Some lessons learned from really hard times

Hey Keith,

I’ve been thinking about all that you and your family have been going through lately. Chris and I have been standing with you and want to encourage you that it seems God is beginning to write a new chapter with you. There are several things I have learned from watching you, and at the risk of embarrassing you, here is a brief list of some of those things:

1. When times are tough a strong marriage can get stronger.
It has been a blessing to see you two struggle, at times disagree, but stay strongly in love and supportive of each other. All the years investing in your relationship pays off. Tough times don’t have to destroy a relationship.

2. Bitterness eats grace and is our enemy.
I don’t know if I would have fared as well as you have in the midst of lies, opposition and loss. Your genuine humility and refusal to be angry or bitter is amazing, and a gift I’m sure you have worked at keeping. But the fruit I see in you is amazing.

3. Searching for God’s best is worth it.
I love the way you are honestly intent on discovering what God wants and your willingness to pursue it whole-heartedly. It is a great example. I am honored and glad that I get to share this season of life with you.

4. God is completely reliable.
I know you well enough to know you don’t take credit for this. You were faithful to trust Him when no solution had yet appeared on the horizon. Now that the early signs of a spiritual change of season are emerging, your confidence is bearing fruit. That says something about you, but it speaks volumes about God.

I know that in the season I am in, your example is very encouraging and your friendship a huge blessing. Thanks. I am looking forward to all that God has for us together.

4 comments for “Some lessons learned from really hard times

  1. Mark McGrath
    Mark McGrath
    August 10, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Amanda, The idea of being a friend is growing in size on my radar screen these days. It may well be a concept that needs some serious dusting off and re-use. I’ll never forget how insightful Chris was years ago when reacting to some situations we were facing. Her line was, “I’m not a bible school graduate, but all I know is that is not the way friends treat their friends!” How simple and how powerful. We all need friends. I need friends. And I need to get better at being one. Simple yes, but even more powerful than previously imagined. Thanks!

  2. August 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Friendship – just in the last two weeks I was stopped in my tracks a few times and I noticed something. I am a people person, in a quiet sort of way, in that I love discovering new people all the time, and I often notice those without connection to others. Connection I reckon, is what we were made for by God – to connect with Him – and with each other. Go Marsh and McGrath!
    This is what I noticed. Several people I have met only quite recently were referring to me as ‘a good friend’ and I was challenged,as on the span of my life I was thinking ” Wow, we’ve only just started!” This made me realise that my efforts, often puny, failing, fumbling, forgetting etc, were actually clearly more than enough. God was using the little I had to give, and it was actually really significant. So it depends what plumb line we use to measure a friendship against. I can always do better and Jesus ‘s best mate let him down,but there was only one way back! Let’s keep at it.

  3. Mark McGrath
    Mark McGrath
    July 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm


    True confession: I have never considered myself a great friend because I seem to get so busy that too much time passes between contacts. It is something I am always paying attention to, and know that I need a lot of growth. But, when I think about it, great friends balance acceptance and forgiveness with the ability to gracefully speak the truth in love when you need it.

    On top of that, good friends don’t walk away when it would be easy to do so. They don’t worry if they don’t know what to say and they aren’t quick with advice either. They endure the tough times when friendship requires work. That is what makes their encouragement meaningful. All I know is that I have been so blessed by my friends at so many key times in my life, that I want to keep growing as a friend.

  4. Keith
    June 29, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Thank you for your kind words. It’s hard to talk about yourself but let me say this: Having good friends gives great strength to one’s heart and soul as you go through trials. You and Chris, as well as our Lifeline family proved to be true friends. While we understood this was a time of pruning because there had been fruit and God was after much fruit, we also believe we were never alone. It meant so much to know there were brothers and sisters praying for us and that were standing with us. Thank you one and all!

    Hey Mark! What do you think it means to be a friend in today’s fast-paced world? What is a true friend?

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