Saturday, January 24, 2009

Companionship Melts the Cold

What do Adam and Eve, David and Jonathan, Paul and Timothy, Mary and Elizabeth, and Ruth and Naomi have in common? God used the sweetness of their companionship to be a source of peace amidst the challenges of their days.

As far back as the first human relationship, God reflected that, "It is not good that man should be alone," Genesis 2:18. Sometimes the gray days of winter can find us huddling inside, out of the cold, and waiting for spring to arrive and warm our hearts. We may even find ourselves sneaking away from people. While we can find solace and strength in times alone with the Lord, and we can find insight in personal times of quiet, God uses the company of loved ones to fill our tanks and nurture our souls. It makes life's journey lighter when we help to carry each other's burdens and give each other perspective along the way. Thursday night the staff women of our church gathered together for an evening just to be together. No shop talk, no agendas, no responsibilities, just the sweetness of feminine friendship. Of course, someone had to make it possible, so the women of our church provided crock pots full of fantastic soups like "African Peanut" and "Creamy Chicken" and "Taco Soup". They brought heaping bowls of colorful salads and desserts of different shapes and toppings. Every aroma and flavor said, "Come. Sit. Enjoy each other. Know we appreciate you." Not only did it fill our stomachs, it filled our spirits. Gifts had been donated from the creative and generous hands and hearts of the women of the church: gift certificates to a spa and Christian bookstore, homemade bread, a basket of hand-crafted cards, unique and delicate beaded necklaces, a framed photograph, personal treats of spa and make up items. It was abundant. It was generous. It was loving, and the atmosphere was set for the women who are always serving to just enjoy each other.

One friend commented that, "I don't think I will ever get over those big, toothy grins of the "full hearted" women leaving last night." Spending time with loved ones is one of the ways that God pours a fresh infusion of peace into our lives. His love expressed in human form.

My friend wisely thought, "can't help wonder how much greater the joy in heaven must have been. I know the face of Jesus as He observed last night would blow us away!" It's so true that our heavenly Father must rejoice when He sees us loving each other and enjoying the refreshment shared love brings. In fact, Jesus said in John 15, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (vv. 10-12). Loving one another brings joy, doesn't it?

Last night, we made a fire in the fireplace, a big pot of chili and a pan of cornbread, and a new cinnamon cake recipe. We hid the unfolded laundry and lit a candle, as we welcomed three of our favorite single friends. We spent the evening laughing, playing a game, talking about the things of life … just enjoying the gift of friendship. We went to bed with full hearts, thankful for the joy that comes from being together.

This morning, Jeff and I had a calendar session, as we reviewed our schedules for the upcoming weeks. We periodically do that to keep life under control. The weeks ahead look full, but setting aside time to be with loved ones is a priority not to be ignored. To allow for peace to be infused into the plans, I'm looking forward to receiving God's gift of joy through spending time with the companions of life. I'll begin with my husband, move to my children, and then extend to the sweet friends in my world. Jesus knows "… that your joy may be full … love one another."

Ecclesiastes says it this way: "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up," Eccl. 4:9-10 So, if it's cold in your neck of the woods, put on a scarf and meet a friend for coffee. Make a pot of hot soup and invite a friend over. Let the warmth of joy soak into your winter chill, and enjoy the peace from spending time with the companions and loved ones of life.

Check in tomorrow for one of my favorite winter soup recipes. It will be a great excuse to share time with a friend!

0 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT: