“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17, The Message
Has God ever shown you that you needed to let go of a friendship, but instead of following His lead, you intentionally held onto them too long until it resulted in conflict? As a counselor, I often tell my clients, “When you set a boundary, someone will be hurt.” And although none of us like this truth, what we fail to see is that by NOT setting a boundary – we are the ones who are continually being hurt – over and over again! Boundaries may hurt people’s feelings but it will not harm them. Boundaries allow us to be authentic to ourselves and with others. Boundaries are a good thing and keep us and our friendships healthy.
I have found in my life that there are 3 types of friendships:
1. Friends for a moment.
2. Friends for a season.
3. Friends for a lifetime.
And believe it or not, all three types of friendship are just as important as the other. You may be thinking, “Come on Tracy, surely a lifetime friend is more valuable than a friend for a season or moment!” But, I beg to differ with you – each type of friendship is valuable in its own right.
A friend in the moment can impact you for eternity.
I will never forget sitting in a Chapel service at Mid-America Bible College. A young student presented the gospel. I don’t even remember his name, but through his message and invitation, I accepted Jesus as my Savior – he was a friend for a moment that has impacted my life for eternity. Years later a beautiful blonde intercessor prayed over me and declared “Tracy, you are not a misfit, you may not have fit into your father’s or mother’s plans but you fit into God’s plans.” Her words still ring within my being and although she remains a nameless friend for a moment – I will never forget her or her words.
A friend for a season can also impact you more than you know.
I had a best guy-friend named Wayne during my college years. He greatly prepared me for my husband. His friendship brought needed healing and restoration in my life – he was an amazing friend for a season. And although our season ended due to us establishing healthy boundaries once we both became married, I will forever be grateful for his friendship in the “right” season. You see, when seasons change, friendships can change or may even need to come to an end, but it’s okay – the Lord giveth and taketh away – blessed be the name of the Lord.
The thing about friendships is that we too often try and keep “right” people in a “WRONG” season. Or how about this one – how many of us expect everyone we are friends with to act like our friends for a lifetime? I will never forget when a friend failed to ask me about a recent speaking engagement. She knew about the event, but never inquired about it. After much prayer, God clearly showed me that I was wrong by expecting her to act like my friends for a lifetime – who ALWAYS pray and ask about my speaking engagements.
A friend for a lifetime is a treasured jewel.
These you can count on one hand. They are the individuals who know you, your strengths, your weaknesses, your passions, your deepest secrets and longings. They celebrate the good times and weep with you in the dark times. They do not keep a record of wrongs, always give you the benefit of the doubt, they are there for you 24/7 and no matter how much time has passed you can pick up with them right where you left off. These are the treasured jewels of life.
Today I would like to honor all of my friendships. Whether you have been a friend for a moment, a season or for a lifetime: I honor you and I am a better person because of you – thank you!
As women of God, it is time for us to let go of wrong, out of season, relationships and and grab onto God with all of our might! God is the One person I can declare is your Friend for a lifetime! Selah (pause and think about that for a moment). Jesus is the One who is always on our side. He is cheering you on from heaven and intercedes for you when no one else does. Jesus is the friend that you are all longing for – grab onto Him and trust that He will give you wisdom in all your friendships.
“Lord, thank you for being my friend and Savior for a lifetime. You are always with me and I love you. I give you my friendships and ask that You forgive me for placing my hope in them rather than in You. Show me who my friends are for a lifetime, season and moment. I acknowledge today that each level of friendship is important in my life. I let go of childish things – offense, rejection, trying to defend myself, he said – she said conversations, gossip, criticism, and the such and grab onto You – the author and finisher of my faith. Amen.”
To let it go and hold onto God alone.
To give it all away knowing that God will be glorified. For the point of my life is to point to God.
To embrace my brokenness knowing that God is continually shaping me into His image.
To let go to move forward.
It’s time to Let It Go and declare:
Letting go in 2015,
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7, NKJ
It’s time to let the past be in the past and to become women of Grace. God once shared with me before a family gathering, “Tracy, a woman of Grace never brings up the past sins of another person. Just as I have forgiven and covered your sin under The Blood, you must also cover the sins of others… A woman of Grace always builds up and never tears down.”I will never forget these words because they were like water to my soul. You see, I have a shameful past, but God never reminds me of it. Sure, there are times when I reflect on what God has done in my life, but never with despair or regret, but with thanksgiving of what God’s Grace has done.
So, as you sit with your family and friends this Holiday season, I encourage you to BUILD UP and not tear down, SPEAK LIFE and not death, EXTEND MERCY and not judgment, EXPRESS LOVE and not hate, OFFER FORGIVENESS and not bitterness, SHARE of God’s goodness and no matter what happens at your Holiday gathering – be a woman of Grace.
“Just as we season our meal with salt, let us also be purposeful to “season” our fellowship around our tables this Holiday season with God’s amazing Grace – it will enhance the atmosphere and bring delight to everyone around you” -Tracy Hurst
We need to trust that when evil is spoken of us, God will take care of it. All we need to do is simply walk in God’s grace and no evil plan shall prosper. God will send His angels concerning us as we flow in His love. And it is my prayer that God will grant us all a gathering seasoned with Grace!
