Zoe Elmore's radiant countenance was the first face that greeted me at the threshold to my first She Speaks Conference in 2007. She welcomed me with enthusiasm and warm hugs and made me feel right at home. In that first brief but meaningful encounter with Zoe, God's love through her and our love for Him connected us in our hearts. And our immediate connection of our enjoyment and appreciation of fashion finery was an extra stitch in our knitting together. (Don't you love her pink jacket above??)
In 2008, Zoe and I had another momentary encounter between sessions at She Speaks. Zoe was going in to teach a session as I was passing by. She commented on a bracelet I was wearing (a frugal fashion finery from The Trading Post in the Adirondacks costing only $9.99!) and I adored her shirt. She (and the gorgeous Wendy Blight, who was standing nearby) shared with me where she purchased her fabulous shirt and I was able to get one in my size in the weeks that followed. During my visit to the Adirondacks later that summer, I picked Zoe up a similar bracelet to the one I was wearing and sent it to her as a surprise.
Last month, my family lovingly journeyed with me to She Speaks 2010. The Lord blessed me again with brief but lovely encounters with Zoe. On Sunday morning as everyone was saying their farewells, I saw Zoe once again. Admiring again her flare for fashion, I complimented her on the silver bracelet she was wearing that was adorned with big hearts. What happened next, took my breath away. Spontaneously and with great enthusiasm, Zoe effortlessly took the bracelet off of her wrist and placed it on mine. Within seconds, she had given me her bracelet...simply because I said I liked it. Her kindness made me speechless. My mouth dropped open and I wanted to say "No, I can't take your bracelet". Zoe, sensing my hesitation, said, "You receive that bracelet. It's yours now. And every time you wear it, please pray for me." My heart was hushed and humbled. "Thank you, Zoe. Yes, I will do that. I will pray for you every time I wear it."
"Cheerful giver" was personified through Zoe that Sunday morning. God sure loves her. "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly...for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7) Loving and giving go hand in hand all throughout God's Word, culminating in the most beautiful giving ever. "For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) God loved. God gave. Zoe's effortless and enthusiastic giving reflects His love and His heart. And it's no wonder there are BIG HEARTS on my new prayer bracelet. They are a beautiful reflection of His giving heart reflected through her. A little bling and a lot of love!
The colorful threads of Zoe's love and kindness, which reflect our master Weaver, are woven preciously now in the fabric of my heart and life. Though our face-to-face encounters have been fleeting and few, her loving and giving heart has strengthened and encouraged my heart each time our paths cross. Strands of kindness and love through beautiful friends in my life stretch out to the fringe. And the fringe is my favorite part of any woven creation.
"...you have shown great kindness to me..."