I am so incredibly thankful for the people in my life. I can’t even put into words how humbled and amazed I am that God would bless me (first and foremost) with His love and His grace, but secondly with the love and grace of my family and friends.
I haven’t always been the best friend to everyone. There are a few I’ve taken advantage of and a few I’ve not treated in the most respectable way. I’ve not always showed loyalty and I’ve not always been graceful and loving and forgiving. I have always had plenty of friends but looking back, I just did not display the kind of a love a true friend displays. I just didn’t.
There’s one particular friend in my life that has seen me at my highest and at my lowest. She cared for me when I was in a place where I knew no one. She shared love and laughter with me. We shared tears. We relied on each other. Our kids were born very close together and they became friends. It was so idealistic. And then my world started to shake. As much as I hate to admit it, I knew something was amiss in my marriage before it crumbled completely apart. It’s almost as if I sensed it coming. And I chose this friend to be my scapegoat. I lashed out at her. I made sure I told her all of her faults and even blamed my faults on her – projected it all to her. Told her how draining she was. And I let a friendship fall apart. And I left her not understanding what happened. Then a couple of weeks later, my world did actually fall apart. I was too prideful to call her even though I needed her. I was too prideful to apologize even though I knew God was calling me to it. It made me feel better about myself in a way I guess – made me feel more in control of my world when I knew I wasn’t. What’s so crazy is that I was in a good place with Jesus at this time – or I felt like I was. I just was not displaying love or grace in the least.
I moved away and the friendship was just dead. This was about 4 years ago. I didn’t really look back but I thought of her often and even something I’ve never told her is that I wore a bracelet she gave my daughter to remind me of her. A silly plastic bead bracelet (albeit cute as can be!) just to make me feel better. About a year ago, Jesus began working on my heart for her. One day out of the blue He made it abundantly clear that I was to attempt to reconcile that friendship. Now. Oh man, really?? Isn’t that the worst feeling? Be honest – you know it is! Because you KNOW it’s something not of Him that you need to address and that is just tough. But I obeyed. I emailed my friend. I apologized. I told her I did not blame her for never speaking to me again or forgiving me but that I wanted her to know that I was incredibly sorry. And I truly was. I told her I loved her and wished I had been a better example of it. As I hit send on that email, it almost didn’t matter to me anymore. I cared for her greatly, but I knew my obedience was all that mattered and God held me in that moment. BUT, because His blessings are overflowing and His grace abundant, my friend emailed me back almost immediately. Her basic response was how much she loved me and had forgiven me a long time ago without my ever asking because she just LOVED ME. Man. Thank you Jesus for showing your grace and love through my friend. It was so humbling.
So we reconciled our friendship and have had precious communication over the last year. Because God is mighty and great and sovereign and because HE ALWAYS KNOWS and always has the perfect plan in play with EVERY SINGLE THING, our friendship grew stronger and as my friend began walking through a very difficult time in her life I was able to be there for her and understand things that not everyone could. To talk in a way that not everyone could. Amazingly, God put us on each other’s hearts until we had a conversation that was very real and hard and tough about “junk” going on in our lives. And it was and is beautiful. What a precious friend I have – one that didn’t forsake me despite my actions and words that weren’t always of love and grace – that weren’t exemplary of Christ. Yet she loved. Like Jesus – she loved. And then she needed me and God is using me to help her through some tough stuff. I love Jesus so incredibly much and I love my precious friend and her example to me. I pray daily that I can be the kind of loving and forgiving friend that she is.
You know who you are – I love you dearly and you and I both know that He is STILL on the throne.
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
Let us love. At all times.
- God Did I Hear You Right? (by Heather Bryant Freeman) (gracefullwomen.com)
- Friendship Redefined (patrickreyes.net)