What a powerful verse. Friendship has been on my mind for the last few days and I've come to learn that when God's laying something on my heart like this I need to study and share it. I was thinking about this verse today while I was sitting in the doctor's office. I pulled some muscles in my back and ended up having to go get some medicine to help. I picked up Blake from school and enjoyed listening to him talk incessantly about this friend and than friend and all the fun things he'd done with them today. I think we can all look back and remember our Junior High/High school years and wish that we had more friends, made different choices in friends or maybe we can all just wish our best "teenage" years would have been different. I can honestly say that I never allowed God to bring the right kind of friends into my life until I was an adult. The sad thing is that when I wanted the right kind of friends, I wasn't ready to be a friend back. I didn't know how to be a friend back. I lost some amazing women in my life because of that. About 8 years ago I sat down and prayed that God would show me how to be a friend. I asked him to break the cycle that had been ingrained into me from a young age about friendship. It didn't happen over night, but it did happen. I had to learn that to have those good close Christian friends you have to BE A FRIEND. To be a friend you have to be willing to become:
- kind and caring
- emotionally, physically and mentally available
- willing to get calls at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m.
- love your friends as Christ loves you
I also learned that sometimes friendships have seasons. During those seasons things can change just as drastically as Summer changes into Winter. Sometimes I might be going through something and really need to rely on my friends to support me, love me unconditionally and really be okay to give their time and energy to me. Other times I need to be sensitive to their season. I have to be supportive, love unconditionally and open to give them my energy and time. Other seasons may bring a sunshine filled day with a beautiful spring breeze. Days of lunch dates and tea times. Lazy afternoons at the park letting the kids play and laughing together about "those darn hubby's and what they did this time". :) What I'm getting at is I had to learn that God didn't place people into my life to be my emotional slave. They aren't there to pick up my mess, listen to all my gripes and complaints or be worn down to nothing by my problems. We all need to GIVE more than we TAKE. We all have to understand that there may be a season that both your friend and yourself are going through something and it may be hard for you both to be emotionally available to the other. If that season should arise, I feel like God has instilled into each of us the strength to fight for the other one. Intercede for their needs.
I just love this verse:
God comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to
comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:24)
God blesses us when we bless others. Even our friends. Especially our friends. Those who he's put into our lives for a purpose to bless us, we are responsible to bless them as well. It makes me sad to look back at those friendships in the past that I let die because I didn't know how to be a friend back. I've even sent out a few cards to those people expressing my honest apology and sincere gratitude toward them for putting up with me as long as they did. Apologies and forgiveness are almost as necessary in a friendship as love.
God has become my best friend, my daddy and my Lord over the years. He's always there for me, and I've learned to make time in my "busy" schedule to be there with Him too. Sometimes I find myself driving down the road just talking to Him. As if there is someone sitting in the passanger seat beside me and I'm sure other cars look at me and think I'm a complete weirdo. Learning how he is a friend to me has taught me how to be a friend to others. It has taught me how unconditional my time should be to them (within reason) and how supportive and loving my attitude should be. Learning how to continue being sensitive to the needs of my friends, love them for who they are, bless them however I can and thank them for being in my life. We should really stop to think sometimes about all it takes for someone else to deal with us. I know sometimes I tend to withdrawal, I am crabby and demanding, and at other times completely and totally loving and giving. My friends have to love me through all those times just as I have to love them. I think I owe my friends the biggest THANK YOU in life.
I have learned through many years of "being a friend first" that sometimes God will put people into your life for a season. During that season you may find that God has allowed them into your life to teach you a lesson. Maybe you need to learn patience, selflessness, giving WITHOUT receiving, or just to plain drive you nuts. But.... God has instructed us to LOVE at ALL times, and that's what we must do. Even when it's hard and we don't "feel" like it. I know I'm unlovable at times, and God continues to love me despite my worthiness.
So, I'll leave you all with this thought and one of my favorite verses about friendship:
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Thank you all for spending time at Jesus' Feet with me tonight. I hope that you take time to pray over your friends, share with them how grateful you are for them, and even do something special to just bless them this week. I'm sorry if it seemed I rambled on at times. Thank you all for being special friends in my life. I enjoy EVERYTHING that each of you bring in your own way. I love our friendship and the motivation, inspiration, direction and Christian influence that each of you give to me. Most of all I Thank you for loving me despite all my quirks, being there for me, and teaching me how to be a friend. I wouldn't trade any of our friendships for all the money in the world. You each bless me every single day and I know that I don't say it enough, but I love you all!!!!
Check back tomorrow as our Journey at Jesus' Feet leads us to study Psalm 28:7 "Trusting the Lord".
Lots of Love,
Lots of Love,