Encouragement, Friendships, Inspirational

Dear Friend

There have been a few people in my life that over time have encouraged me, prayed for and with me and spoke life over and into me and some of the situations that I have been through.  I am not sure that I have ever really thanked them for being an imitation of Christ in my life.  We all have friends, but to have a friend, who is a friend of Jesus is something that until recently I have taken for granted.

We see examples of such friendship throughout the Bible.  Ruth and Naomi are one example, “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17 NIV)  The love and support that Job received from his friends in his time of need is yet another example. “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.” (Job 2:11 NIV)

I wrote this letter to express my gratitude.

Dear Friend,

You have no idea how you have touched my heart and changed my life.  Your ongoing willingness to stand in the gap and pray for me, even before you have prayed for yourself at times, has never gone unnoticed.  I know that many have expressed concern, and offered their love, support and prayers, but none with the genuineness and transparency that you have. The passion that you have to honor God and to see me and others do the same by fulfilling their purposes in Christ has been overwhelming at times.  At any hour of the day or night, a simple encouraging word and your consistent willingness to lend your ear is often unexplainable.  At times you can recognize my struggles when I try my best to mask them with a façade, and you constantly remind me that I am never alone.  Even through the sharing of your own struggles that you would much rather keep to yourself, in obedience to the Holy Spirit you willingly share, standing strong in your faith and knowing that if God can bring you through He can do the same and more for me.  Always quick to listen and slow to speak, and faithful that God will provide revelation in His time, you have been an example of discipline and patience time and again.  I thank you for respecting my feelings and opinions even when you don’t agree, and never being afraid to challenge me to support my ideas and decisions with the Word.  My potential to walk into my destiny has been greatly influenced by your anointing and consistent encouragement and love.

If I have never told you before, for all that you have done, for all that you are, I thank God for you.

Thank you for being my friend.

I love you,

Tiff

Dear Daddy,

Thank you for placing friends in my life that are reflections of you and encourage me to be the same. Forgive  me for those that I have taken for granted, and haven’t expressed my gratitude for in the past.  I pray that I can be a fraction of the blessing to those that consider me a friend, as my friends have been to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to be the friend that this letter is written to.  Make today the day that you express gratitude for your friends and sisters in Christ!  Do not let another day pass without letting your friends know that you love them and are thankful for them. 

How do you show your friends that they truly mean the world to you? Share your thoughts below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Thank You for Being a Friend

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Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Friendships, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth

The Truth Hurts

Let me be honest. In the past few weeks I have had many personal revelations about myself.  Here’s my story…

One of my close friends had a very deep conversation with me.  It pertained to some of my life decisions.  For those of you who don’t know me, I can be pretty closed off with what I choose to share with others.  I do it because people can be pretty judgmental.  I remember sharing something very hurtful that happened to me with a friend to have them not talk to me for a few days.  At that point I felt I did something wrong.  So, I began to just keep things to myself.  I know it isn’t always good to do that, but I’m learning it’s okay to talk to those who sincerely love you.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (KJV)

Sometimes we have to speak truth into our friends’ lives — truth that is neither easy nor pleasant, truth that might just cause a wound.  Sometimes, like me, we are recipients of a friend’s painful words.  Words shared because they love us so much they don’t want us to continue down the wrong path.  Those times are never easy whether we are the giver or receiver.

The Bible says, “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy Truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Psalms 86:11 KJV)

Sometimes we have to hear painful things about ourselves for our own good.  I’ve realized that God often uses friends in my life to bring about the change He wants for me.  I want to be honest with my friends and I want my friends to be honest with me.  The TRUTH HURTS sometimes, but in the end it’s for the best.

I had to truly take time to elevate myself and listen to God.  As I did this, it took me by surprise as I read John 8:31-32:

Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;   a ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (KJV)

Ephesians 4:15 reads, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (KJV)

What my friend shared with me was spoken with nothing but love, and I’m thankful for her.  I know that as God continues to build me up into a virtuous woman I must understand sometimes that the truth does indeed hurt…OUCH!

Dear Daddy,

Let me not be deceived by words of the enemy.  Allow nothing but the truth to surround me.  Give me a heart of discernment that will encourage me to accept Your word when it is presented to me.  God, You love me so much that You gave Your Son to die so I may live.  Thank You Lord for everything.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to accept the truth although it will sometimes hurt.  Whether it’s truth within friendships, relationships, about your finances, or even about your job, you must be willing to listen to it.  Happy Friday Ladies!!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Ugly Truth

Do you have a problem giving or receiving the truth? How do you stand on truth even when you know it will hurt? Share your story in the comment section.

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Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.”  She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry.  Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service.  She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden.  Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation.  Her favorite scripture is Hebrews 11:6: “And without Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to Him must BELIEVE that He exists and that He REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him.”

Forgiveness, Friendships, Listening

Don’t Talk…Just Listen

It started out as a funny text messaging conversation, then it turned into venting and before I knew it I lost my friend. I was shocked and dazed at the same time. Where did this venom come from? What did I do to deserve this? How did she transfer all of her negative emotions to me? I had become the victim of misplaced anger.

My friend was going through it and as she started venting to me, I started making suggestions and having “an answer” but that’s not what my friend wanted. She wanted me to LISTEN. After I made a comment or two I was chastised about how she did not want my advice, she only wanted me to listen. After I let her know that I was now angry, I put down my phone fuming. I think I saw smoke coming from my ears.  I wasn’t upset about what she said as much as I was about the timing. Although I am not a big fan of criticism, I can take it; however, coming to me when you are angry with someone else ticks me off.  I was officially HOT!

The next day my friend apologized for her rudeness but things didn’t go back to normal. I was still mad. As a matter of fact, I tried to talk to her about it two days later letting her know where she went wrong but I couldn’t shake the anger I was feeling. After I sat and thought about it, this isn’t the first time that someone brought up my ability to listen. Often I get it confused because I have some friends that if I don’t say anything they think that something is wrong; however, that wasn’t the situation with this friend.

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. “ (Matthew 18:15 KJV)

As I moped around with these negative thoughts consuming my mind, the spirit spoke to me and asked “Why are YOU mad?” Although you could not control the time or the place, your sister came to you and told you how you offended her.  You are so caught up in her timing that you have missed the message. I realized that the problem wasn’t her, it was I. In my quest to be helpful, I misjudged what my friend needed at that time. She needed an ear not a preacher. I called her and begged her pardon and I have gained my sister back.

“My dear brothers and sisters take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19 NIV)

In this circumstance, I did everything opposite of what we were instructed to do in His word. Sometimes there is purpose in being still and just LISTENING. We don’t have to have the answer.  This reminds me that even in the time I spend with Him, I don’t have to always talk but I should focus more on hearing from Him.  Only in my silence will I truly understand the message.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping me realize that I don’t always have the answers and even when I do, there is a time and a place to share them. Help me to be a better friend and to be able to discern what my friends need when they need it. Remind me that it isn’t all about me finding a solution or giving my advice but it’s about me being there and taking the time to listen. Thank You for listening to me and help me be a better listener to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to LISTEN. Even in the midst of confusion and anger, I encourage you to be silent. Don’t miss the message because it didn’t show up in a way that you thought it should. If your sister tells you how you’ve offended her, instead of becoming angry take heed and move forward. Remember the old cliché: you were blessed with two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak.

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”