11 February 2014

Humanity's Web

 ~Today's photos are from a recent walk near our home.  When I took this photo, I thought there were four turtles in it.  When I looked more closely, I found a fifth turtle.  Do you see him?~

I came home exhausted that afternoon.  Completely drained.  In a sort of shock perhaps only introverts understand.  After lunch, I sat down on the couch, and called a friend.  I was pretty sure she would understand.

"I just spent a lot of time [in my chosen volunteer activity].  It was crazy.  And I'm curled up on the couch calling you because I felt like I needed some introvert time before I can manage to do anything useful."

"Calling me counts as introverted time?"

We both laughed.  Well, yes, it did count.  Because introverts don't just need alone time, they also need deep, meaningful conversation time.

So we talked, about everything.  Or nearly everything.  Maybe we talked that day about how our  days were going.  What things were growing (or not growing) in the gardens and greenhouse.  Decorating the house.  Extravagance in spending.  Miserly spending.  Where the line might be between those two kinds of spending.  How we might spend our time if we ever ended up in solitary confinement for our faith.  Whether there is such a thing (morally speaking) as playing too many board games.  And could there be such a thing as wasted time in a prison cell?

Somewhere after realizing we had been on the phone for something like more than an hour (I hadn't even stirred off the couch), we might have prayed together, like we often do, for the big challenges and trials we both face in our lives.

Because everybody faces those things.

~Is it a ladybug if it doesn't have spots?~

In fact, some days, I look around at what goes on in my own life and in the lives of my friends, and I'm daunted by how hard the devil works to discourage, dishearten, and distract.  Yet on those same days, I've been as many times blessed as daunted by looking around at how Jesus turns what first appear to be curses into some of our most precious blessings.

I usually don't notice that without a little help to refocus, though, because it's far too easy for me to talk about all the troubles I face, dwelling on all the worst possible outcomes.  I'm pretty good at working myself into a tattered ball of worry.

Is that normal?  Sometimes I think I'm the only one who does that, and I even hope I am the only one, because I'd hate for you to experience that misery, too!

I've been learning something about how to handle my worry, though, and I can't even count how many times that one thing has rescued me from a lonely darkness that threatens to steal the joy right out from the bottom of my heart.

Want to know what it is?  I've given you a hint already.

~Bananas in the neighborhood~

Choose your friends wisely.  Then don't be afraid to call them when you need to talk.

Yep.  It's really that simple.  I have a substantial collection of friends and family I can count on to draw me wisely back to a place of courage, who will pray with me, who will repeat God's promises to me, who will hear me out, who will remind me to look even for the tiniest bright spots (because bright spots come like little lights from the Father of lights, from the Lord of love).

My friends are so amazing that even when I call to try to encourage them, I often find myself bursting with joy and blessing from the way they handle themselves and cling to God's promises in the midst of their toughest times.  What could be sessions of self pity for one or both of us turn into seasons of loud praise to our God who has led us faithfully all along life's paths.

Only Jesus can work those kinds of transformations out of human friendships, sending us out again for enthusiastic service for Him.  I believe that's part of why He prayed for us to have the kind of unity He has with the Father.

~This is why, says Michael, we HAVE to grow papayas.~

Of course, I do believe we need to learn to stand for the right whether anyone else does so or not.  There are times in our lives when we may not have support in as much abundance as we would like.

I've learned two things from times like that in my own life:  first, Jesus never leaves nor forsakes, so I never really have to stand alone.  And second?  Knowing what it's like to desire encouragement is a great reference point in knowing how to offer effective support to another person.

"We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and whatever we can do to benefit and uplift others will reflect in blessing upon ourselves."  White, Ellen G.  Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 431. 

Today's another one of those days when I'm looking around at life--my life as well as my friends' and family members' lives--again reminded about how seriously engaged we all are in the battle of God against Satan.  There's no escape from it--only the fighting through to the final victory on the Lord's side, or the final defeat on Satan's side.

I bet (except I don't bet, but you know what I mean) if you looked around, you'd see battles raging, too.  What shall we do to fight, and lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feet weary from the paths of war?

How about pray like crazy?
And ask Jesus to remind us of some Bible promise to share that might bless a friend?
Maybe even tell someone you've prayed for them extra today?
Or open God's unfailing Word, putting your finger right on the page, believing our Father will do just what He said?

We might just be amazed at what the Almighty God does in our behalf even yet today.

{In fact...this idea just struck me...if you leave a comment?  Or send me an e-mail via the little box on the sidebar?  I'd be happy to pray for you.  Tell me the specifics, or don't.  Whatever you're comfortable with.  Just know that I'll count it blessing and privilege to pray.}


  1. I was really blessed by this post- It has only been in the past few years that I have figured out that I am an introvert. That sounds funny but while I was growing up my sister 2 1/2 years older than me - was very shy so I was the one that was pushed into being an extrovert - but the older I get the more I realize I am an introvert. And I really liked this sentence: "Because introverts don't just need alone time, they also need deep, meaningful conversation time."
    I have found this true for myself as well- deep, meaningful conversations are great. And when you find friends that you can really talk to- that is a true blessing. God bless, Lisa :O)

    1. It really does take a lot of life experience to figure ourselves out, doesn't it? I'm glad this post.could be a blessing...godly friendship is something I have found to be rejuvenating in hard times large and small, as well as a delight in the good times, and I just hope I can be that kind of friend to those who have been such a blessing to me.

  2. I love this post, Heidi. The friendships you describe make all the difference. Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and prayers.

    1. You are part of what makes this post possible, Barbara! You have blessed me more than I can say. :)

  3. I love your blog, Heidi! Thank you for another encouraging post. Your friendship has indeed been a blessing to this introvert. :)

    1. Your friendship and prayers bless me, as well, Samantha! I'm delighted to have you in my collection of wonderful people. :)


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