Saturday, March 4, 2017

Grace Given: Heroines Volume III (Andi Hale and Erica Lovingood)

A native Texan, Andi Hale moved to Nashville a year and a half ago. She now works as administrator for Fellowship School of Dance and is heavily involved with the My Local college ministry, started by Erica and Trevor Lovingood.
Erica Lovingood resides in Nashville with her husband, Trevor, and oversees college and young adult ministry, My Local. She is a stay-at-home mom with her daughter, Londyn.

“. . . They went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus.”
Luke 5:19, MSG
We have all experienced paralyzing moments—when we learn of a friend who has overdosed, when we witness a marriage of several decades disintegrate, when we encounter the kind of racism we believed only existed in history books. A God-authored friend walks with us through those seasons and places us at the feet of Jesus when we are paralyzed. When we don’t have the strength, they will fight our battles with us, take up our cause and shield us with prayer. 
It is our calling as God-authored heroines to bring one another to the feet of Jesus.
“Without a moment’s hesitation, he did it—got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way.”
Luke 5:25, MSG
At His feet, we experience victorious moments—when we learn of the new life inside us, when we witness friends come to eternal salvation, when we encounter God-dreams we didn’t know we could possess. In unity, we celebrate these miracles. We are empowered to move through both the beautiful and the crushing parts of life with grace. Not a delicate, soft grace. Fierce, enduring grace that pushes us through the seasons of unimaginable heartbreak and pain. Grace that moves through us and forges a path before us.
“My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives…”
James 5:19-20, MSG
God-authored friendships are grace-giving. We are not called to be hoarders of this grace but to actively seek ways to give it away. As sisters unified in Christ, we look for the best in each other but are also willing to point out areas that threaten to compromise God-dreams. An authentic friend is one who will have tough conversations with the hope we can begin to run in freedom, not fear. These vulnerable discussions start with us. When we open the door to our own fears and struggles, we allow them to go there as well.
“Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in.”
Ecclesiastes 11:9, NLT
As God-authored friends, we get to take it all in. Friendships are meant to be enjoyed, celebrated. Relationships are a gift, given to us so we can be freed up to enjoy the journey together.
Our journey began in an old warehouse in Franklin, Tennessee. We were both new to Nashville and in desperate need of community. In that moment, the Lord answered our prayers and brought us together. Since that day, we have been through many trials. Each battle was hard fought and won through prayer. We have spent a good portion of our friendship on our knees, calling out to the Lord on our sister’s behalf. In His perfectly authored story, we have also experienced some of the most rewarding moments of joy together. Every Sunday at lunch, we celebrate these victories the only way we know how: tacos and queso.
Our friendship has been built on a firm foundation of prayer and queso.
Praise God.
Our prayer for you is that you would find grace-giving relationships that bring you to the feet of Jesus . . .
Friendships that carry you through paralyzing seasons and to the victories on the other side.

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