Friday, October 14, 2011

How Are You? ~ by Samantha Reed

He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Psalm 107:20

I'd like to introduce you to my sweet friend, Samanth Reed.  The Lord blessed me serendipitously with this unexpected friendship.  While I probably could be Sam's mother (by age), she graciously sees me like as older sister in the Lord.  Connected by heartstrings, though we are distanced by miles, Sam's humor, encourgement, humility and love reach through the computer screen and touch my heart. Her writing is uniquely beautiful as she shares her heart for the Lord with tangible transparency.
Sheila, Me and Samantha (July 2011)

Samantha hails from the North… but was raised in the South. Perhaps this unique medley of accents, food and temperature inspires her to write. She muses at Fields of Gold, is a contributor to Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Daily Devotions and is working on mixing her Yankee Belle experiences in her first novel.

Welcome Samantha Reed as she dips into God's Word...

How Are  You?

How are you? I’m posed this question many times a day, but haven’t delved into the truth lately. Cause truth is, there are only a few I want to be that honest with. And those I generally share the depths with are wading through extenuating circumstances. Filled to capacity, they’ve needed a place to pour out.

Cupped hands catch their words, worries, wants. Until my hands are heavy. I’m weary from taking in and not pouring myself out in return. I understand; they don’t have it to give right now. Yet, hour upon hour of listening… I’m not sure I have it to give right now either.

Irony is, my very name means “Listener.” Double irony is my life verse from 2010: “whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25). But I can not take more into a soul cram-full. And I can not pour out what is not there. I’m completely full, yet totally empty.

And so I selfishly check out in the name of self-preservation; retreat into myself, away from their words weighted with pain and trouble and questions. Distance my being from all words. Until the Word beckons me with cupped hands large enough to hold my needy soul, friend’s worn circumstances, the thin world.

I pour into the Word, a beautiful dip with crevices to hold my words. “How are you?” He asks.

I’m weary, Word. I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

I feel alone, Word. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

I can’t take much more, Word. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I pour out, He pours in. An ebb and flow more natural than the ocean’s tides. My needy soul needs His words; Him: The Word.

Over 4000 responded to this quote on Facebook, “Sometimes the girl who’s always been there for everyone else, needs someone to be there for her.” This tells me I’m not the only one looking for larger cupped hands to pour myself into. Can’t help but wonder… does this pull on a corner of your heart too?

Friend, community is God-given. But friend’s and family’s ability to be leaned on will ebb and flow. Hence our soul’s deepest need: friendship with the Lord. {Inhale deeply that delight: we’re friends with God.} Friends with the unchanging nature of the Word, Jesus. "For I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

Will you take His cupped hand, reaching out to hold you, your cares, your friends and family members? Take His hand and take a walk through Him, the Word. Pour your truthful answers into Him and pour yourself into the fields of Scripture. Refreshment awaits. He’s asking, “How are you?”

{Hey friend… how are you? Can we create an online community here today to encourage? Please leave a comment letting us know how you are. Then leave a comment with a prayer for the person who commented before you. Thanks, friend!} ~ Samantha

37 comments:

Fields of gold said...

Thank you for sharing your blog space with me, y'all! I told Sharon, it's a humbling honor.

May you hear The Word as He speaks to you today. Calming, precious, nurturing words.

xoxo, Sam

southerninspiration said...

PERFECT words for my day. Thank you!
Suzanne

Wendy Callahan said...

This is kinda cool. I wrote almost this same sort of thing a little while back for a mid week devotional my Sunday School sends out mid week. I was writing that those who feel they have been hurt deeply aren't trying to annoy you with their story he/she just wants you to truly listen to the whole thing and let them "talk it out" with someone he/ she feels will care about their feelings. I said "Can you do the hardest thing you will ever do for a friend or stranger but the one thing he/ shee needs the most from you? Can you truly listen.........listen silent? (Part of what I wrote pointed out that Silent and listen are both spelled with the same letters. Wonder Why? Then I delved in to the point I wanted to make.) I would love to share it with you.
Again thank you for writing this. Made my day!

Wendy Callahan, Silver Spring, MD
Redland Baptist Church
wendyktjosh@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I needed this SOOOOO very much today. Been pouring my heart out to The Lord all morning and the words full yet so empty describe exactly how I feel. Never read your blog before, I know The Lord led me here today.

