Friends and Pilgrims

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“Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them…”  I’ve been reminded of this truth in the past week.  Old friends, new friends, we can truly BE friends when we have the Lord in common.   I’ve met many new friends via this amazing technology that allows communication around the world in an instant.  It’s fun to interact and learn through iron sharpening iron as we discuss our various understandings of our common Lord.  But this past week friends have touched me deeply in ways I did not expect.

To be vulnerable on the internet can be costly.  We can’t always be sure we really know the person on the other end.  I received a package in the mail this week from a fellow blogger.  My son answered the door when the package arrived and brought it to my blogging spot (my bed) with the words, “Don’t open it – it might be a bomb!”  Deciding it was a good moment for suspense, I dramatically slit the package open and slowly pulled it apart reminding him to say his prayers.  We lived…and faith in my fellow blogger was rewarded with a beautiful gift that has helped to restore my soul, and lift up my head. (Thanks again, friend!)

I had another connection this week – a blast from the past!  As a music major my first year of college, I made many friends through one of the traveling choirs.  My bestest friend came in the form of a very tall Canadian woman – I’m sure her ancestors were Vikings.  Barely reaching five feet and distinctly Irish, we made an odd couple.  But kindred spirits were discovered through our love of the Lord and His working in our vulnerable teenage lives.  She abounded in joy and her exuberance for sharing the Faith led her as an upperclassman to become the college’s Spiritual Life Leader.  Twenty-four years later…enter Technology…and we are now in touch once again.  And guess what she did?  As iron sharpens iron and our commonality being the Lord, she challenged me once more.  She is still a spiritual life leader through her church, having become an editor for one of their periodicals.

 Hoping to catch up quickly and wanting to know how she views life two decades past, I read her editorial in the most recent issue.  The topic concerned pilgrimages – physical and spiritual.  Some of us have had the opportunity to make physical pilgrimages and have been changed through them.  Others of us have not ventured far from home, but have still encountered a pilgrimage of sorts.  Spiritually, few of us are where we were two decades past.  Said another way, we’ve grown in our spiritual lives.  We’ve moved beyond our spiritual roots and have branched into diverse trees.  Some are massive oaks with graceful branches, some birches with pure white bark, others have grown into towering pines with prickly needles.  My question is hers…

…discover for the first time—the pilgrimages you have made in your life. What did you learn about yourself? How was Christ present with you on that journey? Where did the Spirit meet you? How did the experience make a difference in who you are or where you are today? Don’t worry if you didn’t take a plane to visit the birthplace of your ancestors, or walk five hundred miles to see the Shrine of St. James, or touch the Western Wall. Your soul has been traveling. May God give you the 20/20 hindsight you need to see how richly blessed you’ve been along the way.    -Taken from the editor of Hungry Hearts.   

One of my physical and spiritual pilgrimages can be found  here.

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26 responses »

  1. We gain so much from being part of the Body of Christ. Old friends, new friends, far-a-way friends and next-door neighbors, people like us and people different from us… all teach us something about who Jesus is. How blessed we are to be the arms and legs, the eyes, and mouth of Christ. How blessed we are to share in this one Body.

  2. In 2003 mama and I went to Sweden to visit my roots and meet family we did not know. What a wonderful trip. We shared our faith with many. My prayer throughout the trip was that we would be good witnesses.

  3. Amen, Editor!! 😉 Thanks for the inspiration.

    Papa: What a great trip that must have been. My sister married a Swedish man – although he was a transplant from Nebraska. What a marvelous opportunity you had and I’m just guessing, but considering your blog, I think y’all were wonderful witnesses for the Lord. I hope you made it in the summertime!!

    Everyone needs to go to Papa’s site and read his story for today’s post, “What’s My Name???” – just click on his name!

  4. Michelle, I love your descriptive use of trees, for many reasons as I am sure you know. Your word choice is always picturesque and most inspiring. I just noticed we must’ve been on the same light ray today. My post named 20-20 was published today at 4:53 pm. You wrote “Your soul has been traveling. May God give you the 20/20 hindsight you need to see how richly blessed you’ve been along the way.” and you published at what time? Yes, God is great to have allowed us to meet so many wonderful people (such as yourself) via the internet. I am glad to have “met” you and shared God’s love through the connection.

  5. Thank you, Paper Bubbles, the feelings are mutual. You’re still in my prayers…please take care of yourself.

    “on the same light ray” – love it!! 😉

  6. Michelle:

    The best part about blogging, to me, is getting to know someone in their own words. As an aspiring novelist, I’ve learned to see the meaning, the intent, behind the words. To rephrase an old adage, “Show me what you write, and I will tell you who you are.”

    That being said, I’m glad you were wise enough to know you could trust your friend to send you that gift. By the way…You never said what it was.

    As for your old friend, it has always been a joy to me to meet up with old friends and to know that they are still growing and striving to get to know God. That has happened to me a few times, and it’s great to look back on the good times and to share the times we missed.

    Seems like you’ve had a great week! One you certainly needed!

  7. NorEaster – I was amazed when I opened the package. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but I received “way more” than I had imagined. Kind of like, He does exceedingly abundantly beyond.

