Sunday, October 01, 2006

What is a friend?

Today, I had lunch with a dear friend from California. We share the same heritage and a deep love of the Lord. What a blessed time.

Last night, I had coffee with a dear friend I've known since our days in California. The conversation was very deep, very sincere, very moving.

Last week, I was blessed by spending time with my newest friend talking music, our heritages, and our lives.

Last weekend, I spent time with my sister and her partner without my children around. I've never allowed myself to let go and act as silly or have as much fun as I did with them then.

It seems that this last month has been about friendships in my life.

New friendships, old friendships and friendships in the middle.

Cultivating, giving, demonstrating, receiving and loving.

I have been blessed by the new friendships that the Lord has allowed me to share in recently. And the friendships that I've had for many years, sharing our good times as well as our difficult times.

In reflecting on these recent occasions, I wondered, what is friendship? What is the definition for "friendship?"

The word "friendship" in Webster's is defined as "an attachment to a person, proceeding from intimate acquaintance, and a reciprocation of kind offices, or from a favorable opinion of the amiable and respectable qualities of his mind. Friendship differs from benevolence"

Over the years, I've never really struggled in making new friends, but maintaining those friendships has not been my strong point. I've lost many a precious friend because I didn't take the time necessary to keep that friend.

Different reasons why; boredom, self-absorbed, marriage, motherhood . . . life!

The most important friendship these last 3 years has been my friendship with Jesus. Oh, I've known Him pretty much all my life. I even committed myself to Him in 1981. But, He has been one of those friendships that I didn't cultivate, didn't maintain, didn't take time to sit and listen to, didn't allow Him to be my friend the way He wanted to be.

Until I realized that His faithfulness all these years warranted my attention. I had to take notice, I had to acknowledge Him. I had to get to know Him, and as a result, Jesus has become my best friend. I can't go very far before I need to sit with Him, talk with Him, be with Him.

I admit that He is a better friend to me than I am to Him. I am still self-absorbed, selfish and self-centered. I still allow life to become more of my focus. I still tend to be seduced by life's "pleasures." But my Friend, is always here, always available and unchanging. Proverbs 18:24 says "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

For this, I desire to strive and give to others what Jesus has given to me. Because He takes the time to listen to me, I desire to be a good listener to my friends.

Two of my dear friends are at different phases in their lives. Same ages, but the Lord is taking them on different journeys. There are similarities, i.e. their health and aging. Being able to sit with them and share His love, encourage them and laugh with them, I found myself listening more. Stopping myself in sharing, bragging, whatever and listening to the "still small voice" asking me to listen, to encourage, to pray.

I was blessed by what I had the privilege to hear; a desire to get to know Jesus more intimately, a desire to learn to trust Him, a desire to submit to Jesus, to His control and a desire to allow His love to infiltrate the blood cells of the Body.

"A friend loves at all times." Or "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." Proverbs 17:17

Because of the time, although inconsistent at times, I've spent with the Lover of my Soul, my love for my friends, near and dear, old and new, has strengthen my desire to "be" a friend. To hold these friendships with care, to be mindful of what I say, to make sure that I am trustworthy, keeping things said, between us.

It has been easy, too easy, to want to flaunt these friendships with others. But, it doesn't matter who these friends are and what position they hold by the world's standards nor mine. What does matter is who I know. . . Jesus!!! And not what I get out of these relationships, but what I am putting in.

To have good friends, I must be a good friend. And I must allow my friends to be friends to me. "As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend." Proverbs 27:17

As I reread and proof this writing, I am listening to the live music of a church service and playing on their sound system is "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down life for his friends." It was meant for me. Thank you, Lord, that you know my heart. Praise You for Your goodness.

I pray that this writing will encourage anyone who is reading this to stop and think about what type of friend they are and strive to be the type of friend Jesus desires you to be.

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