Robert & Roberta Adair

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Because I value handing out coffee to strangers but still find it to be occasionally awkward, I usually prefer picking up trash at the beach during our Saturday morning “surf ministry” time.  While my friend’s husband surfs, she picks up trash, too (and hangs out with friends – who is pretty much everyone she meets).  I occasionally reference this lady in prayer letters and blogs (like here and here).

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Over the past 6 months or so, she has become a special friend to me.  She strikes me as a bit unusual.  While many people around me are quite private, she shares pretty openly with me (and others).  While many people are reserved with emotions, she has a big, hearty laugh and isn’t afraid of tears.  She also isn’t too squeamish to pick up gross trash, and she is really strong (I usually think I’m one of the strongest woman around, but she puts me in my place).  She is a cheerful, kind friend who is an amazingly really patient listener.  (out of almost everyone that I know, she understands my Japanese and gestures and I understand hers.)

She has also experienced more sadness than about anyone I know.  Alcoholism in the family.  Pregnant at 16.  The loss of a child.  A painful marriage that ended in divorce.  Abuse.  A daughter with cancer.  40 and still working toward getting her equivalent of a GED.  And more.

She shared with me that, because of sadness in her home growing up, she never had friends.  Now she has a lot of friends – and, really, who wouldn’t want to be friends with such a likeable, loyal lady?  After months of meeting most Saturday mornings (and some facebook messaging), we’ve met for lunch a couple of times.  Another friend and I have gotten to pray for her.  And, the last time we met, after a delightful lunch, I prayed for her and asked if she would like to pray, too.  She did – hands folded and head bowed, she prayed a sweet, simple prayer.

I’m hopeful.  Regardless of whether I get to see her make a clear profession of faith, I know God is working in her heart.  I know that He has given us favor with her and a voice in her life.  I know that He has used our relationship with her to be seen as safe to others in the beach community (a “person of peace).  And I know that I need friends, and she is my friend.  I can tell her when I’m sad, lonely, confused, happy, and full (and vice versa).  She teaches me silly but useful words like sand and stingray.

My hope is that we can continue to meet and start to talk naturally about stories of how Jesus interacted with women.  She reminds me so much of the woman at the well – a strong woman with some baggage and pain that Jesus chose to reveal his diety to.  (Please, Jesus!)  I want her to hear stories of Jesus’ compassion and healing power toward mothers with sick kids.  I want her to hear about Jesus’ interaction with the bleeding woman – taking away her impurity and restoring her dignity.  I want her to know this Jesus who showed protection and grace toward the woman caught in adultery.  Yep, I’m not sure how, but I want my friend to hear these stories of healing and grace, making “unclean” clean, and releasing women from disgrace, pain, and shame.  Right now I’m leaning toward wanting these stories to be told rather than read, but maybe we’ll look at the Manga Messiah version, too.  Hm.

I pray that God captivates her heart and mind.  I pray that He brings healing to her broken past and hope for her uncertain future.  I pray that He shows her His crazy unconditional love, beauty, presence, and grace.  Please pray for our friendship and for God to guide her.  Please pray that I will wait for His timing and way instead of doing it in my time and way.  And please pray for her family and circle of friends – that God would prepare them, too!  Thanks!

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