Category Archives: Relationships

friends holding hands

A Friend

As we walk through these last moments with my Dad I am comforted by words and thoughts that have been shared with me over the years.  I recently came across another poem my dear friend Sonja sent to me years ago.  How I am blessed by my friendships.

A Friend – by Jane Toote

My soul cried

The driving winds and rains lashed fiercely about me

I stumbled, searching wildly in my mind

Reaching out from the confusion in my heart

                                And she was there

                                And understood

                                And cried with me


My soul gazed up

The raging winds were stilled and the cool calm

Dark of night, surrounded me. I looked up.

And spoke to God and felt his peaceful presence there.

                                And she was there

                                And understood

                                And prayed with me

 dark of night


My soul soared

The wind blew soft and cool against my face

The misty clouds drift over a silver moon

And thanked God for the ecstasy of love

                                And she was there

                                And understood

                                And smiled with me.

 friends holding hands

Love Sonja

Stumbling Blocks to Satisfying Friendships

A lack of satisfying friendships often revolves around our emotional health.  Some women are particularly fearful of letting themselves be truly known.  Others avoid relationships because they are afraid of rejection and abandonment.  Still others are crippled by comparison, either feeling inferior or superior to the women they might otherwise have befriended.  And the majority are simple too busy to put in the time it takes to cultivate a deep friendship.  These issues and others prevent many women from taking the risk of allowing other women to walk into their lives and leave footprints on their hearts.

Of all the barriers to genuine friendship, the biggest is probably the reluctance to take off our masks

12894the fear of being known, because of the possibility of our being found wanting.  

If we insist on wearing a mask and playing a part before the world, rather than letting our guard down and being vulnerable, we will never experience the joy of unqualified acceptance.

God created us for relationship, with Him and with one another, in spite of the risks involved – from exposure and rejection to arguments and bruised egos.  It is only in community with Christ and His people that we receive the love, acceptance, emotional healing, safety, nurture, and comfort we need to be all Jesus intends us to be.


How do we move from a place of self-protective hiding into the openness of genuine community?

By deciding that the only worse than the intense pain of being known and rejected is the certainty of the low-grade, long-term pain of never begin known by anyone at all.


“We are joined together in his body by his strong sinews, and we grown only as we get our nourishment and strength from God.” Colossians 2:19


Excerpt from Friend Me: Turning Faces into Lasting Friendships.


social media

When Technology Turns Toxic

Just weeks ago, my beloved sister, Debbie, passed into eternity after a 16 month journey with cancer. During her illness and in its aftermath, Debbie and/or her family were able to disperse information about her condition to (and receive encouragement from) hundreds of people using, social media. With the clack of a few keys and the click of a button– whoosh…the information was released to more people than we could have communicated, with face to face, in a week.

I love what technology can give me. What I don’t love is what it can take away. Reading that my friend had cheesecake for breakfast and despises her boss is a poor substitute for looking into her eyes and hearing her heart. Online, I can click that I “like” her breakfast menu choice and LOL at her tirade about her boss. But face to face, I might discern what her unhealthy diet and emotions are really saying about her well-being.

Social Media provides the perfect camouflage for hiding in plain site. We reveal to our “friends”, however many hundreds we have, exactly what we want them to know. Usually, it is far too much and not nearly enough. Many posts are dripping with drivel but completely void of authentic disclosure of who and how the writer really is.

It may feel good in the moment to present a false face to the world–to believe we are being perceived as successful and happy. But what we really want at the end of the day, is someone who knows us intimately, truthfully, and accepts us completely.
Technology is useful and Facebook is fun, but social media should never be allowed to crowd out face to face friendships. There is no substitute for real relationships with real people in real media


Who’s in Your Herd?

herd-05-10-12-DonnaThere are some places on this planet that should be safe. A mother’s womb should be a safe place. A child’s bed should be a safe place. Families should be safe and so should churches. Unfortunately many are not. So many of the tragic stories I hear at women’s retreats are tales of violation of one or more of these sanctuaries. The natural response of the human heart to repeated betrayals of trust is to withdraw from relationship, the scene of so many crimes of the heart. There is something tragic about a group women, many of whom are in a self-imposed exile, converging to try to grow in their relationship with God from their place of isolation.