Prayer:“Lord, please forgive me of my sins and cover them in Your Precious Blood. I rebuke the devil and his tormenting spirits – I am forgiven and redeemed – I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. Help me Lord to be a person seasoned with Grace. I will no longer bring up the past sins of my brothers and sisters in Christ, but use my mouth to build up and edify. I ask for a Graceful Gathering this year and I realize this desire starts with me. No matter what happens Lord, I invite you to be with me this Holiday season. Guard my lips and heart as I choose to trust that You will vindicate me when needed.” Amen.
With much love,
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Quiet strength, Discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
Colossians 3: 12-14, The Message Translation
Ask any woman and she will tell you that a simple black dress will take her just about anywhere in life. For example, throw on a black dress, add a pair of high heel shoes and ‘hi-ho-hi-ho’ off to work you go. You can run errands around town by sliding into your favorite pair of flip-flops. You can enjoy a formal evening out by placing a strand of pearls around your neck. Not to mention that as you dash around town in this all-purpose black garment, you will look simply elegant! Every woman needs a go-to black dress.
However, when we enter our closets each morning, we typically select our outfit based on a mood, habit or inspiration. Psychologies Magazine states, ” Clothing choices are rarely neutral, and our inner secrets can be read in our choices.”
What many of you may not know is that God is interested in what we wear, spiritually speaking that is. He has picked out some articles of clothing that He believes are essential for every believer’s closet. So, let’s do some inventory shall we? Would I find the following items within your spiritual closet: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, even tempered, content with second place and quick to forgive?
I will admit to having most of these, yet I seem to wear the same things over and over again! For example, I regularly wear a shirt of compassion, slacks of forgiveness and shoes of kindness, but I often pass by the jacket of discipline! If we are all honest, there are probably a few of the mentioned garments listed above that we have a hard time putting on…which one is it for you?
But, there is one all-purpose garment (like that essential black dress), which God states we are NEVER to be without:
LOVE is the one piece of clothing we need to be wearing at all times – no matter the season, predicted weather forecast or agenda of our day. The garment of love is to be extended to others, ourselves and to God. It is the garment that will bring success our way no matter what. So go ahead and wear your black dress, but don’t forget to put on some LOVE to go with it! I promise you that with that combination – you will look fan-tab-ulous!
Prayer: Lord, I want to wear what you have picked out for me today. I choose to place upon myself this day: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, I desire to be even tempered, content with second place and quick to forgive, but importantly I choose to walk in love. By choosing to wear the articles of clothing listed above – I am dressed for success. Thank you for loving me this day. Amen
“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV
*Lately, I have been on a quest to add more fun into my life. I realized that I needed additional fun when my husband and I went to see a romantic comedy at the movie theater and after the movie I could not control the tears that ran down my face. My husband looked at me totally perplexed (ladies, you know the look), he assumed that after viewing a fun, romantic comedy, I would feel encouraged and uplifted, but instead a deep sense of sadness filled my heart. I felt as if I was “missing out,” that everyone else was having fun, except me (do you hear the violin playing? LOL). And so began my quest for FUN!!!
The next day my husband and I sat down and made a list of the things we considered, “fun.” Of course, our lists were completely different! My husband, who is a ex-paratrooper and Golden Knight for the Army, listed various adventures, such as: jumping from planes, mountain biking, getting his pilots license, watching Brave Heart and Blackhawk Down. My list consisted of things such as: more girlfriend time, dinner parties, buying new shoes and travel.
So my husband began watching his war movies, doing his “guy stuff” and I bought some new pair of shoes (sorry honey), met girlfriends for coffee and together we hosted a few dinner parties, but these activities DID NOT SATISFY our desire within.
Finally, one morning during my quiet time with God, I asked Him why we were having such difficultly implementing fun into our lives?
Then God led me to Psalm 16:11:
“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The truth is, nothing on earth will bring us eternal joy. Don’t get me wrong, a mountain bike and new shoes are great, but both will eventually end up in the junk yard!
The truth is, we were looking for fun in all the wrong places! Only the Lord can provide the JOY that can satisfy your soul. Fun is fleeting, but JOY is eternal.
EXTREME JOY is only found in God’s Presence, JOY is seeing God bring breakthrough and healing into people’s lives, JOY is telling people about Jesus and how good HE is!!
As Psalm 16 sank into my spirit, a smile spread across my face. I found what I had been longing for in the Word of God. My quest had been fulfilled! That following weekend, my husband and I hosted a Bible study and I sensed God’s Presence in our home. As I looked around the room I thought to myself, “NOW THIS IS FUN!”
Lord, forgive me for looking to the world to bring joy and satisfaction into my life. Nothing this world offers can bring me eternal peace. It is only in Your Presence that I am filled with supernatural joy. And this joy is not dependent on my circumstances. I choose to no longer look for fun in all the wrong places, for it is only in Your Presence that I am filled to overflowing! Amen.
*A Published Article by Tracy Hurst, “Atlanta Christian Chronicle”, June, 2004
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