Can anyone aptly describe the blessing of girlfriends? Or should I say, "women friends?" For many years I have been blessed beyond measure with friends of character and compassion. Twelve years ago, when we moved to Ontario from British Columbia, we were routinely saying good-bye to many people who we'd grown to love as family over the years. One friend told her husband that they would have to get an excellent long distance plan so that we could keep in close contact. He jokingly asked what he'd get out of it, and she said, "You'll get to stay married." We laughed, but knew the truth. We had encouraged each other on many occasions to count our blessings, love our husbands and kids and pray, pray, pray. I love that about the women of God that have graced my life. We pray for each other.
The best friends honestly and sometimes brutally encourage you to be the best you can be, to walk in the destiny God has. In the past few years, I have been privileged to know friends who have encouraged me to face fears, step out and move in what God has called me to do. Even when I can't see the big picture, there are steps to take, and friends will give me a gentle shove when I need it.
Life can be harsh. Friends and I have seen each other through the death of children and parents, divorce, bankruptcy, wayward kids and just plain fury. One friend called me just hours after she had found her son in his bed; he had passed away from a heroin overdose. What comfort is there to offer in that situation? I told her that she had just experienced the very worst day of her life, that it wouldn't ever be as bad as that and she was strangely comforted. We wept together and called on God.
Twenty-five years ago, one of my dearest and oldest friends saw her baby boy become irreparably damaged from viral encephalitis and still cares for all his needs today. I admire her more than she could ever know. Her mother's heart beats for her children. She is a woman of passion and has learned the secret of being content. I've gleaned much from watching her patience and faithfulness.
And what would life have held without my two single mother friends, as we navigated the loneliness raising kids on our own for years? We learned from each other. I've so appreciated friends with children just a few years older than mine, so that when I call frustrated or bamboozled, they can give their wisdom that usually starts with, "It's just a stage. It will pass."
We have laughed together. We've shared stories of embarrassing moments and victories over food, gossip and addictions. Where would I be without those precious women who have listened without speaking, spoken boldly when invited, and most certainly have taken me by the hand to the throne room of God? I hope I never have to find out. Today, let's appreciate our friends.
Thank you Lord for those you have put in my path.