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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stranger vs. Friend

The last six days have taught me many, many lessons. One is a lesson from which we can all gain great insight and value.

What do you do when someone you know goes through great suffering? I have never known the answer and in my fear and uncertainty I have more often than not been guilty of doing nothing.

I remember one of the first times cancer touched my life. About ten years ago, our Sunday school teacher was diagnosed with cancer. I remember the Sunday they shared his diagnosis with us. I was sitting in a chair right behind his precious wife, Gracie. The Lord laid such a burden on my heart for her and what she must be going through. I sat through the class silently crying yet on the inside my heart was weeping and wailing and wouldn’t stop for a long, long time. I didn’t know them very well, as we had just begun attending the class. The Lord told me to write her a note. He even gave me the words to say. But in my fear, I didn’t. I prayed for them but they never knew it. When he went to heaven I wanted so badly to share with her, to weep with her, to hold her and to hug her. But I didn’t because I felt I had lost my opportunity. Fear had stolen it again.

Another time this happened was a few years ago when I really felt a burden to pray for our pastor and his wife. I really didn’t know them that well. Just well enough to say hi with a smile inn passing. Each morning when I would go the local gym to work out, I would see the pastor’s wife. Many mornings, I would have to get off the treadmill and go hide myself in a bathroom stall and compose myself. I felt such a burden to pray for them. Again, the Lord showed me to send her a letter. He even gave me the words to write. And again, my fear held me captive in a prison of isolation and silence. About a week after the Lord had told me to write to her telling her I was praying, they went through an extremely difficult time. I wanted so badly to go to her and pray the words that I’d been praying all along for her in person. Again, I felt I had lost my opportunity. Fear had stolen from me again.

So, I want to encourage you. If God is telling you to do something for someone you know who is going through a hard time. Just do it. They will receive it. Looking at life and death decisions every minute of the day leaves us exhausted and unconcerned about what our children will eat for dinner or whether they will be on time to school with their homework. I just want them to eat and be lovingly tended.

Over the last six days I have learned this. I will not tell people to “call me if you need something.” I will never hesitate to call, send a note, show up on the doorsteps with a meal, a gift or an offer again. Never. I will not be afraid that I am too much of a “stranger” to share in suffering. Because I have learned in the world of suffering there are no strangers.

Jesus (told) a story, "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead.

"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him…

From Luke 10; The story of the good Samaritan; The Message

Your friend,


nancygrayce said...

I am a stranger who only has prayers to offer! If I lived near, I would come to your door! You and your family have been constantly on my mind and heart this weekend.

Andrea said...

So many times the person hurting just needs our presence to hold a hand....share GODS strength through touch. Sometimes there are No words needed. That is what I tell people who are afraid to reach out to someone with cancer, etc. Just go and "be" and GOD will do the rest!

Hugs, blessings, and many prayers,

Susan Hilton said...

Lisa - Stephanie & I decided to go to Spoons and it was as if God said we needed to call you to see if the kids wanted to go too. Then, when we get home I read your blog. I am so touched by the power of God. Tell the kids I will be by very so on to steal them away for a little fun!

Bernie said...

So wish I were closer to lend a hand as I know how important your family is to you.....will continue praying Lisa, always in my heart and prayers......:-) Hugs

LisaShaw said...

My love and prayers are with you Lisa---pouring them forth daily and consistently and believing with great faith that GOD's Hand is upon you. Praying for your dear family and for the doctors. Blessings and hugs.

Alyssa said...

i am so glad you found me this weekend. i am so honored to follow your story and pray for you...thank you for contacting me, another stranger but familiar to suffering. it made my day! praying for you and continuing to follow your courageous faithful journey...

Beth@Not a Bow in Sight said...

I have felt a heaviness in my heart for you and your family Lisa. I have been praying fervently. And even though we've never met I consider you a friend.

Much love from Houston,

Andrea said...

I am sorry that as of now I will have to remain the stranger from afar. But please be assured that you are in my prayers daily! And thank you for the words that I can use to share with those around me that are with in reach.

