A Little Help From A Friend

The gifts God has blessed me with do not include making crafts. While I enjoy and appreciate my gifted friends that way, I do not enjoy making crafts. So when the announcement for the Women’s Ministry Craft Night came up, I had already made up my mind that I was not going because that was not for me.

However, God had a different plan.

As I began posting the social media graphics online, I felt God prodded my heart to encourage others to come, even if they weren’t crafty. I knew right then I was set up for doing what I didn’t want to do.

I am not the type of person to encourage others to do something I am unwilling to do. I have found this is NOT a good leadership style.

When I say I am not crafty, I mean it. Everything about it is difficult for me, and I do not enjoy it one ounce. Honestly, it feels like torture and again puts me in a position to look stupid and vulnerable, which is a trigger point for me, and I avoid those situations at ALL costs.

God continued to nag at my heart about it, and with me posting what I did, there was no way out. Of course, my mind came up with ways to back out, and I tried to find a way to say I wasn’t going, but I never found one that had any truth behind it, so I braced myself to go.

That night I drove up to the church; I was exhausted. Nothing in my flesh wanted to do this that night. The one nice thing about driving 40 minutes to church is that you have those 40 minutes to pray and worship, which is what I did. I asked God to prepare my heart for that time.

When I arrived, I saw lots of women I loved. I took a minute to grab a coffee and have some conversation; then, I started working on one of the projects.

It may sound silly to some, but I believe many women understand and can relate to my feelings. I intentionally set myself up for everyone to see how terrible I was at doing crafts, which felt scary and vulnerable to me.

I sat next to my friend, April. She knows me, and she knows this is not a fun place for me. As we worked through the project together, she encouraged me and cheered me on. She continued to tell me, “You can do this.”

When I didn’t do things well, she never put me down, shook her head, or made any funny faces. She continued to teach me a better way to do it, equipped me, and helped me learn how to do it as successfully as I was able.

When I left, still, I wouldn’t say I liked doing crafts, and I don’t think I would do them for fun ever, but I went with her voice in my head instead of my own. I didn’t leave feeling stupid or put down; I left feeling encouraged and built up.

If I had not gone that night, I would not have experienced that moment, and I would not have experienced a time when people saw me struggling with doing even the simplest crafts and seeing me a little vulnerable; yet they still loved me and still saw potential in me.

God is continually teaching me this lesson in this season.

For so long, it has been ingrained in me that what I do or don’t do defines me, and that is not God’s truth at all.

Is this something that has been taught and spoken to you?

Do you struggle with being vulnerable and transparent because you’re afraid of what others will think or say?

Let me be the friend to you that my friend April was to me. You are loved, and God created you with the gifts He has placed in you for the kingdom work He has for you here on earth. Those gifts are essential, and they are just as important as the gifts other women have.

There will always be things we can do well and things we may not do well, and we won’t do everything well. Sometimes we can find ourselves in a false expectation of perfection. This can happen because of what has been taught to us; sometimes, it is because what we do has become who we are, and it has become our identity.

As believers in Jesus Christ, our identity is now in Him. We are children of God, created by Him, for the purposes and plans He has for us. Our identity is now in Him, not in who we are and what we can do.

Many of us avoid too much vulnerability or transparency because those things have been used against us somehow, or they have been moments where people have used it to tear us down instead of building us up.

I am thankful for my friends like April. When I am vulnerable and transparent, Ones who choose to teach and equip me, to build me up and cheer me on and love me at that moment, knowing it is a challenging moment for me.

Those are the friends to surround ourselves with, and those are the kind of friends we should be to each other.

Us women are tricky. Putting each other down or seeing each other in a vulnerable place often becomes a moment to lift up ourselves. That is pride, and when we do that at the cost of our sister in Christ, it is ungodly.

I am as guilty as any of you, and I have repented often. They are not moments I am proud of at all. Those moments can come in the form of gossip or prayer requests that lead to gossip. They come when two people have an issue with the same person and gang up with their words or attitudes. Jealousy and envy can creep in easily if we are not careful. We have to be alert and not give the devil a foothold.

How can we be friends who see others struggling in their vulnerable and transparent places this week?

  1. We can pray and ask God to open our eyes to those we need to see. Ask Him for appropriate ways to encourage and guide them.
  2. When we see them, we can let them know they are seen and loved. We can meet them where they are and help them move towards where they are going.
  3. Take time to listen and pray with them.

God always provides opportunities for us if our eyes are open and willing to see.

My friend April was a gift that night, and she was a friend God used to help me in that challenging and emotional place. The ornament in the picture is the craft she helped me work on. It is hanging on my Christmas tree as a reminder of God’s faithfulness as He calls us to go where we don’t want to go, that His strength is very present in our weakness, and His truth spoken through others dispels the lies of the enemy.

I want to be that friend, and I pray I can be that friend to you, wherever you may be and whatever you may be going through. Please share how we can be praying for you, and I encourage you to be that friend to whoever God puts in your path today.

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. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. Ecclesiastes 4:10-12