I drove to Hattiesburg today to spend an afternoon with 2 of the friends I've had since childhood. These friends plus one more who wasn't there today (we missed you, Macy) have been some of my closest friends since Jr. High. During lunch, we calculated that our friendship is going on 30 years!!!
There is not enough space on this blog to write about all that we have been through during those years. Three of us experienced moves in high school, divorce of parents, remarriage of parents, college/career struggles, weddings, new marriage struggles, 11 births, new mommy struggles, a scary health diagnosis, the loss of grandparents, the loss of a parent, the DEATH of a SPOUSE (whoa!), and don't even know how to categorize what they've recently lived through with me.
Friendship is such a gift! That's a lot of life to have to experience alone; and, thankfully, we haven't had to. Now, a couple of people have felt they needed to encourage me not to close myself off of friendships. I have been reminded that Satan can't have victory over me by tempting me not to trust people and friendships because I have been burned so badly in friendship. I appreciate that advice, but I don't think that will be a temptation. And, here's why...
The Bible calls us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. It has been the greatest honor to be able to do that with friends. We didn't really talk about it today, but it was exactly 4 years ago that Stephanie and Jason found out he had leukemia. He lived only 7 short months after his diagnosis. If you've known me in any capacity over the past four years, you've heard me talk about her story. She was so strong during that time, and her dependance on God was amazing. Even in his death, her trust in God's sovereignty was life changing. I knew Stephanie's fear of being alone, so I felt the biggest testimony of her struggle was that God WILL provide every bit of grace we need to live in any given situation. If we weren't open to friendships, Stephanie never would have shared her journey with us and we never would have experienced the gracious love of our Father through her situation.
So, I still thank God for friends. I wish I could name all of you here. If you are someone I call "friend", I hope you know what a treasure you are to me. I hope you know that it is one of the great joys of my life to be able to walk a journey with you.