Connections That Entangle The Heart

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Note: Donna Cronk recently shared her guest blog, Friendship is One of Life’s Sweet Places.  This was my guest post on Donna’s blog to share my perspective on our unique connections. Thank you Donna for a friendship that continues to grow and entangle our lives and hearts!  

Connections are our sense of belonging. We have connections from our tight-knit circles to ever-expanding circles that eventually connect us with people throughout the world.  A week ago, I was invited to spend time with one of my Indiana connections: Donna Cronk.

Donna was launching the “book tour” for her sequel, That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland. The venue was the aftercare group at the local funeral home in New Castle, Indiana. Witnessing her connections prompted me to reflect on our connection through the years.

I trace our connection back to our boys growing up together in the same school district, playing on the same sports teams, and living on the same street. We were friendly neighbors busy with life. Donna likes to remind me that Carriage Lane was not the place where we first met. Over 26 years ago, we were in the same Sunday school class at the same local church.

In a way, our connection has also been a journey of faith where God kept putting us together for a reason. God eventually revealed the reason a couple of years ago, when we shared our mutual desire to self-publish a book. In practice, the enduring connection has been our shared love of writing.

Writing was natural for Donna as she went to college for journalism and has been a community journalist for over 27 years in one Indiana town and county. Writing was never on my radar given my engineering background with its focus on numbers and logic. I was the stereotypical engineer. I never aspired to be a writer and I did not care about writing, other than what was necessary to complete an assignment.

Hence the surprise when shortly after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1994, God prompted me to write. God was very specific. I was to write devotions for our church’s monthly newsletter. When I approached my pastor, Dick said “Yes” and allowed God to use me. Pastor Dick’s encouragement enabled me to “blossom where I was planted!”

Donna’s recently published book was the day’s connection for the crowd that attended her new presentation. As I was introduced to people, I asked, “So how do you know Donna?” Some connections were common to all of us: work-related circles with both current and former co-workers. Other connections were more specific to the book: editors, reviewers, fellow self-published authors, and readers who wanted to know what happened next in the Sweetland story. It was a friendly crowd with people Donna knew and friends of friends that became part of Donna’s new connections.

Donna shared her presentation, “Bloom Before You Are Planted!” Her message reminded us that God has good plans for each one of us. The deeper take-away involved self-reflection. Am I paying attention to God’s nudges? Will I act on the seeds that God plants in my heart? Do I embrace God’s joy for my growth? Will I praise God for His beauty inside of me, waiting to bloom in the perfect season?

After Donna’s program, she and I enjoyed our unique connection by simply sitting and chatting for hours. We covered much territory, revisiting old connections and discovering new connections. Finally, it was time to walk out to our cars and say goodbye for the day.

That’s when I remembered my family cookbook that made the trip with me. Over the previous six-and-a-half hours, I had completely forgotten about the cookbook I wanted to share with Donna. Conversations about family, recipes, memories, and traditions are some of our favorite connections.

I was struck once again by the nature of genuine connections. The time goes by too quickly and we are left with a longing for the next visit. The best connections always explore the nuances of life and entangle hearts!

 

2 John 12

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

 

 

 

Hugs in Heaven:

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Introduction: This post was inspired by a desire to give my blogging friends a hug! Annie of freedomborn.wordpress.com in Australia comes to mind along with others.

Annie knows Scripture and is not afraid to use it.  One of her many gifts is encouraging fellow bloggers by creating Power Points. Below is a link to a Power Point she created especially for me. The theme is Hope Blossoming in Faith and is filled with beautiful pictures of snowdrops and Scriptures on hope. Consider it five minutes of worship time. Thanks Annie and hugs to you!

Click on this: Link to Annie’s Blog. Then scroll to the bottom of the screen on Annie’s blog and click on the link for Hope Blossoming in Faith to download the Power Point for playing.

Hugs in Heaven

I have a long list of people to hug in heaven. My mom is at the front of the line. Since her death was sudden and unexpected, I ache to feel her hug again. There are grandparents who passed away before I was even born. This will be our first hug. Of course, there are other family members that we didn’t have as much time with as we wanted here on earth. Those hugs can linger in heaven.

The list is comprised of more than just family members. There are people I have only read about. People before my time and examples of faith I have learned from through their stories in the Bible. Will I be shy about hugging Moses or Paul?

There are people I will recognize, but won’t know their names like that guy from the Christian bookstore. I was a seeker at the time shopping for a Bible. Overwhelmed by all the options for Bibles and embarrassed by my lack of knowledge on anything biblical, he asked if he could help me. I bought his recommendation. I want to hug him for his kindness and for noticing me without shaming me.

Hugs for people I know only as a name with a picture. There are blogging friends that hold open their arms through the internet to welcome and encourage me. Just maybe, there will be an opportunity to meet and hug before heaven even though we are literally worlds apart. Yet we are family in God’s kingdom and the hugs will feel natural in heaven.

I hope there will be many surprise huggers in heaven. People whose faith I wasn’t sure off, but desperately long to see their faces in heaven. The awkwardness will be gone and the hugs will be genuine.

Although I have had a foretaste of this hug on my heart and my life, I can’t wait to run into my Abba Daddy’s arms and feel the physical presence of His hug. I am home at last.

I am thinking of a great big group hug in heaven. Will you gather in?

 

Philemon 7

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. 

2 John 12

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.