~week three~day 1~

I’ll tell you what is brave.  Deciding to join 31 Days of writing in October.  Ha!  Like I often do, I feel strongly and ride off into the sunset with all the things that matter to me.  Except that sometimes riding off into the sunset actually means hanging from my horse upside-down by one stirrup with my hair dragging in the dust.  Which does NOT qualify as brave.  Or anything else but painful for that matter.

Sometimes my endeavors come crashing down on me.  Working full time, being a mom full time, shooting for spending more good times with my husband, committed to being a good friend, being someone who cares about my community and global issues.  Plus all the things that I think about and plan to do, but haven’t yet.  Crash.

Toward the end of last week, too much stuff was on the forefront of my brain and heart.  I was like that video of the girl with the nail in her forehead but doesn’t know it and just continues describing the pressure that’s mounting.  It’s really only a good case of anxiety that can grab my attention to slow down long enough to hear reason.  Believe me, the reason does not come from my own soul.  It took me 24 hours of anxiety to hear God say – – Ask for help.  You’re burnt out.  Wrung out.  Spun out.

I will humor you as to how badly I needed help but didn’t know it.  The song Shoulders was turning like a broken record in my mind.  But I couldn’t remember the line that says My _____ is From You.  I laid in bed putting all kinds of words in the blank.  I tried Health, Wealth and whatever else.  Of course, none of that makes sense.  Finally, literally, after my anxiety filled pondering went on from 5am to 8am on Saturday morning . . . the word is Help.  My Help is From You.  Duh.  I need help to do all that You have given me.  I need His help and I need to ask for it.  Peace.

Warrior Friends

The rain surrounding the storm Erica poured down as I pulled in a great big hug from my friend Sharon.  We did summer with barely a peep between us.  But as the school year rolled in, it was too unfamiliar to let another week pass.  Without sitting and talking about me & her & kids & school & parenting & our mothers & love & God & change & fear & forgiveness and then finally, when are we meeting next?

We sat together in rain, shine and Florida humidity every other Thursday for the whole 5th grade school year.  Our sacred Thursday meetings are supposed to be as real as the human soul can be.  When we began, we bobbed through months of testing the waters of real.  Can I cry?  Can I call you between Thursday meetings?  Can I tell you the truth about my struggle?  Can I ask you hard questions?  Can you help me decide what to do?  Do I quit or persevere?  We will continue to sit together and share real words among two real women.  Doing real life.  In a real attempt to mirror Jesus.

What I am learning as a person: Take in the beauty of a good friend’s words.  Let them pounce into your heart.  Let them strain out the doubt from your soul when you are doing good.  Let them point out the path of righteousness when you staggering.  Let her words be like honey in warm tea whether you are sipping to get better or sipping to stay well.

Verse:  The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction.  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Proverbs 16:23-24

Deep Thought:  I have intentionally halted at chapters of two different books unexpectedly covering fear and anxiety.  My dear friend Sharon concludes that God won’t let me side step what He wants me to hear.  My dear heart stirs and senses that God has something to say about fear and anxiety.  So, yes, I will read and grow and change.  And, while I don’t yet know exactly what He plans to say, I promise to read and grow and change.

Quote: … “Before I was formed in my mother’s womb” – – and here I paused to add, unable to resist, “whose ever womb that was – – God knew me.  He knitted together my innermost parts and fashioned all of my days before there was even one of them.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Even though I only just found out that I was adopted, God has always known, and he has always loved me.  And since that has never changed, therefore nothing has essentially changed. I may not be who I thought I was, but I still am who he says I am.  And I am more.  I am loved.  I am his.”  Undaunted by Christine Caine

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me: I hesitate to root for what I haven’t yet read, but I suspect that Wild in the Hollow:Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home by Amber C Haines will be exactly what it says it will be.

My Prayer to You: My prayer is that you have a few warrior girlfriends.  The kind that make time to know you.  Grow you and take full pleasure in seeing God work in your life.  I pray that you keep an open ear to Wisdom in whatever form she comes, in whatever pain or joy you are experiencing.  I pray that you are a warrior-friend to one or two or three others.  May you choose gracious words for her that heal like honeycomb and are sweet to her soul.  May you remember that, no matter what, you are who He says you are.  You are what He says you are.  And, that is Loved.  Amen.

Written By Sasha Katz

What I Have Learned Lately

Emily P Freeman’s Blog Chatting at the Sky inspired me to collect my thoughts, quotes and other good things in one secure place.  As well as to share them.  I cannot think of a better way to become a more authentic self.  I cannot think of better way build on the great work of all of the exceptional women and men around me. I cannot think of a better way to encourage and inspire one another.

What I Learned as a Friend: I can serve others when I am under attack myself.

What I Learned as a Parent: Those who are in the decision-making position are not always right, even when they are a believer.

Verse: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom. Let not the mighty man glory and his might. Nor the rich man glory in his riches. Let him who glories, glory in this, that he understands and knows Me. Jeremiah 9:23

Deep thought: I’m learning that the invisible God is working far more mightily and miraculously than I will ever see in the visible world. I’m learning to deeply trust what I cannot see. This is changing the core of my human perspective and my understanding of the very air I breathe.

Quote: The miracle, upside down work of God is that our failure isn’t an obstacle, it’s an opportunity to remember to sink into God. Not having what it takes is not a liability, it’s a prerequisite. Maybe there is hope for us after all.  A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman (Chapter 5)

Book(s) that shape me: A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman

My Prayer to You: May you breathe in the power of God; and breathe out His great plans.  May you be your authentic self.  May you serve others with your heart and soul despite your own storms.  I pray that you would trust a God that you cannot see and fine tune your sight to His invisible power.  I pray that you take in what He has for you, in part, through the good work of others.  And, at the end of every day, you never lose hope for the breakthroughs, miracles and every good thing He has planned for you.

