So often I find when I’m struggling, God sends love to me through the kindness of friends. Gentle words, hugs and smiles, offers to spend time together, notes of encouragement, all of these expressions are immediate comforts that remind me of His ever present love and care.

I guess one of the greatest of all human needs, is the need to know another understands our hearts. Nothing seems to make me feel like I’m coming undone quite like that overwhelming feeling of being grossly misunderstood. To bridge the misunderstanding seems imperative yet is often never achieved. It takes pure honesty going both ways, vulnerability, endurance and love. Only the strongest of will, I suppose, choose to stay the course for the sake of the heart, for the sake of relationship.

There is no safety where there is no trust and trust broken mends slowly and painfully if ever.

My greatest joys arise from the same pool from which my deepest sorrows lay buried, in the depths of relationships.

There should be no discord between followers of Christ that cannot or will not be resolved with peace as the result. Disagreements do not necessitate discord. Words of disagreement can be spoken in love. Each person can maintain dignity and honor as long as truth is not compromised. It is when truth is discarded that trust is broken and from that flows unending hurt.

In the course of a week, my ears hear so much…hurts of every kind find their way into our lives from the many friends and acquaintances we have and I find myself asking again and again, “what can I do?” I can love, yes, and encourage. I can examine my own heart and ask for God’s help in keeping it pure. I can walk alongside those who hurt and be the friend to them that others have been and continue to be to me. I can seek to know truth and to live it out in my daily walk. In these ways, we can know we are making a difference that matters.

Each morning last week as I dropped my son off in the car line at his school, a dear friend of mine who works there gave me a hand written scripture verse. She said the words aloud as she placed it in my hand. Then she exclaimed, “this is your encouragement for the day.” I kept each one and remember the love and good will that she offered to me each time I see them on the bookcase in my office. Our intentions matter. She thought of me, prayed for me, took time for me, and loved me. That is what honoring others looks like. It looks like tangible acts of kindness.

As I recognize the many ways God expresses His great love to me, I’m learning how to live a life that warms the world…through giving what is needed most, the kindness of a friend.

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