Hugs for Friends: Stories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire

Overview

Friends are very special. They are there when you need someone to talk to; they are there when you hurt and when you have something to celebrate; they are there when you just need to share an afternoon. This book serves as a hug of admiration, appreciation, and encouragement for friends.

LeAnn Weiss, owner and founder of Encouragement Company, shares personalized Scriptures that express God's love in refreshingly personal language, and heartwarming stories about friends making ...

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Overview

Friends are very special. They are there when you need someone to talk to; they are there when you hurt and when you have something to celebrate; they are there when you just need to share an afternoon. This book serves as a hug of admiration, appreciation, and encouragement for friends.

LeAnn Weiss, owner and founder of Encouragement Company, shares personalized Scriptures that express God's love in refreshingly personal language, and heartwarming stories about friends making a lasting difference in the lives of others with their loyalty, kindness, and willingness to be there. You'll also find inspirational messages by Caron Loveless and short, uplifting quotes that are sure to encourage and bless.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416533368
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Series: Hugs Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 7.42 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

LeAnn Weiss, as a college student, accepted her pastor's challenge to reexamine the Bible as God's personal love letter and source of encouragement. As she started journalizing what God showed her while she meditated on Scripture, her walk with God was revolutionized, and she began writing personalized, paraphrased scriptures featured in the best-selling Hugs Book Series. LeAnn's Encouragement Company was recently featured in Women of Faith speaker Marilyn Meberg's best-selling book I'd Rather Be Laughing.

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Read an Excerpt

Hugs for Friends

Stories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire
By Leann Weiss

Howard Books

Copyright © 1999 Leann Weiss
All right reserved.



Chapter 1

A Hug for Nancy

    "Welcome to The Logan," Joyce chirped as she raised

her head from her paperwork to greet her new guests.

"We're glad you've chosen to spend some time with

us."

   

Joyce and Larry Coffin owned and operated a quaint home-style

hotel near the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey. At first

glance, the two young women standing on the other side of the

check-in counter seemed fairly typical of their summer

vacationers. Both were in their early twenties, and they had come

to The Logan for some relaxation and sun.

   

But as Joyce gave them their room keys and the standard

instructions, she noticed that one of the young women, Nancy,

kept her head down and eyes to the floor, obviously avoiding eye

contact. She didn't speak a word but left all the talking to

her companion. Uncomfortable with Nancy's glaring silence,

Joyce was relieved when the two women departed for their room.

   

The next morning when Nancy came through the reception area,

Joyce smiled warmly as she offered a morning greeting. "Hi,

Nancy! How are you this morning?"

   

Nancy returned her greeting with stark silence.

   

Maybe Nancy hadn't heard her. She triedagain, "Did you

sleep well?"

   

Still no response.

   

Undaunted, Joyce made another effort, "You must have slept

well because you look so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!"

   

Joyce's cheerful words were met with more awkward silence.

Not knowing what else to say, Joyce was relieved when

Nancy's friend appeared and rescued Joyce from her fumbling

monologue. The two women headed for a day on the beach, and Joyce

returned to her duties.

Over the next few days, Joyce made a deliberate effort to converse

with Nancy. Although Nancy never spoke a word, a weak smile or

uneasy giggle would occasionally escape her lips. It seemed as if

she wanted to let Joyce in but didn't dare.

   

Something about Nancy pulled at Joyce's heart. Why had Nancy

built such a barrier between herself and the rest of the world?

What had caused her to retreat into silence?

   

Soon it was time for the two unlikely friends to check out and

return to their homes in Pennsylvania. As they walked out of the

hotel, Joyce felt an urgent need to do something to break through

Nancy's self-imposed shell. Running up to her room, Joyce

frantically searched for some token she could give Nancy. As she

looked around her room, she silently prayed, Lord, is there

something I can give Nancy to let her know you love her?

   

Finding a small gift, Joyce hurriedly wrapped it and ran outside,

hoping it wasn't too late. She breathed a sigh of relief

when she spotted the two women loading their things into

Nancy's 1978 Buick Skylark.

   

"Wait, Nancy! I have something for you. I just wanted you to

know that you are special and that God loves you. I'm glad

you came." As Joyce handed Nancy the trinket, she felt

compelled to accompany it with a big hug. As she wrapped her arms

around her shy, perplexing guest, Joyce felt as if she were

hugging a lifeless mannequin.

   

Nancy was obviously taken off guard by the hug but maintained her

unresponsive exterior as she abruptly and silently retreated into

her car. As the car left the loading area, Joyce prayed, "Lord, I

feel so helpless and frustrated. I tried to show her your love,

but I failed. I so wanted to hug her hurt away, but I was naive

to think I could make a difference with such an insignificant

gesture. You know what makes Nancy hurt and what will heal her.

I'll never see her again, but you can be with her always.

