10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
It seems that everything I hear, learn, or experience lately has the theme of story. It started last summer when my best friend died. I did not know how to process what had happened and I cried out to God as I tried to make sense of it. I really felt Him tell me that I need to share her story and He has given me multiple occasions to do just that. Being able to talk about her has helped me deal with the loss of my friend who was not only a sister in Christ but someone who was like a sister to me. She adopted me into her family like I was born there.
I met her eight years ago at Celebrate Recovery. If you aren’t familiar with CR, it is a Christ-centered twelve step program. Anyone with hurts, habits, or hang-ups is welcome to attend. We were both believers who were looking for healing from past hurts and knew Jesus was the only way to find it. She became my accountability partner and I became hers. Over time, I learned I could trust her and she is the person I opened up to and was honest with about everything in my life—all those things you really don’t want to share. But there comes that time in recovery when you have to bring them out into the light in order to heal from them. As she walked through this process with me, I learned the meaning of love—not just the feeling part of love but the willingness to love another no matter what. I learned that there are people who will encourage you, cheer you on, help you grow, keep you grounded. When she saw me heading in a wrong direction, she would call me on it, and I would do the same with her. We used to talk to each other every morning as we drove to work and share a devotional we were reading or something we had learned in a bible study. Together we would figure out how to apply it to our lives. We were each other’s “safe haven” when things weren’t going so well.
After we finished CR, we both headed into ministry in different directions but we were there for each other, supporting each other, as God used our gifts to help others. We had conflicts, but we had learned tools to work through them. We could talk and be honest when one of us had done something to hurt the other knowing that our brokenness was behind our actions.
As I read these verses in 2 Timothy, they made me think of her and our friendship. Our friendship was based on our relationship with Jesus. He was the focus of our healing; He was the basis of our growth and maturity. We discussed Scripture and how it “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Just as Timothy knew Paul’s “story” (You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured), she knew my story and I knew hers. We would remind each other of the things we learned in CR (continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,).
In a few days it will be the first anniversary of her death. I am thankful and blessed for having her in my life. When her mother was cleaning out her house last year, she asked me if there was anything I wanted. While there are pictures of the two of us together that are precious to me, I took her Recovery Bible and a journal of pages of Scripture written in her own hand—she had every page filled. They are reminders to me of a journey we took together. For a period of time, our paths merged and we walked together. I wonder if that is how the letter Paul wrote to Timothy felt to him?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the people you bring into our lives who love us just as we are—broken and hurting, empty and needy. They invest into our lives and pour love into us, the love You first poured into them. Thank you for Scripture and how you speak to us personally through it. I know from these verses Timothy was someone Paul loved. He shared his life with him, the good times and bad. He shared his relationship with Jesus with him. It is a model to me of how I can relate to people and do the same. You are so good to us and know just when we need those encouraging words from You the most. Thank you for blessing me! In Jesus name, Amen