Strangers Matter

After a few week break from blogging to be with my family and reflect on what God is asking me to do, I'm back and I've got a challenge for you. Let's stop looking for this elusive "calling" in which we are to devote our lives. 

You make known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in your presence,
With eternal pleasures at your right hand.
— Psalm 16:11

Let's stop putting off what God has already tasked us with until He writes it in the sky. Let's just start living out the Gospel. Let's start living out what real love looks like. That, my friends, is our calling. When we get that right on a daily basis; when we start living in our potential of His new creation, then and only then can He really start doing some big stuff with our lives because we have completely surrendered them to His greater purpose.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.
— Luke 10:25, 27

I'm not good at this. I have to constantly remind myself to stop all the planning for the future "callings" and just start living in today. That's part of what I realized during my month long hiatus from blogging and leading study groups. I get distracted by the need for a planned out future so much that sometimes I forget that I'm right smack dab in the middle of the plan for today. The plan that calls me to love on people around me. To love on those God has put in my life. To love on my family, my neighbors, and the strangers that cross my path with a nudge that can only be divine. That is why Jenny and I blog. That is why we tell our stories whenever we get a chance. That is why we seek out people we may never meet in person to love on. I'm not good at getting it right all the time, but when I do, I am blessed tenfold by seeing God working, by seeing His love flowing freely in this world, by seeing miracles happen in the lives of others, and by tasting the sweet taste of pure grace and mercy that is unleashed by living out my "calling." This matters friends. This is why I keep pushing on, trusting God's leading, praying I'm better at it today than I was yesterday.

Once in a while I'm blown away with a huge reminder of why this matters so much. I received an email from a dear friend of mine. A dear friend I have never met in real, face-to-face life, but one I love so dearly. She was one of those strangers that God placed in my path and nudged me clearly to reach out to. She was someone who needed loving on and reminding she was not alone in her struggle with infertility. With her permission, I want to share Eva's story with you because this, my sweet friends, is everything that matters.

I will never forget the moment I opened the email that told me my test results. My AMH was undetectable. It was in that moment that my entire being felt threatened. I had never wanted to rush into having a child, as I was in a marriage that I had a feeling was not meant to be.

So there I was at the age of 39, with an amazing new guy. One who was willing to have his vasectomy reversed for me. And I was undetectable.

The isolation, darkness, anxiety and fear that comes with infertility can be all consuming. It almost swallowed me whole.

Then one day a stranger reached out to me. Her name was Courtney. She reached out to me via Facebook. At first I really didn’t understand why. In truth, there have been several times that I’ve wondered why. We live in such a fear based, skeptical, keep it to yourself society. At least I did.

What I do know is that I was a dark, black balloon of despair ready to float away unnoticed. Barely tethered to the earth. I guess Courtney recognized this. She consistently, and lovingly, reached out to me, sending her love, light, and prayer.

There were times it made no difference in my emotional state.

There were times when it made ALL the difference.

This stranger’s kindness. This stranger’s love and support somehow managed to wrap itself around my cord and tether me back to this earth again. She would keep me grounded in my darkest times.

Someone I have never met.

Fast forward many months later... I am now 40 weeks pregnant and anxiously anticipating the arrival of my son. I consider Courtney one of my dearest friends. I will be connected to her, I hope, for the rest of my days on this earth.

We must never underestimate the power we have... to reach out, touch, save, and enrich someone’s life. Even a stranger.

This random purposeful soul, whom I love dearly, made all the difference in mine.
— Eva

There are so many moments in our almost two year friendship that have let me know this friendship is divinely ordained. There are so many instances I have been blown away by just how much God must care for her specifically to place someone in her life to hold her hand in her darkest times. There are so many moments that I shutter to think how things would have turned out differently if I hadn't been obedient to the Spirit's prompting to "go check on Eva." There are moments when I would hear His voice, or wake up with her on my mind, that caused me to just sent her a quick note to check on her only to find out she was in a deep, dark place having just received another blow of bad news. A simple text from a friend on the other side of the country that she had never met was beneficial in reminding her she is loved and seeing a glimmer of hope. There are so many moments that have been devoted to just praying for her. So many moments that may be uncomfortable as defined by conventional relationships, but that were just right because they were done out of obedience to God and love for this precious friend.

Strangers matter, friends. You may not have a struggle with infertility as the thread that ties you together, but you have some shared experience. You have some common ground that God will use to let His love flow freely.

When God nudges you to go love on someone, be obedient. Open yourself up to the possibility of a friendship with someone outside your social circle. My sweet friend Eva matters. She matters to God. She is loved deeply by Jesus Christ. Therefore, she matters to and is loved by me. I have been blessed so much by this friendship, by this stranger who is deeply tied to my soul, by seeing God's grace and love flow freely to her, by getting a front row seat to witness a miracle in her life. I pray we never miss out on one of these changes. I pray we stop being distracted by the busyness of today and the plans for tomorrow so that we make the time to invest ourselves in relationships and encouragement that is needed today. I pray we use our stories, our experiences to encourage those around us, friends and strangers. I pray we all get to experience the friendship of a stranger like Eva and be reminded of just how incredibly much our Lord loves each of us.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
— Matthew 6:26