I remember the day we met. We both worked at the Miami Valley Women's Center, a pregnancy care center. I was a volunteer and she was the Executive Director. When I became the Director of Development, we had the opportunity to work more closely, teaming up to visit our donors. Linda became a dear friend. The kind of friend I desire to be.
Although she worked countless hours, she was always available to discuss the next fund-raiser or up-coming church visit. I don't recall ever hearing her complain. She modeled a godly work ethic and had a genuine interest in all those who made up the staff at the Center. I remember her willingness to take clients when we were short-handed. Follow-up mentoring, after hours, was commonplace. Talk about a heart of compassion!
Because of her vivacious personality, Linda never met a stranger. She loved to entertain, and often would open her home for staff Christmas parties and get-togethers. And did I mention she could cook?! Her poppy-seed muffins and banana bread were staples we included on our donor visits. (And yes, I did get her recipes!) She had a willing heart to serve.
We had the opportunity to attend several Care Center conferences together. From Missouri to California and a couple places in between, we forged a lasting bond. Christ was the foundation of our friendship. Studying God's word and praying together allowed us to sharpen one another spiritually. King Solomon speaks to the wisdom of this practice, "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (Proverbs 27:17; KJV).
As is the case with any job, there were always opportunities for gossip and slander. Especially in a workplace comprised almost entirely of females. What continues to amaze me to this day is that Linda didn't speak a harsh word about anyone. She seemed to have James 1:19 down, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" She had a way of "speaking the truth in love" that let me know she wanted the best for me. Her self-discipline and humility left a lasting impression on me.
A true friend is hard to find. One who is willing to invest in a relationship through thick and thin. One who is quick to give praise and slow to complain. One who is in control of his/her tongue. Someone who won't deviate from God's truth, just to tell you what you want to hear. Someone who will be open and honest. A person with a heart of compassion, and a heart to serve. A true friend is a gift from God!
Has God blessed you with a special friendship? What character qualities do you look for in a friend?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessing of true friends in my life. I pray that You would help me to cultivate godly characteristics that would allow me to be a true friend to others. Amen.
*I have the privilege of presenting some awesome awards to my faithful, blogging friends!
I received the "Helpful Blogger Award" from Jill Kemerer over at Jill Kemerer: Christian Romance Author. Be sure to check out her site for a big dose of encouragement and fun! Here are the rules that apply to this award:
1. Post one thing no one knows about me.
2. Quote one sentence from a favorite book.
3. Pass it on to seven bloggers.
My answers? Here goes:
1. Hmmmm...This is tricky! How about something you bloggers don't know about me?! When I was growing up, my family would go down to New Port Richey every Christmas to visit my grandparents. My brother and I loved to play with stuffed animals, actually 99% of them were monkeys. We would cram every single stuffed monkey we owned into two smallish, orange suitcases because we knew we'd feel sorry for the ones who didn't get to come to Florida with us! Were we extreme, or what?!
2. I'm following Jill's example on this one. I couldn't narrow it down to just one sentence. Here's one paragraph from Beth Moore's, Praying God's Word:
"In praying Scripture, I not only find myself in intimate communication with God, but my mind is being retrained, or renewed (Rom. 12:2), to think His thoughts about my situation rather than mine. Ultimately, He resumes His proper place in my thought life as huge and indomitable, and my obstacle shrinks. This approach has worked powerfully every time I've applied it. It takes belief, diligence, and time, but the effects are dramatically liberating and eternal."
Try it! It works!!
3. I'm passing the "Helpful Blogger Award," to (in alphabetical order by last name):
Warren Baldwin @ Family Fountain
Terri Tiffany @ Terri Tiffany Inspirational Writer
A special thanks to Raymonde Newman @ Everyday I Walk With You for the Happy 101 Award, and to Karen Lange @ Write Now for the Inspiration Award. You ladies are the best! Stop by their blogs for a real treat! I'd like to present the "Happy 101 Award" and the "Inspiration Award" to all of my followers who truly are an inspiration to me and, of course, make me very happy!! Congratulations to all of you, and God bless!