KELLY said...

I too Lisa do not know you but have posted your picture and ask for prayers on my blog. I am on the prayer wall and will continue to pray for you, your family and you doctors that God will wrap his arms around you and bring healing.
I live in Alabama.....to far to do anything physically.....so I will pray, and pray, and pray. Love to you and your family..Kelly

Debbie said...

Lisa, your words are so true. I've had those times when I believe it's the Lord prompting me to write a note or call someone. And the times I've listened and followed through ...it ended up being a blessing for both. As you are going through this time of uncertainty, keep your eyes on Jesus. He is your Rock. And may your blogging sisters offer a bit of encouragement as we pray for you each day.


Loren said...


I have experienced the same things you've described in this post. Fear cripples us and steals far too many opportunities in which we COULD HAVE blessed, loved, encouraged etc. I learned over this past year the love of many in this bloggy world as I walked through the diagnosis of cancer in my sweet daddy. I pray that as you walk daily you will experience the Love of Christ in HIS people in whatever way HE knows you need at that very moment. For my dad it was a HUGE gift just knowing HOW MANY were praying! Bless you Lisa ~ I am so glad to be in this army with you and all of these praying and believing for your complete healing!

Dianna said...

OK. So now I'm inspired to cry on the treadmill. Love you, and thanks for understanding that fear that robs opportunity, but doesn't change how much I love you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, I love reading your blog so full of life even in sorrow. I will write my friend a note and follow up on what the holy sprit wants me to do for my friend who is fighting the mean old cancer. Thank-you for speaking to me through your blog. I will be praying for you......I live in Vancouver Wa. but I am from the Spring Branch area in Houston. I love reading Southern
blogs...Things are different here in many ways ...

Anonymous said...

Lisa, when Matt and I first came here, you and Andrew were the first to welcome us! We thought God brought us here to open the Keller Williams office here. We now know it was for so many other reasons: Meeting you and Andrew is also one of those reasons! For our paths to cross with so many new friends...and my job. God called me into nursing my senior year of high school from the scripture you just spoke of! I have been a nurse for 23 years! I have been working for Hospice Brazos Valley for over 2 years now. This is the most amazing job I have ever had. I see God move time after time! How awesome to witness moments of walking hand in hand with God. We are so Grateful to have met you and Andrew and your precious children. We are blessed and honored to call you friends! Know that we are praying in agreement with so many others for your complete healing! We will be walking beside you all the way, ready to help, hold, love, and care for you and your family in any way we can. Just remember to"breathe" ;) We love you! God is going to heal you in ways you can't even imagine! You are His! "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart:" Jeremiah 1:5
He will carry you through this time on the wings of eagles! "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31 Many of my friends and family from Lubbock and all over the United States are praying for you also! Rest in Him! Praying for you restful peace!

Melanie said...

"...in the world of suffering there are no strangers."

Lisa, this is truth. Our family has experienced it in the last 5/12 months.
Those who are willing to share in another's suffering do the work of Christ Jesus.
I pray for your healing many times throughout the day and night.
When I lie on my bed, I pray for you, your 4 children and your husband.
I still believe we are in a season of miracles. Faith, Hope, Love and Trust...may each abound in you and your family.

Anita said...

Hello Lisa, I am visiting via Bernie. I am praying for your complete healing - for peace, comfort, and the love/care of family and friends.
You're a winner in Christ!



Your words speak volumes because I was once in that same seat - hearing news of someone's suffering -wanting to do something - and then just sat there and did nothing to reach out - until my husband got cancer and people fought with me in battle for his life for five years. The doctors said he would die much sooner - but God sustained his life much longer and did many miracles prior to his departure to heaven. The love of Christ was shared by many at that time.
As you said:
"...in the world of suffering there are no strangers."

and Melanie added: "I still believe we are in a season of miracles. Faith, Hope, Love and Trust..."

I echo both of your words! God IS still in the business of healing - and still does miracles beyond our wildest dreams...
but it is ALWAYS for His greater glory that we rest in His ways - as Sovereign!

