God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways.
2 Corinthians 9:9 (MSG)
I am surrounded by amazing women. Smart, funny, beautiful, deep-thinking, willing to feel, to love, to give whatever God asks, women who seek God's voice, who believe life without Him unthinkable, who trust Him even when His instructions make no sense.
It's easy to be intimidated.
And honestly, often I am.
Yet God, in His impeccable, unpredictable style, uses these women to encourage me, to strengthen me, to make me better. They touch me, teach me, love me and give me a good kick in the pants when necessary. I am blessed beyond measure in my relationships.
But years ago I lamented to God about feeling alone. He didn't answer my prayers in what I considered a timely manner. No phone calls, no invitations to lunch came flooding in. Nothing changed. Outside of the actual service, I dreaded my time at church, feeling awkward, standing around, talking with no one. I was glad to have small children to occupy my time to make my aloneness less obvious.
What made the difference between then and now?
God showed me people needed a reason to care. If I revealed nothing about myself, if I stayed safe in my interactions, limiting conversations to chit-chat, there was nothing to connect me. God began to answer my prayer in MY humility, in my venturing out of my comfort zone. When I admitted to my weakness or uttered the questions swimming around in my head, others related. We found a common tie beyond having kids the same ages or having grown up in the same area. When I ignored my pounding heart to approach someone and ask a personal question, I saw they appreciated the attention and sought me out another time.
God didn't send friends to me. He sent me to be a friend. He taught me to be a person who trusts others with her real thoughts and feelings, giving others a reason to care. He showed me it was okay to need and rely on others, for in doing so, relationships grow.
I imagine people who meet me for the first time now would be surprised to know I'm really an introvert who felt very alone her first few years in this community. But God gave my loneliness as a blessing, teaching me how to cultivate real relationships.
To see how others' interpreted this quote, visit Deborah at Chocolate & Coffee.