imageMost of my life I have experienced difficulty making friends. As a child I set up barriers quickly in an effort to avoid being hurt. It didn’t take me long to realize that my family did not fit like other families did. We were poor and unlike some folks I knew we were poor. Somehow not dressing like the other kids or being able to do the things they could do left me feeling inadequate and so I walled myself in. The only area where I experienced some success and developed some confidence was in the classroom. I did make good grades. That plus being a Candy Striper at the hospital and an active member of my church kept me on the fringe of respectability, but just barely.

Why spend a whole paragraph lamenting my failure in social development through high school? Possibly because I just missed my 50th high school class reunion and looking at the faces in the picture of the attendees as well as connecting with some of the people I went to school with on Facebook reminds me of the friends I could have had, if I could have gotten over myself. You see I realize now that I missed out because I looked down on my family and myself. I coveted what others had and judged myself by those standards. My sin robbed me of friendships I might have formed if I could have climbed out of my pit of self pity. Friendship requires courage and sacrifice, but it is worth it.

Today, I still have some really good friends, but I have known and loved so many people in the last thirty years since I truly committed my life to Christ. Friendship is an invaluable blessing and the first friend on my list is Jesus…you see, it is Jesus who befriended me and showed me how to be a friend. My second and best human friend is my husband Terry, because he would literally do anything for me. He, like Jesus, cheers me on and cheers me up. He has been with me at my best and my worst. He doesn’t hesitate to push me just a little so I don’t backdown from social situations. He blesses me everyday and I hope I do the same for him.

But, know what…

I have people I know I can call even if I haven’t talked to them in years and they will be glad to talk to me. I have friends who have ministered to us through Terry’s cancer in a hundred different ways including driving to Nashville to take him for treatment so I could go to work in Louisville, KY. Friends who helped complete our garage when Terry got sick and could not do the work. Friends who filled in the pulpit at Greenville First Christian Church. I only hope I live long enough to minister to others the way we have been ministered to.

I believe that being a friend is as much if not more of a blessing than having friends. Friendship is a circle that widens and includes.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Jesus is the perfect friend, the only friend who will never let me or you down. And, yet we all need and God’s desires for us to have those pesky human friends. Will friends sometimes disappoint, desert, dis you, even betray you? Yes, that is why we must be discerning. And, Yet, that is also why there is “forgiveness”. Because as a human friend I know I am going to fail at times and boy! do I need forgiveness so I need to be ready to offer it as well.

Thank you Lord, for your friendship that demonstrates what true friendship should be like. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for allowing me to be a friend to others. There is power in Friendship and I am grateful.

In a world full of noise, the way you get people to care about you is to care about them first. ~Jeff Goins, Writer

Friends stay, when others go
Friends pray, when others sleep
Friends pay, when your funds are low
Friends say, “I’ve been in that deep.” NCK, 11/7/2013