After deciding on my key, I purchased it and have worn it almost every day since.

The Lord told me I needed to go back and buy one of each necklace – seven in all – and give them away. I knew He would let me know who should receive each necklace. So, later that week, I drove back to the store and bought seven necklaces, each one different from the other. I don’t remember all the words or verses, but they were beautiful words like grace, friendship, courage, love, and peace, each with a matching verse.

The first two I gave to a friend who had told me about one of her friends who was going through a really tough time. So, there went two of the necklaces. Her friend seemed thrilled to get the necklace. I just hoped that it would mean as much to her as it did to me.

The next four went to friends in England for Christmas. Which left me with one necklace. This one, I DO remember. I had this one for about four more months before I knew who it should go to. And the circumstances were such that I wished I didn’t have to give it away.

I was visiting my family for Easter. The day I was to come home, I got a phone call from a friend who told me that one of our best friend’s son had died. When I hung up the phone, I knew that she would be getting my last key. At the time, I had no idea what the word or verse was on the key, but I knew it was to be hers. I left soon after and drove back to the Atlanta area. I had been asked to bring a Bible with me when I went to see her. So, when I got to my apartment, I grabbed an extra Bible, ran out the door, and started driving to see my friend.

As I drove out the gate, I did a quick mental check to make sure I had everything I needed for her.
Bible? Check.
Necklace? Ch…
…..dang.
You know how your mind can race through entire conversations in a single millisecond? Well, I had a whole, long conversation with myself about how I could just take her the necklace next time I saw her. But the Lord had asked me to take it to her now. Today. I went back and forth with myself – and Him – several times in that split second. But, of course, He won out in the end. So I made a U-turn, drove back through the gated entrance, ran up to the third floor, grabbed the necklace and looked at it…….

I stopped.

I nearly sank to the floor as I read the word, then, the verse.

The word was Love.

The verse was John 3:16.

In case you don’t know what that verse is, this is what it says: IMG_6127

“For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I looked up and shouted, “Really?! THIS is the necklace You want me to give her?! The verse about how YOU lost Your only SON?!”

I couldn’t believe it. Never in a million years would I have picked this key for her, especially since she had just lost her only son. But, I’m not the one who can see the big picture here. He is. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to leave the necklace in my apartment and not give it to her. But, I know He had chosen that key for her long before I bought it, and I needed to do what He was asking me to do. So, I found John 3:16, placed the key in the Bible and took it with me.

I argued with myself – and God –  the whole way, but I knew what I had to do.

I walked into the house, found my friend and gave her a huge hug. We talked for a few minutes. I opened the Bible, then I held up the key necklace and reminded her that the Bible, and all it represented, was the key to her getting through this tragedy and the necklace was a reminder of that fact. In my head I kept praying, “Don’t read the necklace. Please don’t read the necklace.” And, thankfully, to my knowledge, she didn’t. At least not while I was there. But, I think even if she had looked at it, she would have understood the meaning of it and been ok. God would have made sure of it.

A few days later, my friends and I went to the funeral service. It was beautiful. Several people spoke about her son and what they remembered most about him. One of the last people to speak, was the father of her son’s best friend. He had a lot of wonderful things to say. And, boy, could that man preach! But the last thing he spoke about was John 3:16….

I can’t tell you much about what he said after that because I was so shocked that he quoted the very same verse that was on the necklace. It was, for me, confirmation from God that I had done the right thing by giving her the necklace. Even though it was not what I would have done, it was what He wanted done.

I have to believe that the necklace was a comfort to her. I was told it had been the night I gave it to her. But I hope it continues to be a source of hope and comfort, because the death of a child isn’t something she will ever get over.

Don’t ever put off doing what He asks you to do. If you do, you could be denying someone a source of comfort they could never get from someone else. And, it could come from something as simple as a necklace. You never know what God will use to console another.

Oh, and by the way, it turned out that if I hadn’t taken the necklace with me that day, I wouldn’t have seen my friend until the funeral, several days later. So, obey Him when He asks you to do something. His timing is always perfect and best.

Personal Note: Thank you to my friend S.C. for granting permission to publicly publish this part of her personal story. I love and miss you daily. I’m so glad to know that God is keeping you safe and helping you heal. It makes my heart happy to hear that you continue to grow closer to Him, and that the key has a special place in your heart.

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Being A Little Lonely

I miss my best friend.

My best friend is in Georgia. Five.Long.Hours.Away.

Laurie and I did so much together, yet we never got tired of each others company….at least I didn’t, anyway… ha ha  We even lost weight together a few years ago. That’s the kind of friend she is. Everything was so much more fun because of her. We especially loved to go shopping together. Even if we didn’t buy anything. About the only thing that wasn’t good about our friendship was that we both can be pretty impulsive. And that got us into ‘trouble’, especially when we’d go shopping! We learned, though, (finally), not to just jump into buying something without stopping, talking it over and taking a little bit of time to think it over, too.

Laurie and I worked together for 13 years. So, we saw each other almost daily! Not having her close is just hard. I thank God every day for email, Facebook and FaceTime! If it weren’t for those things, I don’t know how I would have coped with moving back home to Nashville, and being without my bestie.

91g4Xp-mNoL._SL1500_Having a best friend, someone who knows everything about you and STILL loves you, makes living life easier. Laurie and I can talk for hours on end. I mean, that’s just what best friends do, isn’t it? Being best friends for so long, you tend to have a lot of memories together, and personal, inside jokes. Which just makes being friends even better.

We’ve been through a lot in the last few years, too. We found our way back to church and the Lord together, too. Which is great, because now we give each other sound Christian advice, something that can be rare in today’s world. And, when questions are asked, and advice given, we know the advice is given with a wonderfully loving and honest heart and the best of intentions. No punches pulled.

Friends, for some, are easy to make. I have – or had, while in Atlanta – a lot of people I considered friends. But a real Best Friend is somewhat rare. I’ve had a few people in my lifetime whom I’ve thought of as a best friend. But looking back, some weren’t quite as good a friend as I thought at the time. Unfortunately, I’ve had more than a few ‘best friends’ who turned out to be little more than ‘users’. But, I was young, and a totally different person back then. Life, and dealing with all kinds of people, has taught me to realize – for the most part – when I meet a manipulative person. I don’t tolerate them well at all, and generally, they aren’t allowed to stay in my life for long at all. People like that are what makes you really appreciate the good people in your life.

People who don’t want anything from you, who want only the best for you, push you to be better than you are, want more for you than you do, believe in you and love you no matter what, THOSE are the ones who qualify to be best friends.

I thank God every day for ‘my Laurie’.

I hope you have good friends, but I pray you have a best friend. If not, keep looking. She, (or he), is out there somewhere. And, they’re worth their weight in gold.

I know mine is.

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Our first, (but certainly not our last!), Girls Weekend. Savannah, GA

Girls-Weekend

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