Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friendship on Purpose

"We were made to love and be loved, But the price this world demands will cost you far too much, I spent so many lonely years just trying to fit in. Now I've found a place in this circle of friends, In a circle of friends we have one Father, In a circle of friends we share this prayer." (Point of Grace; Circle of Friends)

These words from Point of Grace's song Circle of Friends have always been words that have spoken straight to my heart. But I am realizing even more how important and amazing it is to have friends grounded in God's love.

Growing up, I had a hard time making friends. I was an emotional child. And I also was the kid that was picked on and bullied (in some senses of the word.) There were many who picked on me relentlessly. As they hurled those words at me, tears always ran down my face. I remember being called "cry baby" and "orange juice spiller" and other names. Little did these individuals know the brokenness that I was experiencing in my life. Their words continued to add to my brokenness.

In elementary school, I met my best friend Mandy. Mandy was a year older than me but she was held back because she had a kidney transplant. Mandy and I were pretty inseparable growing up. And we always stood up for each other. After high school graduation, we both went our separate ways. I went off to college. While at college, Mandy met a really great guy.and shortly after I graduated college and started seminary, they got married. I came home to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. During my seminary days, Mandy and I lost touch a little bit. But every once in awhile, she would call and we would talk like old times. I graduated seminary and moved back to North Dakota/Minnesota. While I was working in Dilworth MN, Mandy's mom called me one day to let me know that she had passed away. I was heartbroken. Even though we had gone our separate ways, she was still my best friend; my very first best friend.

While working at camp, I made some really great friends. At seminary, I was blessed with great friendships as well. And while serving at Dilworth Lutheran, I met and made some amazing friendships as well. All of these friendships were/are grounded in God's love for God's people. Many of these friends were there when I needed them the most! My best friend Joni was someone that I met through camp. She is a dear soul sister in my life and has been there for me in many ways. There is also my friend MW who is a dear brother in Christ. I am so blessed that God had our lives cross. We have been there for each other through thick and thin; through the joys and the sorrows.

As I have grown older, I will admit that finding friendships has had its challenges. In fact, when I moved a year and a half ago, that was my deepest darkest fear; not being able to find friends. Yet God has blessed me immensely. (I should have known that our good God would come through like God always does!) There is my friend EG, my friend CT, my friend KW, my friend MJ and my friend KG. KW and MJ have since moved away but I am so glad that God had our paths cross. These individuals are my prayer partners. They are my soul sisters. CT and her hubby have shared their home with me. We have broken bread together. I cannot even begin to describe how thankful and blessed I am to have these individuals in my life.

And to my surprise, I have been blessed by amazing friendships through online community as well. I have never met these women in real life but yet I feel like I have known them for a long time because they have been open and shared their stories with me. I grieved for dear Kara Tippetts (and her family) because she was open, vulnerable, and taught me; taught us how to love well. There is power in community! At Kara's memorial, they shared a quote from her that reminds me of God's great, great good; a great, great good that is found in dear friendships and relationships in my life. Kara wrote "The absence of suffering in my life is not my good. The nearness of God is my great, great good!" And, my friends, I believe one way that great, great good is manifested is through friendships; friendships that are with us in the midst of our suffering.

I hope and pray that I am as good of a friend to my friends as they are to me. I want to be the friend who brings a meal when my friends are suffering. I want to be the friend who always lifts her friends up in prayer. I want to be the friend who drops everything to be there for her friends. I want to always be that listening ear and shoulder to cry on. I want to be, in the words of Jennifer Dukes Lee at InCourage today, the kindness giver, the Kleenex bringer, and the joy donor. (Read Jennifer's post here: The Secret to Being the Best Kind of Friend)



I want to be those things MOST OF ALL!



Linking up with these lovely ladies:


 











14 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your heart concerning friendships. "Circle of friends" is one of my favorite songs. I am so thankful for friendships, including the ones that I have made through blogging. I hope you have a great day!

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    1. I love that Point of Grace song too. I am thankful for my friendships too, including my blogging friends. I hope you have had a great week!

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  2. Friendships...yes, growing up an "Army brat" meant we didn't really stay in one place very long; so it wasn't until we settled in GA that I met my "best friend"...we were in school together from 8th grade through graduation, and a year of business school (for me) and nursing school (for my friend). We kept in touch after marriage (both of us); even met up when we both were in Germany with our husbands!

    We continued to be friends as I moved on to my own family and raising children and working and all that life brings. But, we were two different people; close, yet just not "the same"...our likes, our thoughts, our values were different. But, we still remained friends - like sisters perhaps! - until some years ago - perhaps after losing her mother and then her brother and then a daughter - that we grew apart and she wouldn't see me when I was back in GA for a HS reunion. Knowing she had been sick (she told me at one time she had cancer), I felt maybe she just didn't want me to see her that way...so, that leaves me wondering - where does that leave us?!

    I have had other friends, co-workers, but - learned the hard way, sometimes you just can't trust what you say to co-workers!! But, my "best" current friend (among others, of course!), is a former co-worker. We are the same age, have so much in common except that she is working and I am not!

    Thanks for sharing...sorry for pouring out my heart; but when I think of friends, my "used to be?" friend is the main one that comes to my mind (heart)!!!

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    1. I am sure being an "Army brat" was hard to make and keep friends. But so glad you found such an awesome friend and have been able to stay friends. No worries for pouring your heart out to me.

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  3. I have a feeling you are EXACTLY THAT KIND OF FRIEND!

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  4. "the kindness giver, the Kleenex bringer, and the joy donor" Yes this is what I want as well. The Lord has really been laying purposeful relationship on my heart. Relationship with genuine engagement, I tire text rather than hearing the voice of friends. I miss meaningful conversation. I think we are loosing part of this due to so much electronic devices, easier to email, text, like a comment instead of actual meaningful deep relationship. I feel this has even trickled into my relationship with the Lord and quiet time. Easier to use my Bible app (which I love) but there is something about pulling my Bible out and digging into it. I recently saw the IF:table video have you seen that idea, you should check it out.

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    1. Laura, those words from Jennifer Dukes Lee are so true. I want to be that kind of friend ALL THE TIME! Purposeful relationships are so important to me too. I think we are losing that in this technological based world. I want to try and spend more time alone with God too. I will have to totally check out that IF:Table video soon!

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  5. I too am so grateful to God for my friends especially the ones with whom I have traveled through good and bad times over the years. Those kinds of bonds are not easily broken.

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    1. Nope they are not easily broken! Thanks for stopping by, Barbara!

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  6. It sounds like God has used your broken feelings so that you can share how to be a healing kind of friend! God bless!

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    1. Thanks Carol! God bless you too!

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  7. Tara, I love your open, honest, transparent sharing of your heart here...I was right there with you when they called you names...me too...in fact, the song "Circle of Friends" and this quote by C.S. Lewis have always inspired me, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You, too? I thought I was the only one!’"—C. S. Lewis
    Many blessings to you!

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    1. Beth, thank you. I try to be as open, honest and transparent as I can be in this space. I hadn't heard that CS Lewis quote before. Love it!!! Many blessings to you too!

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