One day this year I met a new friend, I’ll refer to her as J, it was early in the summer and she doesn’t live in our home town. We became friends on Facebook early in 2015, I don’t know if she requested my friendship or I requested hers, but when one of us hit YES on the request, our friendship began. She began seeing my posts on occasion last year when I was struggling with my illness and surgeries, and she began praying for me. That is intercession prayer and thank God that as I faithfully ask Him daily to send out His Spirit to raise up prayer and intercession for me, He has been faithful!
What is so interesting about the friendship to begin with is this, we were both in MANY schools growing up and she says she tends to be careful with who is on her account. She typically will not accept or request friendships of anyone that wasn’t in one of her schools or churches but she thought she knew me from one of those places. A year or so after she first began praying for me, she sensed the Holy Spirit telling her to contact me. Little did she know that her timing would be perfect! I had just had a falling out with my best friend, the one I asked God to make my best friend, I’ll call her D. D’s life was in a flux of change and the pressures of life caused her to do something unloving and my heart got really hurt. Although we are still friends and I love her dearly, I felt alone and without a woman to connect with (which every woman needs, more than we are even aware), and hubby was trying to fill in there and that does not work well in a marriage or relationship. We need other women ladies! We must have that so that we don’t lean too heavily on our husbands.
Back to J, she contacted me via messenger and simply said this, “Hi! How are you feeling? I know you have had a difficult time over the past months and wanted to reach out to you. (heart, smile). I thought it was another woman by the same name that was in a bible study I attended last year, so I answered her thinking that. She didn’t seem confused by my exchange but I did fill her in on my story. The following day she responded and I realized that she wasn’t who I thought at all. A few days later I accidentally sent a post to her thinking I was sending it to hubby, and I sent a correction text shortly after. After that, she sent me another text saying what an encouragement I have been and that she saw me fighting the good fight. That was all a few months ago, and since that time, she asked if she could drive to OKC to meet me. She also said she would like it if I would some day speak to the women in the ministry that God birthed in her heart in Tulsa. So, she drove over and we had coffee.
We shared pieces of our stories with one another that day, and I can tell you that she has fought the good fight and she is winning. God is alive and vibrant in her. She loves Jesus like I love Jesus, without restraint! She has been a blessing and encouragement in my life since that day and although we have very little time to visit (once or twice a week), she has become a beautiful part of my journey here. When we visit, it is hard to remember that we haven’t known each other long and definitely have not had time to know much story about one another. One day she said that we have the rest of our lives to get to know each other’s stories, because we know that God ordained this friendship. It is rare to find a woman like J, she is full of life and love and has many friends that she has known for many years. For some reason, God chose to add me to her life and for that I am grateful. She sees my uniqueness and I see hers. We are both living life for the Lord among all the trials and giving Him the glory for all that is good, that kind of friendship is rare and precious. It is so interesting to me, I asked for D and she was gone in a time of need. I didn’t know J existed and God gave her to me at just the right time, isn’t He good?
Friendships are so important, over and over in the Bible it says that we are to “do life” in community. Throughout our marriage, hubby and I have had a difficult time fitting into that. We got married at 19 and 21, then had our first child at 21 and 23 while our friends were playing and getting to know their spouses, we were raising kids. Then throughout our parenting years, we never quite fit. Our kids were older or younger and we had to figure child care to go out. Then when our kids were able to be home alone, our “community” friends were dealing with babies and toddlers. Now, we are the rare mid forties couple who have all grown children so we don’t fit with others that are closer to retirement but who’s kids are all out on their own. It has been an interesting life with friends, one that hasn’t been easy and in fact has been filled with a lot of loss. I know that God will make up that loss with a double portion in this season of our lives, He has already begun!
Life without friends, at times, has been a heavy burden on our marriage. Hubby has a difficult time opening up with people (of course, I kind of do it enough for both of us, lol), and that has made things difficult too. And, I had a difficult time not offending others when I felt justice wasn’t being served to me (yes, that was a joke, gratefully God has gotten that junk out of my life for the most part), God has worked on us so much and he is opening up like I never imagined, for that I am grateful! Now in this season, we are seeing God step up like never before and He is adding to our territory and it is incredible. I cannot put the burden on hubby to be my best friend, my best girl friend, my mom, my dad, and any other person I might be missing, and he can’t put that burden on me. As we navigate this new season, I know that God is placing us right where He wants us and He is bringing our brothers and sisters in Christ to surround us. I thank God for His faithfulness to process!
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” Phil 1:6