Because If You Don’t Say it, Who Will?

by | Jan 16, 2012 | Uncategorized

My eyes widen when I see her name in my inbox. Laura, a childhood friend I haven’t heard from in days adding up to years now.  A couple of moves across state lines, the absence of Christmas cards years consecutive, busy lives creating a passage of silence between us.

As I read her words, the same sweetness we knew as teenage friends sitting cross- legged on the shag carpet of her bedroom remains steady today. She apologizes for the time lapse in conversation, offers updates on some news from our hometown. The place we share, but see through different lenses.

And when she tells me her Dad lives with pancreatic cancer a year now. That he handles the illness with grace, how he is weak but in good spirits, I recall this Knight in Shining Armor. The way he rescued me that day when I stood all of fifteen. And I think with a smile, that he wouldn’t tackle this challenge any other way.

I ask her for his address because I need to tell him. Send him a card to remind him how he saved my life  while time remains generous.

Because if we don’t tell people how God used them to impact our lives, how will they know?

I knew him as Harry Eaton, the undertaker, my best friend’s Dad, the one who takes me to school so I don’t have to ride the bus. The man who arrives in a pick-up wearing jeans one day to move me into his house so I won’t be in danger anymore.

Because when your mother decides to move to another state, leaves you in the care of strangers who aren’t who they seem, God answers worried, heart pounding prayers of the night in the form of your best friend’s Dad. To rescue, provide a way of escape from the evil.

Harry, he wears kindness and loyalty like a necklace.  His footprints of favor and reputation etch deep in the soil where he treads.  Proverbs 3:3

He moves my furniture into their spare bedroom and three months later, I board a Greyhound bus to Tulsa. Move away to live with an aunt and leave that white, 1970’s bedroom furniture behind.

Twenty-two years later, before our high school reunion, I tour Laura’s house in Kansas, meet her kids. When we enter the bedroom of her twin girls, she asks me if I notice anything familiar and when I look around, there it is. My white bedroom furniture holding the memories of a time and place long forgotten .  

And while time remains open-handed to Harry, I just want him to know that the way he wears kindness, well, it’s beautiful. It changes lives.

It changed mine.

Has someone made an impact on you? Have you told them lately? Send a card, it just might change someone’s life.

Linking with Ann today to count thanks. Add yours in the comment box here or on Facebook if you are joining us to count to 1000 this year.

  • For the dark times, because they reveal grace.
  • Kindness beyond obligation from the heart of a parent toward a child that isn’t their own.
  • Longevity in friendships, the ones God created to remain deep, grow wide, even in absence.
  • For the privilege of praying for many people in Houston last week, even on an elevator.
  • Laughter late into the night in a hotel conference room with old and new friends.
  • Worship that makes you feel like you are sitting at His feet seeing the glory.
  • Safe flights.
  • Sleep in my own bed.
  • “I can’t wait to hug you” kind of hugs from kids at the door after a long day of travel.

 Linking with Shanda and Jen on Tuesday!

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  1. Amy Sullivan

    Every time I vist, I am inspired by your words. Every time. You have a real gift Shelly.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amy, that comment you just made, that is a gift to me! Thank you so much, it’s an answer to prayers, that inspiration that came to you. So thankful.

  2. LuAnn

    I cry a lot when I read your post.
    Thanking God
    that I can cry
    for a heart that can break
    sisters to share life, love and loss with
    warm weather in winter that reminds me of God’s goodness
    generous living that saves lives
    being blessed by Shelly, who lives very far away

    • Redemption's Beauty

      After you read my posts I need to send you to someone that will make you laugh! I know the crying is the good kind and for you who takes care of everyone else, crying is big. I am here, if you need to talk. And I just love your lists and you, always you!

  3. Hazel Moon

    I grew up in a blessed home, but my mother rescued cousins and lost girls who needed some love and attention. Our family took in one who calls us Mom and Dad. She says we rescued her. In turn she continues the rescue adventure, some into her home and other just for a few moments. She has blessed us with five grandchildren who call us grandma and grandpa, as they know none other.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      What a lovely heritage your mother leaves behind in the legacy of those kids! We need more people like her and you in our world! Thank you for sharing such a lovely part of your life here. Blessings!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amen Robert! I am always amazed at how what I write inspires someone. It’s all grace and the goodness of God to lead us.

  4. Ruth Ann Bridges

    You blessed me by including photos of my grand girls and their dad. I love them beyond words and am blessed to have them in my life.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Aren’t you a lucky Grandma? Those girls are a treasure and I am so blessed to get to meet them in person. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. r.elliott

    wow…such a powerful story…and how often we don’t take the time to tell others what they have done for us…thanks for the encouragement…so thankful God bought His love to you…love with skin…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Ells, I was wondering where you have been. Of course I have been crazy busy myself without time to visit many blogs lately. Hope you are doing well.

  6. Katie

    This one really challenges me to say the words that are too often left unsaid. What’s stopping us? Why do we hesitate?

    You have a gift. You touch parts of us that we too often forget about.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Katie, your words confirm my call. To help people think differently. And that hesitating, we all do it. I guess its fear of rejection or just just plain old fear. Thanks for being here with your heart open. It makes me want to jump up and down in joy!

