Last week I went back to my hometown. I visited thirty-nine people in nine different homes and restaurants. My Dad, my in-laws, my siblings and their children.
My best friends from both college and my full-time-work years.
Some who have known me since birth. Others who knew me during high school and college. Many who witnessed my transformation from Crazy Party Girl to Young Woman of God. Many who endured the zealous witness of my early Christian days (and surprisingly, still like me). Most of whom celebrated with me during my marriage and the birth of my children. All who surrounded me during Noah’s death and the long, dark years that followed.
I lingered over dinners, lunches and coffee, at kitchen tables, on back porches and living room couches, while each one updated me on his or her life. I listened. I laughed. I choked back tears. I “oooh’ed and ahhhh’ed” over the growth of everyone’s children.
I embraced, said goodbye, and promised to keep in touch.
While I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of every individual visit, I eventually ran out of things to say. I used up my entire supply of available words. I had to dig deeply into my reservoir of excess words to end my week strong. By the time I left my whirlwind visit, I was almost catatonic.
Last night, as I walked alone through my neighborhood, I thought back through each conversation. I prayed deeply for each family member in crisis or in despair. I thanked God for every blessing evident in their lives. I basked in the glow of deep and lasting relationships.
And I had a moment of self-discovery: I realized I minister much more effectively in writing than I do in person.
I discovered that I’m much better at responding with wisdom and grace when I have time to first ponder and pray. In person, I tend to speak without much of a filter. That’s rarely a good thing.
I regret that I did not seize the opportunity to take my friends and family by the hand and pray with them in their homes. I wish I hadn’t spent so much time talking about my 15 pound weight-gain and my weaning off Lexapro, blah, blah, blah. I wish I had instead spent more time encouraging and speaking about God and the way He is moving in my life. I wish I had let my light shine a little more brightly than I did.
I didn’t feel condemnation from God in my prayer time, but rather a little nudge to allow Him to refine me in this area.
And so, this week, I will pray individually for each of my friends and family. I will direct my prayers specifically for each one, interceding for God to meet their unique needs. And I will follow up in writing or by phone with a scripture or a word of encouragement.
What is God saying to YOU today? Leave a comment, a link or both.