When Strangers Meet

There are weeks when it is hard to know what to write about.  Either I am torn about what to share, I just don’t really feel like much is on my heart, or the words just do not seem to be flowing easily.  Usually I get confirmation through a Bible verse that I have come across, or a conversation that I have with a friend…etc. Randomly, last week I had 2 things on my heart to write… I almost posted 2 blogs because I couldn’t decide what to write, but on Thursday I saw a verse that I had used in The Forever Unchanging Love, and that was all that I needed to move forward with posting that last week.  I still almost did a second blog but I just didn’t have time, so I figured that I would just carry over what I was going to share about boldness in Christ and an experience I had when I was in Rwanda.  Then Sunday happened. On Sunday, something happened that left me practically speechless.  

Before I get to that…

What comes to mind when you hear the word bold?   How many times have you watched someone say  or do something that may have been a bit out of line and said “well that was bold” in a sarcastic tone.  I had the wrong impression of boldness for so long, I always associated it with arrogance.  The word made me almost uncomfortable.  My thinking of the word changed when I heard a message a few years back  on boldness.  The message was by Craig Groeschel and was titled “Amazing Boldness” (take a listen!).  He defined boldness as behavior born out of belief, and that spiritual boldness comes from knowing Christ.  He shares that “the Greek word that’s translated as boldness is the word parrhesia, and this word means more than just speaking; it means outspokenness, it means assurance, it means courage, it means confidence, it means to act without fear.”  I love that in his definition he allows room for the truth that what is bold for me is different than what is bold for you.  I had a long talk with a friend about being bold and she said for her being bold may be not saying something but for me it may be speaking up.  Speaking up is something that has always been uncomfortable for me.  God has really been working on that with me, but in order for me to speak up I need to be 1000% sure that He has lead me to speak up.  A lot of times I haven’t been able to go to sleep unless I texted a friend something, or haven’t been able to leave a store until I have done what is on my heart. There have been times that I have felt lead to write complete strangers letters of encouragement. It’s almost easy to write a friend an encouragement note because you know them, but someone that you don’t know and know nothing about? That’s uncomfortable, and what if I am mistaken in listening to what God wanted me to say… or what if I am insensitive?  I have never met any of the strangers that I have written the letters to… or that is… I haven’t until Sunday.

“When God gives you a directive, you can be sure He has already considered every factor.”
-Experiencing God

I was pregnant and in my first trimester with Charlie when I came across a young women’s blog that her friend had posted on their church’s Facebook page that I follow.  Her name was Brooke and what I read in her blog broke my heart.  She was pregnant with her 4th child, but her child (if carried to full term) wouldn’t live very long due to having trisemy 18.  However, as heartbroken as I was for what she was going through, I was greatly inspired by her faith. While walking through, what I assumed very uncertain times, it was evident that she carried His strength in how she lived her life. One thing that specifically stood out to me was her desire for Everly’s life  to touch as many lives as possible in her short time on earth.  I remember thinking that if I ever had to go through something like that, that I hoped I would be able to have the kind of strength that she had… a strength that only comes from Christ.

When her baby girl was born around Christmas time, I wanted to do something to help in some way.  A meal was So I baked muffins for her and her family, and wrote her a letter.  I can’t remember what I wrote, but I wondered if God was really leading me to write her and hoping that my letter didn’t come across as insensitive to her, as I didn’t want to cause more grief.  I arranged to get the muffins and the letter to her through her friend, and that was that.  I remembered her in prayer often and would read her blog here and there for a few months.

Sometimes Strangers Are Not Strangers At All

Fast forward a couple years.  Sunday at church, they showed a life story.  At first the name didn’t ring a bell, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that Brooke was the same Brooke that had inspired me a little over two years earlier.  It felt like the world stopped spinning. I turned to Mike and said “that’s the lady I baked muffins for.”  He looked at me like he had no clue what I was talking about.  I kept thinking “how did she get to Black Rock?” and that I needed to go meet her!  After the service I went to down talk with her.  I introduced myself and told her that I had followed her blogs back when she was pregnant with Everly and that I had made the muffins.  I didn’t expect her to remember, but she did and also remembered the letter that I wrote.  She said that she still has it and they keep it in Everly’s box.  I shared with her how her story had impacted me a couple years earlier and as we talked it was apparent that we had a lot in common. Sometimes strangers are not strangers at all.

“Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it.'”
Isaiah 30:21

Where is God calling you to be bold?  For me, He is always encouraging me to speak up and do things that are not so comfortable.  For you it may be to talk to the stranger on the street, or go after that dream of being a missionary.  It may be to share Christ with a friend, or doing something in ministry that you have been putting off.  I always worry that I am going to hear Him wrong and say or do something that I shouldn’t, but if Sunday reinforced anything it is that when we lean into Him, He will lead us in what to do and give you exactly what you need at the exact time.  Step out of the boat… follow where He leads… trust in the one who lights your path… be bold in who He created you to be because you can have confidence and assurance through Christ to act without fear!

 

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