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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Withnesses

JEAN SAID:

I'm reading a book by an author I'd never heard of before I saw the book on display. The gigantic, shiny, silver 11 on a bold red cover caught my eye. "11 Indispensable Relationships You Can't Be Without."

Relationships. Though I grew up in a house with two parents, three sisters, a dog, an occasional cat, and an array of cousins who lived with us whenever their own parents "were having problems," I spent a lot of time alone. I liked being alone. In my room. Busy with my projects. Reading. Thinking. Alone.

As an adult, Lord, you know I spent a lot of years going it alone. Until a few years ago You were the only person I really trusted with my honest feelings. I was always busy taking care of other people and their problems. I entrusted my own problems to You and me. Alone. I figured the two of us could handle anything that came my way.

Then, You began showing me that I needed honest, transparent, human relationships. I'm glad I'm learning to step off my island and wade out into relationships. Maybe that's why this title instantly appealed to me. Relationships. I'm just learning to see them as a joy instead of a chore.

Leonard Sweet, proposes 11 types of relationships we all need during our lives to succeed at this thing of being a human being and a Christian. He compares them to 11 Bible characters and calls them our 11 withnesses because we need them WITH us at some point in our lives. We need a relationship, a link, a togetherness with them either for a short time, or for the long haul.

The first chapter concludes by saying, "The most important thing is not to try to go it alone." I've been a long time learning that, Lord. ...not to try to go it alone. He says, "You aren't strongest when alone; you're strongest when together."

Help me to remember that.

Speak to me through this book, Lord. Speak to me as I try to identify those 11 people in my life. Do I have my withnesses now? Did I have them at some point? Have they been scattered along my life? Do I need to search out some more withnesses for my future?

Am I a withness for other people in my life?

GOD SAID:

There are no Lone-Rangers in My family. You need each other. That's how I created you-to need each other. To relate to each other. To help each other. To enjoy each other. Even I am Three, Little One. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Three, but One. One, but Three. Together. Separate. Withnesses.