Fireside Chats (and not the FDR kind)

I was reading in “More Than His God Card” this week about the miracle of sharing.  Brian Onken was writing on the miracle when Jesus was on the way to save a man’s dying daughter and stops to heal a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years before continuing to raise the man’s daughter from the dead.  Onken basically went into describing why Jesus stopped. Completely summarizing (and probably butchering this), he said that Jesus knew the woman would not be completely healed until Jesus listened to her story.  After she touched Jesus’ robe, she was healed of the hemorrhage.  But Jesus knew that by staying a few extra minutes to hear about her suffering and to validate all that she went through to be healed, she would be healed in a completely new and transformative way.  This really sparked an appreciation in my mind.  This summer has brought me so many new friends.  While we were basically forced to be friends because we live in such tight quarters and we work together 7+ hours a day, our connection is much deeper than “this coworker I met one summer in Florida.” These people genuinely care about me and invest in me and listen to me. Just like the homeless friends I wrote about last week, so many people in this world just want to be heard, including myself.

One of the most special and memorable parts of this entire summer is fireside chats. Disclaimer: there is no actual fire because it is way too hot in Florida.  These fireside chats consist of high quality friends sitting outside until the early hours of the morning figuring out life together. These chats began with Jackie giving me space to process my initial move down here.  Just to know that anyone cared enough to ask about me, who I am, and where God is challenging me meant the world.  Then it grew to Brittany joining us.  And then Beyonce (who’s real name is Alena) came, too.  So many people just being real about life and where we are.  This past Tuesday was a pivotal conversation.  Brittany and Beyonce met me outside for more than 2 hours.  The discussion began with the sadness of leaving Fort Lauderdale in 2 weeks, transformed into how we personally experience God and what the cross means to us, and ended in prayer so specific to each of us present that you couldn’t help but feel a tingle in your bones.  How amazing?!

I’ve always known that listening is important.  As the youngest child, you have no choice a lot of times but to listen because the older siblings have such strong personalities (and I love you for that, Natalie and Nathan). But reading about the intentionality of Jesus’ listening totally rocked my world.  Life is not just about complaining.  Life is not just about putting on a fake face and pretending to be okay. Life is about listening to God and seeing what He has planned for you. Personally, it’s through listening that I learn the most. What other people have to say and the way that they say it have so much potential to speak to us not only about our dear friends, but also about our Heavenly Father. So my challenge this week for myself that I will share with you is the challenge to shut your own mouth and let God speak to you. Just listen.

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