Some of you may have received a card, a letter, or an email from me in the past, where, instead of the typical "Love," "Sincerely," etc., in closing, I use "Phillipians 1:3, Danielle".
Maybe you've taken the time to look this verse up. Maybe you know this verse by rote. Maybe some of you say to yourself, "There she goes getting religious on us again, what's that all about?" Well, I'll tell you.
Phillippians 1:3 is "I praise my God every time I think of you."
And I do... I don't do this to be cute. I sincerely and honestly do praise my God every time I think of you.
I've been meaning to blog about this subject for some time. But, then I receive my daily scripture in my inbox, and most of the time I turn that into my message for the day. But I have been spiritually prompted to finally stick my neck out, like the turtle that I am, and share this with you. I PRAISE my GOD every time I think of YOU.
Brother Brian Johnson is in the cast of our current Shakespeare play that goes up this week. Sometimes I get an "inside look" at what he may be preaching about on the following Sunday. This past Sunday, however, I thought he was going to preach about one topic, and I couldn't wait to hear his message. But when he got to the pulpit and a different message bubbled forth, I knew God was trying to tell me something.
Brother Brian spoke about relationships and accountability - a subject very dear to my heart, and I'll tell you why.
I have been lonely all my life. There. I said it. Lonely. LONNNNNNNNNNEEEELLLLYYYY. I had FOUR friends in High School. I had ONE friend in college. For the past ten years, the only "friends" I had were people who were friends of my ex-husband, or people who wanted something from me. And in most cases, I changed my personality to become something they would accept. Of course, I did have a few friends through the Theatre Company, and not to undermine those relationships, but the guys were in college and time was always limited. Oh, and I did have my friends in the far reaches of the country - California, Georgia and New York City, and now Massachusetts, thank God for computers, email, instant messaging, and free nights and weekends on our cell phones!
So it was that Brother Brian spoke so eloquently about the importance of our relationships with one another and holding each other accountable in our walk with Christ. He mentioned "when you know you have found your 'Spiritual Mirror' in another brother or sister in Christ," as Sister Sarah Klugh and I shot each other a quick glance across the church. In the past couple of months, I have been so completely LIFTED UP in new friendships and new relationships which my soul has longed for and I give all Glory to God for these new relationships.
Sunday evening, I had to take my children to New Jersey for a week with Derek's parents. I was going to go alone, and since I had to run one of our actors to Selinsgrove, I figured I'd just head to Harrisburg and hit the turnpike from there. I stopped at Sheetz in Selinsgrove to get some coffee to keep me awake for the ride, and my cell rang. It was Sister Sarah Klugh. She wanted to know if she could go along for the ride. I immediately rejoiced that she was able to go, and went up 147/180 to pick her up, and then we jumped on 80 east.
The sky was menacing before us. But there, right in front of us was a rainbow, and then as we drove, another one. Sarah said, "This is so cool, did you hear Pastor's message this morning?" I had not. Pastor spoke of Noah and covenant relationships and rainbows as a reminder of His promise.
We made it to the Northeast Extension. From the Mahoning Valley Exit until the Quakertown Exit it poured - torrential downpours. You couldn't drive more than 40 miles an hour. It was scary, people were pulling off the road - afraid to go on. But I knew God had us in His care. All of a sudden, the rain stopped and it was smooth sailing for awhile. But then when I went to get off the Northeast Ext. onto the main turnpike, three cars tried to merge into the same lane in front of me, and I, to avoid an accident, got stuck going in the lane West to Norristown. I asked the guy at the tollbooth how I could get back on to go east and he said follow 476 south to exit 16. I ended up on the Schuylkill Expressway going into Center City, having to take the Benjamin Franklin Bridge over to New Jersey.
I always thought my in-laws lived south of the Ben Franklin Bridge, so I went south. They live north of the Ben Franklin Bridge. So, we were in Center City at 9:40pm and I could have been at their house by 10:30 at the latest. We ended up not getting there until 12, 12:30 a.m. But I could not get too sad, God kept us safe all the way.
Sarah and I had some real bonding time and what was totally cool was that Pastor had just spoken about rainbows and covenant relationships that morning and all the way out 80 there were rainbows. Then Brian preached about relationships and accountability and how each of us has a spiritual mirror in another person - which I know mine is Sarah.
I have been abundantly blessed with new friendships, new relationships. You who are around me accept me for "me" and push me to be a better "me." Through the church, rekindled relationships with family members, the Theatre Company, and still the long-distance relationships that are kept alive only through the aid of technology, I am BLESSED. It is very important to me that my friends know that I'm not religious. I have a relationship with God and I have a relationship with my friends and if God is working in my relationships with my friends, it makes it all the more satisfying as we continue to bless each other in our friendships and reflect the Glory of these relationships back on Him.
In some of these relationships, He's using me. In some of them, He's blessing me. But I know that each of these new relationships are meant for a purpose. As I am, and all of you are.
So I will say this again. I want you to truly hear.
I PRAISE MY GOD EVERY TIME I THINK OF YOU!