Monday, February 07, 2011

Lessons Learned

I shared with Ben that I've learned two important lessons over the last few weeks since posting on this blog about the journey that God has us on:

1. I've learned what it means to be a good friend and bless others. A true friend. An intentional friend. And I learned this important lesson by witnessing and experiencing how my friends have treated me. Typically when I hear that a friend is struggling I ask questions to show that I care. Though I'm now realizing that simply inquiring does NOT show that I care (even if I really do), it just shows that I like to know the details. Or, I would say, "Let me know if I can do anything for you." While I mean well when I make these general statements nobody is likely to take me up on that. But as the recipient of the kindness and goodness of so many people over the last several days, I think I now know more about what it means to be a real friend. An intentional friend does these types of things:
- Sends a text and says, "I'm bringing dinner on Thursday."
- "Plan on staying at my house the last few nights you're in town. It will make packing your apartment so much easier."
- "I'm arranging my schedule to spend all day Friday with you to pack."
- "I want to watch your kids for you while you pack on such and such a day."
- "Here's some money for your trip. I know there are extra expenses that come up."
- "I prepared a snack bag for each of your kids while you're on the road."
- "Here's a gift card to McDonalds in case you need to let the kids get out to eat and play."
- Sends encouraging cards and even remembers your theme! (smile!)
- Buys you a box of oreos because they know how much you like them.
- Gives you gifts to show how much they care.
- Doesn't just offer to help, but insists on it.
- Stocks your pantry without asking.
- Shows up to help you load and unload your truck. (As our Louisville friends loaded our U-Haul I kept thinking to myself, "If these guys ever move they know we will no longer be in the area to help them move. Yet they help us KNOWING we can never return the favor").
- Prays for you, regularly.
* If I had been asked, "Do you want me to watch your kids? Would you like a meal? Can I give you some money?" etc, I would have undoubtedly replied with, "Oh, that's so kind of you. Thank you, but we'll be fine." Next time I see someone in need (and I don't just mean physically) I am going to try and be intentional. Rather then say, "Let me know if I can help" I plan to say, "I've already decided. And this is how I AM going to help . . . "

2. The second lesson I've learned is that everyone is facing some kind of trial. I received countless notes in my inbox from people who felt free to share their struggles with me because I had shared what was going on in my life. I was humbled and amazed by some of the things these dear people are facing. Some of these people I don't even know. Of course I know in my head that nobody's life is perfect and that we each have our own issues to deal with. But it's one thing to know that generally speaking and another thing to read the personal stories and hear about the heartache. Many of the struggles are by no means minor. The Lord has reminded me that I need to be patient with others - always showing love and forbearance because I really don't know what is going on in someone else's life. Just like God extends His grace to me, I need to extend that same grace to others. And hearing about these personal trials has allowed me to put into practice what I learned in Lesson #1.

These lessons have been learned. Now they need to be applied to my life!


Alicia said...


Great post, very challenging to me (though I know you didn't mean it to be a challenge to others). I often offer to help/serve my friends in need but it's not often that I follow through! It certainly isn't easy to serve others outside my family since my young family demands much of my time -- almost all of it! But I shouldn't use that as a crutch to reach out to others. Reminds me of the song from Sovereign Grace's kid's cd "Walking with the Wise". There's an entire song about being a good friend. Great stuff!

I finally went back through your blog and read about your move. Praise God for His leading and provision! I would feel exactly the same way if we had to move. It gets much harder too when your kids have memories, friends, and connections in a certain place.

Thanks as always for your honesty!


Jeanna said...

Thanks Kelly for sharing! That is a real challenge to me.

Jeannette said...

Well stated, Kelly. You've challenged me to be more intentional. The desire is there, but it's sometimes hard to overcome the "obstacles."

amber said...

Great lessons! Thanks for sharing!