I was praying for you over and over again today and we [your friends and strangers alike] have got you COVERED in PRAYER!

Love to you my Sister!

Choosing JOY, Stephanie
JESUS ONLY in 2010

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

Oh sweet girl, I love you so. I wish I could be there in person, but as always my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours constantly.

Much love,

Denise said...

Please know sis, you have my love, prayers, and great big hugs.

Alleluiabelle said...

Precious Precious Sister,

My mind, heart and soul well up with such love for you. I weep with you, I pray for you, my eyes are fixed on Him and I feel like I could explode with emotions that I am feeling right now for you and all that He is to each and every one of us right now.

The two combined together can only come out to be glorious and praiseworthy to His holy name. Despite the trial, the long suffering, the many decisions, the uncertainty...one thing that holds true...All Is Certain Through Him...All Things. His Will Shall Be Done. He is with you dear one and I know that you know He is, but I strongly feel His presence right now as I type. Oh He is so with you, holding you, loving you, caring for you and your family, orchestrating everything...every step...absolutely everything.

As my eyes are shut typing this I see this bright light shining down upon you as you are lying down on your back in your bed with your eyes closed. You look ever so peaceful. He's filling you even more now and He will give you rest, peace, strength to come through this praising Him ever so loudly, ever so strongly, ever so lovingly, every so sweetly...Yes, He is the Lord your God ever so present at all times. Bask in Him even at your lowest time, raise your face and seek Him, really seek Him as you cry up to the heavens praises to His holy name.

Oh Lord, touch Lisa this night in even mightier ways. She is speaking your truth as she pours out herself here...You are already using her, but I know and feel that you will use her even more. Bless here this night Father as she lets it all go completely into You...completely into You, into Your hands, into Your Will.

By all of Your power and all of Your glory we stand united in this blogging community of praying warriors along with so many others and we sing loudly this night hands clasped together with one another in unity, lifted high...Glory to You oh Lord, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah all praise, honor and glory are yours Almighty Father forever and ever more.

I love you so much Lisa. Rest dear one, rest. He's got it ALL under control.

Big Hugs,

Jamie @ Six Bricks High said...

Thanks for your encouraging words, they have inspired me to reach out more...even when I'm unsure of myself.

I am praying for you!

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Growin' with it! said...

wowza! what a great post. oh how we need to live in the moment and take hold of that moment!

Growin' with it! said...

i've been gone for awhile and just now read your recent story. i'm praying for you new friend!

Michelle Riggs said...

I tend to procrastinate until it is too late. My biggest regrets are when I don't reach out to the people I feel lead to. Thanks for the reminder.

Praying for you!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Sending many prayers and a basket of hope....

Andrea said...

Hope you don't mind. I added a link to Glad Chatter on Arise 2 Write.

Lora said...

Your "Just do it" is more convincing and convicting than a Nike commercial...

Bernie said...

Lisa, I have been thinking of you off and on all day, every time I do I whisper a prayer for you and your family.
Hope today went okay, always in my heart and prayers....:-) Hugs

MyShilohRanch said...

In complete agreement with Lora, "Your 'Just do it' is more convincing and convicting than a Nike commercial..."

Thanks for the exhortation ... we all need it!

Love'n Him and you! HGsM Sue xoxoxo

Anonymous said...


There have been numerous times, one very recently, when I should have followed my instincts and written that note or given a visit and due to my insecurities I didn't. Your words spoke to me and I just wanted to thank you.

Heather (Ashley's friend)

Jackie said...

Wonderful words Lisa.......words that we all need hear.....words to spur us on to reach out and lovingly offer words and acts of encouragement to those who are going through the fire. It may be a smile, a hug, a letter, a word.....and it may be that one word or kind deed that lifts and carries that precious one on.

Thank you for the sweet reminder to be obedient to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit.......You and your family are in my prayers......He is Faithful!!!!

Hug and Sweet Blessings!