a flower for you…

a flower for you…

{photo by Shirley}
I’m a woman in need of connection… a person who needs people. It matters not the number of people. What matters is presence… what my friend, Alicia Chole, would say “the present of presence.” We give big when we give ourselves to someone else, for the giving of self doesn’t come without price. It sometimes costs us a great deal. Mostly it’s a “good great” or we wouldn’t abide the connection. With the giving of self, we get something in return.
We live relationship.
I love relationships. I have many of them. Some deep; some less entrenched, but all of them meaningful to me for multiple reasons. Some of the sweetest ones I’ve known in recent days have been the relationships I share with you, my readers. It seems odd to outsiders that we share deep connections, but if they (the outsiders) were really in then they’d “get it.” It doesn’t much matter to me if they “get us;” what matters to me is that I “get you.” You are kind, generous, considerate, and real. Many of us have shared a friendship for nearly three years; some of you are newer to my world. Regardless of our tenure together, I shudder to think of how I would be faring right now without your constant love and support for me in this season. I know we can’t be all things to all people, especially people we’ve never met face-to-face, but your friendship has proved genuine to me time and again, and it has been, yet, another undeserved grace from our Father.
Along these lines, blogging allows us many beautiful ways to stay connected with one another. Got an interest? Chances are someone is blogging about it… cooking, decorating, photography, book reviews, Bible studies, educational links, health links, and the like. Blogging provides a menu for even the pickiest and hungriest of readers. Oh, that I could take it all in! Being a relational creature makes it all the more difficult for me to choose where to spend some of my time.
But I have… chosen a few interests for this season. One is participating in Leah’s on-line Bible study From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest. Another is readying my heart for Mariel’s new Bible study Knowing God Through His Names. Still another is signing up for Melanie’s 21 Meditations and Motivations to Get You Moving.
See what I mean? I’m a joiner; not because I need another thing to do, but rather because with the joining I know that…
1. The doing will be good for me.
2. I get to do the doing with some wonderful people.
Heart health all around, thereby living out (at least in part) my responsibility as it pertains to my being the living temple of the living God.
As I’ve said before in recent posts, these past months have been some of the loneliest of my life. Being sick and getting well sometimes live in isolation from other people. I get that reality, and most days, I’m fine with that, because when I’m feeling less than I don’t need a party to validate that feeling. Less is an event all its own with little need of further festivities… just ask the suffering soul. Still and yet, even the suffering soul needs connection. Needs a place to belong. To fit. To call home. To be safely loved and, in return, to love back.
And while I’m sorely lacking this kind of “fit” in my face-to-face connections with others in my physical community, I find that fit with some of you—the present of your presence in my life. And I want you to know how beautiful a gift you are to me. I thank God upon my every remembrance of you, because you are the sustaining witness of heaven in my life. You may not think your words worthy of consideration… may not think your prayers as getting any further than the ceiling above you, but I’m living proof that every word you’ve spoken on my behalf, every prayer you’ve uttered has been an integral part of my pressing through these last five months.
The connection we share here matters, not just to me, but to our Father. We live sacred relationship in this place; it is but a dress rehearsal for what is to come. I feel so honored to share the road with you. You are some of God’s best children, and I simply wanted to say so. What we do here is real to me; not just fluff and filler but the getting-down-to-what-really-matters kind of stuff. Heaven knows what will be counted in our favor because of the intentional investment we’ve made along these lines.
Keep investing in one another, friends; keep sowing relational seed, and see if our Father isn’t faithful to grow a beautiful offering of friendship. I hold some of those blooms in my heart this day: they fill my senses with the fragrance of God’s good grace and willing love for me. What a beautiful place to call home. As always…
Peace for the journey,
post signature

PS: For a chance to win a copy of Mariel’s new study, Knowing God Through His Names, leave a comment with this post. I can’t wait to dive into the treasure of her words regarding the Word!

