Thursday, August 19, 2010

Girl. Friends.

I'm going to be very vulnerable here.
When you go through a tough time in your life, you really find out who your true friends are.
You go through the fire, and what comes out is either burned up or refined beautifully.
That's a hard lesson no matter what.
I have learned what true friendship is.
I consider it to be love in action. IS action. It's phone calls, cards, a surprise visit, a special lunch made for especially you for your birthday, it's thoughtful words, a phone call to encourage or offer help, it's pursuing one another, making the effort towards friendship. 
It's thinking of others before yourself.
It's stopping to talk with a hurting sister who calls when your house is bursting with craziness and your kids are yelling and your kitchen is a mess and you go and hide for 10 minutes to pray with her, away from the mess and noise, (or right in the middle of it) because she is deeply hurting and you sense it in the phone call and you want to minister to her because God says that's what we do--we are part of a body and we can't do it on our own. And so we help each other and encourage each other. 
And sometimes it takes going the extra EXTRA EXTRA mile and doing what you think you simply cannot.
Like when you think: I don't have time for this, but you do it anyway knowing that it is what the Lord would have you do.
Like my sweet friend who offered to bring my family dinner, when I was struggling in my life, and she had just had her fifth child a month before, and I said, "Girl, you are NOT bringing me a meal, you just had a baby!", but I treasure(d) that gesture deep, deep, in my heart and I knew she loved me, she really loved me as a friend and a sister of the Lord. 
And it's like a busy sister of the Lord who asks how she can pray for me and faithfully does, and remembers my requests and asks me how it is going. 
It's just opening your eyes and seeing the need and trying to encourage a sister in that need.

And it's this--Ann's words from this wonderful post:

"She’s a woman like Marlene who shows up unexpected in the middle of some crazy morning with a bouquet of yellow roses in hand and she says she believes in me and God and whatever is to come and she prays before she leaves. I dry her roses and this is what I will preserve, a friendship that gives like this because there’s no currency in the world that can buy you this and this is the only treasure worth storing up, love.

She’s a woman like Megan and I open a note from her and I laugh wonder when I find this picture of her holding a square of cardboard scrawled with the words, “Run the Race, friend!” and another picture too, her holding the back side of the cardboard and the words, “You can do it!”

And we can. We can do it.

We can believe that God alone is our security and love is always worth the risk and there is no better investment than reaching out to someone and locking arms and unlocking your heart. No better investment than finding the time for friendship and the courage to be real and the humility to say we’re sorry."

Want to make a promise of friendship?


Emily Ruth said...

Thank you for this post. So true. So beautiful.

Linda said...

Yes Andrea, that is exactly what it is. It is my prayer that we, who use this amazing medium, will also be those kinds of friends - faithfully encouraging and praying when we've said we would and caring in a special way...being real with one another and knowing there is understanding and acceptance.
This is good stuff sweet girl.

Stacy said...

Ah, yes... such a beautiful post from Ann. And now yours, too, Andrea.

I think a lot about this- being a friend, and how to be the kind of friend who gives of herself and initiates and shows up when there's a need. (And how to do that with five children in tow! :))

These words are such a good encouragement to me that it is *worth* it to show that Jesus-kind-of-love to other women. They need it and we need it.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, You always encourage me. I have been so swamped, thinking that my summer flew by before I had a chance to relax! Your post just reminded me that sometimes we need to be stretched so that others can reach out to us and so that we can learn to accept help. I've never been good at accepting help, and it has been humbling for me to do it lately, but I am learning. I love you, sister! You are a blessing and a good friend.

Andrea said...

Stacy--Exactly. How do do all this with five children and a husband. I think it takes a fine tuning of the spirit, of listening to the Lord. I don't think a busy life exempts us from this kind of love, of ministering. If that was the case, no one would love this way...sad.

L~i hope you know you are the friend I'm talking about who wanted to bring me a meal when you weren't even 6 weeks postpartum. you have a servant's heart and you are a blessing to me as well as a good friend. =)

Natalie said...

Both your posts (yours and Ann) have really gotten me thinking. I am coming off a year where God was really just calling me to take care of myself, to restore and refresh myself as a woman so that I take care of all the others in my life. And while I know that self-care has to continue, I believe I am healed enough to begin reaching out with LOVE in ACTION again. As a new school year begins I will recommit to keeping my obligations at school limited so that I do have time to reach out to those who need a touch of God's love. Thanks for letting me think out loud here- you have been an indescribable gift in my life!!!

STEPHANIE. said...

This is absolutely beautiful! I will be adding it to the sidebar on my blog of things I am loving.