How Vulnerability Opens the Gift of Relationship – Week #19

by | May 18, 2013 | Uncategorized

emma and jane

Crossing my booted legs, I wait in the high back burgundy chair near the elevator; watch the glass doors slide open and shut. People scurry into the hotel lobby carrying luggage, shopping bags and umbrellas; arms wrapped around their waist holding in the warmth. I wonder if I will recognize their faces, if our conversation will be easy or awkward.

Emma found my blog through the Facebook ticker.  A mutual friend “liked” an update for a new post on my blog. Curious, she clicked over. It wasn’t until she “liked” my Writer page and I messaged her, that I discovered she and her best friend Jane were reading regularly. They co-author their own blog and actively participate in the Sabbath Society.

To say that their correspondence with me is a blessing would be a trite understatement.

On this day, Emma travelled three hours to meet up with Jane and make their way into London together on the tube. They both took the day off work to meet me. When they told me that, I put my hand on my chest, closed my eyes and willed the tears away. Humbled.

They teach me that vulnerability knows no boundaries in a screen or cultural differences. It opens the door to relationship. And that is why I blog, why I started the Sabbath Society.

As they step into the lobby, scarves wrapped around their necks, our eyes meet and we immediately embrace with smiles all around. We huddle around a tiny table in the corner of the hotel gathering space, pouring tea and catching up like old friends on holiday oblivious to time. And continue conversation with commas and few periods, over lunch in a French restaurant, walking side by side through crowded streets, swaying on the underground, and following the blue dot on Jane’s phone to my favorite bookstore when we corporately admit to being directionally challenged.


Sometimes I lose my way. I get lost among crowded rooms of writers elbowing their way through social media and platform building and forget why God asked me to write.

Until someone tells me that my words are their main source of spiritual direction (outside of the Bible) and I want to fall to my knees on cobblestones with the pigeons in the fear of God. Who am I Lord?

He brought me together with two friends who live on the other side of the world to remind me that we are created to worship. Life is not about what we do for Him, but what He has done for us.

May you know today that your vulnerability isn’t wasted.  Know that you don’t need to fit in to the right place for God to find you. He wants to be your companion on the journey, not the greeter at the arrival gate.

Happy Sabbath Friends!

Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord, and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord. Psalm 102:18-22


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  1. Emma

    Oh Shelly, you have brought tears here with your beautiful words. I’m so thankful we all said yes to being vulnerable and banished fear, what a relationship we have found, no doubt given from Him. What He does for us is more than we can ask or imagine, I’m bowled over.

    • Lynn Morrissey

      Emma, I loved seeing your and Jane’s picture with Shelly outside Persephone, and to visit your lovely blog. You are two dear souls. Shelly asked me to pose for a picture with her in Nebraska at the recent Jumping Tandem retreat, and I protested b/c I didn’t have on eyeliner! I will be visiting your charming country, along with my husband, daughter, and friend come July. We are elated. Michael and I have been to England three other times, each time pinching ourselves to know we’ve been fortunate enough to return. We hope that you will visit America as well! But I must say that Americans simply do NOT know how to make tea. I can’t wait to visit the English tearooms and also just soak up all the beauty, culture, and history! So nice to meet you at Shelly’s.She i s one special, beautiful lover of Jesus!

  2. Nancy Ruegg

    God gave you a glimpse, Shelly, of the impact of His Spirit’s inspiration upon your writing. No doubt you are touching many hearts with your vulnerability, wisdom, and grace. Press on, gifted communicator!

  3. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, when will i ever NOT love one of your posts?! They’re all rich and resplendent, filled with beauty and truth. And I loved the truths I gleaned from this one–that real frienship starts and ends in the heart and miles can’t thwart it from either developing or declining; that the world keeps shrinking and the Internet provides opportunties for fellowship and living out the Great Commission that never have existed previously; that writers bear great weight of responsibility to accurately teach truth and to show the love of Christ–because someone is always reading, and we might be the only “Gospel” they read outside the Bible (I don’t say that irreligiously, so I hope people don’t “read that wrong.”); that the only platform that matters is Christ’s and HIs banner of love!; that real women drink tea and read real books!!–and that real bookstores really do still exist on this planet! Yeah! I will try to visit Persephone when we are in London in july. Tx for this recommendation. I love you Shelly, and hope to ck out your new friends’ blogs. I already love them because you do, and THEY ARE BRITISH, AFTER ALL. I think I am a misplaced Brit!
    Love you,

  4. Jody Collins

    Shelly, this just makes me weep. So beautiful and so encouraging. Isn’t our Father good to “refresh those who refresh others?”
    Thank you for being so vulnerable and open to being used by Him.

  5. Pam

    Love this post, Shelly. Have you ever read the book or seen the movie, 84 Charring Cross Road? It is a true story of an American woman who began corresponding with an English bookseller on the street of that name when she was looking for books unavailable in America. The story is told in her humorous and touching letters and in the friendship that ensued between them – she the gregarious writer, he the shy Englander. She would send goodies to him and his wife and girls, as well as his co-workers (I think it may have been late 40’s or 50’s) when the war left them bereft of many goods. And he sent her charming books. That was an amazing story of such a time as this…before Internet. And your story reminds me of the same… I’ve read at Emma’s site too after finding her in your comments here… and love the posts there too. Enjoy your trip! Always, always love hearing about your visit there and living vicariously… 🙂
    I’ve been reading here but not always commenting…

    • Shelly Miller

      I haven’t read that one Pam, it sounds good. So good to know you’ve been around, its great to see you in the comment box. I think of you often and hope you are doing well. I haven’t forgotten about our conversation regarding your drawings.

  6. Pam

    Just noticed my comment didn’t leave my url as it used to. So just fyi…that’s from Pam, apples of gold. 🙂

  7. Jedidja

    Thank you. It’s nice to read these refined, thankful blog. Specifically, how God brings people together.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you. Yes indeed, He is faithful to bring us together with those he pre-ordains to be our friends doesn’t he?

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