Cherish the Gift of Friendship
Juggling Life's Demands with Grace, Part 5
This has been one of those difficult weeks for me when you are forced to face loss and pain for those you love. I'm sure that many of you have also experienced such times in your own life. When I think back on all that has happened in just a few short days, I'm stunned at the way life can sometimes crash in on you. In recent days I've conducted the music for the funeral of a dear friend and mentor. Her input in my life was rich and deep. It's a loss that I'm sure I will feel even more deeply in days to come as I miss her presence here on earth. Last Friday I sent a birthday basket of flowers to my kind and beautiful cousin in Maine. It will be her last. Cancer has invaded her brain. She has fought it for years. She is only in her 60's and will be going home to Jesus soon. I've learned much from observing her life despite the miles apart that we lived. Family is so important to her. She always loved pictures and stories of what was happening in everyone's lives. During our visit last summer we poured over old family photos and listened to my mom tell stories about the people she grew up with. I marvel now at my cousin's strength as I have learned that she knew even then what lay ahead.
And most recently one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is so shocking to hear the news that someone you love so deeply must walk through such pain. I cry out to God for mercy and healing, grace and comfort in the lives of this family that I love so much and who have loved my family so beautifully and generously through the years. I am believing in God's faithfulness and the power of His healing grace, but it is difficult to watch those we love face such trials.
All of this has left me longing to spend my days well. To cherish all the moments we have with precious family and friends.
To learn how to love well.
To slow down and savor time together.
To be a true friend.
This week when I thought my heart would break in two, I went to Sherry's house and just cried and prayed with her. There were many things heavy on my heart even beyond the burden that I carried for family and friends.
When the circumstances in our lives call for strength and resources that are beyond us a ,true friend is what we need. She listened and got on her knees with me in prayer.
A true friend is willing to sacrifice, to give to us when the giving costs.
I want to be that kind of friend.
I believe that one of the ways God loves us is through our friends. He knew that we would need someone in our lives to share our deepest hopes and dreams, someone to share thoughts, laughter and tears. Someone who accepts us as we are, but is willing to gently encourage us to be more. Someone who keeps our hope alive, who brightens the days when we feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Someone who helps us see what is beautiful in life and leaves an imprint on the depths of our souls. My life has been richly blessed with such friends.
Do you have that kind of friend? If not, pray for the Lord to give you one.
Are you that kind of friend?
The Father can teach us how. Take some time in the days ahead and ask the Lord to show you how you can be a friend to someone He has brought into your life. The Lord weaves our lives together for a purpose. It could be to meet a need that your friend has. It could be that friend will be the one who will help to shape you more and more into the image of Christ as he or she speaks words of truth and love into your heart.
Is there someone in your life who has made sacrifices in order to love you? How could you thank them?
Write a note. Make a call. Leave a little "love" gift of encouragement at their door.
Maybe you know someone who needs a friend right now.
Perhaps you could meet for a cup of coffee and just listen. Pray together.
We don't have to know all the answers or how to "fix" it.
We simply need to seek the One who does.
"No price can be placed upon friends who stay with us through absolutely everything. When most people become weary from listening to our troubles, a friend keeps asking,
"How are you ---really?"
When trials make us brittle and dismal, a friend continues to open her heart and let us in."
Take a few moments and thank God for some of the friends He has brought into your life
through the years.
What unique gifts did they bring you?
What faith lessons did you learn from how they
sacrificially loved you?
Ultimately, God uses the love of friendship to lead us to the love of Jesus.
Friendship with the Father is the greatest gift we can ever receive for it will lead us into deeper relationship
with the One who is always with us in love and understanding…
the One who knows us more intimately and tenderly than anyone else ever could….
the One with grace to meet every challenge we face in our days on earth.
"The great danger facing all of us...is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel that life has no meaning at all...The danger is that we may fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to render the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God—and be content to have it so—that is the danger. That someday we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with the husks and trappings of life–and have really missed life itself. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared—satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle and thrill which comes from a friendship with the Father."
As we seek to discover how to juggle the demands of life with God's grace, it is often the gift of friendship
that will help to sustain us, carry us and guide us in His purpose for each day.
It is my prayer that I can be the kind of friend that always leads the ones I love
into a deeper friendship with the Father.
It often takes time, sacrifice, love and sometimes great courage. But through it all our lives are richer, our joy is deeper, and our faith is stronger because the Father chose to weave our lives together in friendship
and we chose to offer our love to another.
Spend a few moments in prayer and ask the Father how you can minister to a friend
or family member in your life this week.
Let's celebrate the special people in our lives and cherish the moments together!
Grateful for the gift of friendship in my life,
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