I hadn’t seen the woman’s blog post in months. I clicked on her gravatar. Searched for her website. And discovered it had been deactivated. Did she get tired of blogging or did something happen?
Weeks later, she liked a post. I searched again and found her email address. “Miss your blogs,” I wrote. “Hope you’re well.”
The woman immediately responded, and we had a heart-to-heart talk via email. There was no need to break the ice. We’d been reading each other’s blogs…which had become windows into our lives and souls…for several years.
Social media doesn’t have to be a one-way street—people stalking one another. Hitting like…or not.
It can be the means to celebrate people’s victories. Mourn their losses with them. Pray for them.
Not everyone is convinced. I have a friend who chooses one-on-one quality time rather than “touch and go relationships.” I understand. I love looking in someone’s eyes rather than a computer screen. Holding hands to pray.
However, despite the cons, social media has enlarged my heart to an ever-growing circle of friends. I’ve …
Found long lost friends.
Corresponded more often than an annual Christmas card.
Developed new friendships online that I’ve met through mutual friends.
Kept in touch with students’ lives.
Seen the world through the eyes of people from other countries.
Been inspired by folks across the globe who also love Jesus.
Regardless of age, gender, or culture, they’re just like me. Learning how to navigate this maze called life.
Some days, their posts provide the only good news that I hear.
For we’re inundated with round the clock news which points out everything wrong with this world. Highlights evil. Warns us of disease and terror.
What if we used social media to encourage one another instead of tongue lashing the world?
What if we used it as a means to understand one another and reach out instead of circling our wagons to protect our own interests?
I’m not suggesting rose-colored posts that pretend life is perfect. We need to be real. We want to know we’re not alone in the things we suffer or strive towards.
But thank God for the multitude of individual lights flickering in the digital world who write about….
Acts of kindness from strangers.
Folks making a positive difference.
Personal stories of redemption, healing, and grace.
The woman, who took a hiatus from blogging, used her words to encourage others and sing God’s praises. When her online presence was gone…I noticed.
Because even in the cyber world, people make a difference.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24).
“That was the best day of my life,” exclaimed a little girl to her parents.
Her blond curls bounced as she skipped down the gravel pathway in her cowboy boots.
And my heart skipped with her causing me to chime in, “Me too!”
Her parents turned around and nodded. We’d just listened to a free symphony concert in the park. Notes from the William Tell Overture twirled in my head.
Like a keepsake rose, I pressed that “best day” into my memory bank.
Do you remember one of the best days of your life?
Those sweet spots on this earthly journey when your cup runs over and it feels great to be alive.
If only we could rejoice…be happy, joyful, pleased, glad…every day.
Even on those rotten tomato days when it feels like the worse day ever.
The Bible says we should rejoice. (Psalm 118:24)
That evening, I sat beneath a canopy of stars, swaying to the melodic notes of that orchestra which reached a spine-tingling crescendo, and I envisioned God’s angelic choir singing “Hallelujah. Worthy is the Lamb.”
The image gave me goosebumps.
For if that symphonic high is a glimpse of God’s glory and the joy of being in His presence one day,
Then it’s possible to rejoice today and always. (1 Thess. 5:16)
The only sad thing is…no one can make us rejoice. Choosing to be glad is up to each individual.
Even in this moment.
I couldn’t see the school playground from my front porch, but I heard the girl’s high-ptiched voice. Her audible excitement made me smile; wonder…
Did the girl cross the monkey bar’s without falling? Swing without Mommy’s help? Do a cartwheel?
My three children are grown, but I remember their triumphant shouts whenever they accomplished a new feat.
Victory tasted sweet; called for applause.
Even before they could vocalize their thoughts, my children’s grinning faces said “look at me” as they each learned to walk. Like a new-born colt, they’d wobble, collapse to the floor, then rise again as I cheered them onward.
One step. Two. Then four hurried steps into my outreached arms. “You did it!”
However, those baby steps enabled my children to eventually walk away from me. Off they went to school, slumber parties, summer camp, part-time jobs, college, and life. While I stood by—watching, cheering, praying—as they did it!
The hardest challenge was balancing my realistic concerns for their personal safety with their need to become independent.
For example, I had to know when to stop holding my son’s hand when we crossed the street. Then I had to stop telling him (and trust him) to look both ways before he crossed the street. Because now that my son’s away at college, I don’t even know when he crosses the street.
This summer, my son wanted to drive to San Francisco for the day. Dread swept through my stomach like shards of glass. I tried to dissuade him. Suggested public transportation as an alternative.
Why? Because the thought of navigating any huge city with heavy traffic intimidates me. I warned my son, “You can’t do it. You’re inexperienced!”
Implication: you’re incapable. Nice vote of confidence, right?
I wonder how often parents prevent their children from trying something new or accepting a challenge due to our own fears and limitations.
When the Israelites were afaid to enter the Promised Land, Caleb responded, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30)
Imagine the reaction of Astronaut Armstrong’s family when he said, “I’m going to walk on the moon.” Did they encourage him? Or say, “You’re crazy? It’s never been done!”
My friend, Angie—who became a quadriplegic—refused to think of herself as disabled; hated the word, “CAN’T.” She earned a scuba diver’s licence and swam (with assistance) in the Pacific Ocean.
I pray my children will have the same confidence, courage, and conviction of people like Caleb, Armstrong, and Angie.
In fact, when’s the last time you did something you’ve always wanted to do? Were afraid to do?
I can still hear the thrill in that little girl’s voice. “Look, Mommy, I did it!”
And you know what?
It makes we want to taste victory too.
I was 13-years-old and horse-crazy.
The fact that we lived in a suburban house with a small backyard didn’t dissuade me from asking my dad if we could buy a horse.
“Because you just don’t buy a horse. You also have to find a place to board the horse. Not to mention food and veterinary costs.”
End of subject.
Decades later, two horses graze on my rural property. I stand beside the black horse…my arm extended, hand open with an orange peace offering.
His nostrils flare when he sees the carrot. He brushes the palm of my hand with his moist, soft lips. My skin tickles; stirring memories of a young girl’s dream.
I don’t own these horses. They’re temporary guests, lodging here at the request of our neighbor. It’s a win-win. My neighbor won’t have to purchase hay. We don’t have to mow the field grass.
This gentleman’s agreement isn’t what I had in mind when I asked my father for a horse. But while I rinse dishes and watch these ambling horses from my kitchen window, I realize this is answered prayer from way back when.
Even though the answer looks different than I imagined.
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen God answer prayers as though He were thinking outside the box.
When I was a teenager, I wanted to become a schoolteacher. Who knew I’d homeschool my children? Homeschool was a foreign concept when I was young.
I also dreamt of being a writer. Who knew my words would appear on a website Blog and online magazines? There was no internet back in the day.
The Lord knew. He had a plan.
Silly me when I think a subject is closed just because it doesn’t happen according to my time table and expectations.
My desire for a horse waned like many youthful dreams. However, the Lord has gone above and beyond to give me the desires of my heart. Mostly, He’s shown me that desiring Him above all things meets my deepest need, satisfies my greatest longing.
Even in this moment…
When my hands are buried in warm dishwater and I’m grinning because the Red horse is rubbing his neck against the Oak tree like it was a scratch post,
I’m reminded of God’s goodness. And I praise Him for unexpected gifts which sweeten mortal days.
Share a time the Lord answered your prayer in a surprising way.
Photo by: Jonathan Foster