  7. michelle derusha

    So, so beautiful, Shelly. You write with such grace and have such a gift for storytelling.

    I wrote my mother-in-law, Janice, a letter about all the ways she blessed my life. I was able to read it to her at her bedside before she died, while she was still conscious and able to respond. Even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written (or read) it was such a gift to be able to say thank you to her in that way.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      What a lovely compliment I treasure coming from you Michelle. And I love your new picture! What courage that took to read that letter, but what a gift as well. I hope I have that kind of grace when and if that day should come for me.

  8. bethkvogt

    Thank you for dropping by my blog, In Others’ Words, and joining the conversation. This is my first visit here, but it won’t be my last. What a precious memory you shared.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Beth. Found you through Michelle, she posted on Facebook. Nice to find you and please do come back for a visit.

  9. Jen

    wow — I just sit here amazed by the beauty of your story and the power of your message. What a story of connection, rescue, and love.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Jen. I heard from Laura today that she was at her Dad’s when he got the card and they reminised about that time and had some good laughs, shared memories. God is good.

  10. Pamela

    Beautiful post — how it touched me. And challenged me to send a few letters of my own. It’s such a beautiful way to shelter and I know your friend’s father will be blessed to sit under your tree.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Wow, so glad to here you were inspired to send some letters of your own. I know they will be blessings to the recipients.

  11. Anne

    Felt led to write some of those dear people who helped me come to a place of being free from my past. It was Martin Luther King Day, a day that reminds us of setting people free. So thankful for the reminded of saying thank you to those that blessed me and helped me be free. Now Lord let me be that to someone today and tomorrow. What a gift your writing is to me. Thank you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Anne, this really blessed me. We often forget/take for granted those people in our life who are insturmental along the journey. I know they will be encouraged by your words in those cards. Thanks for your friendship, your prayers, your love and support.

  12. Positively Alene

    The longevity of friendship — YES what a gift. Beautiful post. Joining in counting today. Blessings

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I guess it never really appeared a gift to me until I got older and moved far away from close friends. How He gives us a few friends that are for a lifetime, not just passing through. Used to take that all for granted, and now I see it as a gift.

  13. Jennifer Anderson

    Good Morning Shelly. I have been lucky enough to know first hand what a note like this can do. About a month ago, I receive a facebook message from a woman whom I barely remember. She just wanted to thank me for giving her a New Living Study Bible, ten years ago. She said she still uses it, and it reminds her of kindness.

    That bit of encouragement was just what I needed that day. It reminded me that many times when we sow seeds, we may have forgotten all about them when they mature. It reminded me that acting in obedience to God never returns void.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      What a great story Jennifer. And how wonderful that she took the time to contact you all those years later. We just have no idea how we impact people – unless they tell us!

  14. Paula

    Yet another reminder of how fresh our wounds of long ago remain…. Am always touched when you revisit these times of a past most would think best forgotten and it always brings tears to my eyes. Love you and your gift that God has given to you to share with so many. As cathartic as it may be for you, it is a blessing to me. I love you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It was a prompt from Dayspring to write a story about sending a card to someone that made me think of this. Laura and I have been corresponding about her Dad and it has been a blessing to me. Glad you made it home safe and sound. Its a bit quiet around here today!

  15. Laura BogItgess

    I felt so sad for that young girl you while reading this, Shelly. But look at what an amazing grace-filled, beautiful, servant-hearted, Christ-bearer you have become. I’m guessing it’s stories like these that carved those special places in you. Hugs and blessings. How this blessed me tonight.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Laura, you nailed it. It’s my stories of redemption that make me who I am to share the hope of Christ. Thanks for your lovely words, they feel like a warm hug from a kind and generous heart. It makes me happy knowing you were blessed. I hope someday, our paths cross in real life friend!

  16. Debbie

    This post really touched me. I’ve had two friends who lost their uncles this past week and both had wished they had taken the time to see them recently. It’s so important to tell people how they have helped you while you can.

    I had a friend who befriended me when I was in my 20’s. She invited me to church with her. At the time, I had one foot in and one foot out. But I never forgot her although we lost touch. Well since that time, I’ve totally committed my life to the Lord and did some research to find Connie. I called her after many years and shared how much she influenced me and how much I appreciated her taking me to church. She cried because she didn’t think it made much difference. It’s a good lesson that sometimes when a person doesn’t seem like they are responding to our nudging, the Lord may use that and over time …we eventually respond. I hope this makes sense to you.

    Blessings and love,

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It absolutely makes sense. It is so important to let people know how they make a difference, especially when so many struggle to know if their life counts for something. Thanks so much for sharing this story. What a gift it was to Connie for you to let her know that that invitation made the difference in your walk with Christ.

  17. Danielle Crosbu

    We have all had rescuers. We may never see them or hear from them again-but we never forget them and the imprint they left on our life:)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Danielle, it’s your first time here! Yay! Yes, you are right, we do have rescuers that we may never see again but when they do come to mind it is a blessing to remind them of their kindness and thank them. So glad you left a comment.

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