I once spoke to the combined women’s groups of two Churches. Everyone looked pretty “put together” but my experience has taught me that appearances can be deceiving. Saturday night I spoke on God’s desire for us to be plugged into relationship with Him AND His body. That in fact, we can’t be all He wants us to be unless we are. We also become targets for our enemy, who, like a predator in the wild, targets those who drift from the herd. I concluded my talk by showing a video, filmed on a South African Safari. It shows a baby Water Buffalo wandering from the herd and being attacked by a pride of lions who are later joined by a crocodile. The tug of war is on, but the pride of lions win the prize. Then amazingly, the herd of water buffalo returns. They surround and fight off the lions. Almost unbelievably, the calf survives and is saved and enveloped by the security of the herd. After showing the video, I gave the women some time to choose someone to share their secret struggles with. I was so encouraged to see many groups of two or three women taking walks together, talking and praying together; becoming that safe place for one another that we all need to reach our God-given potential. Seeing so many women choose community over isolation, taking the risk of trusting again so that they can grow to be like Christ in community with one another was mountaintop moment for me.

By the way, who has your back? Who’s in your herd?


Lesson in the Loop

Ever wish you could hit rewind on some day, hour, or minute of your life? It happened to me just yesterday.


I flew to Phoenix at the invitation of a writer-friend to spend a week with her writing in the sun instead of the snow. We flew separately and had agreed to meet in the rental car terminal just a few minutes away from the airport by shuttle. I arrived in terminal two, collected my checked bag in record time and jumped on the shuttle, which seemed to be just waiting for me. Well that was smooth, I thought, as I settled myself and my carry-on-bag on the little bus. Then the light bulb went on and I realized my mistake. How could I be so dense?

I had pulled my other bag off the carousel, texted my friend to let her know I had arrived, and then walked away pulling my carry on piece and leaving the other bag behind. While I was on a one way trip to the rental car terminal, my suitcase was standing pathetically by itself beside a luggage carousel in terminal 2 like an abandoned puppy on the side of road.

My brain was immediately attacked by several different self-destructive cognitive monsters. They were Panic, Shame, Self-deprecation and Fear to name a few. As the shuttle resolutely bore me away from my bag, I did my best to ignore the monsters and took the only action I could. I prayed that God would place a couple of burly angels around that suitcase and keep it safe for me until I could get back to claim it.

How desperately I wanted to hit rewind at that moment. To quickly retrace my steps, erase my mistake with all its potential consequences, and start over. But I knew as well as you do that there is no rewind in life.

But there is redemption. Arriving on the heals of the monsters came a call to my cell phone. Turns out my angels were named Jason, from airport security and John from the airport detachment of the Phoenix Police Department. Jason was standing beside my suitcase until John arrived to take it to the lost and found near terminal two.

I jumped off the shuttle at the rental car terminal and breathlessly asked directions to the bus that would take me back to the scene of my blonde moment. In minutes I was continuing the loop that would reunite me with my dear suitcase. Here is the lesson in the loop: we can’t rewind to undo our mistakes. There is no going back. But we can move forward. How? First, by refusing to be paralyzed by shame, self pity and fear. Only then can we take forward redemptive steps to right the wrongs, repair the damage, or at least bring meaning to them. Secondly, we need to look for the lessons God has for us in the mess. Third, we have to obey him when he asks us to swallow our pride and ask for forgiveness, make restitution, or take responsibility for the harm our mistakes have caused. Then we can live the rest of our lives with the wisdom, sensitivity, and humility of one who has made mistakes, but fought the monsters, and won.