Shortly after my honey and I first met, he commented that I had so many friends. That seemed like an odd statement to me, because I've always had lots of friends. Doesn't everyone?
Because I tend to be an extra extroverted extrovert, I'm pretty much always connecting with someone. I love to be with people. Girlfriends charge my battery. People encourage my being. They fuel my heart. And I get to talk with them. Who doesn't love to talk??
Many years ago now, the Lord impressed upon my heart that my mission in this life was to encourage others to have a love relationship with Him. That could explain why He made me a bit on the outgoing side. I've always been pretty open about my life with Jesus, but He was instructing me that I needed to be intentional with this. I knew He would show me what that would look like.
Over time, I realized that He meant "go and make disciples". I thought at first He literally meant "go somewhere...go be a missionary". I've come to understand that verse for me meant "as you are going". Going through this life. Raising babies. Steering teenagers!! Caring for aging parents. Losing a sister. Coping with the pain of divorce. Accepting health issues. Coming alongside hurting friends.
Could it be that friends are for more than mani pedis and going out to eat??
All the while as we go through this life, we are given the opportunity to have others alongside us....as we are going. You know what? Not only do we get to be involved with what God is doing in their lives, they get to be in ours.
Raising my girls wouldn't have been possible without friends and mentors giving me great advice. Losing my sister and caring for aging parents...the same. Friends and family carried me through those. Divorce? Yes, my friends, my daughters, and my brother were right there beside me. These same ones have bent down and put my shoes on my feet, and even now sweep my floor because some days I just can't.
And I thought all these years, I was just doing what God had placed on my heart to do...show others about a love relationship with Him. And I was. And am.
But, oh my, how much more my family and friends have taught me...and shown me...about His love. They have shown me that I am loved. Loved with His kind of love.
"This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."
John 15:12-13 NLT