Thursday, October 26, 2017

Love Is A Verb

What started as family Christmas morning project has turned into a regular ministry for Lisa Rowland, a Godly Girlfriend in Ohio. That cold morning in Akron, she drove around looking for the best place to park and hand out simple breakfasts and steaming hot cups of coffee. She settled on a park across the street from a closed homeless shelter nestled among giant trees. She asked one passerby if he would like some breakfast. After she opened the trunk of her car and handed out that first warm sausage biscuit, they started coming. She fed a hundred or so that first morning and now goes back every other Sunday with breakfast for about 150. She chooses Sundays because there are no meals provided by homeless organizations on Sunday.

Lisa is the most quiet, humble servant you will ever find. She comes from a family that loves, gives, and helps. Her parents took in foster children and adopted two special needs daughters. She will tell you, "This is just what we do - we take care of people". Lisa does not need to know why anyone is homeless, or why someone needs a toothbrush every time she comes, or why a man has no shoes. She simply says, "It's not my business." And she gives - even the shoes off her own feet.

Since that first cold Christmas morning in 2008, coffee urns, warming boxes, coats, hats, blankets, toiletries, a van and trailer have been donated. If Lisa asks for anything - she asks for items she can hand to those in need.  She has named her ministry (of which she will quickly tell you is not her ministry) Love Is A Verb.

The Godly Girlfriends organization contributes regularly to Love Is A Verb. During our October trip to Ohio, some of the girlfriends cooked and prepared all night with Lisa. Then the whole group went along to the park to serve food and hand out coats and socks and hats and gloves. And really, to hand out some love.

Lisa spoke at the October ladies conference about God's abundant blessings and provision in her life. But the back story was that she had been planning the Ohio side of this conference, shuttling us from the airport to the hotel to the conference center, baking for us, shopping for the Sunday breakfast in the park, caring for her elderly mother, and trying not to worry about her husband who was hospitalized to heal from an infection. Lisa was weary beyond exhaustion. Lisa is a hero.

Lisa's picture should be beside the Proverbs 31 woman in the Bible because she truly, "opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." (Proverbs 31:20)

To find a little more about  Love Is A Verb  - click here to visit the Facebook page.

I you would like to donate to Love Is A Verb - mail your check to:

Evermore Community Church
1470 Smith-Kramer
Hartville, Ohio 44632

In the memo area of your check, please write: LIAV/Homeless

Thank you, Lisa, for showing us what love looks like.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How To BE A Godly Girlfriend

We've heard you. 
"How can I be a Godly Girlfriend?" 
"I want what you have."
"I need girlfriends."

So, Here it is. 

How to be a Godly Girlfriend:
      1. Go to a Retreat
     2. Wear Matching T-Shirts

Because you cannot fill out an application,
or pay annual dues,
or join a club.
You have to BE.
You have to BE a godly girlfriend.

The first time I heard anyone use the term, godly girlfriend, was years ago in a message during a retreat. The speaker talked about the importance and yes, even necessity of having godly girlfriends. Even though, I had known her for years and we had been in the same church and taught Sunday School together, I did not consider myself worthy of being considered one of her godly girlfriends. When she asked for her godly girlfriends to please stand, girlfriends all over the room jumped to their feet, but I remained sadly super glued to my chair. I did not see myself as her friend at all.

Today, I can truthfully say that she is one of my closest godly girlfriends. In fact, not too long ago the two of us had a discussion with another girlfriend about how blessed we are that the others even like us, especially when most of the time we don't even like ourselves. Does anybody relate?

So, here are a few thoughts on what it takes to truly be a godly girlfriend:

Friendships just take time. Time spent together, time doing what you enjoy together, time to grow, time for road trips, time for shopping, time for lunch, or just time to call to check on her. A lot of girlfriends in this ministry have been friends for years and years and a whole lot more are just acquaintances with growing friendships. And truthfully - some of us are probably just starting to like each other. 

Seriously - will you want to be friends with me if  you can't trust me because I share your secrets? If I tell another girlfriend's secrets to you, I WILL tell your secrets to someone else. And write this down - gossip disguised as a prayer request is still gossip. Even if you "love her to death" and "bless her heart" when you finish your sweet revelation about her shortcomings, it is still oh so wrong! You know what I mean - it sounds something like this: "That Renee - I love her to death, but she is such an old goofball and she thinks she can write, bless her heart." Don't even go there. Be a friend who can be trusted. 

Not "What in the world did you do to your HAY-er (southern for hair)?" kind of truth or, "that outfit is so tacky", kind of honesty (although some long time girlfriends can get away with it). Be tackful and kind. A good way to get to know a new girlfriend is to ask her to tell you her story. Everyone has a story and will usually tell it truthfully. The truth that makes for great girlfriends is the one that is transparent with no secrets, no pretense, and no phoniness allowed.

Have a little grace, because grace is pretty and undeserved. Have some grace and forgive me when something totally stupid and inappropriate slithers out of my mouth before I can catch it. Have a little grace when I disappoint you, or let you down, or offend you. Have a little grace when my bad day spills my attitude all over you. Just have a little grace. And have a little grace with all your girlfriends.

Do these things and you will have girlfriends that stop by for a glass of sweet tea on the front porch. BE the girlfriend who gets followed down the isle at Walmart with the stinking, cute pair of leggings that you need. BE a godly girlfriend and you will hear, "I need to talk". BE a godly girlfriend and you will get an "are you awake?" text at midnight from girlfriend that needs prayer. BE a godly girlfriend and you will get a call to "be at my house in 15 minutes because girlfriend has a crisis." BE a godly girlfriend and you will have someone to call when you have a need. Just BE.

Colossians 3:12 
tells us to



Wear this outfit and you will BE a godly girlfriend.

Maybe it is about dressing alike.

Enjoy your new godly girlfriends!