My Friend Joe

My Friend Joe - Rhonda Madge - Speaker Author

I have such fond memories of traveling down the Dnieper River on a Ukrainian cruise ship. The destination wasn’t an exotic island, but an orphanage where children desired a hug more than anything else in the world. Stickers of Mickey and Minnie caused little feet to dance in delight.

There was one day I will always remember. With work finished for the day, I wandered to my cabin and locked the door. I knelt beside my small bed hoping that God would meet me there. Encountering children that were in despair was more than my heart could take. Adopting two children did not seem to be enough. I longed to do more, but I was unsure of what that meant.

Write a book.”

What? Lord, who am I to write a book? My mind raced.

I can’t write…

I don’t have time to write…

No one would read it… 

In the years following, I managed to snuff out thoughts of writing. I convinced myself that surely I had not heard God correctly. Until one evening while at a business meeting on the east coast, God decided to show up when I least expected.

The five-day meeting required my attendance at another dinner where superficial conversations flowed. However, this night proved to be different. The second I sat down, a man named Joe asked, “What’s different about you?” Surprised by his question, but overjoyed he asked, for the next three hours, I turned the pages of my life and told Joe about my friend Jesus.

I went back to the hotel room and cried most of the night as I wrestled with God. I arose early to catch a flight home while a battle raged in my mind. God had placed a complete stranger beside me in order to give me a glimpse of how my story could be used for his purpose.

“Do you trust Me Rhonda?”

I believed in my heart I trusted God, but my actions were proving different. Stories from the Bible began to speak loudly of those who trusted God even when they didn’t understand. Sweet Virgin Mary after being told she was pregnant with the child to be called the Son of the Most High said, “May it be done unto me according to Your word.”

I began reciting Mary’s words and Psalm 143:10,

“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. Let Your gentle Spirit lead me to level ground.”

I found myself repeatedly asking Him to “teach me,” not only how to write, but to guide me to the next step along the journey. I have to admit, the thought of level ground sounded really good because the mountain facing me seemed as high as Mount Everest.

Unsure of where to start or where to end, I began to write. Words smudged from tears, covered the pages. Reliving the dark days of my life was not easy, but the Spirit lovingly reminded me of details long ago forgotten. There have been days that my hands felt nailed to the keyboard.

I can’t do this Lord…

I don’t know what I’m doing…

I’m so scared…

Fear. Doubt. Unbelief. Tools to render me immobile. Yet, God continued to ask, “Do you trust Me?”

It’s been twelve years since that night in Ukraine. The book is finished, but blogging appears to be the next step. Waiting upon Him isn’t easy, but it seems every time I go ahead, it only brings undo stress. Besides, “I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in me will take it to completion.” Philippians 1:6

I wonder—Is the Lord whispering, “Trust Me” to you also? It is time.

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  1. Judy Donnelly on January 10, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    I’ve been quietly and privately writing for about 14 years. So many words! Mostly fiction. But it gets easier and better every time I dedicate my time and heart to writing. Your heart is showing through in your blog, and I don’t know of a bigger heart than yours!
    Congratulations! Keep going! Blessings are everywhere.
    Love you always,

    • RhondaMadge on January 16, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      How I would love to read from the pages of your journal. I can only imagine a scene that involves a beautiful white plantation home with a sweet mammy frying up chicken in an iron skillet! Judy, I’m sure along the way I will write a blog about the many writing classes I attended and the embarassments I faced. I wanted to give up, but with every closed door, another seemed to open. Thank you for your sweet words. Our hearts were joined many years ago…


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