Dana Stone entered my life at a critical season.
We both thought she came to serve, but she did so much more than that. She became my friend. On low days she softly, kindly spoke to me about God’s plans. On good days we happy danced together. She helped sustain me during one of the more difficult leadership seasons of my life. Then, just as suddenly as the season had opened, it closed.
She changed jobs, but we didn’t change friends. Rather she boldly stepped out into the next season of her life, saying yes to God’s call to use her own voice to testify, mentor and bring freedom to so many more. That’s why I’m excited to introduce you to her as a guest blogger on Brave Strong Girl – because she is one.
There’s an old movie from the 80’s about a quiet, unassuming girl nicknamed Baby. She and her family go on an annual summer trip to a resort. During her time there, she meets someone who is a catalyst for her transformation into a confident young woman. One of the best-known lines from the movie comes at the end when the lead character walks over to Baby, who is seated in the back corner of a room, and boldly proclaims, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” In that moment, she finally learns to believe in herself and allows her gifts and talents to begin to shift.
I spent several years feeling just like Baby. I found comfort hiding in the corner. I went through a season when I didn’t think I had any special gifts or talents to offer. Then Jan Greenwood came into my life.
When I came to work for Jan in the summer of 2011, I was exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. I had lost almost all confidence in myself and to be honest, didn’t trust anyone outside of family. I had experienced some moments along the way that robbed me of my faith in people. I found myself believing an old lie that popped up from time to time in my life; a lie that said I had nothing to offer, nothing of importance to say. My goal coming into my new job was to do what was asked and stay in the background; hidden behind the wall I had built to protect myself. But Jan saw right past my wall; she saw the gifts and talents God had deposited in me.
Brick by brick she began to break through that wall and truth began to shine through. She faithfully walked beside me and cheered me on along the way. She encouraged me to step out and allow God to grow and expand my gifts. She lovingly pushed me out of my comfort zone and wouldn’t let me shrink back into that comfortable corner I was so used to sitting in. Jan gave me the courage to trust and believe in others again, and more importantly, to believe in myself again. Her friendship strengthened and sharpened me.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We all need a friend in our lives that won’t let us become “dull”. That’s the beauty of a true friend; they love you enough to sharpen you. They don’t allow you to stay stuck in the ruts of life. They are there to offer a warm embrace and a listening ear in moments of sadness or disappointment. They are there to celebrate and cheer with you in moments of success and accomplishment. They love you just the way you are but are always encouraging you to grow and allow your gifts and talents to shine more brightly. They bring joy, encouragement and strength into your life.
Do you have a friend that strengthens and sharpens you? Do you allow them to speak truth into areas of your life that the enemy tries to fill with a lie? More importantly, are YOU a friend to someone? Are you speaking into someone who needs to experience renewed joy and strength? Are you willing to walk alongside them and encourage them to believe again?
I am forever grateful for the way Jan mentored me during a pivotal moment in my life. She has inspired me to be intentional in the call to sharpen and strengthen the people I work with, live next to and come in contact with on a daily basis. Too many amazing people are sitting in the corner, needing to hear the truth about the greatness that God has deposited within them. I want to be the friend who walks over, takes their hand and reminds them that God never puts anyone in a corner.
Will you join me?
Just 1 Last Thing (Okay – maybe 2 or 3):
I just listened to Dana’s guest appearance on one of my favorite podcast with Amy Ford at Embrace Grace. (If you enjoy podcast or are passionate about ministering to unwed teen moms, be sure to subscribe.) You can click here to listen to the latest podcast which features Dana. You will be introduced to her wisdom and love and to her beautiful book called No Longer an Orphan, Never Abandoned, Never Alone.
This book is one of my favorites. I recommend it all the time and you can learn more about it by clicking on the “Recommendations” tab found on this site. You can also find Dana blogging at So Choose Joy, you can buy a copy of her book at Amazon or Westbowpress. And don’t forget to follow her on Instagram and Twitter.