Every once in awhile my husband and I reminisce about our pre-ministry life. There are things we miss, people, our neighborhood, weekends, but then we always come back to how we could not imagine our life without all the people we have met. Our lives would be so different because we would not know so many people that are such a big part of our lives, or those people who have come and gone, but definitely influenced us.
It has been such a privilege to know so many awesome people. We know so many kind, generous,deep, funny people. Life without them is just unimaginable, the teens that grew up and became friends and family, the people who we have served side by side who care about us as people. I laugh often and say we collect people as we go. God has moved us about every six years, but there are people who have stayed with us along the way. We have been in the same general area so we have been able to continue to connect with these people. I am so blessed and thankful for this. We just spent time with a young lady who once was a teen in our youth group, but now she is more of a “daughter/sister/friend.” There are a few others that hold that title in my heart, and I am blessed beyond measure by this surprise gift along the way. These kids were so dear to us, but we had no idea how precious their friendship would become. Some of these young ladies are the ones who email me when they know things are hard, or we have some big event to let me know they are praying for me. I cannot imagine doing life without them
When I think of the gift of friendship I think of those who are connected to my life, and we may not be part of each others’ every day life but they are significant to forming me and encouraging. We have opportunities to pop in and out of each others’ lives and it feels so fluid. I am very thankful for that. Some of these people have known me for what seems like forever, and just seeing a post from them on Facebook makes me smile, just knowing they are in the world.
Then there are friends that have walked with me closely in this journey, they have watched me bomb out, and encouraged me, and loved me. I have been rude, impatient, or insensitive to them and they have forgiven me. We have walked through great time and super hard times. We have cried together and laughed together. They remind me who I am, and who I want to be. They challenge me to persevere. They help me see things better. They help me to laugh or remind me of something I need in that moment. They are my deep kindred friends and I am so thankful for their gift of friendship. I know I do not deserve their patience and kindness, but I am so thankful that we get to share this journey.
When I think of the gift of friendship, I also think of my friend that I miss terribly because she has finished her life on earth. She ran her race well and loved well. She continues to impact me in more ways than she knew. Her “grace fullness”…. that she walked in and the way she showed deep heart hospitality and welcomed people into her life connecting deeply. Her tenacity, laughter, perspective, her sweet humility were all gifts from her friendship. Her deep desire as she walked through her journey with Stage 4 Cancer was to leave a legacy for her kids but she ended up leaving it for the people she met along the way too. I am blessed for the time we had, and so thankful for her friendship. When I think of her, it reminds me to love and live a bit better.
Today the gratitude prompt was “what friend are you thankful for”, I have to say I am thankful for the many. I am a very blessed woman. I know so many good women who are good friends to me. I can be crazy and distracted and not always a great friend, but these women who stick with me and love me in spite of myself, I am so thankful. They make me who I am, and challenge me to become who I want to be. I have grown in great appreciation for the sisterhood, and how significant it is to my life. It is worth the time, effort, and sometimes heartache to be part of a friendship. I am thankful for each of the women, young and old, that are my friends, long time lifer friends, and new friends. “I thank my God every time I think of you.” Philippians 1:3