Thank you!
Dianne

Sarah said...

I needed this more than you know. Right now it feels like the stress of this world is going to drown me, and I really don't feel like I have a single friend to talk with. My husband is just as stressed if not more stressed than I am, and I just don't have any "girlfriends" anymore. I miss that so much. My heart is so heavy, thank you for reminding me who I can always go to.

Christina Meeker said...

Thank you so much for this blog. My college daughter left to go back to school this morning and I am missing her so much. This is such a reminder that I can run to God and He will comfort me. Praise God!

Shelley said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. It does speak to me. I am so grateful for the women in my life that allow me to share their burdens and that share mine.
God bless all.

Shelley said...

Dear Lord,
As humbly as I know how, I ask you to wrap Christina in your loving embrace. Fill her with your spirit of comfort as her daughter returns to school. Help her to sense your presence in her time of missing her daughter. Bless her with a mission that can fill her time until her daughter returns to her. We ask this in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Sara Wiggins said...

Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU! I was stuck in a rut yesterday, a dwelling in my sorrows, pity-me kind of mood. I counted on my friends, family and husband to make me feel better. I have realized that is not only selfish, but a lot of pressure. "Seek Ye first the kingdom of God!" I didn't realize that when I am down, God is not my first thought. That is changing now. I am so grateful for this post! I am off to a great and refreshing start to the day.

Jess said...

Wow, this hit me hard today. Thank you so much for saying what I feel. The facebook post about the woman who is there for everybody? THAT hit me hard (and I was one of the 4000 who "liked" that one and shared it.

Sometimes I do feel like I'm always there for everyone else but no one is there for me. I need to remember that our Lord is always there for me no matter how big or small the issue is.

For Shelley: Dear Lord, please bless her and keep her in your loving embrace. Thank you for her willingness to pray for someone else. Also, please bless Christina Meeker and keep her in your loving arms as she misses her daughter. I will be feeling that same pain this time next year so Lord please help her to get through this time. In the precious and Holy name of Jesus, Amen.

MereMe said...

I am blessed with a handfull of precious friends who listen - silently when needed - to my trials. The Lord has placed these women in my life for in various seasons - and each time, to carry me (although they do not understand just how much they help me). They listen and point me straight to the King for resolution. My friends and more importantly, the Father, have trudged through unexpected divorce proceedings(which did not happen, PTL!) and years upon years of a difficult and miserable marriage with me. "Where can I go but to the Lord" - nowhere - but I can find comfort with those sweet girls who lift my burdens up with me for His answers.
Sarah, my prayer for you:
Dear Lord, please reach down to Sarah today. Lord, wrap your arms around her and give her a peace that only You can provide. She's weary Lord and desperate for your grace and compassion. Lord be with her husband also. Help them both to work through whatever trials they are facing. Give them your joy in the midst of their storms. Bring them together in their covenant bond as they have never experienced. Lord, shower Sarah and her husband with blessing upon blessing as they strive to do Your will. And Lord, please bring Sarah a "Jonathan". Bring her a friend as you did to David - that holds her closely in Your grace and offers her a silent ear so that she has an earthly being to remind her of Your goodness. Thank you Lord for Sarah. Flood her with Your mercy and bring her closer to You in this time.

Jess said...

And Lord, please bless Sara Wiggins...keep her safe and keep her in your loving arms. Please help her to stay close to you in her sorrows and to know that you are there to comfort her.

Sara Wiggins said...

Father God,
I thank you for Shelley. Thank you for speaking to her through this blog. I thank you for the women in her life that she can share her burdens with and also have a listening ear in return. I pray you provide her with the words of encourgement when she is asked for advice. Provide her with the wisdom she needs and more love in her heart that she already possesses as she lives out your Word.
I thank you for women like Shelley.
I pray all this in Jesus' mighty name,
Amen.

CandyL said...

WOW - this expresses exactly how I've felt over the last year. I lost a job that I was made for and was deeply betrayed, persecuted and lied about by those I supported, prayed for, encouraged, stood up for when everyone else had doubts - there is that saying about "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" Proverbs 27:6 It's a long story and taken over a year but thankfully I can say that I'm healing. What was hard for me was I didn't have a best friend I could just sit and cry with when I needed them the most. I was so tied to work that I had become too isolated and made my coworkers/colleagues my friends and family. When you lose that support structure it can be devastating. Through that I made good friends with the women at my church and am thankful for the experience. If you are where I was a year ago, be encouraged it's still not over and God is faithful even if you don't seem to see it!

