Over the past 2-3 months, I've learned some valuable lessons concerning friendship. I strongly believe that God brings people into our lives exactly when we need them. Some of these people are there to encourage us, cry with us, celebrate with us and walk with us through every valley and over every mountain top. Others are brought into our lives to help us see how we can better serve and increase our impact on this Earth to bring glory to the Savior who reigns over all. I've considered all those in my life. I have found that I'm using the word friendship to describe some of my relationships with people that are really just acquaintances. The word friend has been overused by me. We hear a lot of talk about the overuse of the word "love" -- for example, I love chocolate, I love college basketball, I love the beach and the sound of the waves. In my experience, I believe I have used the word friend to describe some really nice people. However, I've found a true friend that is deserving of that title has some special qualities. Now, how did I learn these lessons???? You guys all probably are aware of these things, but as you know (because you love me and care about me) I'm kinda' hard headed concerning some things. It takes me a bit longer to catch on sometimes.
A couple of months ago, two acquaintances who I thought were friends launced a very personal attack on me. Every aspect of my life was considered fair game, I guess one could say. From my profession to my ability to parent and my ability to be a good wife... I have to say I considered the advice of these people. However, after much prayer, tears and searching the scripture, I realized this attack was straight from Satan. The attackers were unrelenting until I finally "admitted" that they were right, I was horrible and a complete failure. Then they were glad to see that I was accepting their help -- yes, they called it help. Their attacks ceased. I had waved the white flag - which is TOTALLY unlike me. I didn't really agree with all the accusations, but I agreed verbally in hope to stop the whole dramatic sequence that seemed unwilling to end. The attack had succeeded in ripping my heart and soul into emotional shreds. Since then, recovery has been my focus this summer. I did examine my life to see if their diagnosis was accurate. God showed me some areas that needed to be worked on. Most of all, He has taught me to be a little more discerning in who I listen to. He taught me that these two people were not dependable to seek Godly advice from or even depend on to help me grow closer to Him. I haven't been really good at that discerning thing, still working on it, and will continue to work on it probably for the rest of my life. Along this road I also battled attacks from other areas. Most of these have centered around one of two things. A: The fact that I am ultra, ultra, ultra conservative and I don't waver or apologize for my convictions (which I try to make sure are based on scripture) B: I am very quick to pull away from people when I feel threatened or feel as if I'm ridculed by them for my convictions and belief.
I have called myself a social recluse. I initially pulled away from almost everyone except my family and April. I was able to observe some of those "friends" and determine whether they were truly my friend or just someone God had placed in my path for a period of time to teach me a specific lesson.
This is what I discovered.
God has blessed me with an amazing husband. He is a godly man that picks me up when I'm face down in the mud and mire. I couldn't ask for a better best friend.
I've been blessed with the 3 most precious boys ever gracing the planet. They love me in spite of my fallen state.
I have family that surrounds me during the hard times, they correct me when I'm wrong, and the never give up on me even though I have countless inadequacies. Please know this includes my family & Stephen's. I wouldn't trade any of them for the world.
I have learned that family does not have to be there for you. They make a choice. A sister, an aunt, and a special cousin have never failed to love on me when the toughest times have come. They never fail to rejoice when the happiest of times are here.
April and Ashley were just dropped into my lap, so to speak. You girls will never know the impact you've had on me. I love you both. These girls would walk with me through the darkest of valleys, and I hope they know that I would do the same for them.
Finally, the most important, the greatest friend one could ever have, the one who gave His life for me. Every human connection I have could leave me or fail me. We are not perfect, we are of the flesh. I could fail each and every one of these people that I love. However, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Healer, will never leave me or fail me. He is the ultimate example of what a friend is.
I'm grateful for my acquaintances, they are involved in my process of sanctification. God uses them to teach me. Some lessons are fun, some not so much.
However, these true friends are a magnificent gift from God. He is amazing.
These past few months have been emotionally trying, but I still stick to that song - Joy Comes in the Morning...
Well, I still have a lot to learn, a lot of healing that my Father will provide, and millions of things to be grateful for. Thanks be to God for those friends he has given me that have and will hold my hand as the fiery darts are sent my way.
I have many favorite scriptures and passages. The past few weeks, and especially the past 24 hours, I've had to cling to Psalm 30 & 40. It came from a Beth Moore study -- she's got some pretty good stuff.
- ► 2011 (11)