Please wrap your arms of love around her and keep her in your

care."

   

Several times during the months that followed, Joyce felt

prompted to lift Nancy's unknown hurts to her all-knowing

heavenly Father. Her prayers were often     accompanied by a longing

to decipher the riddle of Nancy's silence.

Meanwhile, back in Pennsylvania, the effects of that one

"insignificant" hug were beginning to bear fruit.

Joyce's persistent kindness and simple hug sparked a major

turning point in Nancy's life. A peek back into Nancy's

childhood reveals why Nancy had shrouded herself in silence.

   

Nancy had grown up in what she considered a fairly typical

Pennsylvania Dutch home. But Nancy's home lacked even the

most basic displays of affection, and her parents strictly

limited her social interaction. One of five children, Nancy never

had a birthday cake or party. She wasn't allowed to

participate in extra-curricular activities or go to slumber

parties or have friends over to her house, and she couldn't

date until after high school graduation. Nancy's parents

took her and her siblings to church when she was young, but they

eventually stopped going; Nancy and her sister occasionally went

on their own. Nancy did have a few pleasant childhood memories of

family vacations and exchanging gifts on Christmas morning, and

she knew her parents hadn't neglected her emotional

well-being intentionally; but the lack of affectionate expression

from her mom and dad had deeply wounded her heart.

   

Her dreams of friendship had been dashed on several occasions

when she'd dared to open her heart--only to find

rejection. Lately, she had managed to maintain a couple of

shallow friendships, but those activity-driven relationships left

her hungry for more. She longed for someone who dared look

beneath the surface. She wanted more than a companion for movies

or shopping. She wanted someone she could trust with her pain.

   

More than anything else, Nancy yearned to be loved.

   

By the time Nancy checked in to The Logan, she was emotionally

crippled. Fearing further rejection, Nancy had padlocked her

heart and withdrawn into the safety of an almost silent

existence. She spoke only when necessary to the few people she

allowed inside her lonely, walled fortress. When Joyce had tried

to penetrate her refuge with kindness, Nancy hadn't known

how to respond.

   

But as Nancy thought back to Joyce's kindness and her

surprising hug two months earlier, something warm began to stir

in her heart. Not allowing herself to debate, she opened her desk

drawer, took out a paper and pen, and began to write.

   

Dear Joyce,

You may not remember me. I'm the lady who didn't talk.

I loved my time at your hotel this summer. You had no way of

knowing it, but you gave me a very special "gift." Your

hug was the first I ever remember receiving in my whole life.

I know that God loves me and that I need to get close to him

again. Thanks for letting him love me through you.

I will never forget.

           

Love,

           

Nancy

   

As soon as Nancy put down her pen, the inner debate began. She

was so afraid of appearing a fool and of being rejected once

again. But something deep inside insisted that Joyce would make a

trustworthy friend. As Nancy sealed and mailed the letter, she

hoped against hope that Joyce hadn't given up on her and

would write back.

   

Several days later, as Joyce shuffled through a large stack of

mail, she came across a letter that had been forwarded from The

Logan to their winter home in Maryland. She puzzled over the

unfamiliar name and address as she slit the envelope open.

   

As Joyce read Nancy's brief letter, tears streamed down her

cheeks. Her receptive heart was quick to pick up on the tentative

plea for friendship written clearly between the lines. Joyce

responded immediately, and a special, long-term friendship was

born.

Future trips to Ocean City were always spent with Joyce at The

Logan, and over time, the warm, caring woman trapped inside Nancy

was set free. Reminded of God's love through the embrace of

Joyce's arms, Nancy slowly learned to trust again. Through

the years Nancy and Joyce have continued to exchange letters

written on "hugs" stationery. Several times a year they

talk on the phone. They frequently exchange little

"hugs" gifts, and they faithfully remember each other

in their prayers.

   

Today, almost twenty-five years after that first hug, Nancy is a

totally transformed person. It's as if someone gave her a

heart transplant. She enjoys chatting on the phone, is active in

ministry, and looks forward to graduating from Bible school.

Nancy is now so outgoing that she even talks, shares, and prays

with perfect strangers. And when she visits her

seventy-three-year-old mother, she expresses her love with an

extra big hug.

   

"Never in a million years would I have suspected that God

would use such a small effort on my part to bring about such big

results," Joyce reflects. Joyce has no doubt that it was

actually God who hugged Nancy that summer day in front of The

Logan. He simply borrowed her arms.



Continues...


Excerpted from Hugs for Friends by Leann Weiss Copyright © 1999 by Leann Weiss. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

Contents

Chapter One: Steadfast Friendship

Chapter Two: Forever Friend

Chapter Three: Any-Weather Friend

Chapter Four: Empathetic Friend

Chapter Five: Joyful Friend

Chapter Six: Selfless Friend

Chapter Seven: Faithful Friend

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