Friend?

We all have someone in our lives who we love beyond their faults. We often excuse things they do and make minor of any hurtful behavior on their part even when it hurts us. They seem so fragile that any correction you would like to make you do not because you do not want to cause them pain or give them reason to do more harm. To be honest we may even be afraid of losing their friendship. Yet if we examine the friendship you will see that the relationship is more like a one way street. You are there for them whenever they need you. You love them unconditionally, yet they neglect the relationship, and may even make demands on your behavior.

You have allowed yourself to become a convenience to them. Compare your relationship with them, to a married man and his mistress. You only get acknowledged when no one is around and then it’s not about time with you but it is all about them. Then they always have an excuse to why they treat you this way. They say they love you and can’t live without you, and maybe that is true. You are always there for them. You accept them knowing their flaws, and that they will neglect and hurt you. They have been a part of your life for so long that you cannot imagine them not being a part of it. Yet are they really a part of your life, or are you some understudy in the play of their life? Are you just waiting off stage waiting to speak your one line, only to have to exit stage left? These friends don’t mean to be selfish we tell ourselves, but they are. Their only concern is about themselves, what they want and what they need and you are like a dog sitting under the table waiting for crumbs to drop.

So what do we do with these friends? To be honest I don’t have a magic answer to solve this question. I wish that I did, but what I will say is that if we continue to allow ourselves to be treated like second best that is all we will ever be. It goes back to the married man and his mistress. The old lie she believes is one day when all is right he will leave his wife and they can then be together then. Most of us know this will not likely happen and if he does leave his wife to be with another there will never be trust and he will more than likely repeat this behavior.

Loving your friend but does not mean that you let yourself get neglected or mistreated. Tell them how they treat you hurts, and if they are truly your friend they will begin to treat your friendship better and not just say they are sorry or make up more excuses. Unfortunately some of us might lose friends we love but the sad fact is if we do they don’t know how to love.  We will still love and respect them but we do not have to allow ourselves to enable the way the treat us. Loving and forgiving does not mean you must tolerate and allow wrong behavior. You just do not hold a grudge against them and do not let the behavior of others take the joy from your life.

I am not saying that you must end the friendship, but to respect yourself enough not to allow anyone to treat you less than you deserve. Eventually if you do not do this you will become bitter and resentful, or you will become depressed believing this is how you deserve to be treated because you may believe that you are just lucky to have someone call you their friend.

Remember Jesus loves you and He is the friend that sticks closer to you than a brother. He also laid down His life to save yours.

Psalm 55:12-14 (NKJV)

12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.

Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)

24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly,[a]
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

John 15:13 (NKJV)

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

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People Who I Admire

There are people who come into your life in different ways and at different times. Some will have a positive influence on your life and others will not. Today I am going to be writing about a couple who has blessed me more than they will ever know. The first blessing is that God placed them in my life and me on their heart. They do not have a lot and they give what they really don’t have to give and she says she is sorry that it is not much. What I see is the woman with the two coins who Jesus sees and sees that she has given more than the others for what she gave was a true sacrifice. So the gift of sacrifice is another way having them in my life has blessed me because it has taught me that it is not the material value but the value of a giving heart. Now this blessing is hard for me to describe without getting too deep into sharing something very personal for them so I will say only this they suffered a great tragedy. Yet when you meet them you would never know this. It is not only that they don’t complain about what happened to them but you can visibly see a true joy about them. What God teaches me through them is so much that I could never repay all that they have given to me.  If you were to meet her the first thing you would notice is that her smile reaches her eyes and you will never know the pain of what broke her heart by just seeing her or spending time with her. You have to really get to know her to know she feels any pain at all and even then she will not talk much about it but talk about the goodness of life and of Jesus. She is beautiful inside and out and filled with so much love just spending a moment with her will have a very positive effect on you. He is gifted with knowledge and wisdom and speaks with authority that only comes from Jesus yet he does not boast of himself. He is not arrogant or puffed up but humble and gentle. Listen to him read the word and the revelation on what he reads you know comes from Christ. His heart is to train up new disciples and I know I have learned a lot from him and his wife. For they though  they know true sorrow live a life that shows the world the love and joy of Jesus Christ, and to me that is why I admire and love them and treasure the gift of their friendship. God bless them always and bless you for reading this. I know I did not mention their names but that is to respect them, but I hope that if there are people whom you have been blessed with like this couple I hope you will share what having them in your life has done for you here with me and the others who will read this.

Gifts Old and New

This old Bible still has use. Although it’s pages are worn, and some are even torn and stained.

It reminds me of where I was and how far I have come.

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This Journal and Bible came from two friends who are special to me. Dawn Kozma and Amy (Martin) Clifford blessed me with this wonderful study Bible. Both have been of great use for me in relationship with my Savior Jesus.

For these gifts are used everyday.

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Photography by Julie Sheppard

These gifts also remind me of the gift Jesus gave to all who will receive. The gift of salvation. The greatest gift anyone will ever receive.

I am here for you

     I do not know or truly understand what you have lived through. Even if you share your story with me, I would not know how you truly felt. You could describe the events and how they made you feel. But it is like watching a movie. One can only wonder how much of the story ended up on the floor of the editing room. We tell our story in short bits and pieces. Even how we express how we may have felt changes each time we share an event, depending on our current mood. If we are not feeling well, either physically or emotionally, we may express sadness or anger. Another time we may show indifference.  No matter how many times we may share the same story it may seem different. Some of us may record our thoughts and our daily events in journals and diaries. We take them out of the drawer or take them off the shelf to either add a new entry or read from our past. We reflect upon our own words and see how much we have grown. We are the same but different.

    I write this because that even though I may not completely understand how you feel or what you are going through, I do care about you. My pain and my experiences are different than yours but do not make them more difficult or tragic. They do make me more emphatic to your pain. I do understand your [pain hurts! You matter, and I am here to give you my ear to listen, my heart that cares, and my arms to hug and hold you when and if you need to cry. No judgment or criticism, no telling you what you may have done wrong, and no offering up advice on what you need to do. I am just here for you. You can talk and share what is going on or we can just sit in silence. It is up to you. I just want you to know that even if you feel all alone, I am here and you are loved.

Matthew 18:20

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

I am grateful for every opportunity to fellowship with other believers in Christ. It is truly a blessing to spend time in God’s Word and with my brothers and sisters In Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,Adam n Eve a

Art by Julie Sheppard

Joined together in Christ, living as one to fulfill His purpose in our lives.

Blessings come in many shapes and sizes

Today is just another day, but I was blessed with this beautiful present, by a couple who are so very special to me. It has now been over three years since my Mom died, and I still miss her very much. Yet when I spend time with my friend Janie I am often mistaken for her daughter. Which is interesting since my mother’s first name was Jane, although she went by Keiko. We have both suffered loss of loved ones, for me it is my Mom for her it is two sons. I told her today that we will see them again in heaven someday but while we are on earth, I will be the child for the children she lost and she will be the mother whom I lost. I am so grateful for her and her husbands friendship, they have truly blessed me with more than a kimono but with a friendship that is more like family.