When You’re Lonely for a Friend

Hello there! Meet my friend, Christine Hoover. She’s been with us before and I’m delighted to have her here again. She’s a beautiful soul doing life in Charlottesville, Virginia as she invests in her church and community as a church planter’s wife. She’s delivering some powerful words on friendship as she has just released a book entitled, Messy Beautiful Friendship.

When You’re Lonely for a Friend

The sun shone bright in the kitchen the day I realized I had no one I could call. Standing at the counter, slicing a pear into bite-sized pieces for my 10-month-old firstborn, I’d instead sliced my finger. I stood silent at the sink, letting water wash over the wound and watching blood swirl in the basin. After bandaging my finger, I reached down for my son, placed him in his highchair, spread the pears on his tray, and in what seemed the very next moment, I woke up underneath the kitchen table. I had fainted, and it felt as if my brain was rebooting after being switched off. My body felt clammy and weak, and as I lay there, immobile, my initial panic subsided as I heard the happy gurgles of my boy, safe with his pears.

It was then that the thought intruded: Who will I call to come help me? I did not have an answer, because I did not have a friend. The knife had opened my finger, but it seemed to have opened a far greater wound, a wound I’d tried desperately to ignore, hide, and resist–the wound of loneliness.

At that time, I was a young pastor’s wife, a young mother, and young in my understanding of God’s grace. When I picture myself in those years, I think of myself in two places: in my home and all tangled up in my own head.

After college, I’d waited for friends to appear, as they’d appeared in every other era of my life–through youth group and band and softball teams and housemates. And they in fact hadn’t appeared. I felt as if I’d forgotten how to do friendship and wondered if I was no longer friend-able. In my insecurity, I remained isolated, both in my home and in my head.

I remember hoping another mother would invite me out after morning Bible study. I remember desiring one of the older pastor’s wives to take me under her wing. After my pear-eating boy received a devastating diagnosis, I remember wishing others would intentionally step into my shoes and walk with me, tell me what to do, or care for me in some way.

I was lonely for a friend.

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ONE life to live {an only God story}

A tweet one Sunday afternoon, particularly caught Ben’s attention. He reached out to the writer and they met over coffee. {common to meet over coffee} Ben got to know Alan Clayton’s story.

Alan comes and goes across the pond between his homeland of Ireland, the United States, and Asia for business. {common} When he’s here in San Francisco, he comes to Epic.{becoming more common} He’s come over to our home for dinner. He’s a part of a small group. {Note: No matter how long or short your stay in a place, plug into a church community and small group.}

God was drawing Alan into our church community through Ben’s teachings, authentic hospitality, accessible worship, and the fellowship with others – his words. He left on Sundays ready to merge his faith and his work. He was experiencing the incredible way God infuses us with His Spirit –  to speak and live in a way that bridges our belief in God to our gifts and passions. For Alan, it was God using his passion of resourcing start-ups.

But this was what Alan was seeing God do on his work trips. What was happening back in Kinsale, Ireland? God was doing something significant in Alan’s heart towards his hometown. Kinsale was no longer a place where he lived only to consume its beauty and serenity and opportunities. It was becoming a place where he began to ask, “what can I give, rather than what can I take?”

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If our city had a gate…

If our city had a gate and I knew Jesus was about to come in,

I’d be there to greet Him, to welcome Him in.

I’d thank Him for coming

Shower Him with praise – stating the obvious to the Ancient of Days.

I’d tell Jesus that I know He heals, comforts and mourns. That He sits with the outcasts, has compassion, serves, breaks the chains of sin and bondage, sets us free, and loves everyone.

I’d show Him the beautiful places – all of which He made –

The bay, the hills, the cliffs on His ocean’s edge.

The lavender, succulents, and calla lilies that grow wild.

The seals, the canyons, the overflowing fruit outside the markets, the tide.

I’d want Him to see what His people were doing –

serving in the hard places, painting nails, cooking hot meals, caring for their little ones, delivering groceries, reading to children, working with integrity, starting companies that make a difference and He’d know all that already.

I would still want to show Him believers meeting in small groups at churches, in homes, in coffee shops and playgrounds – speaking encouragement, holding one another up, celebrating, mourning, and every day living in community.

Starting conversations on the bus, giving smiles away, listening to co-workers, collaborating to bring about good change to His world, inviting others in, building relationships.

I’d want to show Him the hard places –

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