Staying in Step With The Spirit Via Healthy Relationships

by Cathy Baker

{ Day 3 }

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

My friend, Becky, and I co-lead a Community Bible Class. Our current study by Angela Thomas’ Do You Think I’m Beautiful? is proving to be quite the eye-opener.

In it, Angela shares how our wholeness is found only in God—not spouses, parents, children, friends or stuff.

For today, let’s talk friendships.

Skipper sinking in quicksand. Love Gilligan’s Island!

Just this week, I emailed Teresa, my best friend of 20+ years, sharing a current struggle. In that moment, I felt surrounded by circumstances heavier than quicksand (Does anyone else have Gilligan’s Island flashbacks when you hear that word?) She responded with much wisdom, discernment, and a fresh perspective to boot. Teresa, along with my other friends, are a treasure to me. They are, as Angela describes, vessels of God’s love. They are not, however, placed in our lives to make us whole. 

Here are three (of many) ways we could unknowingly be looking to our friends for wholeness rather than God:  
1. Without hesitation, we
pick up the phone (or tap on the laptop) to ask for a friend’s advice
instead of first whispering a prayer to the Lord for His wisdom. (James 1:5)
2. We allow friend’s advice to trump the Word of God. Yet another reason to surround ourselves with godly friends. (Proverbs 12:26)
3. We place unrealistic expectations on our friendships. Our friends need to be released from the pressure of making us whole. It’s impossible. They can’t do it, nor should they. 
“A girlfriend can be fun, but she cannot be your savior. We need God.” -Angela Thomas
Staying In Step With The Spirit: When we look solely to God to fill those empty spaces in our lives, we draw closer to Him, relying on the unseen Face rather than familiar ones. 
Father, thank You for creating places in our lives that only You can fill. Forgive us where we’ve sought out anyone or anything to take Your place. Fill us today with your power, grace, and mercy — not only for our benefit but for others as well. May You receive all the glory! 

Is there a particular friend you’re thankful for today? The comment box is the perfect place to give a “shout out!” Or, if you have something to add to the list above, I invite you to share. 


{ Day 2 } Staying in Step With the Spirit Via Less Clutter

Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time: Friendships


Thanks for stopping by. Pull up a chair, make yourself comfy, and I’ll pour us a cuppa tea.

I wish
we could physically sit across such a table together, but since most of
us cannot, I created a summer tea time on Tuesday’s just for us. 

We’ll begin by asking God to stir us, awakening us to today’s takeaway. My prayer is that He will take today’s scripture and steep it deeply into our souls as we take a moment to ponder on, sip on, one word from the verse throughout out the week, moving us toward one particular action.

Today’s tea time is all about friendships. You know…the friend who quietly alerts you to the grits wedged tightly between your teeth (two guesses as to my favorite time to meet!) Most importantly, the kind of friend who boldly but lovingly speaks truth. These are the friendships I want surrounding me, and I’m thankful many of them do. One such friend for me is Becky. When I spend time with her, my spirit hits a “reset” button of sorts. I leave with a clearer understanding of God, of my role in the big scheme of things and perhaps more importantly, what my role is not. Thank you, Beck.

So, how about you? Does someone come to mind? Who are those friends for you?

Heavenly Father,
You created meaningful connections with us in mind, knowing how desperately we’d need one another.
And on those days when truth pierces like a sword, leaving us breathless, we can choose to trust. For the wounds of a true friend is motivated by their love for us, by truth, and for Your ultimate glorification. (Prov. 27:6) May our friendships cast a clear reflection of your grace and mercy to those around us. Thank You for our friends, Father.


This week’s verse we pray will steep richly and deeply 
into our hearts and minds: 
A friend loves at all times.
Proverbs 17:17

Let’s choose one word from the above verse to “sip” on throughout this week, asking the Lord to show us why this word or
phrase stands out to us at this particular time.

I choose the word “all.” Come misspoken words, unintentional neglect, grit-laden teeth, misunderstandings or miles between us, I am to love—at all times—and I fail miserably. Please forgive me.

Before we bring our time to a close, let’s consider one tangible way to “pour” out His truth in response to the word(s) we’ve chosen above. 

Thank you for sharing a tea table with me today at Sharing Life Together…One Sip At A Time.  

Would you consider joining in the conversation by leaving your “word” or in the comment box? Blessings to you, my friend!

When Friends Meet on a Mountain

Blessings, indeed.

This weekend, I joined a couple friends in the mountains of NC for our annual writing getaway. We stay in the same cabin each year so when we all arrive, it feels like home in a very real sense. Real because our friendships plunge far below the surface of plots and proposals.

On Friday nights, we have our “round table discussion” in the cozy den while gas logs simmer nearby. It’s a time when we share what’s really going on in our lives and how we can pray for each other. It also sets the tone for unforgettable weekends.

This year, we met a month earlier than normal. The leaves were green, refusing to lose their grip, so while we didn’t enjoy a kaleidoscopic carpeting as usual—it didn’t matter. Like the weather, our lives transition into different seasons along the way. Yet, no matter if times are bare or flourishing, true friends remain and sustain like none other. 

Friends love through all kinds of weather…Proverbs 17:17 (The Message)

On Sunday morning, my friends headed back down the narrow steep driveway. Before locking up one final time I stepped into the house-length screened porch, inhaled deeply, and whispered “thank You” to the One who allowed our paths to not only cross but meld together for an eternity. 

As you and I begin our week, let’s encourage one another to do the necessary “work” required to be a good friend to someone God has brought into our lives. Who knows? You might find yourself making reservations for a mountain cabin atop a high hill, lovingly known as Buck Mountain. 

Where the magic happens…

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