35 Responses to a flower for you…

  1. Lori says:

    Elaine, I consider it a real blessing to be able to share in your journey these past five months. You have taught me a lot not only about faith, but about myself. I am so happy that you have so many surrounding you with their prayers, love, and friendship. Keep on keeping on my friend!!

  2. sister sheri says:

    Elaine! I love you so much! It is incomprehensible to think that we haven't even met.

    I often think about it… when we would meet. Would we easily fall into conversation? Would it be awkward with nothing to say face to face? Would the chemistry of a relationship exist in person? Would we hug and cry our eyes out?

    I am looking forward to that day… knowing that God has perfect timing… and in the mean time… here's a (hug) from over here on the west coast. And so glad that you have continued to blog through the hard place and the rock… because you matter to me. Thank you for your friendship!

  3. MaMa Betty says:

    You are right, Elaine. I don't think my words are really adequate when yours are so eloquent but trust me, they do come from the heart! I can't imagine having never met you because I have truly been blessed by your writings and by your friendship. Will continue prayers on your behalf as you continue toward wellness!!

  4. Joan Davis says:

    Elaine,

    As I have been getting to know you through following your journey over the last few months, I feel (and know) that I have been blessed. Your words of wisdom, your transparency and your constant faith have been a true inspiration and encourgement to me. Even, and maybe especially, as you have been physically weak, God has been using you to touch others and draw them closer to Him. And what higher calling could there be than that?! Thank you for listening to Him and allowing Him to work through you for His glory. Your story, and the one still yet to tell, is truly making a difference.

    I'm so glad that the chemo is now over and you can take the next step toward what He has planned for you. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future." Jeremiah 29:11

    Blessed by knowing you, Joan

  5. ~*~KIMBERLY~*~ says:

    Elaine, you said: "I feel so honored to share the road with you."

    Likewise, my dear sister in Christ! Amen!

  6. WhiteStone says:

    I've been thinking of you this past week…it doesn't seem possible that you've been on this cancer journey 5 months!

    I know what you mean about online friends…I've met so many wonderful people…people I will never see face to face, and yet their loveliness has been a blessing to me.

    Hugs, and prayers on your behalf from Iowa.

  7. Sheryl says:

    Hi sweet friend. You are so special to me. When I see that you have commented on one of my own simple posts, it encourages me so. Your words go straight to my heart and God uses them in healing my own soul.

    I am ALWAYS praying for you,

    Sheryl

    P.S. Is it ok if I cross my fingers about winning that book? (LOL)

  8. Deborah says:

    Amen! to your post and the other comments! I have been so encouraged by visiting with you and sharing your journey, and yes, our 'online' friendships are as real as they get…maybe more real in some cases. Maybe it's because we don't fill a comment box with small talk…we get right to what's important. Maybe something we could learn to apply to 'real life' friendships.
    Thanks for the flower, friend!

  9. Debbie says:

    I can only imagine all that you're going through during your treatments. I am so glad that you blog and that I 'met' you through blogging.

    I too am relational and am so glad that you are also. I remember the very first time I heard your sweet southern voice when you did a video. So cute and so different from me. But isn't that great? We can come together in this blogging world and share with one another. And then we get to encourage one another no matter what challenges we're going through.

    Praying for you Elaine.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

  10. Sassy Granny ... says:

    Oh yes! How could we ever have known what the Lord would do to unify our hearts, even in this seemingly mysterious cyberspace?

    It has been such a joy to listen to your heart over the years; to witness your growth, your trials, your affirmations of faith and your queries about faith's backside. I treasure your heart.

    I'm so excited to hear about your planning process, too. What a wonderful thing to be doing on the heels of such a trying year. You go girl!

    I believe in you!

    Kathleen

  11. Yolanda says:

    Elaine several of the words penned from your heart struck a chord with me, but especially this:

    What we do here is real to me; not just fluff and filler but the getting-down-to-what-really-matters kind of stuff.

