I’m not a good friend. I’m really not. I’m way too selfish and consumed with my own stuff to properly care for others. Let me clarify. It’s not that I don’t care. I do. I love my friends and am pretty loyal…so if something hurts them it hurts me. But, in relating to them, I am much more apt to talk about me and my feelings and my struggles and how they can pray for me than asking how they are and what they’re feeling or struggling with and how I can pray for them. It’s sad, but true. Very, painfully true. Consequently, I think many of my friendships tend to be lopsided. Even where there is genuine affection and enjoyment, I tend to take more than I give and so, when my friends need to lean on someone or just want to chillax in a comfortable place, it won’t be with me. Again, sad, but true.
All that to say, the friends I do have are worth commending and giving thanks to the Lord for! They bear with me and listen attentively and faithfully ask questions and give of their time and almost never seem like I’m an imposition. The Lord has blessed me with several women who love me despite my deficiencies and so, I’d like to bless them by paying tribute to them individually:
Charity: We met the summer before I met Jesus. I was painfully shy, an occultic atheist, and didn’t even bother to say hello to her as I moved into the suite we were to share that session. But she didn’t worry about all that foolishness. She came over to my side of the suite, plopped down on my bed and chatted away. I knew I’d made a friend for life that day. Almost 15 years later, I am even more grateful for her friendship. She’s family. And though we live a few hundred miles away from each other, every time we do talk or see each other, it’s like going home again. I love that. I love that I can be completely real with her and talk while on the potty and cry and laugh at the same time. I love that she actually believes the ancient Egyptians were aliens. I love how we can disagree on so much yet never waver in our affection for each other. And, I love how passionate she is about the Lord. It has been such a blessing to watch Him grow her and deepen her faith, how He saved her husband, how He has turned this career-minded woman into a submissive mother and home-schooler…who also raises chickens and wants to be Amish.
Charity, I love you my friend. You are a gift from the Lord to me. And I really, really miss you!
Kala: The day I met Kala, I had just finished schooling my English class on the evils of religion. She promptly met me after class and invited me to lunch. We’ve been talking about the Lord ever since. It is through this faithful friend that I came to know the Lord. I love her honesty. I love her willingness to do hard things for the Lord…even if she might mess up. I love how she is convinced that the floral wall paper in her kitchen actually looks good. I love how she always makes a pot of coffee when I come over. I love that she always seems to believe the best about me and for me. And, I love that we are still friends after all these years.
Kala, my friend, I love you. You are a gift from the Lord to me.
Mandy: I get choked up when I think about Mandy. Not only does she have an incredible testimony, but she has been an incredible friend to me going on two years now. It has been my privilege to live next door to her and crash at her house in the evenings and babysit her son. It has also been my privilege to see up-close and personal-like how God has, time and time again, shown faithfulness and favor upon her life. Her testimony and life give me hope. However, I think what I am most thankful for is the laughter we share. Whether we are talking about the serious or the silly, we are going to laugh…and mostly laugh hard. I love that we can do that. I love that she almost never looks annoyed to see me at the door…even when it’s been three days in a row. I love that she will stop and really listen to me…even if we’re talking about the same thing again. And I love that she is faithful to do all of that though I don’t return the favor near enough. I couldn’t have made it through this past year and a half without her, and that ain’t no lie!
Mandy, my friend, I love you. You are a gift from the Lord to me.
Wendy: The first time I met Wendy, I mispronounced her name. A year or so later, she traded one long, difficult to pronounce last name for another. I was privileged to get to see and hear about much of her courtship. The testimony of her meeting and marrying her husband gives me hope for my future. Every time I meet with Wendy, it’s like sitting in the back yard on a swing…just easy and real gentle-like. I love her honesty and openness about her walk and her struggles. I love how quick she is with the Word. I love her quick smile. I love how easily she invites people into her life. I love how she really cares about the details of my life and truly seems to bear my burdens. I hope I can learn to be that kind of friend to others…and return the favor more often than I do.
Wendy, my friend, I love you. You are a gift from the Lord to me.
Ashley: What can I say about Ashley. For a long time, she was my only friend at church. Consequently, she was on the receiving end of endless phone calls, endless conversations about my transition and sin and depression and boys and my evil cat and family drama and so on and so on. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for countless hours of putting up with me and my foolishness and yet always being up for more.
Ashley, my friend, I love you. You are a gift from the Lord to me.
Julie: I saved the youngest for last. Julie was born when I was in high school. Yes, she is about half my age, but oh how I treasure her friendship! She is wise beyond her years and as gentle and quiet as I am brassy and talkative. I love how quietly confident she is in her gifting. I love how willing she is to serve. I love that she seems to enjoy my rambling stories. I love how she plays “As the Deer” and when she plays the Cello and Organ on keyboard! It makes me smile! I love singing with her on Worship Team. And, I love that I get to see God grow her into a woman after His own heart!
Julie, my friend, I love you. You are a gift from the Lord to me.
FYI…I’ve been on the verge of tears through this whole thing and am really trying to keep it together. Each of these ladies have played an important part in my life and my walk…and invaluable part. I pray that I can show in friendship to them what they have shown to me. I know I will never been deserving of their friendship, or pay back what they’ve already given…but I sure do want to try!
I love you each, so much! May God bless you richly and may you reap a rich harvest for what you have sown into my life!