After reading Sharon's blog about friendships, I was so touched by it, I thought I'd continue her thoughts from a slightly different angle. I began thinking about some very new friends I have made in recent months. They are several ladies I have met through a new Christian group I have become a part of.
It is a "virtual group" (hello, welcome to the NEW DAY, thanks, Covid-19!!) and we meet on the telephone every other week for a good two hours, talking about how things are going, what's good, what's hard, and where we see God moving within it all. These women are from all over the country, even one from Canada! We are of similar age, and our families have some similarities, but also some differences. We each grew up in different parts of the country, with different families, and different experiences. But quickly, we are growing to become sisters, through our shared love for Jesus and through working through life together, through His lens.
It is a fantastic thing to know that Abby, way up in Canada, connects to me in my heart and in my struggles, and keeps me on her daily prayer list. It comforts me to realize that Susan, who lives in the desert of California, thinks of me, and checks in with me weekly to see how things are going. It is a precious thing that Teresa, who lives in another area of the country altogether, can text me at a moment's notice, offer words of encouragement and tips to consider from her experience.
These budding relationships are no accident, no coincidence. And even though I have never met these women in person, the friendships are no less real or significant than the bonds I have with women in my own community. Hard things are going on in our world these days, but God knows about all of them, and He knows how to provide exactly what we need, exactly when we need it, in the most creative of ways. He is a good God, and a thorough God, and I am so grateful that He has my back. It just amazes me the ways that He provides for my every need.
Sharon included the definition of a friend as someone who makes your life a little better and sometimes a whole lot better. Then she said, "some friends come into our lives for a season and some for a lifetime." These new ladies, we'll call them the "Distant Sisters," are treasures to me, each of them. When thinking of them, I like the verse, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2) The law of Christ that is being referenced is to love one another as God loves us.
God's love is generous, kind, merciful, constant, honest, convicting, gracious, all-knowing, and tender. I really hope that I can carry my dear friend's burdens with them - the new faraway friends, the current near-to-me-friends, and the long-standing friends that I might lose regular contact with. That's where the definition of friendship becomes more complex and deep-rooted. It is no light and momentary notion to choose actions that are generous, kind, merciful, constant, honest, convicting, gracious, all-knowing, and tender. God shows us what it looks like all throughout the stories in the Bible and in how He loves and serves us in our daily lives (if we pay attention). He is calling us, through Jesus, to follow along and aim for those complex and deep-rooted ideals in our friendships.
We may think we have never actually met God "IRL" (in real life), but through the relationships and connections that He so clearly provides for us, we can see His nature and His influence in our lives. It is just the greatest thing, this "virtual" relationship with an absolutely real God who knows us and knows exactly what we need and when we need it, and provides it for us generously and creatively!!
I am so up for the challenge of becoming more generous, creative, and deep-rooted in developing friendships, primarily through days like these...I adore you, ladies - you are my friends, even if I have never met you in person. These writings Sharon and I offer you each month are meant to be deep-rooted and full of the authentic love of Christ in every word. I hope you know that. Better Than Fine Women is the real deal.
Happy belated Friendship Day sisters, and may you know the friendship of some beautiful ladies, near and far, and that of our great God, right beside you all the time.
I love you,