    Elaine, it's real to me as well. Not fluff, not spiritual milk, but the deep stuff and hungry to go Deeper Still.

    With love and continued prayers,
    Yolanda

  12. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus says:

    The community piece of blogging is the best piece of all. We're doing real life out here on the Information Superhighway. We laugh together, and we weep together.

    I'm honored to be on this journey with you.

    Love, Jennifer

    P.S. — Thank you for the flower. :-)

  13. Beth E. says:

    We definitely have a God-ordained connection, sweet friend. It was no accident that our paths crossed. Bill and I always look forward to spending time with you and Billy, and we can hardly wait until we all get together again!

    Love you
    P.S. I am also participating in "21 Meditations and Motivations to Get You Moving". :-)

  14. Beth.. One Blessed Nana says:

    so beautiful Elaine – your words just spoke volumes and I needed this sentiment today.

    love you so my precious friend!

  15. Mich says:

    what a precious post.

    I consider you a friend, and i have been blessed by you in so many different ways.

  16. Jacquelyn Stager says:

    …and I am honored to share this road with you in some small way. i can't yet quite articulate what traveling with you has done for me, but if I'm ever able to, I'll let you know!

    The present of presence is very real. Years ago when our then little boy was only 2 he got into some craft paint thinner while at my mom's house. He ended up with chemical pneumonia and the doctors didn't know if he would make it through the night. We had a pastor at the time who was great in the pulpit but otherwise a man of few words. He stayed by our side at the hospital and my husband STILL talks about his present of presence and how much it meant to us. When you have a relationship and Christ is the glue, sometimes just BEING THERE is all that is needed. (our son miraculously fully recovered)…

    I really enjoyed this post Elaine!

    I'm ordering Mariel's book too, and I would LOVE to win another to give a friend to study with me!

  17. Rebecca says:

    I SO agree that the connections we share "here" matter. What a joy to grow in those connections…to reach across miles to each others' hearts. Thank God for connections I would never have enjoyed were it not for this technology that connect the dots of all of our lives!

  18. Sonja says:

    This post gets a HUGE TEXAS AMEN from me!! It is hard to explain to a non-blogger, but this fellowship of heart and mind has become so precious to me too.

    I completely understand how you have been blessed. I have been blessed on your pages by your words, and then again through reading the comments that others have left.

    I'm doing the 21 day too, glad you and Beth are both doing it… it's the end of day one and I am glad I signed up!

    If you sent a flower to us, we collectively send a bouquet bak to you!! :)

  19. Melanie says:

    Ahhhhh….So glad you are joining the "21" and happy for your company on the journey.

  20. Cheryl Barker says:

    Your presence in my life is a present to me as well, Elaine. And what a blessing to know that our prayers and friendship through blogging have made a difference for you during your journey of the past few months. I love how we can hold one another up. Have a good week!

  21. Sharon Kirby says:

    Elaine –

    Though I am a "new" friend – I treasure you and your friendship nonetheless. It IS amazing how quickly (and truly) relationships develop here in Blog Land. This is how I know that somehow God is here in the "midst of us."

    Your eloquent words, your honest vulnerability, and your very transparent love for the Lord is what drew me to your blog. Your willingness to open your heart, even when the feelings inside may not be pretty, is what keeps me here.

    I feel very privileged to be with you on your journey.

    GOD BLESS!

  22. Debbie says:

    I know just exactly what you are talking about here. The connections I have made in Blogland are soo real and precious to me, it really is hard to describe to someone who doesn't blog. They simply don't "get it"…I treasure each and everyone of my blogging buddies, and you in particular have blessed me more than you could know. Hope you are starting to feel a little better from your last treatment…HUGS to you today, Debbie

  23. Jess says:

    Elaine,
    What can I possibly add to the previous insightful comments?
    I can only echo how your vulnerability and love for people has blessed my life as well.
    Our Father is indeed pleased with all the ways you minister His Grace!
    Blessings upon blessings as your Journey continues. Love to you and yours~ Jess

  24. Kathy S. says:

    As always your anointed words bless me. I am very grateful for the blogging community too. I wish I had more time to fellowship. But for now, catching up here and there and whispering a prayer keeps my connection and the words build me.

