“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV
She hung in the back of the sanctuary until most of the women cleared out from the event. She waved me over and asked if we could talk.
“I’m looking for someone to mentor me,” she said with dark eyes shining. “I know you are really busy, but would you consider it?”
I had just finished emceeing a two-day women’s gathering with the theme of discipleship. I paused at first because I didn’t feel “old enough” to be her mentor. What wisdom did I have to offer? The more we chatted, the more I realized she really wanted someone to run alongside her in this race called life. She was a mother, a leader, a woman of color, who was longing for accountability and deeper friendship.
That courageous question changed the course of both of our lives. Although Yazmin and I are from different cultures, different upbringings, different personalities, and have different ministries, God brought us together to sharpen each other. Our differences are our strength. We’ve done some deep heart work together – sharing vulnerably, confessing our sin, praying together, and encouraging each other, especially on the hardest part of the trail.
We have learned the power of presence. Although I am 10 years older, we journey shoulder-to-shoulder together. We don’t waste time comparing ourselves to each other. We think of ways to collaborate and spur each other on to good choices. Our friendship is marked by mutual edification.
The prophet Jeremiah talks about how those who trust in the LORD are like trees planted together near the water. He paints a picture of these trees with leaves that stay green. They do not fear when the heat comes. They are not anxious when the water is low. They have confidence in God’s provision. They continue to produce fruit.
Friend, we are designed to flourish in community. He brings beauty from our brokenness when we share our stories and bear each other’s burdens. Sometimes it’s awkward and uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s messy, but God meets us there.
After almost eight months of social distancing and Zoom calls, many of us are trying to figure out how to re-enter into community. It might look different from how it did before. We might need to put in a little extra effort to rebuild our friendships. We might need to extend grace and meet people in their raggedness and fatigue.
This I know for sure: God does not want us to run through this life in isolation where the Enemy can speak lies and distract us. God wants all of us to experience His abundance by flourishing together.
Yazmin and I set our eyes on the finish line together. Finishing well and leading our people to God’s glory is the goal. Some days we run; other days we kneel.
*This devotion was originally published in Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life is Not Okay. This beautiful devotional just released in October 2020. If you use this affiliate link, you are helping with costs for our blog at no extra cost to you.