I normally try my best to keep Sunday a day of rest. I firmly believe it is important to truly have a day of rest where your mind, body and soul can rejuvenate for what lies ahead. God created it that way you know? But today is a non traditional Sunday for me and I am traveling home from visiting some of the dearest people I know. Life long friends. These people have been in my life since I was born, and I am lucky to have them. They moved when I was in second grade but thankfully it didn’t shake up our friendship too much. They are people that despite the distance, we always feel like we were never far. We pick up right where we left off. I have several friends like that and I am thankful for each of them.
To be honest I have always had a hard time making friends. When I was young I was painfully shy. My goal was to remain as invisible as possible to prevent my face from turning red. Any time attention would turn to me, even positive attention, I would blush horribly. So I did whatever I could to blend in. I was not very vocal and struggled to come up with conversation with people my age so ever so slowly would friendships develop. If they developed at all. Because I wasn’t aggressive often I would end up with friends who were a lot more assertive than me because they found they could boss me around. As sad as it is, even kindergartners can be aggressive. I got in trouble with a few of them along the way. So I grew up learning that if I pleased people I could have friends. Not the best thing.
I had a rough time with any life transition, which I think is true of many people. Any time I changed schools the cycle would begin again. Eating alone and in some cases hiding during lunch periods because I didn’t want people to view me as the girl that ate alone or worse, a loser. Middle school was awful. I don’t think i know a single person that says middle school is awesome. But I had a particularly hard time. My poor parents were beside themselves. I would come home everyday crying my 7th grade year because I didn’t have a single friend. My Mom begged the counseling office to move me into classes with friends from elementary school, but to no avail they wouldn’t budge.
One day finally I met someone who became a friend for most middle school and high school. She was a good friend, a special friend, whose family loved me too. Her mom taught Sunday school and for a long time we taught first grade through third grade. I loved it. Looking back God was molding my heart to love teaching the Word. This particular friend and I hung out almost every day and our parents could hardly get us to separate. To this day, while I have deep friendships, none is quite like that. It was that youthful friendship that was full of dreaming- like planning each others weddings and careers, and playing sweet and innocent games. We had a falling out at the end of high school that really scarred my heart as I imagine it did hers. We went separate ways. Made different choices and honestly burned the tie that held us together. I don’t know where she is today but I am praying she is well. That her dreams came true and that she is living a full, successful life. Despite the heartache at the end, she still impacted this girl’s life. She was there for me. For a time we shared our hearts with each other and we grew into young women together. I learned the value of a friend. Our friendship changed me.
For a long time I grieved the loss of our friendship. I grieved the loss of young dreams and the absence of her. I felt as though I failed her- and I probably did at times. I was angry and at times bitter. But slowly God showed me that He truly is a friend. Not only is He Almighty God, Alpha and Omega, the Creator, He is friend. A best friend. A friend you can’t run from or tell too much. An unconditional loving friend. A friend who will NEVER reject you. And maybe just maybe it is why I went without friends different seasons of my life. I had to know in my heart that He is all I need. I know, it sounds so cliche. But really, I think because I wanted friends so badly that I idolized friendship. It became more valuable than my relationship with Him. Having a tangible, face to face, friend to hug and talk to outweighed my pursuit with Him. Now I am not saying that I think God caused our friendship to end the way it did. But I did learn a valuable lesson from my various seasons of loneliness and loss of her.
So today I am thankful. Thankful for friendships. Ones I have today, and ones I had in the past. Each of you is a gift for this girl. Each one helped shape me to the girl I am today, and some of you held me together in some really dark times. And most of all I am thankful for the friendship I have in Christ, who can meet that need in me better than anyone else. So if you stumble upon this blog and are in need of a friend, Jesus is all you need. He really can be your best, most authentic friend. (and I can always be a friend too)
Happy Sunday Friends 🙂