Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thoughts about Friends

Caution- a long post follows:

This morning I was just thinking, praying, and praising God yet again for Godly girlfriends. On Friday night, I was invited to attend the Beth Moore simulcast at my sister’s church. In a worship center with 500 women, (and connected to 90,000 women watching from all over the world) I was once again reminded of the amazing friendships of women. I am so honored that at different times in my life God has brought along a special friend (or two) to walk that road with me.

In high school, I had four best friends: Melissa, Kim, Jill, and Natasha. We met every Friday morning at a small French bakery for breakfast and Bible study before school. They were precious/ Godly friends to have at that moment in my life… but soon college came, and we all went out separate ways – Samford, Liberty, Virginia Tech, and John Hopkins… I missed them… we tried to keep in touch… but we didn’t see each other every day.

In college, I made new friends in two distinct places. The BSM (Baptist Student Ministry) became my home away from home and the department of Education provided true “kindred” spirits with those called to teach. At the BSM, I learned how to fall more in love with Jesus and serve alongside of Bonnie, Annie… and I found mentors in older girls like Heather. For my classes, Page, Moe, Gail and I would study for tests, make lesson plans, and encourage each other in student teaching.

During a Florida State BSM orientation event I met a special friend, Nikki. A few days later we discovered that we would be accountability partners by “random” selection. Random truly means God’s providential hand. For the next three years, Nikki and I met every single week to talk about our lives, our struggles, and to hold one another accountable for Scripture reading and memory.

The summer after my senior year, Nikki invited me to join her on a leadership training team that would travel to Israel. As we waited in the airport to leave for the Holy Land, she looked at me and said, “There is another girl coming on this trip that is a little younger than us. We need to try to go out of our way to welcome her on this trip.”

The Lord must have looked down and smiled at our ignorance. Ali would soon make us realize that she needed no introduction and no “special attention.” We were drawn to her kindness, her wisdom, and her true Southern accent. I had a best friend… a true best friend… and by the end of our trip to Israel we were inseparable.

I have so many stories to share – from that trip alone, but also from the past 10 years of the Lord’s faithfulness in our friendship. And I have many stories of friendship to share about the 10 years that followed my college graduation.

Today, however, I ran into Natasha (remember the high school girl) at church, and was once again reminded of God’s faithfulness in life’s journey. Over the past six weeks, I have been reconnected with Melissa, Kim, Jill, Natasha, Bonnie, Annie, Heather, Page, Moe, and Gail. Perhaps the Lord knew that I would need facebook for such a time as this! We have all spoken occasionally over the years, but I never dreamed that the body of Christ would come back together in such a way to encourage.

And Nikki and Ali… we never lost touch, but we have been busy. So busy...

Until six weeks ago. And they were there. Like always. They were there.

And I got to spend some time with Ali in her hometown. Can you imagine growing up in this house?

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With this as your front yard?

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And this as your back?

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Ali - thank you for letting me come to this beautiful place to walk, and sit, and think, and talk to YOU!

And then yesterday, I skipped the Beth Moore simulcast because I had other plans… and they included

Some of this…

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this picture does not do this any justice!

And some of this…

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And some of the most poignant and timely words from my good friend, Nikki.

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Austin, I want to record this here for you because someday I want you to truly understand the meaning of friendship. I want you to understand why we spend time every single night praying for your friends. We were not meant to walk this life, alone, sweet boy. And the body of Christ is one of the most beautiful things that I know to teach you about today.


Idea:

I don’t know where I got this tip from (probably Annie) but this is how we are currently praying for Austin’s friends. I asked his preschool teacher if I could come to school one day and take pictures of each of Austin’s classmates. Then I printed them out and put them in a picture flip book ($1 from Michaels).

Every night, AJ and I flip to the next page in his picture book. We talk about that friend – their name, what they like to do at school, what Austin likes most about them, if they are funny, etc. and then we each pray for that friend.

I try to keep it positive, but I do have to share one story. We were praying over a certain little boy, and I was trying to ask Austin what he liked to do, etc. He finally just looked at me and said, “Mommy, I don’t think he likes anything. He is moody!”

What a teaching moment! (as soon as I finished laughing). We were able to talk about how we could be a blessing to Moody One, and I was so much more sensitive to this little boy when I saw him at school.

I normally let Austin pray first, and then I pray over that child more specifically. By the time I am just getting started, Austin normally says something like, “Okay, mom, I think that we are done praying”… so I gently close out the prayer and then continue praying for that child on my own. It is amazing the kind of things that God starts bringing to your mind as you begin praying for your children’s friends and their families.

But to my own friends, I want you to know that I love you. I love the many that are not mentioned in this post, and the many that have come since my college years. I want to do another post to record about you - because your stories are so fresh on my mind:) And some of you have some stories - oh, my!

2 comments:

Amber said...

I've been thinking about this idea for a while, but I think we should plan a girls weekend w/all your friends maybe over Veteran's Day...what do you think? We could go to Tampa for the weekend or wherever you wanted. Just think about it...

Kim said...

Love you Emily!