Faith Friends

I wish she was here to celebrate.

I would call and sing to her on the phone.  We would meet for lunch, and I would treat because today is a special day.  It is my dear friend, Jeannie’s birthday.   

However, I am not able to do these things.  Sadly, Jeannie passed away three years ago after fighting hard against pancreatic cancer.

It was heartbreaking to lose her so young and so quickly.  Maybe you have recently lost someone in your life.  I know firsthand how hard the special days are especially the first year and even the next years to follow. 

Give yourself lots of grace on those special dates: birthdays, anniversaries, and Holidays. 

Remember grieving looks differently for everyone.  Some people like to be alone and process through writing or journaling.  Others want to talk with someone like a trusted friend or counselor.  Even others will do something in honor or remembrance of their loved one.

So today, even though I cannot celebrate with Jeannie, I want to celebrate and honor Jeannie!

I love this picture of us the night our youngest boys were baptized back in March 2016.

Jeannie was an amazing mom, wife and friend.  She deeply loved Jesus as well as her family; her faith shined brightly in her life. I had the privilege to meet her when our older kids were two years old at MOPS at church.  (Note: now they are 16 years old).  We immediately connected and became faith friends.

A Faith Friend is someone who continues to point you back to your faith in hard times and in good times. 

Jeannie and I were faith friends!   Sadly, we both walked through a heartbreaking miscarriage in between our oldest and youngest. I remember telling her how thankful I was that God had brought her into my life.   She was always an encouragement and support to me especially during the greatest heartbreaks of my life: losing Baby Grace and walking through my divorce.  Little did I know that losing her would be my next greatest heartbreak.

Friends, losing a loved one is so hard.  If you are grieving the loss of a mother, father, friend, child, baby, I want to say, I am so sorry.  I wish I could give you a big hug and remind you that you are not alone in your grief. 

Like a faith friend, let me share with you a bible verse that helped me during my grief.  Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” Remember He is close and wants to walk through this with you.   Let me end with this prayer for you.

God, I pray for all the hurting hearts who are grieving the loss of a loved one.  I pray we will feel Your closeness, Your love, and Your comfort particularly on these special days when we are missing our loved ones more than ever. Surround us with faith friends who will encourage us to run to You in our pain and will listen with empathy and love.  God, we don’t always understand why but I pray we will trust You with all of our hearts in the middle of the heartbreak.  In Jesus name, AMEN

Your God Story is Powerful!

I am once again in awe of God.

Just over one week ago, I was in the beautiful country of Rwanda with a very specific God assignment.  

Earlier that morning, our team leader shared that we would be visiting Mama Joy’s Ministry.  She is helping women get off the streets by teaching them life skills like how to sew.   She asked at our team meeting for one of us to share a devotional or words of encouragement to these women.

As I went back to my room, I saw my broken clay pot in my suitcase.  In my heart, I could hear God saying these women are broken just like your clay pot and you can share your testimony on brokenness. 

God was asking me to step out in faith.

To say that I was nervous is an understatement.  I had never stood in front of a group of women and shared my story before.  My emotions were high.  As I was getting on the bus, my eyes just kept watering. 

As the tears kept running down my face, I thought it was because I was concerned about being prepared for this last minute God assignment.  But as I sat quietly on the bus, I knew deep in my heart that God had been preparing me for this for a long time.   Thinking through the words in my book and my recent blog posts on brokenness, I realized that God was just asking me to share my life message.

God never wastes a hurt!  He specializes in turning our pain into His purpose.

I just had to trust that He would give me the words to share with these women.  Friends, I am here to say that He was once again faithful.

In a tiny alley on the streets of Rwanda, I poured out my heart and shared my broken story.   

Holding up my broken pot, I shared how my world got turned upside down when I had my miscarriage as well as how my heart was shattered into a million pieces when I walked through my divorce.  But through it all, I shared about God’s love, comfort, and faithfulness to meet me in the middle of my heartbreak.  

Honestly that day, even though I was sharing my personal story, I was really sharing God’s story!  God’s story of redemption in my life.

Friends, God wants to use all of our heartbreaks, hurts, and pain as we share His story in our lives.   His closeness when we are heartbroken.  His comfort and love when we are grieving.  His faithfulness to redeem it for His purpose.

Your God Story is powerful! 

Your personal example of how God was faithful and met you in your pain is exactly what another hurting heart needs to hear today.  I want to encourage you to take a step of faith and share your broken story.   There is power in our God Stories!

Love, Jodi