Right after I made the decision to follow Christ when I was fifteen years old, a sweet family took me under their wings.I spent a lot of time with my youth pastor, his wife and their four beautiful children.I’d go over to hang out, to attempt to learn to cook (some things just can’t be learned by some people), to watch their kids.But it was more than that.So much more than that.My youth pastor’s wife listened to me.As if, and I know this is such a cliché, but as if I were the only person in the world and she couldn’t wait to hear what was in my head and heart.She listened to my dreams.She asked to listen to my poetry.(In fact, I remember one night, very late, while I sat in her kitchen watching her retile her floor, and I read her every poem I had written up to that point.)We kept a journal together when I went away to college.She showed me how to be a follower of Christ, how to be a wife, how to be a mom, how to be a friend.She made me want to be some of these things (wife and mom) when I hadn’t wanted to before.I don’t know where I’d be, frankly, if she hadn’t poured and poured and poured into me.

A few years after I got married and started to attend a church with my husband, I met a woman who had been married a while longer than I had been. Who was farther along in her faith.Who had walked with Christ through a hard marriage season of her own.And, if I recall, she approached me to get together and talk about marriage for awhile.She also listened.She shared her life and her struggles and how Christ got her through some things.She challenged me.She prayed for me and with me.I recall one time, sharing something so intimate with her, and watching tears roll down her cheeks, and she gripped my hand and held it for awhile and said she had no idea.I don’t know where I’d be, frankly, if she hadn’t poured and poured and poured into me.

I now have a woman in my life who I’ve known for several years but who I turned to in a dark time recently. Oh, sweet Charlotte. Everyone should have a Charlotte in their lives.She has listened.In fact, she has heard it all.The whole story.The whole horrible story with all the details that no one but Jesus had known up til that point.She has shown grace.She has prayed.She has given the best advice, over and over and over again, that I have ever gotten in my entire life.She has held me up.She has looked me in the eyes and told me it was hard but that I could do it.That I could keep walking.But that, and I know what she meant when she said this, if I ever chose to stop walking, there would be grace there too.





Author Jane Rubietta writes, “We need someone to help move the stones.Jesus didn’t move the stone himself, and neither did Lazarus {when called out of his own tomb, three days dead}.Instead, Jesus appointed someone else to do the work that could be done with human hands.Who will help move your stones?This is no task for a dead woman.This is a task for a friend, a friend not afraid of stench, not afraid of decay, not worried about the deterioration of soul and spirit and body that comes from living in this world.”She goes on to say, “That’s a friend.If you must be dead in a cave, make sure you have a friend posted at the stone of your heart to roll it away at the right time.”





Charlotte rolled away my stone at the most dead point of my life, she being able to because she had been dead and was now fully alive herself.And then she told me to roll all the worries and hurt onto Jesus, that He could handle it.I don’t know where I’d be, frankly, if she hadn’t poured and poured and poured into me.





And now it’s my turn.I’ve never been more ready, or more afraid, to help others become free.To roll some stones away of friends in need.I look back at these three women who poured and poured, and I thank each one, and I thank Jesus for such gifts, and I walk on, taking the hands of two women who need me.





May I continue the legacy, live up to what Jesus is calling me to do, be just half of the gentleness and the wisdom and the joy that these women were to me.

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