Tag : friendship
Tag : friendship
On Friday, I was invited to listen to a live prayer event on YouTube involving both Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. Once enemies, these believers in Yeshua (Jesus), Jew and Gentile, are now joining together as “one new man” in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2 talks about this one new man:
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
But what was most touching about this call, is that they began the gathering with both Jew and Arab women sharing their hearts. The women, are now good friends because of their common faith and call each other “mamas.” It was endearing and I wanted to be one of the mamas! You could feel their closeness. And then my mind wandered to all the “mamas” I’ve known over the years, both friends and adopted moms, many of whom I have remained close to despite physical distance.
What “mamas” come to your mind? Mother figures. Close friends who have survived the years—no matter where you’ve lived, no matter how you’ve changed.
One mama I’d like to highlight is turning 80 soon. Her name is Joyce. This past week I heard from Mama Joyce’s son, who invited me to his mother’s birthday party in Chattanooga, Tennessee in a couple of weeks. Because of my schedule, it requires leaving on one day and returning the next, but this is one special “mama,” so I’ve bought my ticket.
Back when I was in my early twenties and really needing a mom, because my own mother struggled, I met Joyce while working in my first television job in Chattanooga, TN. She happened to be my boyfriend’s mother, and on weekends she and I would chat like school girls most of the day while my boyfriend was off doing something else (In retrospect, that wasn’t so wise). When he and I broke up, Mama Joyce and I decided that did not mean we needed to break up, so we didn’t. Even though I moved away, I was there for her when she went through a painful divorce, and was by her side after the loss of her son, my former beau. She was around for me as well through heartache and joys. And to keep this mama–daughter relationship alive, I’ve made it a point to visit her periodically over the past 30+ years. We always pick up where we left off.
These kinds of lifelong friendships don’t come around every day so if you haven’t reached out to the mamas in your life lately, maybe today is a good day to tell them how much you care.
To close, I want to wish Mama Joyce an early Happy Birthday. You have been one of the constants in my life. I love you, I am thankful for you and I can’t wait to hug you in person.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
I just finished listening to a marvelous book by Andy Andrews called the The Heart Mender. In his own voice, with a range of character voices, Andy performed a story of bitterness that was vanquished by unconditional love and forgiveness. I know a thing or two about forgiveness, yet I was surprisingly pulled into the story about how, unknowingly, another person can be the catalyst that mends a broken, bitter, or hurting heart.
After being riveted to the story for nearly three days, trying to listen in between household chores, yard work, and the daily activities needed to keep a family fed and home running, I finished the audio book this morning. I was supposed to be working on a blog for Pearls of Promise, but I seemed to be experiencing a block. So I woke up this morning intent on finishing the audio book so I could focus on blogging.
But after wrapping up the book I still had no topic to write about. This time at home seems to have stopped me in my tracks from gathering experiences to write about. However, I have had a lot of time to think. Too much time, because every time I think about something it just seems to race into another thought. It’s not like a solo race, more like a relay run. You know the kind of relay were you keep passing the baton to the next person—that’s how my thoughts have been—one thought passing on to another, never really staying focused except for a short sprint.
And this morning has been much of the same. You see, in just the short three hours I have been awake, I have passed the baton from needing to blog, finishing Andy’s book, to thoughts about the gardening I did yesterday, to house chores needed to be done, to my daughters’s college journey, to exegete vs eisegesis sharing of scripture, to my thinning hair and needed nutrients, and then back to my need to get the blog out.
I get so mad at myself for not staying focused long enough to accomplish tasks, let alone get them done ahead of schedule, which would be preferable for all of those involved in Pearls of Promise Ministries.
So when I got back to the topic of needing a blog, my mind went back to the audio book I just finished listening to and its topic of forgiveness as a way to mend one’s heart. Welcome to my mind. I hope I haven’t lost you, but the inner working of my mind is a continual relay race of thoughts. Somehow what is really important seems to find its way back, and this morning it seems to be forgiveness and the people who help us forgive.
