Eleanor R.

Cultivating Soulful Connections: The Power of Freedom & Friendship


woman taking picture of her friend being kind to an older gentlemen during a flightSo.  Last week.  At the spur of the moment.  Literally.  I was wisp away to  New York City by my precious friend Monique, and all because of freedom.  When you have freedom in your bones, you go looking for it.  You seriously want to go cheer it on.

As I threw things in a suitcase for Emma and I, I thought about the days to come…  How the Lord has placed precious women in my life to encourage, inspire, love, and pray for me.  The only way to wrap my head around it all was to simply acknowledge it was Him wrapping His arms around me.  Not necessary.  But just because.

It’s funny how life can be so wild and busy.  And right in the middle of it all He can scoop you up and just hold you so close.  It’s an intimate and precious peace I can only hope everyone will know.  It comes from years.  And tears. And trust.  And surrender.  He and I danced a jig for most my life.  Me, going through the motions.  Knowing the dance.  It wasn’t until I tripped and fell into His arms that I realized there was more. 

So we hopped on a plane.  Flew across six states.  And in less than 48, hours we dined in fancy restaurants and soaked up some freedom. We talked about Jesus and talked about Jesus some more…  And wondered if the hundreds who had gathered for the last of Les Miserables really knew it was the Spirit that drew them to this freedom anthem.  Did they make the connection?  Did they see the Beauty in it all?  Crazy what Jesus will do to your heart if you let Him.  When you crave this kind of freedom. You look for it.  And His Word promises you will find it. I soaked up every moment.  Ask the Lord to water and strengthen friendships.  Ask Him to stir and prepare soil.  And knew that He would plant seeds deep within my heart.  I really did soak up every.  Single. Moment.  And WOW, how God allowed not only seeds to be planted within my heart but legacies to be lived out in front of young ones. It was crazy.  Precious.  48 hours.  It was wild.  

But, it was this moment that stole my heart.  That brings me to tears as I piece together words that point to Him. See.  The last time he has been on an airplane was in 1987 over 29 years ago when he flew to Washington State. He was a hand full of nerves. He shuffled his cord drawn backpack. Pulled.  Twisted.  And straightened it every which way possible.  He shuffled his papers, inventoried his pockets and thumbed over his half eaten sleeve of Fig Newtons.   He was a wreck.  

But he completely gained all peace and forgot all worries as long as she invested in his life.  He wore a Vietnam Veteran cap.  We questioned him proudly and respectively. He shared stories. And struggles.  And life.  And his anticipated destination.  The moment she turned away, every nervous tick resumed.   Noticing, she turned quickly and quietly back with a few more question for him… 

Two things…

It was all I could do to not completely breakdown on this flight as this precious man tapped his knees and she patted his shoulder.  And with sweet intention talked him up and over and safely to the ground. 

She wasn’t suppose to sit with me but gave up an upgrade just to catch the last leg for a few more minutes together. She sat in my middle seat.  My seat.  Let me have the aisle.  Squeezed in next to the sweet fidgety fella.  And shared life with my neighbor for the whole flight.  I fought back tears…  and my breakfast.  Huffed oils.  Focused on the aisle, prayed for landing, and gripped the arm rest with everything in me.  Storm clouds.  Little turbulence. 

I laugh.  And I cry.  Because that’s my Jesus.  And thank God that’s my friend. 

His Word speaks of so many things… Love.  Compassion.  A friend closer than a brother.  A sword that sharpens when pressed firm against another.   And I have found even more with her. 

This is why we need community.  This is why we need friendship.  Covenant friendships.  Should friendships.  To be real with one another.  Transparent. Free.

You know, I have known her most of my life, but it wasn’t until we had birthed babies and lived a little did God decide to bring us together. I believe He knew this would be the time we would need building up…  I believe real love for a friend is to desire to leave them better than you found them.  Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Any man can selfishly desire to have a Jonathan; but he is on the right track who desires to find out a David to whom he can be a Jonathan.”

This is why we need friendship.  This is why we need to be intentional.  The church needs these relationships.  These connections bound together by the indwelling of the Spirit.  This is good stuff y’all.  And I am telling you that good things, really good things come from real friendship.


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