    As a builder of Body, I need for me some soul-builders. That is what you do. You exalt the King and build the Body with words of wisdom & faith.

    I love you. You make much of Him. :)

  25. Karen B. says:

    Whether it be old friends, new friends, many friends you have acquired through your blog posts. You are well deserving of these friends; because of you more people have been given an opportunity to learn of God and his grace he offers us. Your honesty, integrity, and strength has blessed others beyond measure. You are our treasure. Thank you for your ministry. Prayers will continue for you as you build your way back to good health. Love you friend!

  26. Debbie B says:

    Elaine, your words warm my heart and I do echo so much of what has already been said. It is amazing to feel so close to you and like I know you so well through blog land but we haven't met – yet! Take care. Still praying for you and so thankful for your sharing of words.

  27. Leah @ Point Ministries says:

    And we…the online community….are exceedingly blessed by your presence. So glad you are part of the online study. Your thoughts are rich and add so much to our discussion.

    Leah

  28. Kim says:

    Elaine,
    Your words ring so true! My cyber friends have brought much encouragement and support to me on some very lonely days and nights. Your words, journey and life are a blessing to me and so many others!

  29. Anonymous says:

    wifeforthejourney:

    How many times have we sat up late at night to talk about a longing for connections, say, 1998? We have had both hits and misses along the way of our life as a parish family. I echo your expressions of love for your fellow bloggers, and how your blog has been an outlet that has kept you from feelings of complete isolation.

    I continue to be in prayer for you and follow Vann's prayer for you that you would be able to make one substantive connection here close to home. As much as I'd like to "do it all" I learned a long time ago that even as your husband, I still can't meet all your emotional needs. You need a woman you can trust and really be Elaine with, and unfortunately that woman has not presented herself yet.

    I am interceding for you, before my meeting this morning. Love you!

    ~ Billy

  30. KAT . . . says:

    Thank you, dear Elaine. You do not know how much you bless us and how much you give to us as we journey blog land with you. Again, thank you, thank you for being you!

    Love and holy hugs,
    Kathie

  31. mary beth says:

    Over the years, and there have been many, I have marveled at the Lord's provision in the form of a friend. He knows I don't need many, just one soul mate to talk to and share with. I have been impatient at times, and felt that He wasn't paying attention, but He has always been faithful to provide that needed relationship in His own perfect time. He will provide for you too Elaine, and what an amazing thing He has done in pulling you into my life when things were lonely and dry! We need to rest in what He has put before us right now, and enjoy these cyber friendships! Thanks for sharing those links with us..I am always on the lookout for the good ones and I like to pass them on.

  32. A multi-dimensional life says:

    Elaine, you always bless me with your words of wisdom and faith.

    I have a little something FOR YOU…please stop by my blog and pick it up. You are more than deserving!

    Thank you for continuing to teach and to share and to give of yourself!

    Love,
    Lorraine

  33. Phather Phil Malmstrom says:

    Elaine, I think if anything it's we that owe you thanks. In the midst of one of your darkest times, you have inspired, and encouraged and brilliantly shone God's Light on those who were Graced by your words. Your fellowship has certainly been a Blessing to me, and I thank you for it.

    Have a Blessed Day Dear Lady!

  34. Crown of Beauty says:

    You are a treasure worth discovering, Elaine. We have not met face to face, but really, I feel like I know you better than some of my real life friends.

    I consider it an honor and a privilege to be one of your blog friends.

    How can someone care for and love a person she has not "personally" met? Only God can make that possible!

    Thanks for the words you have written on this post. You are not alone. You are not forgotten. Just today on the train coming home, I thought of you. I often do, and lift you up to God.

    Keeping you close,
    Lidj

  35. Denise says:

    Amen.