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My best friend Rita and I go back to 1999.  I first met her at a reception at the new church I started working at.  We clicked.  The Holy Spirit drew us together.  We had things in common, especially one, being familiar with military life.  She was in the Army reserves along with her husband.  My husband had just recently retired from the Marine Corps. Military families were sparse in Birmingham, AL.  It had been seven years since I lived in a more civilian community.  Civilian life and military life are so different that when God drops you in the middle of a civilian community, its like being a fish out of water.  I think that is what God used to connect us ~ military community.

We have been through thick and thin together.  That one similarity that drew us together and the bond of Jesus keeps us best friends even though we are now miles apart.  We have learned there are many areas in which we are so different.  She is a hard worker.  I am more laid back.  She is on the go most of the time.  I …. well, that is another story.  I am on the go in a whole different way.  We encourage one another through motherhood, wifehood, sisterhood, spiritually and just life in general.  We do life together as best as we can.  Last year she came to Albuquerque working as a traveling nurse and we lived together for several months.  We have done ministry together in many different ways.

We helped with the Luther Hour Ministry putting floats together for the Rose Bowl Parade. IMG_1297

We travel together.

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Besides traveling to CA, we traveled to Hawaii for 10 days.

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We have gone to mission conferences (Bob Goff was the guest speaker and it was his birthday),

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Christian Concerts (Steven Curtis Chapman here),

IMG_0328spent time together in Florida when she was working as a traveling nurse there.

The best part of our relationship with each other is we both have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  That is our bond.

Interesting enough, the Bible speaks about what healthy relationships to one another looks like.  Let’s look at Philippians 2:25-28 NLT

25 Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.26 I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. 27 And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.28 So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you.

Notice Epaphroditus’ character:

  1. He showed genuine Christian love in action
  2. He cared about the Philippians
  3. Missed them
  4. Worried about possibly having caused them sorrow
  5. Model of what Paul had talked to them about in earlier verses
  • Others-centered
  • Not looking out for his own interests, but for others’ interests

Paul described him as:

  1. My brother – they both were Christians. Two children of the same Father, God
  2. My co- worker – Epaphroditus labored physically alongside Paul to make sure the Gospel reached as many people as possible building the Kingdom of God.
  3. My fellow soldier – laboring spiritually with Paul. Wearing the full armor of God by living a godly and righteous life.
  4. Your messenger & minister to my needs – took the gift from the church to Paul, putting his own life in mortal danger.

So What Now?

How do your friends compare to Epaphroditus?  How many of your friends are your brother or sister in Christ?  Which ones are co-workers with you in building the Kingdom of God?  How would your friendships change if you were fellow soldiers together?  How do your friends minister to your needs?  Better yet,  how do you compare to Epaphroditus toward your friends?  How could you be a co-worker with your friends by building the Kingdom of God?  What is one way you could be a fellow soldier with your friends?  How can you minister to your friends needs and those around you?

Real friendships take work.  True friendships in Jesus are others-centered.  Looking out for one another instead of yourself.  I know that this is an area that I could always work on.  Thankfully God does the changing as long as I am willing.  Are you willing to let God change you into a Brother/Sister, co-worker in Kingdom building, fellow soldier by living a godly and righteous life through Jesus, a messenger and ministering to others?  If not, why not?  Let’s hear from you in the comments below or email me   justbefreecoach@gmail.com

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New Website is coming along!

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It has been awhile since I have blogged.  I am not sure why…it just is I guess.  Life is passing by so fast.  I can’t believe it is the end of March already yet some days just drag.  Do you ever have that happen to you?

I am excited that my website is nearing its final stages.  It is looking so good.  Its like when that is completed, I have responsibilities to attend to…like blogging.  Like my website just isn’t altogether right now, so my life is.  I feel scattered, busy yet not, working but not really.  I read a book that really sums up how I see myself and others.  “We are sinful and flawed yet loved and welcomed.” (Counsel from the Cross by Elyse M Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson)  Isn’t that so true!

This week is Holy Week in the church calendar.  As I think about what Jesus did for me because He loves me, it brings me to my knees and ever so grateful.  He died for me a sinner who is flawed but he loves me and welcomes me! He did that for you too!  We don’t have to wear a mask, hiding the imperfections from others.  We are set free from that!  We can live and know that we are worse than we ever thought we were and yet loved more than we ever could hope for.

Romans 8:1-3 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

John 8:36…if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.  Are you in Christ Jesus?  He paid with His blood to cover our sin so we could be reconciled to God.  If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, what are you waiting for?  Your true freedom only comes through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Thirsty?

drinking fountainI travel a lot by airplane.  That means I spend a lot of time in the airports.  Airport food and beverages are expensive and naturally, I get thirsty.  I have learned that TSA will allow an empty bottle to go through security.  That is nice and what is even better is when the airports that have a bottle water fountain.

Jesus traveled one day and became thirsty.  His disciples went into town to buy some food.  While waiting by the well, a woman came to draw water.  He asked her for a drink.  This was unheard of in that time or place.  What it came down to was the woman was the one who was thirsty…not necessarily for water but a real relationship.  She had been in several bad, unhealthy relationships that caused her to thirst for more.  Jesus offered her a relationship with Him that would change her life and give her life forever.

Many times we are in relationships that don’t satisfy like we want.  I was married for 22 years and it was not what I thought marriage was suppose to be like.  Things were challenging and very unhealthy.  I didn’t know what healthy looked like.  When the marriage ended,  I wanted to blame Mr. Marine.  I didn’t want to see that I had any blame at all.  During a two year period, Jesus took my thirsty soul for a healthy relationship and gave me His water, His Word and His life.  He showed me that He was all I needed.  He gave me love that I never recognized before.  As He poured His love into me, I changed.  I started seeing changes in Mr. Marine.  Jesus used circumstances to reconcile us and our family back together.  But it started with Jesus.  Jesus can do the same for you.

What in your life causes you to thirst for things you don’t have or experience?  Where are you looking to be filled?

Day 4’s assignment … a day late and a dollar short

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I meant to do a blog yesterday but the topic really took me for a loop.  Before I knew it, the day was over and hence yesterday’s assignment is happening on today and its already late today!  I got up early but couldn’t even get through my morning routine because my mind was consumed with the workshop I am doing tomorrow.  I named it the title of my coaching practice and after it was submitted a better name came to me.  Go figure…. Anyway the workshop is Uniquely Perfect (edited title…tomorrow it is Just Be Free).  I am hoping to tap into the woman who feels like she is in the shadows of life.  She has all kinds of titles, mom, wife, girlfriend, CEO, Consultant, coordinator, the list goes on.  But that says what she does not who she is…I want to touch the heart and help her see who she really is.  She is loved by Jesus, set free, redeemed, cherished, forgiven, chosen and there is so much more that Jesus wants us to know about ourselves.  The world tells us we have to look a certain way, act a certain way etc. to be accepted.  But Jesus accepts us the way we are ~ He takes us and cleans us up.

So after we go over who we are, (at the workshop) we are working on our core values.  Our core values are the things that are deep in us that determines our behavior.  Many times we are so used to just doing things that we don’t realize what our core values really are.  I was that way before I went to life coach training.  I still am learning about myself which helps me with decision, how I am around people, how I interact… I am defined by who God says I am and my values stem from who I am in Jesus.  I no longer want to be defined by the standards of the world.  Will I stick out like a sore thumb, probably but I don’t care anymore.  Do you know your core values?  Do you know the Creator, the one who called you His masterpiece?  His name is Jesus.  He died for you, paid the price for your sin, so that you could be called righteous in God sight.  He says come as you are … come follow me.