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Stay Connected
Photo: Gözde Otman
People who work at staying connected are those who possess the gift of encouragement. Heart ties with a kindred spirit can often mean the difference between successes and failures in our lives, not only with personal relationships but with our work. Keeping in touch can also supply a heart balm we all need in life.

Those who stay in touch are automatic encouragers and mentors whether we realize it or not. Irma and I are an example of how keeping connected made a difference in both of our lives.

We met when we both lived in California (I’ve been a bit of a gypsy, having lived in five states, but such a wonderful life for a writer). African American, a divorced mother and a new seventh-day-Sabbath observing Christian, she found were strikes against her as she searched for a job. I discerned Irma had a poet’s soul so I took her under my wing as a fellow writer.

In the years since we met, she’s gone through the trials of Job. Yet her attitude is as Christ’s. Just as I encouraged her to be a writer and she became published, her stalwart commitment to Christ buoyed me in moments of my own despair that she didn’t even know about. Her faith bolstered my faith.

Keeps Me on Track

Satan never brought her down during the long ache in her life; instead she spread gladness like the fragrance of sweetwood burning in the hearth. Her love for Jesus is rewarding to observe and to emulate. She helps keeps me on track as a Christian. Indeed, we are joy for each other.

Irma recently summed up how staying connected makes a difference, “As our relationship deepens over the years, it cultivates within me an environment where I feel safe–secure enough to allow me to share my struggles in a heartfelt manner, knowing that as I share your prayers ascend heavenward on my behalf. This is true value, meeting the deepest human need. I’m glad that God orchestrated our friendship and He knew what we both needed.”

These are the ways keeping in touch with my friends makes a difference in my life:

(1) My friends motivate me to maintain my Christian life.

(2) My friends cheer me on so that I continue to attain my goals in life. (And that encouragement carries over into my everyday affairs including my job because my attitude is positive as a result.)

3) My friends pray for me. Wait a minute, isn’t that what I just wrote that I do for these same friends? Yes. We become those beautiful threads woven into a fabric of encouragement to one another.

Of course, it isn’t always possible to be the friend-at-the-elbow for everyone we know but we can let each friend know that we believe in him or her, and that they are valuable to us—making this Bible text come alive for us.

“I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us can be a blessing to the other” (Romans 1:12).

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By Betty Kossick. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation © 1996.

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