Our #IKnowHim story today was submitted by Bethany McIlrath. She shares how she has experienced God in the form of friendships with others. If you have been praying for holy friendships, be encouraged by the words of her testimony and God’s goodness. Leave us a comment below so we can be praying with you! If you have ever prayed for friendship, we’d love to hear your experience in the comments as well to encourage those still seeking. 

With one semester left until I had a bachelor’s degree in hand, I donned a wedding band on my ring finger. All my friends were off to internships and first jobs hours or states away. My groom had led me to Christ a year prior. He and I were going to live in an inn and work there while my studies wrapped up.

Even with my new faith, my first “grown up” job, a marriage license, and the freedom to choose which drawer holds the silverware, I felt like a freshman all over again.

My most fervent prayer in the turbulent time of scraping by as a young newlywed, taking 18 credits, and talking with my husband about what in the world would come next?

God, give me a friend.

Silly as it may sound, for me, everything other concern paled in comparison.

I felt ridiculous.

As I understood it, God was mighty. A provider. The rescuer. He was my Savior, my Lord, and my master. The world, my world, was full of problems and lost people and sin and so much BIG stuff. In my still-new relationship with Him, I knew I served a BIG God.

Up until that time, I’d only prayed for the “big stuff.” My plate had been full of hard-to-swallow problems. So feeling desperate for a friend didn’t seem like something a Christian girl (or God!) should care about.

But for as BIG as God is, He really cares about the small things too.

Scripture doesn’t just say God is with us in huge battles. Instead, He’s with us always. We’re told He doesn’t just watch us when we’re out and about, prone to sin and failure- He watches us when we sleep. God, who is everywhere all at once, also became man. He can identify with being in one place, at one time, with a tangle of emotions and temptations. Jesus even knows what it is to hang out with a friend.

As I read the Bible and adjusted to the season of life I was in, I clung to getting to know Jesus as my friend.

Jesus Himself said it: “I have called you friends” (John 15:15.)

I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the closeness of friendship I enjoy with Christ, some of which formed through that season. However, I’m also thankful for the curly red headed gift He gave me back then.

Our friendship’s beginning was unexpected.

My husband knew my desire and my prayer. He asked me if I’d met her yet. He said her name and described her by her bright, corkscrew hair. I told him she wasn’t friend material. She was a co-worker at the inn. Plus, I’d crossed paths with her years ago. We didn’t hit it off back then (due in part to her poor taste in sweaters.) Why would we now?

When she and I interacted at work, I was polite and friendly. Co-worker pleasant. It didn’t cross my mind she might be an answer to prayer. It didn’t occur to me that God might be showing His care for my little longing. I didn’t even realize that bit by bit, I wasn’t so lonely.

I didn’t even realize we were friends.

Then one day I was reading the Bible. A minute late for my shift, I finally put it down. It was the first time I’d read Hosea and I just had to tell someone about the epic illustration of God’s unrelenting love.

She was waiting in the office to clock out. As I apologized for being late, I offered up my explanation. Feeling like a weirdo, I admitted “I was just wrapped up in Hosea.” Her eyes got huge. She exclaimed, “I totally understand!”

Taken by surprise, I leaned against the wall, replying, “It’s the craziest story!” She agreed. We went back and forth. The inn was quiet so I grabbed my Bible. We sat down and read passages and reviewed the story- and God’s love got personal.

The people whose stories are recorded in Scripture sought God for the big- and the little. God delighted to make Himself known to them in the big- and the little.

My seemingly small yearning was met with a friendship that has remained a big part of my life. And alongside that friend He gave at just the right time, I’m still getting to know God more and more.

Sometimes God answers us with just His self and His sufficiency.

But, sometimes He wants us to know that He also loves to share us. He loves introducing His friends to His other friends.

I know Him- and as I get to know Him, I find out more and more that His love for us is so personal that He actually does care about the little things.

Godly Friendships

Have you experienced God in your life? Click HERE to submit your story to be shared on the blog!

On today’s episode of the #IKnowHim podcast, Reid and Aimee Christner are sharing how their experiences with God have called them to live a life of servanthood and obedience. They discuss how fear and surrender have played a role in their faith journey, as well as how coming to Christ in adulthood influenced their faith. In this podcast, they talk with host Rachel Sweatt about how obedience in what God has asked them to do has built their faith, strengthened their marriage, and cultivated a life of purpose and intention.

Looking for God

 

Here are the resources mentioned in the podcast:

Seamless by Angie Smith

End of Me By Kyle Idleman

#IKnowHim Podcast with Aimee and Reid Christner

We are excited to welcome Laney Wooten, a long time follower of Jesus, who is giving us a transparent look at how she has experienced God as she wrestles with hard questions about her faith, and struggles with the doubt that so many Christians experience in various seasons of life. Laney also shares how God has revealed his goodness and his nearness to her through the tangible hope that sustains her every day as she points her family to Jesus through the countless hardships that come with having a child with severe autism.

#IKnowHim Podcast with Laney Wooten

Today’s guest is a wife, mom, University professor, engineer, world changer, and fierce Jesus follower. We are honored to share this conversation with Emily Hunt, who shares a raw look at who Jesus really is to her and how she and her family are experiencing God first hand as their unsuspected fight against the cancer in their seven year son old brings them to the front lines of their faith. 

Emily and Zander

#IKnowHim Podcast with Emily Hu

Brooke and Sarah, founders of Partners In Hope, are sharing how they have experienced God in their own lives and how they continue to see His goodness in hard places. On this episode of the #IKnowHim Podcast, we are talking about how they have seen redemption and restoration offered to prisoners and how they take the Light of the Gospel into hard places, as well as how they see the goodness of God firsthand in the lives of the children they serve through their program. 

Partners In Hope #IKnowHim

For more information, visit their website here.

To partner with them financially as they continue to serve children and prisoners in Uganda, click here.

Partners In Hope #IKnowHim Podcast

Today’s podcast guests are newlyweds Mikey and Cicely McDowell, who are experiencing God in their lives after recently beginning a new season in their lives in a new place, with God being their only familiarity. A law student and a musician in Nashville, they are sharing ways they are actively seeking God and seeing Him move when everything else is uncertain, and how they are pressing in to making Him known in their new spheres of influence.

McDowell #IKnowHim Podcast

 

Our guest today, Whittney Grizzle, is sharing the message that God has given her as a result of her experiences with Him and how God’s relentless pursuit of her is evidence that He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. She discusses how she has seen God’s hand of protection and how the prayers of a woman she wouldn’t meet for 22 years changed her life. Her story is one of hope, redemption, and coming to Jesus just as you are, but never being the same after meeting Him.

#IKnowHimPodcast with Whittney Grizzle 

#IKnowHimPodcast with Whittney Grizzle

Our storytellers today, Kevin and Cindy Tuttle, are talking about specific ways they have experienced God in their lives and how they are continuing to see God pursue them in every circumstance. Through adoption, an economic crisis, their marriage and in their day to day lives of so much unknown, they have seen God reveal Himself in ways that changed them forever. 

#IKnowHim Podcast

#IKnowHim Podcast

 

On today’s episode of the #IKnowHim Podcast, our guest Randy Ray is sharing how his life has been impacted by the teachings of C.S. Lewis and how his admiration for this author led to a divine encounter with God while visiting Lewis’ house. Randy shares how this intimate moment taught him about God’s love for us and the love we are called to have for others. 

#IKnowHim Podcast with Randy Ray

"Addison's Walk" where Lewis was converted.

“Addison’s Walk” where Lewis was converted.

Lewis' living room at the Kilns.

Lewis’ living room at the Kilns.

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