    It was a leather bound daily devotional based upon Max Lucado’s writing. My name was engraved on the front of the book and a CD of praise tunes was included. I was a bit overwhelmed but ever so grateful for the thoughtfulness of my friend. Pretty amazing, huh? 🙂

  8. Wow! Yeah. That does sound nice. And your friend certainly does sound thoughtful. Especially with the engraving. Makes a gift a little more thoughtful, more personal. And I really like you’re looking at it from a Christian point-of-view with the “exceedingly abundantly beyond” description because I think the gift your friend gave you is a fraction of the grace God has shared with us, you know? And maybe she knows that. (Or he. Or whoever. Heh.) I certainly don’t want to say anything bad about your friend, but just imagine that what God has in store for us is a joy light years beyond that gift. Know what I mean? And yet, maybe the gift for you provides a glimpse of that because it was “way more” than you had imagined.

    Okay, okay. It’s getting late. I could talk about this all day–how we can see God in the people we know–but I’ve got things to do. But I’m really glad you have such a wonderful friend!

  9. Old friends and technology – great combination! Just recently a group of men who had lost touch over 15 years or so were linked up again because of addresses in email groups. The comradeship they had shared was belonging to one of those ‘elite’ U.S. military type organizations.

    Completely off the wall, but connected to the theme of this post:

    What is probably the second most popular book of all time (next to the Bible) that has never been out of print?

  10. Yes, NorEaster, My friend is wonderful! 😉

    Dan – I know this!! Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. 🙂 I love that book.

    Ok guys, neither of you said anything about having been on a pilgrimage yourself. I know y’all did not arrive where you are today, with your love of the Lord, without some valleys along the way. Or a great trip that taught you something about yourself you didn’t expect. Are you gonna share?

  11. Bingo!

    Concerning pilgrimages, it’s more about having learned important principles for the ‘walk’, or specific life events that taught signigicant spiritual truths, or that got me up off my lazy backside and more involved in the Great Commission’. I put a post up this morning that talks about one of the principles I’ve learned along the way (Saturday morning random thoughts. . .)

    Headed for Saturday morning grocery shopping now and will check back in later. . .

  12. I love how I can meet someone, find out they’re a Christian, and instantly feel a kindship with them. When we bought our puppy, I kept getting the feeling that the owners were Christians. Finally I just flat out asked them; I wanted to know so bad! They said yes, they were believers, and we became instant family.

  13. So you want me to share my pilgrimage? Hoo boy! That would mean I’d have to create my own blog, and….Oh. Wait. I already did that. Heh.

  14. Just Love Him – Me too…the kinship (the Holy Spirit within each believer saying, “hi”) is the ultimate communion of saints…I like to think.

    Not interested in synoptically sharing, I see… 😉
    Anyone interested in NorEaster’s story just click on his name above and you will be whisked through the blogosphere in an instant.

  15. It’s funny – Friendships. The seasons of them. Some of my most recent friendships (the physical ones here in town) have taken on a whole new look, a new meaning. Some have no meaning anymore at all. It’s sad – but I see now where that relationship served a purpose. I see also that it would not be good to continue on. But all my relationships have enlightened me. All my journeys and experiences have helped to make up the person I am today. I don’t mind who i am – so I am rather grateful!

    Some of my closest friends now – are blogging friends. Crazy, but true! I’ve learned so much from so many of them. You being one of them Michelle. You have been incredibly inspiring to me. Thank you for that!

  16. Wow, Tam, thank you. You don’t know how much I needed that word of encouragement.

    I’ve learned I’m not the best friend. Friendship takes time and energy – I have time but my energy is forever fleeting. Some of my best friends have been those who can accept me in my weaknesses. One such friend was an elderly lady who would come by every week for 15 years, knowing I couldn’t get out with homeschooling my kids and my illness. She wasn’t well herself, but she needed to walk to keep her blood sugar down, so she’d come once, sometimes twice a week. I learned so much from her motherly wisdom.

    She’s in a nursing home now. She doesn’t really know me, diabetes and Parkinson’s have taken their toll. It’s hard to lose such caring companionship.

    Heaven will be amazing, won’t it? We will someday actually be able to see one another in the flesh – pretty cool. 😉

    Tam, I see God’s Spirit shining through you and want to thank you for continually bringing a smile to my face! 😆

  17. ” to be vulnerable on the internet can be costly” That is true, ans sometimes our truth of ourselves is not what some want to see, and the cost, well it can make people not want to read our posts anymore…but who really wants a ton of comments that all say “amen good post”. God is awesome how HE uses our vulnerablity for HIS glory. Friends and internets,..that is a post in itself on how God pulls like minds together, and how HE encourages us through each other. I can see God through my past to my present, and even more in my future.

    Michelle you are an inspiration and an encouragement to anyone who spends five minutes with you, even on line!

    I wanted to tell your son the difference between Christian bloggers is we have the Almighty God protecting and watching over us, and as we serve HIM in this way, HE will be faithful!

