The Six Degrees of Matt Redmond

This is about Matt Redmond, author of The God of the Mundane , not the well-known (to some, not me) worship leader Matt Redman.

I had to do some digging around back in time for this post, so bear with me. On August 22, 2013, I wrote a post titled Daily Praises – you can read it HERE. I first heard of Matt and his book via my husband who heard of him via Rev. Shane Lems.

Fast forward nine months and we are living in Birmingham, Alabama, where Matt lives. Somehow I found him, read his book, and interviewed him for a small local newspaper. We met at the library and I got to know him a little bit. I have searched high and low for that interview/article to no avail. But, an offshoot of that meeting was that in addition to our faith, we also have a love for music in common, his much deeper than mine. But he was the one that connected me to a guy who sold me tickets for the first Avett Brothers’ concert that Chuck and I went to. At the concert we saw Matt and were able to meet his wife Bethany. This was now November of 2017.

Jump ahead again to 2021. I’m attending Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church where I now live in Tampa and I meet a sweet woman named Suanne. She tells me about Tim Challies and I sign up for his emails. So, today’s email has a list of book recommendations and guess what shows up? Yep. the new edition of Matt’s book!

Side note: I just finished reading Ordinary by Michael Horton, which is similar in many ways to Matt’s book. Of the two, I’d probably recommend Matt’s only because it seems more focused on the topic, whereas Horton’s rambles around a little more. And, FYI, Matt’s was published first.

Hymns of Grace #4: It Is Well With My Soul

“…any God worth believing in is the God not only of the immensities of the galaxies I rejoice in at night when I walk the dogs, but also the God who cares about the sufferings of us human beings and is here, with us, for us, in our pain and in our joy… I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights.” -Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle

This song has taken on new meaning for me this year. In peace and in sorrow, He is there. He is here.

It is providential that it was the hymn I read this past Sunday afternoon, still going through Aunt Marie’s hymnal. The story of this hymn was briefly mentioned that morning at church. You can read about it HERE.

Last year, my dear friend, Jeannie, gave me a necklace inscribed with this song title. It has become precious to me. I thank God for people like Horatio Spafford and Jeannie.

Conjoined

Montana, August, 2015

“A love that depends solely on romance, on the combustion of two attracting chemistries, tends to fizzle out…A long-term marriage has to move beyond chemistry to compatibility, to friendship, to companionship. It is certainly not that passion disappears, but that is conjoined with other ways of love.” – Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle.

Chuck and I were compatible, though we had some different interests. I learned to enjoy baseball, but would never achieve the knowledge or full enjoyment he had in the sport. But, I could sit in front of the TV with him and watch a game, though often with my Chromebook in my lap.

The “other ways of love” came with putting each other ahead of ourselves. It didn’t just happen. It takes work to keep a marriage going. It’s a give and take, a making time for each other. It’s being okay with a little time apart. It’s talking and it’s sitting in quiet.

It’s a sweet camaraderie.

Not so minor characters

“The minor characters in your life will step into the foreground and shine.” – Sheryl Sandberg

There have been some women who have stepped into the foreground for me. They are not minor characters, but they have been in the background of my life for a while.

Like Lee, my sorority Big Sister in college, who I had not seen for over 40 years. She stepped right back into my life by coming to Chuck’s funeral, all the way from Georgia. We’ve met for lunch and spent the day together catching up on all the years gone by.

Lee and me – Fernandina, 2020

Like Jeannie, who I also met over 40 years ago when Chuck and I were dating. She has been so very kind to me, meeting for lunch and giving me books and gifts to show her love and sympathy.

Jeannie and me – 1980

Like Judy, who calls and writes and lets me know I am always in her prayers. Our friendship doesn’t go back so far, but she is a Christian sister who cares. She doesn’t just post “praying” on social media, but when she says she’s praying I know she really is.

Judy – at Melt in Bham

Like Crystal, another newer friend, who writes nice chatty letters to let me know all the big and little things going on with her family. She shares her life with me and shows her concern for me.

Christmas at Crystal’s – 2019

Like Peggy, who lives in Auburndale but stays connected and checks on me. She sometimes brings along her husband, Tom, who is also a dear friend. They were great friends to Chuck and I and I’m so thankful for them still.

Peggy, St. Augustine, 2013

Like Debbie, who was in my Brownie troop when we were in 2nd/3rd grades. We went to church together through our teens and were in each others weddings. Then, time and miles kept us apart. But, we have reconnected, from Ohio to Florida, and had supper after 20 years and fell right into our friendship again.

Debbie, second from left

Like Darla, who I bonded with when we taught school together. She has made it a point to keep in touch. Her life is full to the brim with grandchildren, but she has made time for me.

