"Friendship" has been bouncing around in my head since last fall, when I attended the Women of Faith tour in Greensboro, NC with our Sunday School and two of my friends.
Lisa Whelchel, former Facts of Life star, a strong Christian AND homeschooling Mom, now part of the Women of Faith Porch Friends, spoke about her difficulty in making friends, and some of the pain she's experienced through betrayal along the way. I vividly remember her saying that she never learned "how" to be a friend because literally she grew up on the set of The Facts of Life. As she began to make friends as a young woman, she spoke about the pain betrayal had brought as she described how she was "used" by a friend that betrayed her confidences because of who she was. I sat there, mesmorized, at the pain she so openly spoke about, and the redeeming power of God as she looked over her shoulder, calling the ladies on the Women of Faith Porch, her friends.
There is hope.......
My dear friend, Ellen, who had travelled from the other side of the state to attend this conference to share some "girlfriend time" with me, was also deeply moved by Lisa's talk. Outside one of the Compassion International tables, we talked about how difficult adult friendships were to make, and how the betrayal of past friendships had made it more so. I shared with her one of my deepest betrayals.......a friend that was a sister to me, dropped me a dear John letter via email and then refused to take any of my phone calls. For 22 years, she was a sister to me...and then poof........It still brings tears to my eyes....the pain has subsided, but scar is still there......
This past weekend, I spend the weekend with another dear, old friend from High School, at the SheSpeaks Conference for women in Speaking and Writing Ministry. Throughout the weekend, I watched, observed, and admired the friendships of the Proverbs 31 Ladies. They had true love, support and encouragement for each other. They truly loved one another.......selflessly.
I stood back, amazed. And then it hit me.....
We are not meant to have just one earthly friend.......Jesus had 12...and yes, one betrayed him too. Betrayed to the point of death. My friends, there is no earthly betrayal that could ever measure up to the betrayal of Judas. Jesus knew his fate here on earth long before he was ever born, but to experience a pain that runs as deep as betrayal. He KNOWS how we feel........because HE felt it.
I drove a ways (hey..that's pretty Southern, isn't it?) tonight to meet my dear friend, Ellen for dinner. Here's what's pretty funny about our friendship: we live in the same state, but travelled across the world and met one dark night in a city called Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We shared all the emotions of becoming a parent through adoption on a continent called Africa, we shared a Guest House for the week in a country that seeped into our souls. Through this, we bonded a bond that could only have been a divine appointment. She gets me.....she inspires me......she calls me on the carpet when I'm wrong.....I love her for loving me, and for not being afraid to tell me I'm wrong.
And then there's Ann......my friend since 2nd grade. She is my memory, and so much more. She's bailed me out of more misery and pain, never judged or complained. To her, I owe a debt greater than I could ever repay.......her friendship has showed me that love is a give and take. And in her case, it's always been more giving, than taking. I love her for always being there for me.
And Stephanie......she first thought I was pretty cool because I had Ethiopian children. Now she knows my children are as imperfect as everyone elses! She encourages me with her great motherly wisdom: "God fills in the gaps," and lately, she inspired me with this: "If I could go back, I'd spend time with my girls playing Barbie, instead of.....fill in the blank..." She bails me out in a crunch, and is always willing to step in and help in a moments notice. I love you, Stephanie.
Mystina......the Dianna to my Anne. Younger in age, but my spiritual mentor. My Titus 2 friend who lives her life by example. I pray one day, I could be the Christian woman she is! Love you sweet friend! You brighten my days and make me smile.
Sally......encourages me in my journey, both as an adoptive Mom and a Homeschooling Mom.
Linda.......who's more like me and wow ,..... are we dangerous when we are together! I love you sweet friend, for being real and stepping out on adventures with me......even if we did put a dent in the boat!
Cheri.....a Mom later in life, like I, who share the trials of being an older Mom........."Momma's going to have a meltdown....." She so gets me! Love you too....we need to spend more time together!
Dawn.....a high school friendship rekindled through Facebook. I spend an incredible weekend with her at SheSpeaks this weekend......As we journey in our "ministries" together, may we continue to encourage each other to be true to the One that centers us! Love you!
Each one of these beautiful women have a divine plan in MY life, ordained by God.......
It's time to stop running........
I'm ready to break free of the fear, and embrace the journey God has prepared just for me......
We are family - I got all my sisters with me And, you know, it only happens once every couple of years. So it's good to document it.
14 hours ago