Then my dearest, most precious friend in the world...my sister (in Christ) saw more in me than that and started gently mentoring me and nudging me out of my shell. Of course I didn't realize she was doing that - I just knew she was my encourager and she always knew when I was doubting myself and she was right there to pick me up and give me strength.
(I am in the middle and CJ is on the right in the
pink shirt - 10/07)
pink shirt - 10/07)
There was one time in particular about 3 years ago that our Women's Minstry at the church we were going to held a Christmas Banquet on a Saturday evening. I would NEVER attend these functions alone (i.e. alone means "without my husband") and my friend, CJ, had asked if I was coming and I was giving her some excuse as to why I couldn't make it and she wouldn't take no for an answer. She knew the real reason...because I was a chicken and intimidated to walk into a roomful of women and have to make small talk...and she assured me she would meet me at the door and "hold my hand" through the entire evening. I reluctantly agreed to meet her there. I got so far as to drive up into the church parking lot and when I saw all the cars there I sat in the car talking myself out of going in...the fear was consuming me. She knew! She called me at that exact moment and let me know she was at the door waiting for me. It still makes me cry to this day to think back at how God used CJ in MY life at that moment because that was the beginning of the transformation I've gone through the last 3 years.
I am a new woman today. CJ and I are now at another church working in ministry together. I lead the Women's Ministry. I speak in front of Women's Groups. I teach and lead Bible Study groups to women of all ages. I teach Weight loss classes to women and men. I don't hide behind my husband anymore. I now meet with women to encourage, motivate and strengthen them. My favorite verse in the Bible is "I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13 I KNOW that I CAN do all things through Jesus because I am living proof!
There are times I feel completely overwhelmed when there are so many women calling me, emailing me, sharing their lives with me...they are hurting, troubled, confused
and I just have to ask myself "Why me, Lord?"...then when I stop to talk to Him and reflect on my life I know Why...because I've been there and I can relate and I can empathize and I am a living testimony to God's mighty power. The ladies who know me now can't believe I used to be like them...it gives them hope that they too can overcome if they'll only have faith and rely on God's strength and not their own.