Anonymous said...

I ran across your blog from someone who posted it on Facebook. About 2 1/2 years ago, my best friend since high school passed away. I have often felt that there is no one that understands me or knows what I'm going through. I know she is with Jesus and I'm not burdened with grief like I was a year ago but the loneliness is sometimes overwhelming and I hear myself asking Jesus to be my best friend since I don't have anyone else like that. Even at church, no one reaches out to me or to my husband. Sometimes it even feels like in high school, you know, when every had their "groups" they hung around with...it's the same way at church...if you're not in with this particular crowd then you're not in and that's NOT right, especially in church. There is a song by Casting Crowns called Does Anybody Hear Her and I often cry when I hear it cause sometimes I feel like the lady in the song...here are the lyrics:

She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon's ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

If judgment looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we've never even met her

If judgment looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we've never even met her

Never even met her
(Never Even Met her)

(OHHHHH)Does anybody hear her? Does anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me

Does anybody hear her? (Does anybody hear her?) Does anybody see? (Does anybody See?)
Does anybody even know she's going down today?
Under the shadow of our steeple (shadow of her steeple)
With all the lost and lonely people (Lost and Lonely people)
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Does anybody see?

She is running a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction


Father, bless Sara today exceedingly above and beyond anything she could imagine. I come in agreement with her prayer for Shelley because, Lord, Your Word says where two or three are gathered together You are there in the midst of them. Lord, You ARE ALL WE NEED, let us seek You with all our heart, soul, and mind in the name of Your Son, Jesus, AMEN!!

Blessings, Kat

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder...that He is my very Best Friend...always and ever. I am tired and weary from carrying burdens that I forget to leave with Him. I DO know about the emptiness of pouring out, caring, praying, helping...I was just thinking about how, at this point in my life, I don't have any really close friends...but I was wrong...Faithful and True, He is my friend. If only I could learn to better communicate with Him. By His grace I will. It is a great comfort to know that He is always there. Thanks again.

My prayer for Sara. LORD, that she would feel the burdens lifted from her as she draws near to you. That she would know Your-Shalom peace as she faces her day...that Your nearness would bring her comfort and she would see Your loving hand in a tangible way in her life today. God bless Princess Sara.

C.J.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kat, your comment posted at the same time so I missed it...I will pray for you.

Dear LORD...You hear the cries of Kat's heart. She is lonely and hurting. Please, Father, show her Your nearness. She needs to feel your loving arms around her and know that she is not forgotten. Father, help her to be brave this Sunday and seek out another person that seems as lonely as she is...someone she can reach out to and who will have something to give back. LORD, You are able to do anything...thank You for connections in Your Body. Show Kat and her husband where to get connected. Bring people across their path and open their eyes to new friendships. Thank You, LORD that when no one else is around...You are still there...always there for us. God bless you, Kat. Your sister, C.J.

Anonymous said...

Many times people don't care to hear how we are. My husband's used to quote: "Don't tell your friends of your indigestion, "how are you" is a greeting not a question."

That's a funny quote...but sorta sad too...as people don't have time or the inclination to really listen or care...much of the time.

I hope I can be a listening ear (I'm working on it.) That each of us can know we are cared about in the Body of Christ (and beyond)...

Lea Anne McCrory Wood said...

Great words from the Word... I can so relate to your post. thanks for understanding and sharing your thoughts.

Nancy said...

I, too, have been one of those who I sometimes feel everyone pours out upon, yet sometimes, many times, have not felt I had anyone to pour my heart out to. Of course, YES, there is my loving, tender, Father, who ALWAYS hears, but sometimes we just need someone in the flesh. I am not wanting to be selfish, or self-seeking, but I am so very lonely and in pain every day in my physical body. My husband and I are in our early 60's and have been very far from home for 5 years now. I miss my son and daughter and my 3 precious grandchildren. I miss a good church and the family associated with it. I miss friends! And yet...through it all... Jesus is always there. Thank you, my loving Father. And thank you that you are teaching me more and more to rely on your precious Holy Spirit to fill those corners of my heart.

