The Power of the Written Word
How do you muster the courage to tell someone who means so much to you goodbye?
And, why do they call it a good bye?
Saying bye rarely feels good.
It is hard.
I realize now I've been intentionally putting this off for a few months.
I knew it was coming.
Actually, I knew it was coming a couple years ago. When my friend first met the man who would soon become her husband, we talked about how she could potentially relocate to Arkansas one day.
Not ideal but sharing a state line is swallowable.
Earlier this year, it became clear Arkansas was not where God needed my friend and her husband. Apparently, He needs them in Iowa. It was a bit of a shock to all of us.
I remember Google-mapping Iowa in my living room when she told me the news.
What is in Iowa??
They're still not entirely sure, but it is clear His hand is all over this.
But goodbye's are so hard.
I've been putting it off. One of my strengths is planning, so it's no surprise I resorted to planning a trip for us to reconnect after the big move. I guess my heart was saying...
"Meet me at the beach," because goodbye is altogether impossible to say to a good friend.
I recommend it. It makes saying goodbye the night before moving day not so tough. Still tough. But there's hope that we will see each other again SOON.
Hugging my friend goodbye in the parking lot after a fun night of dancing (another trick to lighten times like these), my heart was holding onto SOON.
Iowa's Getting a Good One
You see, this friend means a lot to me. When moving to Oklahoma five years ago, my biggest prayer was for God to provide strong friendships for me. Jada was answered prayer. She's one of the first friends God gave me in Oklahoma.
We met in small group, and our friendship was founded on our faith and trust in Jesus.
Our friendship grew through walks and concerts and trips and smelly fish pants and...
...oh you're wondering about smelly fish pants? Mmk so let me just say if you go kayaking in Lake Union in Seattle and then have a super early flight and want to wear your next-day clothes to bed, don't wear the pants from the lake. BAD IDEA, CANDACE.
Sniffing pillows and armpits and everything all around to discover it was my pants!
What's even worse is I just threw on the covers and let it be.
Uhh. Let it be. Three words that should never be said in relation to smelly fish pants.
But, that's the super unglamorous and unfiltered truth. I wore those smelly fish pants to bed AND on the plane the next day.
(Not my best moment. But another passenger brought their cat who peed in its travel bag a few rows in front of us, soooo my fish pants weren't even the worst part of that flight. No one knew the cat was on the flight until we heard a screeching "Meowwwwww!!!" on take-off. I get it. Can't blame the cat. A screech like that would likely weaken my bladder, too.)
But I think we all need a friend who will stand beside us when our pants smell and, even more, when our attitudes smell worse.
Jada's seen me at my best, she's remained with me at my worst, and she's walked with me through some of my darkest moments.
In one of those dark nights, knowing my love language is flowers, she brought me a bouquet of fresh flowers and a handwritten note. The note has been on my night stand ever since. Simple words that reminded my heart that night and the days to come that I wasn't alone and still had reason to rejoice.
That's Jada. She lives her life with uncommon joy. Through trials and heartache of her own, she's learned we always, always, always have reason to rejoice. She knows this because she knows Jesus.
Reason to Rejoice
There was another man who lived long before who knew this, too. He found the courage to write down truth for his friends, too, to strengthen them in their journey and remind them they are not alone and they still had reason to rejoice.
His name was Paul, and because he wrote these words down in the form of letters, we get to read this truth so it can change our lives from the inside out.
In one letter to Philemon (we'll call him Phil), he and his friend, Timothy, write,
I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus... and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. - Philemon 1:4-7
In our first week in this Writing Letters series, we saw how the written word is powerful.
I'm so thankful Jada was obedient to the nudge on her heart to write down those words for me. She'll never fully know how much strength it gave me. As Paul said, how much joy and comfort I found in her love and how it refreshed my soul and helped me be able to refresh the hearts of others who came into my path in the days ahead from their own weary road.
We are refreshed so we can refresh others. It's a wave on wave on wave of refreshment.
Indeed, refreshment comes in waves, and when it comes in letters, those waves can be read and washed over us as often as needed.
Even more, I'm so thankful Paul was obedient to write down these words - these letters for us - to serve as daily refreshment we so desperately need.
I'm thankful for friendships that point us to truth so we can find the courage to rejoice in the good and bad and unknown times between.
The most beautiful thing to me about writing letters is you get to read it again.
Paul's words are kept for us. His words to the Corinthians and Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians, and those to his friends Timothy, Titus and Phil... Paul was busy!
Also, it's important to remember writing back then was not as easy or accessible as it is for us now. This was a true act of obedience. Paul was imprisoned but experienced uncommon freedom in writing...
here's the best part...
WE COULD BE FREE.
AND LIVE FREE!
AND HELP OTHERS BE FREE AND LIVE FREE!
When God nudges your heart to write down a few words and give it to someone - or like we saw last week, give it to yourself in the days ahead to strengthen your own faith - do it.
To help you get started, I've created some s'cute stationary (short for "so cute" because that's how I like things - S-C-U-T-E, s'cute). Subscribe below to get access to the Resources page and grab your FREE stationary bundle today!
When you need courage for the day before you, we can read Paul's letters. That's the beauty of the written word. It can be read again and death itself cannot quench.
Even more, the written word in the Bible is powerful. It's inspired by the Holy Spirit. From the ancient of days, it remains the same. It's alive and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, cutting through bone and marrow.
All to say, the Word of God changes us from the inside out.
Let's find strength as we follow the example Paul sets for us to find joy in being bold and living above our circumstances and peace as we share truth with others and rest in treasuring the gift of friendship - through writing letters.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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