Darla at Wild Adventures

That’s the thing – time. It’s not always easy or convenient, but it’s important to make time for the ones we love. For the ones who need our love.

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” – Romans 1:8

Lovely Cards #1

Card from Jenny

I am so grateful to God for the ones He has put in my life who still pray for me. On those nights when it seems so dark, I know that I have been sustained by prayers. I know that God hears others when I can’t find words. Then, in the morning, I am able to go on. I am able to pray for guidance and pray for those I love, both family and friends.

The above card was from my high school friend, Jenny. She knows loss. She can empathize because she knows. And when she says she’s praying, I know it’s not just empty words. She wrote, “I pray that God will give you the fortitude to bear his loss.” God is answering her prayer every day.


“As God’s love is lavished on you, give this love away lavishly to others. Let the love of Christ that is in you be split over into the lives of the people around you.” – from The Undistracted Widow By Carol Cornish

Faithful friends

St. Augustine Beach

“The friends whom the freshness of your grief has gathered around you, will forget your loss much sooner than you will; and the force of their sympathy will have spent itself, long before the tide of your grief has ceased to flow. Few, very few, are the faithful friends whose tender interest is as long-lived and as deep, as our tribulation.” – The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God by John Angell James, 1841

I am blessed to have friends who still gather around me. They call, text, invite me to lunch. Their sympathy has not spent itself. I am thankful for their tender interest.

A poem for Chuck #1

Yes, I’ve written tons of poems about my love for Chuck, our relationship, and his love for me. But, this is a different one, not written by me. It was written by our friend, Dorothy Young, who wrote it when we left Jacksonville/Fruit Cove in 2014 for Birmingham. She gave him a framed copy when we moved. It hung in his home office in Bham and I’ll hang it again when I get to Tampa. Dorothy and Chuck had a special friendship, as evidenced in her words. She included it in her book, Loved from Eternity.

On a Friend Moving Away

Farewell, But not goodbye:

Be in God’s tender care.

Be found in Christ at last

Though here you be or there

Seek Him, the greatest good:

For Him all things forgo.

You must have him at last

If you would glory know.

Feast on His mighty love:

Rest in His mercy free

For then you shall be safe,

For all eternity.

There’s honey in the rock:

The sweetness is profound.

Trust Jesus Christ alone.

In Him is refuge found.

Donna

October, 1976

October 17, 2011  · Hi Angie, hope I’m doing this right. I just wanted you to know that I am thinking about you and hope you have a good class this year! I have been very busy going to Drs. and dentists and seeing my family. However, I hope we can get together before our birthdays and then just maybe Robin Ann will go out with us to celebrate our birthdays! Love , Donna

I recently came across this message on Facebook from an old friend. My college roommate, going back to 1976. We didn’t really become friends until our senior year of high school. We found out we were going to go off to the same school – Georgia Southern College (that was before football – they are now a university). This brought the bright, giggling spirit of Donna into my life. Our birthdays were just a day apart.

Things weren’t always perfect; we sometimes got on each other’s nerves in our tiny dorm room. I had to learn to share space – I never had a sister. But we learned, we adapted, we were there for each other. Donna played the guitar and sang. She put my poems to music when I was missing my high school boyfriend. That didn’t last too long. Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder.

She returned to Jacksonville to finish out her education at UNF and went on to be a teacher and a guidance counselor. She was a perfect fit for both of those positions. We kept in touch, but then a year or so went by and I hadn’t heard from her. This was in 2005 when we moved back to Jacksonville. I found out that she’d fallen, broken an arm, and something went wrong during the surgery. I think it was too much anesthesia. She was in a coma for four months and had to relearn everything. She made a remarkable comeback, but could not go back to work. And even though she won a lawsuit against the hospital, she would have rather been back at work, loving on her students.

The last time I saw her I took her to get her hair done and to lunch. She still had that high-pitched, sing-song voice that just made me smile. She died in January, 2013.

So many deaths and it never gets easier.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

Lamentations 3:22-24

Friendship

me n Cathy

 

I have tons of acquaintances, a handful of friends, and just a very few close friends. No BFF.  I credit the LORD for the friends I have.  I can’t say it better than  St. Augustine.

 

Referring to Friendship: “…for true it cannot be, unless in such as You cementest together.” –from Confessions of St. Augustine 

On the Surface

af

I’m really glad she felt like writing.

“I have a family, loving aunts, and a good home. No, on the surface I seem to have everything except my one true friend. All I think about when I’m with friends is having a good time. I can’t bring myself to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem.” – Anne Frank

I stumbled on these words from Anne Frank and I was overwhelmed with an affinity for what she was feeling. When I’m with most people, this is me. We don’t seem to be able to get any closer. And that’s the problem.

And that’s all for today., except for this picture I found of Anne that I love.

anne