Several months back I was sitting in front of a precious friend listening to her share her heart with me. As she was speaking I heard God saying to me, “Tammy, this is what I have for you now, I want you to walk with her.”
When I left her that Sunday afternoon, I argued with God all the way home. I mean He was asking me to do something that would really require a lot of time from me, and I just don’t have much time, not that kind of time. Her storm was Alzheimer’s and I didn’t know much about the disease but I knew it was difficult, and could get messy. I told God, “I can’t do this, it’s too much.”
For days he consumed my mind with this. I would hear His voice in the middle of the night and the day saying, “Tammy, this is what I want for you to do right now. Lay aside your ministry, and take time to walk this road with her.”
I was sitting on my floor doing my devotion a few mornings after this, when I opened a box where I keep things that make me smile. I had not opened this box for some time. When I opened it, right on the top was a card from this precious friend God was asking me to walk with. As I read the card, tears came to my eyes, and I said, “Lord I will do as you have asked, as long as I know You are with me.”
I had a sweet peace as I went about my day. I knew God had been pursing my heart and I had finally said Yes to my Lord.
For the next several months I began to visit her more, and try to help her as I could, without her knowing of course. I had loved and known her for sometime, but now we were spending more time together. I began to settle into what God had asked me to do and really enjoy our time together. I would look forward to being with her. She was always so full of joy when I arrived.
Sometimes we would spend hours just pouring through God’s Word. She was a breath of fresh air to me. I had been so busy going and doing, that it was nice to sit and relax and take in all she was showing me in His word and in the world.
Jesus said to them, “Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.” Mark 6:31
I had just been in a season of ministry that was very fruitful. I had so enjoyed the conferences I had , and the ones I had spoken at. Honestly I didn’t realize it until that moment, but I was really tired from the past year. I smiled as I thought about arguing with the King of Kings, who knows me so well…He knew I needed to rest, and He knew the perfect place to do that was with my sweet friend.
I was also learning sometimes ministry looks different than what we have in our minds. As I gave more of myself to her and more of my time, I began to see God at work in my heart. What had started out as me helping her, I was realizing was not all about her, but that God was using her to do a work in me.
When she and I would go to her one of her favorite places to eat, I would watch her go up to countless people and ask them, “Can I share a verse with you?” Every time they would say sure! Then she would share, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24. Everyone she shared this verse with always had a smile on their face and thanked her for sharing.
She would then look at me and say, “You aren’t going to want to go anywhere with me are you?” I would laugh and tell her I loved watching her, and I did.
God was using her to teach me to be more intentional with His gospel! I began to get so excited about our time together. I couldn’t wait to see what God had for me through her each day we were together. On top of that we loved to laugh together, and I realized God was allowing me precious time with her that I would never forget, precious memories that I would always have, and most importantly He showed me how valuable it was to give myself and my time to someone else and let Him use it.
Sing to God- worship God! Shout the news of His victory from sea to sea, Take the news of His glory to the lost, news of His wonders to one and all! Psalm 96:1-3
When I wasn’t with her, I began to use the things she was teaching me to share the love of God with those I was coming in contact with. I began to see a difference in me. I have always been very bold for Christ in church, and in conferences, but I was finding out that at restaurants, work, and other public places, I wasn’t so bold. God was using my sweet friend to teach me to share His love with EVERYONE.
She would say, “You don’t have to push the gospel on them, just be gentle and kind, and share a verse, and move on knowing you’ve perhaps planted a seed that others will water.”
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…Hebrews 10:24
This is what we were doing for one another. God was teaching me that the most valuable thing I could give her was my time, and He was using her to teach me how to more effectively share His love with the world. We were spurring each other on! How thankful I was for her!
My friends, God knows us from the inside out, He knows what we need and when we need it, if we will just heed His voice. I had a choice when He spoke to me, to turn away and ignore His voice, or to follow His voice.
I couldn’t get away from His voice and I wanted to follow Him in obedience.
My sheep know My voice, and I know them and they follow me… John 10:27
Look what I would have missed had I chosen to walk the other way!
I will tell you that walking through this disease with my friend has had it’s hard moments. Really hard moments. I love her dearly and watching her walk through this is heart wrenching at times. Though it may not have the ending I want, I am a better person for walking with her. God has taught me so much about His gospel in the past 6 months through her. I wouldn’t trade these times for anything. I will hold on to these memories for the rest of my life. Oh to love like Jesus loves us!
I want to encourage you to heed His voice when He speaks to you. There is great reward in following Christ wherever He leads. He doesn’t promise us that the way will be easy, but He does promise to walk with us. I am holding on to that promise today!
Oh the joy I would have missed had I not listened to the voice of God.
For months He has had this verse on my heart. I’ve studied it , shared it with friends, and it seems God just keeps bringing it before me.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13
The past few weeks I have been clinging to that verse. I had memorized it months ago when God first began to place it before me, not sure where He was going with it.
The past few weeks have been anything but great with my friend. I’ve cried and asked God, “Why did ask me to do something so hard and now complicated?” He just continues to remind me, “I have you right where I want you, I am with you, DO NOT FEAR.”
I am on this journey, a rewarding journey hand in hand with my Lord. I don’t know where it will lead in the end, possibly heartache for me. But either way, the joy He has given me on this journey is worth it all. The times my friend and I have shared will forever be some of my favorite times in life.
The one thing I can tell you is, I know I heard His voice all those months ago, and I’m thankful I listened to Him. He knows the why’s. He knows the end, all I need to do is follow Him. There’s a song that says:
I don’t need to see the way ahead, I only need to hear the Shepherd’s Voice
Where is God asking you to go today that perhaps isn’t exactly the plan you had in mind? My friends, listen to His voice. I promise you He will walk with you where He is asking you to go, and the reward will be great!
Every person I share Psalm 118:24 with I always walk away from smiling, thinking of my precious friend, and how God has used her in the middle of Alzheimer’s to help me to become more intentional with the gospel of Christ.
Step out today in faith and say YES to the voice of God. The road may be hard but the joy will be unspeakable!
My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…
Have a great week! See you back here really soon!