  18. I’ll pass that along to my son, Darla. 😉

    It has been wonderful this past couple of weeks to get to know all y’all through I suppose Sharp Iron and Ric Booth’s blogs – that’s where I started seeing the same names popping up. I feel loving arms wrapping around me through cyberspace and it’s soooo cool. Like you said, “how God pulls like minds together, and how HE encourages us through each other.”

    Amen, sister!! 😆

  19. Hello Michelle, I’m sorry but I am hysterical laughing right now….You have the same blog background as another friend Hover who is total atheist…I had to click on you 3 times before realizing that!!!! I thought he got radically saved or something!!!!

    Anyway, wow, you are an amazing woman of God. I love your heart. Very true about the friends…I’m in a Bible study right now that teaches on friendship…the different kinds, etc. and it, like everything else is a heart condition when you belong to the Lord. i have friends that sometimes we don’t talk or see eachother for 6-7 months, but when we do we just pick up where we left off…
    I’m so thankful for the blog. It is truly amazing how God is bringing His people together to reason out, and love on eachother…I just glorify Him for that~

    Thank you for letting me into your ring! i am blessed!
    Debs

  20. I know you know this, Deb, it’s God’s ring and He’s so good to bring us all together. I NEED the fellowship and am grateful to all y’all for reaching out to me. I have a friend like the one you mentioned, not having constant communication and yet picking right up where you left off, it’s wonderful each time.

    Please know, I am praying for you this week especially. I have a deal with the Lord…I told Him I would pray for anyone He brought to mind…He’s been keeping me quite busy…so I’m relying on Him and will be sure to intercede as He leads.

    I’ve lost three of my grandparents in the past five years. They were all in their 90’s and were in my life for 40+ years. Each of them greatly influenced me and I have missed them, but isn’t it amazing to realize now your mom and my grandparents will be able to meet and share in perfect, eternal fellowship with one another. God is so good.

    I’m praying for you now… 😉

  21. Thank you, I will recieve that. I picture them putting their heads together and smiling…who knows maybe we’re already with them… I can’t wait for eternity…the presence of God was so amazing in that room…it was thick…I have no fear of dying…more of not living my full potential until then..i’m praying for you too! 😉

  22. Hello Michele. How are you?

    Ah, friendship. In one of my poem-posts this week, I was feeling very sad because three of real good friends have just left — one went to Canada, another to Japan, and the third, to Qatar. Good thing there is the internet. It’s a lot easier now to keep in touch with them.

    If there is one thing I love about the internet is that it made me closer to people. I have found several long-lost friends, and I’ve made new friends through the power of blogging.

    Another thing I love about it is that I’ve learned a lot simply by reading good blog posts. During the past months, I have stumbled into inspiring blogs which I keep going back to — just to read and to learn and be inspired, and sometimes, to share.

    I got to your blog through lovewillbringustogether’s page… and I am ever so glad that I clicked on your page. Your posts are inspiring. Do keep it up.

    —Sherma
    http://www.brainteaser.wordpress.com

    By the way, Tam, I like this line of yours: “I don’t mind who i am – so I am rather grateful!”

  23. Thanks Sherma!

    Deb – that is so funny you thinking this was Hovs blog! HAHA! That would’ve stunned me too!

    I love our blogging community. I’ve been especially blown away tonight. I’ve hopped around and have been reading comments and I am so moved by peoples honesty, commitments to pray for another, words of encouragement.

    Michelle, every time I see any of your comments I am always blessed. You speak truth. You speak out of love. You speak wisdom (from experience I’m sure) and in that you are a voice in your sphere of influence. So blessed to be in your company.

  24. Hello Sherma, I’m fine, thank you. Your friends have traveled far. It’s good you have the internet. When we were living in England, and very poor, we couldn’t call home too often. What I would have given for the internet back then!! You speak beautifully about your friends – I’ve loved reading your words. God has blessed you with an amazing gift – anyone needing a lift, go to BrainTeaser’s blog – the music alone will inspire and then you’ll be blessed with her “scrawls.”

    Hey, Tam, you are so sweet. We have “hard knocks” in common which will either kill you, or make you grow stronger, right? You’ve continued to be a blessing in my life, and have helped me to laugh when I’ve needed a lift. Thank you, friend. 😉

  25. “Old friends, new friends, we can truly BE friends when we have the Lord in common.”
    We were just in a meeting Friday, our Women’s Ministry team is 5 women who look all absolutely different. We have learned that there are still similarites in each of us. Surprising ones…it seems we don’t think someone who doesn’t look like us can have some of the same thoughts, feelings, hang-ups? And the words you wrote were spoken…HE is the glue that holds us all together. Even though we find some similarities, without Christ we wouldn’t truly friends – merely aquaintences.

  26. Hey, His Life! The body of Christ is beautiful, how it is made up of all types. Neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, bond or freeman, we are all part of the body – no exclusions, no partiality, no separation – One in Spirit.

    It’s beautiful when it happens, and such a sad representation when it doesn’t. I’m ready for more beauty – it’s been great seeing it through technology. As I’ve stated before, I spent too much time when I started blogging on sites that were destructive. It’s good to find people who are about building up one another.

    Thanks for your insightful comment. Blessings to you 😉

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