Once I finally focused on this topic it seems like a flood of stories came to mind. One from my childhood sparked my heart so I want to share it with you. It’s about Sara. We were best friends when I was young. She was the exact opposite of everything I was. She was blonde-haired, blue-eyed as compared to my very curly brown hair and brown eyes. She was thin, and let’s just say I was not. She was in the gifted and talented programs at school, and again let’s just say I was not, but we were the best of friends.
As best friends we spent so much time together that I knew everything about her family, but she knew very little about mine as we spent most of our time together at her house. It was like she was an only child but she was really one of those treasured surprise children, born late to her parents. She appeared to have their undivided attention, which was something I always craved from my own parents. And, because she was the last child left at home she didn’t have to share, but she always did with me; that was of course until I took her lipgloss. Yes, I confess. Envy took over and I stole from my friend. I thank God that I’m not a deceitful person now, but at the time I was mortified because she caught me.
We never spoke again. That was until about a month ago. After many times throughout the years looking for her via the Internet, I finally found her. Would she talk to me? I was surprised when she replied to my message. Indeed, she had remembered me, and what transpired in the next few emotionally charged communications from me was a beautiful moment of forgiveness. I told her that I had been looking for her and said I was truly sorry for taking her lipgloss. She replied that she was surprised that I had remembered what had torn our friendship apart, because she didn’t. I said yes, I remembered, and it had been one of the my greatest regrets, losing such a beautiful friend over something so stupid. I admitted that I thought she was rich and was envious so I took the lipgloss.
The next few texts were from Sara easily accepting my apology and then going on as if we had always been friends. Chatting about all the years that have passed, all the things that we have done, where we are now, and who we are now. Since then, Sara and I have continued to talk, but most importantly we mended our hearts. She freely gave forgiveness and I finally forgave myself. I have no idea how our friendship would have been had I not hurt her so, but I learned a unforgettable lesson from her—the cost of friendship is invaluable.
As Andy’s story illustrated, God sends people into our lives who can help us mend our hearts. Sometimes the mender can be just one person, or it may take an army, as it has in my life. Mending may be immediate or it may take years. Regardless, it’s important to learn that when given the opportunity—apologize, but most importantly, forgive.
Thank you Sara! You truly are a dear friend.
Are you a people person?
Over my lifetime, I’ve met women who I wanted to know better. Potential friendships. They might have been from the same neck of the woods as me, or had similar interests. Recently, I heard an engaging speaker who:
Grew up in the same neighborhood,
Went to the same childhood school,
Attended the same church as a child,
Had a similar dysfunctional childhood,
Had the same heart’s desire,
and spent many years in the same profession.
Wow! It’s not often that you meet someone you have so much in common with.
I tried to connect with the well-known speaker at her book table, but she appeared to have no interest in getting to know me. I was at the end of the line to buy her book but once it was my turn, I felt like I had to hurry the conversation, even though no one was waiting behind me. I stammered over words as I struggled to speedily explain our similarities; not very impressive for a person who speaks for a living!
When I left the luncheon, I allowed the scenario to bother me. I dwelled on it too long, and felt rejected. But it wasn’t long before the Holy Spirit reminded me of the words I lift up before any function, “Lord, I pray for divine connections.” No matter how perfect this scenario looked, she wasn’t the connection God had in mind.
Do you give your daily encounters over to God?
Do you fret when someone doesn’t respond the way you’d like?
When you feel slighted by someone, do you start asking questions like:
Am I not interesting enough?
Am I not pretty enough?
Am I not young enough?
It’s not about any of this. It’s about who God wants us to connect with. It could also be about their insecurity around you. And remember, forced friendships never work.
When Jesus sent the disciples out to share the good news he told them, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” This applies to our daily encounters as well.
Need a friend? Then pray God provides that person. The one we choose, based on worldly standards, may not be Heaven’s choice for us.
Categories: Devotion of the Week