***(This was published first on Facebook, with only several omissions and / or additions. The formatting is a bit off here, though I don’t know why. I apologize for that.)***
I recently had the privilege of spending some quality time with a dear friend.
I first met Lori Roeleveld in 2016, when I attended her blogging class at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.
She was hobbling around in an orthopedic boot, having suffered an injury after a run-in with sheet rock.
Anyway, she inspired me, and I thought, “This is someone worth modeling—a writer who’s an inspiration to others with both wit and wisdom, all the while never compromising her faith.” (I mean, even the incident with the boot had a backstory that brought laughter resulting in tears! And, if my memory serves me correctly, she even related a scriptural truth.)
I was privileged to meet Lori again, though briefly, while in West Hartford, CT at ReNew in 2018 and sat under her teaching once more at BRMCWC in the spring of 2019.
Not long after, I began to meet regularly with Lori virtually, receiving the blessing of her coaching services in 2020.
It was during a pandemic which threatened us, told us it was best to isolate and live and love “at a distance.”
Ironically, it was during this season that a deep and beautiful friendship blossomed.
Last Spring Break, Bill and I traveled with Allie to New England. During our trip, we enjoyed an evening with Lori and her husband Rob in Newport, RI. I was thankful that Bill was finally able to meet this person who’d been such a beautiful influence in my life, and it was wonderful for us to meet Rob as well.
For some time, Lori and I had shared a vision for a writers retreat–a special opportunity where we could combine our gifts to bless women who, for the most part, live in the NC / SC area. We’d dreamed and prayed together for more than a year, asking the Lord to direct our steps.
It was beyond beautiful then to witness this Sabbath retreat come to fruition when, in mid-September, a small gathering of women arrived at Selah Farm. Over the course of the weekend, these writers–each whose heart is tender toward sharing God’s message with a hurting world–worshipped together and grew in understanding of God’s Word.
After that beautiful time, Lori stayed on, and we were able to draw closer. Bill and I took joy in loving on our Rhode Island friend who’d traveled quite some distance to be with us for that week.
While here, Lori was able to visit her long-time mentor and friend, Les Stobbe, and his dear wife Rita who live in nearby Tryon, NC. What a sweet time we had!
And we also toured the Biltmore House and gardens and enjoyed “The Da Vinci Experience” too. Amazing!
I will forever cherish this special time with my mentor and friend—a true sister in Christ who points me and many to the One who’s the real Author… Yes, the One who’s writing a story with our lives.
Thank you for all you’ve done to guide me, inspire me, and challenge me.
You do this for so many, and I know, even as others read this, there are dozens echoing their own “Yes!” and “Amen!”
Your influence has opened doors with regard to my writing that I’d only dreamed of, affirming, yet again, that as we delight in the Lord—leaning in to listen to Him—He gives us the desires of our hearts, which are always His desires for us first (Ps. 37:4).
I love you, dear friend. I thank the Lord with every remembrance of you (Phil. 1:3)–which, I might add, is a whole lot of praise to our Father!
Thank you for being who you are in this world–
- A voice of truth.
- A defender of faith.
- A contender in the race to further the Gospel.
- And of course–a “disturber of hobbits.”
Mostly, Lori–you’re Abba’s daughter in whom He takes great delight!
I’m so thankful He thought to bless my life with you, sister! Me and my writing are both better for it. (And yes, I’m aware that last sentence is not grammatically correct!)
Dear Father, thank you for the gift of friendship, and thank you for connecting people–for Your glory and our good! I am so very blessed by this child of Yours. What a treasure Lori is to the world! Bless her and her family, I pray. Amen.
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