Monday, December 04, 2006

The Blessing of Friendship

There's a chance this will be a relatively incoherent posting as I have had very little sleep. However, I need to purge these thoughts and emotions while they are fresh.

Today I hit an emotional wall. It had been coming for a few weeks, but today...I could stem the tide no longer. When I finally allowed myself to feel the pain of it, or more correctly stated, when I could no longer stave off the pain with busyness and denial, I was tackled by it. The worst part about this emotional pain is that it makes no sense and was something I was unable to foresee, predict, or forestall. Yet, it washed over me in a flood of confusion and disparity between what my head knew to be right and my heart felt so deeply.

And yet, I was reminded....God is good. He loves me. There is purpose in the pain.

It is in moments like these that I realize and remember how very blessed I am. In the span of 2 hours, in a time when the walls of my heart were unexpectedly caving in, God sent me 2 angels. Not celestial beings...Something so much better. Friends. I don't mean the kind of friends that you hang out with on Friday nights, dissect movies with, or with whom you take on the oddities of the world. While these two friends are more than remarkable companions in those quest, they are so much more. The first listened to my heart as I poured out the pain even as I was realizing the depth of the wound. She reaffirmed what I knew to be right and poured encouragement, like a salve, on my heart. She reminded me of my Savior's love for me, His desire to fill every part of who I am, and my desire to see that come to fruition. I heard once (and I poorly paraphrase) that a friend is one who sings back to you the song of your heart when you have forgotten the words. Tonight this friend was the songbird of the Lord to renew the melody He has placed within me. She walked with me to the throne room and helped me lay my burden before the only One who could give it purpose. More often than she knows, she fills me with the joy of the Lord by her mere presence and overflowing love for Him. She has been a blessed friend and beloved sister in the Lord for thirteen years. From the moment we met, the Lord has knit our hearts together. Even when we are apart, I know that she lifts me before the Lord as I do her. How blessed I have been to know this precious daughter of the King...And even more so that she would call me friend.

The second is somewhat bittersweet. And, the depth of my musing tonight. He is one with whom my friendship has been intermittent, at best, for the last ten years, and strained at worst. Yet, in the process of sorting through my emotions, the Lord gently pushed me in his direction for guidance and advice. What I found there pointed me deeply to the heart of my Savior, to the place where my head could rest against His chest and I could find comfort. He poured out the fruit of his own wrestling's with the Lord and offered it to me as hope, encouragement, solace, and a gentle sharpening of my own iron. He didn't allow me to minimize my hurt, but acknowledge it and empathized with me. He reaffirmed as a gift the dichotomy of my heart and mind that I sometimes despise. He spoke truth into my heart and words that he couldn't have possibly known would echo words the Lord had spoken to my heart earlier today. He was merely obedient in sharing his journey to become more like Jesus. He was faithful and was a vessel of the Lord.

I am filled with wonder and questions. I never cease to wonder at the beauty of my first friend. I've come to expect an encounter with the Lord everytime I encounter her. She is a personification of Joy in the Lord. And, although she would turn red and tell me I'm being crazy...it's true. When I think of what it's like to really be lost in the joy of the Lord, I see her face. She's a blessing and gift and I've never failed to see that.

Not so with my other friend. I am sad to say that I missed it with him. In the last year, I've come to realize that I have had a heart of unforgiveness towards him for some time. I was holding on to things I thought I had released years ago. And, I'm beginning to see what it has cost me. It is rare to cross paths with someone who truly understands you...who sees to the heart of you. I have been blessed with more than my share of friends who see to the heart of me and still love me. That's a blessing for which there truly are no words. But, I've wasted this one. I've squandered something precious. In the last few months, I've been given new eyes and a soft heart when it comes to him. As I've released my sinful grudge, I've been granted a renewed friendship with a man of God who sees me and recognizes the gifts God has entrusted to me. He affirms and encourages those gifts. He has not held my insensitivity or caustic comments against me. He trusts me with the outpourings of his heart regarding his own, sometimes painful, journey. He has become a man of God. He continues to seek a life that is daily more like Christ. As I have taken down the wall I placed between us, he has taken me back with fluid, seamless grace, as though I was never unkind. He is a blessing. He has spoken truth into my heart and pointed me back to the arms of my Father. (And given me much to consider).

I have been blessed beyond anything I could ever deserve. These are only two of the many friends...amazing friends...God has placed in my life. I have an unbelievable support system and sometimes wonder if it can be true that I belong to such a group of people. I am honored to be in their company. One who will change the world by helping others identify and chase their dreams. One who has become the sister I never had and has held my hand through the darkest times of my life as she helped shoulder my burdens. Those who offer strength and gentle rebuke. Those who open their hearts and lives to me. Those who embrace me and draw me into the fold of their own family. Those who believe in me. Those who challenge me, sharpen me, push me. Each of these make a difference. Not only to me, but to all with whom they brush shoulders and cross paths. I am honored to be part of this circle of friends. And, I hope I never again sacrifice such a blessing on the altar of selfishness, anger, and hurt. The cost is too great.

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