|Photo by Erica Streelman|
If you have been following along since my last post, I’ve started a mini-series about gratitude. If you missed it, you can read it here! My last post was about being thankful for things that I often complain about. But this post is a far different subject…
Just in the past few days, I heard the awful news that a boy I attended high school with had passed away. Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of knowing him well; I probably could count the amount of times on one hand that we spoke. Regardless, the tragedy of his passing has absolutely jolted my heart and the heart of those around me, no matter if they knew him well or barely at all. I have found myself thinking of him, his family, and his friends throughout each day. His passing comes as a sharp, painful reminder that God can call anyone home at anytime, and why it is all the more important to give thanks for the people in our lives. It has stirred up a gratitude in my heart for the friends I have. I hold them even dearer to my heart when painful, earthly reminders such as these come crashing into our lives.So, with that being said, it is with a flood of emotions, a tender heart, and probably a little less organization, that I write about my gratitude for my friends in this post.
In middle school and all the way through high school, I would have several close friends, but I always searched for one specific person to cling to. That person would be my “BEST” friend. For as far back as I can remember, having someone to call MY best friend was my number one priority. I spent so much time and energy and tears on/over this issue.
It wasn’t until I entered college that I realized one of what I believe to be one of the most important things I’ve learned in my 20 years of living:
Having a “best” friend wasn’t essential to life. Even having a ton of close friends wasn’t important. But instead, having friends that LOVED the Lord — whether many or few — would be what shaped/still shapes me into who I am today.
Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of friends in my life that do not seek Jesus as the Lord of their lives. They are some of the best people I know — loyal, loving, amazing friends. I do not discredit their friendships because of their beliefs. But as a Christian girl living in today’s society, it is a rough road to walk without having like-minded friends to be there along the way to encourage and support you in your faith in both the good times and the trying.
This is what friendship looks like.
The friends in my life that LOVE the Lord are incredible friends to me because they love God. Because they love God, I know they will love me they way scripture says, even when I’m hard to love. Because they love God, they are loyal. I don’t have to worry about whether or not they are trustworthy — a quality that is so hard to find.
On a weekly basis, I have friends texting me and asking for how they can pray for me this week.
I have friends that hold me accountable on things I struggle with.
Friends sending me podcasts of messages they heard at church this past weekend that they feel I would really benefit from hearing myself.
Friends that check up and follow up on me.
Friends that send me scripture in the morning because they were thinking of me.
This is a kind of love that is fueled by my friends’ individual relationships with the Lord. Because they are walking closely in their relationships with Him, they have the fruits of His spirit in our friendship. They are loving, they give joy, they pray for my peace, they are kind, they are faithful.
My friends that love God are of such deep, deep worth to me because they care not only about me as their friend, but also for the relationship I have with our Savior, as their sister in Christ.. and that is the deepest gesture of love I know.