Tuesday, January 8, 2013


by Cindy Stiverson

I still remember the day I walked into my daughter's second grade classroom to meet her teacher, Miss Mary. I scanned the room, determining what type of person she was and if this was a place where my daughter would be safe. My eyes landed on a poster that looked much like the image above. Soft fluffy kittens sweetly nuzzled amongst the limbs of a precious puppy and boasted a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

For me, this was God's handwritten-answer-in-the-sky-style of response to my prayers. I was a lonely woman. And, for those of you who know me, it's probably very hard to believe but I felt friendless and hopeless.
I prayed that God would send a friend.
Though it was 1988, the impact of those words are fresh in my mind. My marriage was all-consuming. My husband at that time was controlling, abusive, predictably unpredictable. I had to account for every minute of my time. He managed, manipulated, isolated me from friends and family. Being the people person that I am, I was dying a slow death. A pale, weak imitation of myself, the blood was slowly dripping from my body. I was in need of a transfusion.
I prayed that God would send a friend. Instead, He told me to be a friend.
This rattled my world, awakened my senses.  I turned the words over and over in my head. It seemed I was in second grade again, this seemed beyond my level of comprehension. Was it really that simple? Was it actually my fault?
I began to put this equation to the test. It helped regain a sense of control over my life, to take responsibility for allowing others to rob me of my independence. I stepped outside my comfort zone and extended friendship to others. A smile. A hello. An introduction. Small talk. Baby steps. All the while, carefully treading the eggshells in my home.

By the end of the school year, Miss Mary predicted that my daughter was destined to become High School Homecoming Queen. Her prophecy was fulfilled, but that was such a small speck on her spectrum of accomplishments. And her mother who modeled how to be a friend? By middle school, I was President of the PTO, slowly breaking free from the chains that controlled me.
In the virtual world, Facebook, Google+, Blogspot, Twitter...everyone is begging for friendship. But virtual and reality are two totally different worlds. Virtual is only a selfish, simulated, hypothetical copy.
In the real world, there are so many women praying that God would simply send a flesh-and-blood selfless type of friend. Are you that woman? Will you BE a friend?

"A friend loves at all times" ~Proverbs 17:17


I am a speaker, writer, artist and an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. I lead the women at NewarkNaz in Newark, Ohio. In 1998, God gave me a vision for Woven: Women of Virtue Network. It's a blessing to be involved in so many women's lives. Sometimes I think my heart will burst.
So very thankful for my hubby Mark. Extremely proud of my daughter speaker/author Nicole and son-in-law Matthew Bromley. Love my grandsons Jude and Isaac beyond measure.

Loving the Lord with all my heart and leading others to do the same is the greatest joy of my life!

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