Saturday, March 22, 2014

Friendship..

Last night, I hosted the girls from our LifeGroup (aka Sunday School). I wrote a short devotion and I want to share that here with all of you!

A few hours ago, I had prepared NOTHING for tonight as far as a devotion goes. Sure, I had cleaned my house. I cleaned vents even. Part of my obsession with cleaning is that I really like to clean. It’s a stress reliever. The other part is that I struggle with seeking outside validation. (Show prayer journal.) So if my house is clean or cute or whatever, then someone is bound to say “I like your house” or at least think “Leslie, has it all together.” But you know who it makes me when I am seeking outside validation especially for my CLEAN HOUSE? It makes me Martha.

Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Mary and Martha both loved Jesus and on this occasion they were both serving him. However, Martha  didn’t realize that in her desire to serve she was actually neglecting her guest, Jesus. Are we so busy doing things for Jesus that we aren’t spending any time with Him?
Back in December, I felt God pulling me in. He wanted more of me and in the past when he is pulling me in, he is trying to protect me from the storm that is about to rage. I normally run far away from Him because I am a control freak and I can fix my problems. But this time, this time was different. I let me him pull me in. Yes, before this nudge, I was walking with him. Yes, I was attending church. Yes, I was reading my Bible. I was just giving Him the last of everything. There wasn’t a “closeness”.

Ezekiel 44:30
“The best of all the firstfruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests.”

Who is THE priest? The Lord. I wasn’t giving God any part of the first of my day, the best of nap time, or the best of me. I would clean my house and do laundry and gripe the entire time. On Sunday mornings, it was easy to let excuses pile on top of each other and not attend corporate worship. I’m not saying that my salvation is given to me or to you because you tithe 10%, attend corporate worship every time the doors are open, or if you spend the first half an hour of your day with him. I’m saying because of our salvation He deserves ALL OF THAT. He deserves the first of everything because he is the reason we have a first to begin with. So when he was reigning me in, I was reminded of the bible verse
Exodus 14:14
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

I started giving God the first part of my day. I started spending nap time in His word. I started cleaning with Him in mind as if He was coming but this time I wasn’t going to miss His visit. And slowly, every single aspect of my life started changing. When we learned our son was having major reconstruction surgery, there were tears and there was pain but there was a hope that hadn’t ever been. There was a longing to attend corporate worship. There was a desire to just sit at His feet. 
In my adult life, I’ve never been one to reach out to others. I’m fairly shy. But God started giving me a desire to share my testimony, speak on co parenting after divorce, open up my home to others, and to build friendships. Lasting friendships.

Merrian Webster defines friends as a person whom one knows and has mutual affection.

The Bible says:

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.


As I look around my home tonight, I’m genuinely overwhelmed at how many of the women from our class came tonight. I thought when “I” invited you to my home that there would be no reason for you to come but as you responded with a resounding “yes” to my invitation I realized God was moving mightily in our midst in the area of friendship. I thought just maybe, I wasn’t the only person looking to building relationships among my sisters in Christ.

As the body of Christ, we have been serving together raising money for missions and helping at the Homeless Shelter. But I started feeling like maybe we need to sit at His feet together. Hold each other’s crosses for a bit. Be a little less like Martha and a lot more like Mary.

I once heard a pastor ask, “If it were 3AM and you were in a crisis do you have a friend you could call?” I’m talking a crisis that your parent would not be first choice to alert. As I look around the room tonight, I know that there are friendships in this room that I don’t know about but I’d also encourage you that if the answer to this question is “I wouldn’t have a friend to call” that we work on that, together. This life is hard. This life may not have thrown you lemons but it might one day and when it does you need a group of women who can love you through it. When God shows his ultimate favor on you and you are celebrating, isn’t it sweeter to celebrate with friends? Jesus loved his friends, the disciples, and spent much time with them. We all know the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and what an expression of love that is for His friends. I am so thankful that in my journey, the Lord thought it “good” to place me with you lovely ladies.