On the day this post goes live, I’ll be facing one of my big fears: public speaking. I’m not sure what it is about standing up in front of a crowd and talking that causes me so much anxiety, but it sure does.
I’ve been invited to speak at a Ladies Day event at a church near Memphis. I’ve been putting my presentation together over the last few weeks and I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts.
The theme of the event is Beautifully Stitched Together, which comes from the verse in Colossians 2:2. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love…
How beautiful is that thought? I love the connotation. Stitched, knit, sewn: all those words give me a good feeling. As someone who loves words and who has a list of “favorite” words, I’m always on the lookout for words and phrases that evoke a feeling, and for me “hearts beautifully stitched together” certainly does.
It reminds me to treasure my friendships. I’ve been blessed with three friends who are as close as sisters. The four of us have been friends for nearly 25 years. We’ve seen each other through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. There have been marriages, births, and deaths. Those girls have seen me at my best and at my worst. Hardly a day goes by that we aren’t in touch, and it isn’t unusual to have a prayer request (or make a prayer request) daily. What a gift that is. Those kinds of relationships—those heart sisters—need to be nurtured and cared for. Thinking of having “hearts stitched together” reminds me that I need to be a good friend and a good listener. The few times a year we are able to get together in person leave me refreshed. I come back home in a better place emotionally and mentally. I encourage you to make time for that person or persons in your own life who fill that role. If you’re busy like me, maybe it will help if you schedule it! Call your friend and set up a coffee date to catch up and visit. You will be better for it.
Being “beautifully stitched” also makes me think of the family quilt that is hanging in my grandmother’s living room. That particular quilt is one of the few things that made it out of the fire that burned her house to the ground a few years ago. But one of my aunts ran in and retrieved it and so it’s back on the wall today—the centerpiece of her living room. I love that there are members of my family who were born into it and there are others who were chosen. Isn’t that a wonderful concept? When I got married 3 years ago, I walked back down the aisle not only a wife, but also a mom to 3 stepkids. Talk about an adjustment. At times, these last years have felt like I was taking a test that I didn’t study for. But through it all, I’ve learned that family is the most important thing. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter to them if my cakes are baked from scratch or if they’re store bought. It doesn’t matter to them if the house is spotless or if it is messier than normal. What matters is that we spend time together. Early on, I was guilty of always feeling as if I needed to be working. There’s literally always something to be done in my house—something needs cleaned or washed, day job work needs to be done, a book needs to be worked on, a farm animal needs to be fed…it’s always something. But I finally realized that sometimes I have to stop. Sometimes the most important thing has to be my stepdaughter who wants to play a game with me. Or my stepson who needs help with homework. Or my husband who wants to watch a movie. Or my mom who wants to go out to dinner. The people in my life have to be more important than my task list. If you’re like me, you understand the desire to “do it all” and to not waste time when you could be doing something productive. But I promise you, time spent with your loved ones is never wasted. Sometimes work can wait. Laundry and dishes, too.
A world in turmoil. Evil around every corner. Sin on display. It might sound like I’m describing 2017, but I’m not! I’m actually talking about the world when Paul wrote the letter to the Christians at Colossae. He gave them some wonderful advice on how best to deal with things: stick together. When I think of something being “stitched” I think of something that is hard to tear apart. Isn’t that how we should be with our Christian sisters and brothers? Our church family should be bound together in such a way that it’s a force for good and is impossible to rip apart. Solid Christian friendships are a good antidote to a lot of the problems of the world. There really is nothing new under the sun, and just as the Christians during Paul’s time needed one another, we do today as well.
We were created to need each other. Relationships that we have on Earth are a big part of living out our love for God. I’ve been so encouraged as I’ve studied for my presentation. It’s made me even more resolved to nurture the relationships I have with my friends, family, and Christian brothers and sisters.
I wish each of you a wonderful month of May (how is it May already?) and I’ll see you back here in JUNE!