Dear Lord, you see all these needs and requests that have been posted. I wish I could take this space and pray for each, individually, but have already taken too much. So, Lord, I lift my sisters to you and ask You to meet each individual need. Pour out your love on them, and when we've all felt we have given as much as we can give, remind us that there is always more when we come to you to be refilled and renewed. In Jesus' precious name, Amen! Blessings to each of you today!

Mary said...

I continue to grieve the abrupt ending of what I thought was a friendship that would last forever and was as close as a sister. We were "God sisters", we told each other. A misunderstanding occurred and it ended; I was heartbroken and shocked that my friend did not want to talk this through with me. I did not understand...still don't. But I trust Jesus in this, and am I ever praying for Him to bring me another girlfriend I can call a God sister, a close one, so we may bless each other and God. The emotional pain of this situation was immense, and I am praying that there will be a day, soon, that I don't think about this. I have forgiven her and myself, but it is still sad and hurtful. Bridges have been burnt. I have learned, too, that we don't have to, nor can we, understand everything--the "whys". I have to trust God, that His ways are perfect. Sarah, I hear what you are saying. I pray that God will lead a friend into your life with whom you have a lot in common, someone who listens, talks to you on the phone, sends you emails, welcomes you into her family, loves you even if she doesn't always agree with you, loves you if you make mistakes every now and then, has integrity, knows the Lord, a true friend--God given, one who will stay. Sarah, I pray this for you in Jesus' name. Jesus, I pray this for myself as well. I pray that I can trust a friend like this again. Jesus, please remove the rest of the pain. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Anonymous said...

Thank you God for this wonderful devotion this morning. He is so gracious in giving me what I need just when I need it most. I've never read your blog before, but this is exactly what I needed this morning. Three days ago I learned that my husband needs some major surgery, and my son and his wife hit me with the news last night that they're relocating across the country. My best friend moved out of state 2 years ago and I'm feeling VERY alone in my sorrow right now. I know to turn to the Lord for my strength and comfort, but right now I could sure you a girlfriend with some Jesus arms to give me a hug while I grieve.
Debbie

Anonymous said...

Oh Lord, I pray for Mary. I can feel her pain so clearly because it is one that I share. Although I haven't lost my friend to misunderstanding or conflict, I have lost her to time and distance. I know that empty yearning hole that remains when you've given and taken away. I also know that you yearn to fill it with Yourself. Lord, I pray that you comfort Mary in her loss. Help her to seek and find you in her pain. Fill the void and comfort her in ways that no human can. May she sense your presence and comfort in tangible ways. And Lord, in your timing, bless her again with a sister of the soul--one who challenges, encourages, supports and inspires her to walk in Your ways and brings glory to Your name. Amen. (Debbie)

Kimberly said...

Thank you so much for this devotion. I have been struggling with trying to decide whether now is the right time to work through my past and just wish someone would ask me how I was. The Lord is using a book that I am reading to help me decide. I am just struggling with the fact that I don't know who to turn to if I get to the point that I feel like I'm drowning in just pain after pain. This was something I really needed to hear and realize that God is the one who will hold me up and keep me from drowning. It is Him and His word that should be my comfort.

katrina too blessed said...

I'm a listener to others and try to be helpful. There are times I need to be listen to but no one seem to have the time or when I speak they always say don't say nothing about it,then comment on themselves.If I could afford a counselor I would see one so I just pray instead.Eventhough I can't find a good listener I'll continue to listen and be helpful as long as I can because that just might be what the Lord is telling me to do.

Sharon Sloan said...

Dear Katrina:

I am praying for you right now.

Father God, today may Katrina see that you are the God Who Sees her. You see her precious heart and care about every detail of her life. May she taste and see that YOU are GOOD today in new, tangible ways, Lord. Show her YOUR perfect love, provision and faithfulness. May her eyes be ever fixed on you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Katrina - Check out Genesis 16 - read the whole passage! Here is a beautiful nugget for you:

Genesis 16:13 ~ She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Sharon Sloan

angie sims said...

what a beautiful devotion! I needed it today, this week. I have just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and have been through surgery. Now on to the treatments. My problem? I have such a peace about this journey. God has been preparing me for it for a while I believe. My prayers are for my family that they will be ok with it. God has brought me to it, and I know he will get me through it.

for the women above, my prayer is that God will give you even one person that you can really talk to. He is always there with you, but I pray that He will send that one special person who can touch your soul as a friend. You will know it when He delivers them to you. You will feel a peace, a comfortableness with that person. Never fail to ask for help. God bless each one of you!

