Words on her wall
Last night, just as I was ready to to go bed, a message from a stranger-friend popped into my inbox. I opened it and read an endearing message from a long-time blog-reading stranger who was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and underwent many of the same procedures and treatments last year that I did in years prior. Before, during, and now, she’s continued to read my blog. In her email she told me about herself and how she feels we are connected.
When I read her words I realized that we are connected although we’ve never met: we both live in God’s kingdom and there’s this whole other realm that we experience together.
Here’s where I was bamboozled: as she went through her own challenges last year, her mom sent her notes and quotes weekly as a means of encouragement. Among the notes and quotes were words from my writing. (The images below are quotes pulled from my blog.) She chose encouraging quotes from a variety of sources, but it brought me to tears that I was one of her sources and she put such value on what little old me had to say. My new stranger friend even snapped pictures of the quotes that her mom chose from my blog, designed, and printed for her, to show me.
Do you know what a gift this was for me to see last night? I am so humbled to have touched someone in this way. Knowing that God has used me to make a difference — no, a positive difference — in the life of a stranger is a remarkable swell for my heart on a day that it took a hit. I like this girl who wrote to me last night. I want to be her real-life friend, but I’ll settle for our spiritual intimacy.
That’s what’s weird about this blogging thing: it’s so one-sided. I don’t really get to “know” very many of you in the way you know me.
Words have always been powerful for me:
As an athlete my coach had us lead the team by choosing empowering quotes to motivate ourselves.
As a graduating teacher-to-be my portfolio sections were divided and each had a themed quote of inspiration.
I’ve always had note cards and hand-written quotes and verses tucked all around me.
I’m a storyteller and words are my tools.
I have an ongoing project in my mind. For months, I have had a vision for re-decorating Maren and Greta’s bedrooms and their bathroom. I want them to be surrounded by words of love and encouragement because it has been something that has brought great consistency and peace to my life and faith. I’ve been stockpiling frames and their sweet little-kid art and quotes to hang one the walls for months. Part of the reason I’ve stalled is because I want to be so very thoughtful in choosing just the right words to hang. It never occurred to me that some of the words could be mine. My new friend has given me inspiration. As with most of my projects (sigh), it’s in a pile. Rather, piles. I’ve been telling myself: I’ll get there. I’ll paint the rooms, I’ll rearrange the furniture, I’ll make it the space that suits them. We’ve lived here for more than five years; their personalities are big and strong and beautiful. They have stories to tell. I’m a story and everything that I love has a story; I like a room that tells a story too.
Seeing my new friend’s quotes (art?) has given renewed hope in my purpose. I am doing today well. Even when there are bumps in my world and my rose-colored glasses need to be really thick, the goodness is there. I fight so hard for the beauty, the joy, the life, the vitality. It is rejuvenating to my soul to imagine the spiritual realm where swords clash, angels soar, prayers reverberate, and God reigns.
I love that I stand in the gap of the two worlds. My armor is on; I am a warrior, but my battle is already won.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. –Ephesians 6:10-18