Cindy R. and Lynn O.

By AbbyA

Why is it so hard for most of us?  Even walking into a small crowd makes you feel self-conscious.  You are thinking about who you are going to talk to or if anyone will be friendly towards you.  Even when you are invited.  Even if you are all there for a common reason.  Group gatherings make me feel a little nervous.

Just this week, my sweetie girlfriend Susie D. invited me to a back to school coffee fellowship.  I was bound to know a few of the ladies.  My friend Susie D. could not have been kinder introducing me to the few who I didn’t know . . . but no one I actually knew was on the left or right of me.  That feeling . . . time to strike up conversation . . . be charming . . . smile big.  Make a friend?  Group gatherings make me feel a little nervous.

My friend Cindy R. is an extremely Godly, perfect example of being a friend.  I joined a group where I didn’t know anyone.  She grabbed me on the very first day.  Even though she already had a lot of friends in this group, she decided to get to know me.  That certainly changed everything about being part of this group.  She gave me an invisible sticker right over my heart that spells BELONG.

Just because I love the leaders and girls in this group so much, I have to say more.  At the door leading to this group, there is some sort of symbolic garbage can.  Girls throw out their pride, tendency to compete, compare or judge and put on plain old friendliness.  The girls in this group make you feel so okay, so BELONG, that on my worst day, my very worst day, God reached out to me through them.

It was one of those days where all the prayer and faith in the world can’t stop the tremor shaking your core and stealing your very well-being.  I sat in my car weeping to my mother with no hope.  I was fighting depression, my broken marriage and experiencing the kind of pressure that can pop your brain.  I walked into where my group was gathering, told a friend that I needed a friend and fell apart into 1000 pieces in her arms.  Thank you, Lynn O.

Really girls, I don’t know why it means so much to BELONG.  I don’t know why fellowship sometimes feels so scary.  But I do know that fellowship is supposed to be about joy in your sisterhood.  Even if she’s not your best friend, you can stamp her with BELONG.  You can give her the freedom to come to you when she’s falling apart.  You can be Christ to her and hold her 1000 pieces together.

As is our human custom, we get things discombobulated in our imperfection.  We confuse fellowship with the requirements for joining a sorority or becoming a member of the Ocean Reef Club.  Then we act like the elite ladies in the dining room of the Titanic and give the cold shoulder to down to earth Molly Brown.  I think each of us knows what it feels like to be nervous in a group.  I think each of us knows what it feels like to want to make a friend.  To want a BELONG stamp.  Think about that.  You can do that for someone.  Forget what you know about fellowship and be a friend.

Changing the Definition of FRIEND

By JMathis

Say it out loud:




When you hear the word being expressed from your lips, images from the past begin to flood your mind. Yearbook pictures, sleepovers, late night telephone conversations, football games, happy hours, getaway weekends and girls’ nights out.

For many of us, negative memories may also come rushing in as you hear that word: outbursts, fights, the cold shoulder, a broken heart.

Once in awhile, as you embark upon a new school year, start a new job, play for a new softball team or enter into a new bible study group, the word friend ushers in thoughts of hope and new beginnings—the possibility of friendships to come, and rich relationships to be gained. While you haven’t met these individuals yet, your mind starts to race and imagine what your future friends might be wearing, the types of places where you will be hanging out together, the different foods you’ll be sharing—you can almost hear the sounds of your collective laughter.

Say it out loud:




What is often missed in the articulation and hearing of this word is the vision of the friend in need. Rarely when we hear the word friend do we imagine ourselves in the company of the homeless, the mentally ill, the imprisoned, the abused, or the elderly.

Often when we think of individuals who are down and out, they are still the other—tragic people in need of assistance and charity. You immediately assume that they need you more than you need them. You think to yourself that if anyone needs a Savior, it is most certainly them.

What you never do is imagine or think of them as your friends. They are merely subjects and objects of your benevolence project at church or your community philanthropy group.

Does that make us bad people?

After all, we go to church every week, we donate money every month to charity, and we even organize the occasional workday with Habitat for Humanity. We put all of our energies into being good people, because certainly, that is the type of friend that God wants, right? A good person, right?

Oftentimes, we pray to God earnestly and search the scriptures about how we can become a closer friend to Him. Before going to bed, we turn off the TV, lie under the covers, and start having a conversation with this deity with whom we claim to have a personal relationship. You close your eyes smugly, and think, Ahh, I just had a conversation with God. He truly is my friend. This is what it is like to be a good person.

Never does it cross your mind that to be a friend to your Creator, you must be a friend to His creation.

Jesus is already here on earth, embodied in the tattered clothes of the homeless man you briskly walk by on the way to work every day. In the eighteen year old mom who serves you coffee every morning, who works to feed two little mouths back at home. In the elderly man bagging groceries for you because his social security check can’t make ends meet.

If you want to be a friend to Jesus, you must be a friend to them. The other. The people you pass over each day.

A future friend is not just someone you stumble upon at a dinner party, or get seated next to at a wedding.

A future friend is someone who you see everyday at the grocery store, who is choked by the worries of this world. A future friend is someone at a shelter, who no one else will befriend.

A future friend is not necessarily someone who is dressed to the nines, with a martini glass in her hand.

Say it out loud:




Are you ready to be a friend to people who are truly in need of a friend?

Are you read to pray to the Lord to reveal a new friend to you?

Are you ready to change your definition of friend?

Matthew 25:31-46

New International Version (NIV)

   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

   41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

   44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

   45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

   46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”