The Pleasure of Corresponding with a Friend

I love letters! Letters have in them a way of communication that transcends many other forms of communication. My friends know that I would rather write a letter, e-mail, or text more than I like talking on the phone. There is something special about the pleasure of corresponding with a friend.

Corresponding with a FriendIn early high school it was spiral notebooks our friends passed between each other writing notes to each other in class. In junior high it was the primary means getting to know the girl who would become my best friend. Writing was my connection to pen pals and places in the United States that I never would have visited or known  had that person not lived there. I had boxes of love letters, notes from friends for many years until I lost them in our apartment fire.  I still treasure cards and notes given to me and hoard them in boxes in my garage. My father and I write to each other regularly from where he is living and it is creating a special bond between us. It is a special art and love in my life.

Read these words written in a love letter by Samuel Johnson to a woman he loved. This part of the letter is about writing letters.

In a man’s letters, you know, madam, his soul lies naked. His letters are only the mirror of his heart. Whatever passes within him is there shown undisguised in its natural progress; nothing is invented, nothing distorted; you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their motives… This is the pleasure of corresponding with a friend, where doubt and distrust have no place, and everything is said as it is thought. These are the letters by which souls are united, and by which minds naturally in unison move each other as they are moved themselves… I have indeed concealed nothing from you, nor do I ever expect to repent to having thus opened my heart.*

To explain that in my own words, it would just not compare with how it was said by Samuel Johnson. If real life was like it is in a letter, then life would be exactly as it should be, “…nothing invented, nothing distorted…where doubt and distrust have no place, and everything is said as it is thought…”

You have probably always heard of God’s Word being a love letter to us. Withstanding the ages of time and persecution, and be in a book form that I can personally hold and know without a doubt that it is the eternal Word of God, is just a miracle. God promised to preserve His Word throughout generations so that we could all have an opportunity to have the pleasure of reading His correspondence to us as often as we wanted. We should be taking advantage of the freedom we have to have God’s own Word and go to it as often as the Spirit prompts us to read it.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8

Often when I am going through the habit of regular Bible reading I forget to approach it with the mindset of finding out what God’s letter is going to say to me. The Bible’s valuable content is not read as tenderly as I would handle a handwritten letter from a close friend.

What makes the Bible a unique correspondence? The Bible is THE Living Word penned by men of God directly from the Lord Himself (I Peter 1:21).

The Living Word has so much more meaning than an old letter from a friend. An old letter can only bring back the memories of the past, stirring up feelings in the present. In contrast, the Living Word can speak to you and share love to you about today and stirs up hope for the future. The treasure is that the Living Word is true and pure. We may not always understand it but we should be able to grasp the intent and heart of the God of the Bible.

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. Psalm 119:140

God unites the soul to His will as we read the Word.  His letters are a mirror to our soul revealing the sinful heart and directing it to holy living. Reading it as devotedly as a love letter will keep our hearts close to Him.

I want to encourage you to love your Bible, treasure it again and renew your love toward reading it so that you may be able to receive the blessings of its message to your life for today and your future. We all desperately need the pleasure of corresponding with the greatest Friend we will ever have.

*From The World’s Greatest Love Letters Compiled by: Michael Kelahan, 2011


Tips for Surviving Long Ministry Weeks

Tips for Surviving Long Ministry Weeks

Long ministry weeks are destined for the Ministry Mama! Missions Conferences, revivals, VBS (and more!) are just a part of the regular yearly routine of the church and you probably have responsibilities to help it function. Those weeks are weeks where you can feel like you are defeated because of a non-stop schedule, especially if you have young children, are homeschooling, or work a part-time job.

Have you ever run a marathon? Not me… unless you categorize the hyper busy ministry weeks as a marathon. It sure feels like when I ran long distance in high school just so I could be a manager for the track team. I ran miles but never competed, lame, I know, but I just could not put myself in the stress of the competition! Maybe my non-competitive              experience will help me as I help you learn to pace yourself for those busy weeks.

I asked other ladies that are accustomed to long ministry weeks to give us some tips and these are some suggestions that they had:

  • Do not neglect your relationship with the Lord during busy weeks. It may seem busy but you need to keep your Bible reading and prayer time a priority to be able to make it. Keep God first.
  • Plan and organize your week before it gets busy. If you know you have a big event coming up then plan your meals ahead of time, pull out the clothes you want your family to wear for the week and iron them if needed. Also, plan activities for your children if you will be at the church for long periods of time. They get bored and can get into trouble if you are not organized. Buy supplies and needed materials before your workers arrive to help you set up. Be thoughtful toward your guests by preparing for their needs in advance as well.
  • Ask for help ahead of time. If you know you’re going to need help with VBS or Christmas Banquet decorations then ask a couple of weeks before the week that you will be decorating. People fill up their schedules fast and if you need their help you need to get in on their calendar before they make other plans.
  • Schedule rest. Make time for a nap or an early bedtime so that you are not so tired that you are not able to function with a godly spirit and attitude. Tired people tend to snap at others and grow impatient. We want to make our “spiritual” events of the church encouraging and uplifting by being our best and being rested. If you have to let your kids have an extra hour or two of sleep in the morning because you’ve stayed out an extra hour or two past their bedtime then please do that so that you can have children that are more obedient and peaceful.
  • Make easy meals. Most of the women suggested throwing food into the Crock-pot or making easy foods ahead like potato and macaroni salad. There may be times where you throw a couple of cans of tuna, some bread, and mayo in a grocery bag and take it with you to the church so that you do not have to eat out. You have simple meals that you like to make, make a list ahead of time and put it up on the refrigerator. When you’re in a rush then you can look at the list, grab all the items, and get it ready in a jiffy! Snacks are also a great thing to bring along with you. As soon as you’re involved in your church responsibilities usually your children are asking for something else to eat. Head ’em off at the pass by being ready with snacks.
  • Clean the big messes and leave the rest ’til next week. Don’t stress yourself to scrub the kitchen floors or complete your spring cleaning during long ministry weeks. If everyone is responsible to put their things away after coming home after your long and exhausting day then it will be easier to clean up than if everyone drops    everything and leaves it until later.
  • If at all possible plan some time at home before you have to go to the church or run your necessary errands. This will give time for your children to sleep a little longer, have breakfast, and clean up the messes left from being on the go. If you play some encouraging music then it will help them feel like they are able to relax before the tasks of the day steal the rest of the time away. If you can’t take some time at home, then do take time in your day to sit down with your husband and children and show them some tender lovin’ care. Look in their eyes, ask them questions, truly listen to their answers, see if they have any needs that need your attention.
  • Communicate! Stress can build up like a dam and overflow  hurtful words and   disrespectful tones toward others if we are not communicating effectively. You should speak to your husband about what he desires you to do, ask if there is anything specific you can help him with, listen to his burdens and problems without giving him any opinions. Talk to those with whom you work beside whether it is other people on staff or the volunteer church members that are helping you carry out these ministry events. Communication can remedy lots of problems if you will speak to people ahead of time instead of last-minute.
  • Keep it simple! Cut out the unnecessary time thieves, use the gift of the paper plate (no dishes, please), and ask God for special strength and wisdom to help you know what to do when.

So the next time you’re in the marathon of a long ministry week, I hope you will be able to use some of these wonderful tips and use them. Don’t forget, God supplies our every need even in the hectic moments of serving others. Pray without ceasing, He’s listening!