by our love

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“Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!  What joy!”

Christmastime this year has been made brighter by the visit of my precious friend, Hannah.  I mentioned a few blog posts ago, when I posted pictures of the blouse she made me, that she is the only friend I have that has battled depression.  I have struggled once again with that old curse that I hate so much, and during this time, according to the typical nature of depression, I found myself closing off from almost everyone around me…..except for Hannah.  She lives so far away, in the beautiful state of Alaska, but she graciously and promptly answered all my texts, responding hastily with the love of Jesus, verses, encouragement.  We talked several times on the phone.  I felt comfortable voicing those parts of my heart that needed expression and light.

And then came the moment when she asked if she could come and visit me.  She couldn’t take the depression away but she could sit by my side in full understanding.  I’ll never forget her words, “If I had to go through depression in order to help you, it was worth it.”  We felt the visit was truly God-ordained, even to the price of her round trip, only 36 dollars!

Jesus is always with us, He promised in his Word that He would never leave us, nor forsake us.  I believe that He uses His people in tangible ways to love us.  What I mean is, Hannah has been *my Jesus with skin on*.  I hope that doesn’t sound disrespectful.  Jesus is within all believers, we are a temple of the Holy Spirit, we have this treasure in jars of clay, and as we hold one another, sit beside one another, speak to one another, we are experiencing His love through a brother or sister in Christ.  He loves me through her.  As I spent time with her, I felt as if Jesus Himself was with me.

Hannah is not the only friend I have like this.  If you’re reading this and you’re my friend then it is the same with you.  God places certain people in our lives whom we cannot forget even if we might sometimes want to.  Their names are written on our hearts.  I have friends that I will be loyal to until the day I die, I simply cannot neglect the brothers and sisters in Christ that God has brought into my world.  I’m thinking of so many people right now that have shared my life with me, and I with them, many of them are my own relatives but some of them are not.  Why does He do this?  I have to believe that it is because part of the work He has for us to do is to love each other deeply, encourage each other, sacrifice time and energy, so that the journey through life is not without abundant support and meaning.  It’s a beautiful thing to see.

The Bible says, “If we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.

HOW AMAZING IS THAT?

I found a quote on Pinterest that says it well:  “When God puts love and compassion in your heart toward someone, He’s offering you an opportunity to make a difference in that person’s life.  You must learn to follow that love.  Don’t ignore it.  Act on it.  Someone needs what you have.”

I’ve been writing about lifelong relationships, but this concept of being an instrument of God’s love applies to the “one time” act of kindness for a random stranger, too.  How many people have we unconsciously showed grace and love to, without even being aware that our smile, our small conversation, our politeness, touched someone’s life in a meaningful way at just the right time?  How many times did a stranger touch our hearts with kindness that made us thank God then and there?

Surely, God is in full operation at ALL TIMES.  Moving, breathing, shepherding us THROUGH EACH OTHER.  (and his Word, his World, and so many other ways, too).  Praise Him with me!

Oh for eyes that see and give Him glory.  And in all things, to give thanks.

A few days ago Hannah and I went to a museum together.  We drove into the city, parked in a parking garage, and walked a few blocks to the museum.  It was a special time at the museum, too, because of Christmas, there were decorated trees and choirs singing as we wandered delightfully through the rooms.  Oh how we loved the artwork!  We came away determined to enjoy more art and Hannah wants to study art history.  It was fascinating.

I took a few photos of the trees.  The first picture in this blog post is one that an older lady did.  She lives in a nursing home and knitted every single ornament and garland for her tree.  I loved it.  I loved imagining her working on it.

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A bird tree, a tree decorated with origami which reminded me of my David who loves to fold paper, and another view of the “yarn” tree.

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A Harry Potter tree!  (David is reading all the books these days, he’s now on #6)

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And then we made our way into the art exhibits.  There was a folded card which showed the details of each painting so we took advantage of that and studied each one.

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There was so much spiritual depth in the works, some we understood, others we felt as if there was more to learn….which I suppose is one of the purposes of museums and art…to create a thirst for knowledge as we appreciate the beauty.

And, by the way, we both wore blouses that Hannah made herself~art from the sewing machine!

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that beautiful blue color

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Book of Hours from the 1400’s.  Imagine the work that went into this amazing book and all the hands that touched it through the years.

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Egyptian cat

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Amazingly carved linden wood.

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“Still life with Ham” 

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a GORGEOUS silver center piece which we stood and looked at for a while

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This too!  A birdcage!

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made entirely of porcelain (I think…or something similar)….amazing detail and beauty

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God’s art….above and beyond anything we could even imagine!

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God made Hannah, too, a beautiful work of art, and He made YOU as well…so special and unique, truly one of a kind.

After seeing as much as we could possibly absorb in one day, we made our way to lunch at the cafe and then shopped the gift shop for Christmas gifts.

It was a memorable day with a dear friend.

You are LOVED!

8 thoughts on “by our love

  1. Yes and amen! I am so glad you have a friend to walk with you thru these times. You are truly ,truly blessed. Some friends are like that. I’m asking for your prayers for myself going thru some things. I am praying for you as well.
    Beautiful Saviour who loves us thru others,and who loves thru us.
    Christina

  2. to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved….

    God has blessed you in Christ in so many many uncountable ways… But Hannah was one you could count…

    So thankful to hear how He had her come and minister to you in that way through a dark time.
    Love you..great post. Out of the ashes we rise and able to shine to others through darkness the love of God.

    B

  3. thanks for the stroll through the museum with the two of you.
    the book of hours- gorgeous!!!! and really cool to see in ‘real life’ since we studied that time period in history last year and talked a lot about it.
    and the da Vinci quote… and the butterflies… Oh! love.
    merry christmas

  4. We are told to “comfort one another with the comfort with which we have been comforted”. Having dealt with depression herself, Hannah was able to do that for you in a beautiful way! I hope you are feeling very encouraged today!

    1. YES! Hannah read those verses to me out loud while she was here and we praised God together. He gives us a purpose for our pain. Thank you Emily, I am feeling MUCH better and although there are some things causing me slight anxiety, I know that God is leading and providing all I need. And He does the same for you as well—for all His beloved children.

  5. Hannah is doing a great job of being *Jesus with skin on* for many of us right now. I too have been praying for you from Alaska, & I think you’ve been praying for me. What a great God that we are lifting one another up, & we’ll probably never meet. I’m so glad she was able to come to your side, & I dare say you helped her also. God bless you from far away. Love, Jennifer

  6. Hello Shanda,

    I found your blog doing a search for EGYPTIAN CAT. I have been collecting pictures of Egyptian Cat statues from all over the web for a few years now and I have never seen the Egyptian cat you posted a picture of, a very nice example. Could you please email me the name of the museum? I would like to get more information on it, if possible. Thank you in advance for you kind assistance. Happy Holidays and God Bless! Peter

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