Fields of gold said...

Praying for each and every one of you and your heartfelt needs and desires.

Jeremiah said it best, "When your words came I ate them. They were my joy and my heart's delight." Oh that we would dive head first into His feast of His Word and find joy for our souls and delight for our hearts.

Love to each of you through Christ. You're an example of His love! Thank you for praying for one another.

xoxo, Samantha

Anonymous said...

I thank God for leading me here today. He knew that this was very thing I needed to hear. I've been needing a place to pour out and through you, he reminded me that he's here with cupped hands, willing and ready whenever I am.

For the women before me, my prayer is that God will comfort each and everyone of you in your times of need. That he will reveal himself strong when you are at our weakest. For Samantha and Sharon: May the Lord bless you ubundantly for sharing his word through your blog. You have been such a blessing to me today! God Bless.

Sarah said...

Dear Lord, please be with Dianne. You Dear Father know her needs better than she even knows them herself. Give her comfort and strength Dear Lord.

Dear Lord please bless all the women who have been touched by this post today. May we all find the comfort that only You can provide.

Sharon Sloan said...

Girls ~ Please know that tomorrow morning (Saturday)during my quiet time, I am going to pray for each of you by name and according to what you shared. His provision and love is perfect.

With sincerity of heart and reverence before the Lord,
Sharon Sloan ~ His Table For Two

Mary said...

Dear God,
Thank you for Debbie and her caring prayer for me. I pray for HER now, Lord. I ask that you would send her another close friend with whom she can share good times, laughter, feelings, thoughts, encouragement, and Your words. God, I thank You that You can send these close, sister-friends into our lives and that there is always a purpose for it. Jesus, You amaze me and I love You so much. I can see and feel You in the words, thoughts, and prayers of my Christian sisters who have posted above. I praise you for them, Lord. In Jesus' loving and understanding name, Amen.

Sharon Sloan said...

Girls ~ Prayed for you each this morning, praying and trusting Him to fill you with His perfect love and comfort. For He alone truly satisfies. He desires to spend time with you in His Word. Settle in, make the time and meet with Him. He is good.
http://histablefortwo.blogspot.com/p/table-testimony.html

And I pray He always blesses each of us with a Jonathan kind of friend...and that we could be that kind of friend as well.

And may we be a godly friend to those in our own home first.

With sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord,
Sharon

Nancy said...

Thank-you for this post and I am so thankful I found it and could read as it relates very much to my current situation. I pray that all who read this will remember to turn to their forever best friend, God, and be able to "hear" His constant promises that never change. God Bless you all.

Mary said...

Thank you, Sharon, for your prayers for us. Having a consistent quiet time every day is what I need to be intentional about. What you said spoke to me. Praying that you have a blessed day!

Anonymous said...

An update...I prayed for Jesus to "remove the rest of my pain" on Oct. 14. On Oct. 18, a miracle happened: saw my friend unexpectedly (and there is an amazing story which goes with that, too), and the Holy Spirit intervened. We shared a hug of acceptance, understanding, forgiveness, and love. "My chains are gone, I've been set free." We both agreed each of us needed time out or away to heal things in our personal lives, and that one day, after the healing, we would come together to share the friendship God had given to us. It was the closure I needed, and I know she needed it too. What peace, love, and a tremendous answer to prayer! I am praising God; He is my loving and caring Father. Thank you Jesus, I love you.

Mary said...

An update...I prayed for Jesus to "remove the rest of my pain" on Oct. 14. On Oct. 18, a miracle happened: saw my friend unexpectedly (and there is an amazing story which goes with that, too), and the Holy Spirit intervened. We shared a hug of acceptance, understanding, forgiveness, and love. "My chains are gone, I've been set free." We both agreed each of us needed time out or away to heal things in our personal lives, and that one day, after the healing, we would come together to share the friendship God had given to us. It was the closure I needed, and I know she needed it too. What peace, love, and a tremendous answer to prayer! I am praising God; He is my loving and caring Father. Thank you Jesus, I love you.