One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
You know, growing up I always struggled with friends. When I was in Jr High and I could still remember, I counted how many schools I went to before high school. 13…Including high school. This also included summer schools, but as I remember one summer school in particular, I recall running around with a white cast on my left arm. During the school year in second grade a girl was chasing me just after lunch and I was essentially being ganged up on. I slipped on the monkey bars and fell straight down and broke my arm. The girl who had been chasing me suddenly pretended like she was my best friend as she walked me all the way to the office. In summer school, when my arm was supposed to be healing, I remember going across the monkey bars…though I wasn’t supposed to. In 5th grade, I have another similar memory with girls as I was off playing by myself on the pull up bars. Girls had broken my heart from the get go. I just wanted to be accepted.
Jr. High, same. I had a crush on our head football player and my “friend” pretended to tell him and “set me up” with him. I was naive and clueless. I went around telling people my secret, only to be confronted by his girlfriend. I honestly didn’t know. She tried to fight me during lunch, pushing and shoving me until I turned and walked away. During 6th grade Science Camp…more of the same. Isolation, and a new nickname…”Tinklebell.” Claims that I wet the bed spread quickly, and then claims that I kissed a girl spread even faster. High school was a little better, but the girl who was my best friend abandoned me after 3 years of being practically attached at the hip. Once I graduated, she left our group of 5 and I was no longer cool enough for her. So I started my early 20’s with my 10 year old sister which was awesome. I had people who were acquaintances and boyfriends but I was never good enough for anyone. So, let’s fast forward 10 years.
Single mom, in a place that is nowhere near family and I don’t know anyone and have no friends. Well at least locally, but God has redeemed friendship to me. It’s such a beautiful thing to me, I don’t even know where to start. I never thought I could love the heart of a woman, the way I love my friend Shawn. Last night I had a dream about her, first one ever actually, where I saw myself reclining on her. I was reading John and in chapter 13 verse 23 night before last and it says in a few versions that the one whom Jesus loved was reclining ON him.
One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder. (MSG)
And I didn’t understand how a man could recline on another man. Culture has ruined our ability to be close with one another and have genuine community but last night, my dream put it into context. I wasn’t sitting in her lap in my dream but I was right at her side, our hair blowing in the wind together, our heads together over God’s Word and we began to pray together this powerful prayer of declaration. I don’t know that I have ever loved another woman the way I love her. She’s my David to the Jonathan, and I realize that this knitting of souls happens outside of man and woman, husband and wife and it is displayed in the Bible, though many miss it. Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Jesus and John and there are probably others. To love another human being of the same gender with that kind of love, you desire an intimacy with them – don’t mistake my use of the word intimacy as I do believe that word covers a lot more than our modern world has handicapped it to mean. Intimacy is vastly more than relations between a husband and wife, it’s the result of a soul tie, be it male or female.
Shawn and I met on Facebook. Ours is a long distance friendship and we have just crossed over a year of being friends. I quite literally talk to her daily, we pray over each other and each other’s families, we pray for breakthrough, interpret dreams, discuss deep ideas and I never tire of her…ever. Her heart is a heart of deep love and beauty, a Proverbs 31 woman that has her identity rooted and grounded in our Savior…no matter her circumstances. A stay at home home-schooling mom that spends her days teaching her boys about the Lord, trips to the library and Taekwondo. We celebrate each others victories and we encourage each other in our failures…and pray over each other in the betrayals we both have faced in our circumstances.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?
As we sat near each other in my dream, there was a love, a bond there that couldn’t be broken and it seemed that it was our first meeting as she had come for a visit. She has lifted me up more times than I can count in the last year, we send each other care packages and letters (and just ask my grandma…I’m not a letter writer…) and I stand astounded at my God and Savior that would see fit to bless me with such a woman as my friend. She has been with me through my own Promises of God (and I hers) as we both walk out this pre-ordained journey and never once has she doubted me, never once has she told me I was wrong. It’s one thing to personally stand on a promise and not let go, it’s wholly another for someone else to stand with you…even when you feel unqualified for the post the Lord has told you is yours. Too this or too that…blah, whatever, but despite the insecurities that pop up, I know whose I am and my worth and that I must also stand by.
So, as I look back on the past and all that I went through as a child and adult in this arena, I’m glad…no overjoyed to have Shawn as a part of my family. God is doing stuff in us and we are both unfinished but I am deeply grateful to have her along for the ride.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
Laying down our lives doesn’t meant to die for them (though I probably would), but to let our lives be interrupted on behalf of our friends. To stop our plans, to be inconvenienced in order to cater to the needs of our friends. Here’s to a year + of friendship Shawn…and God will have His way and we will have many many more. I’m holding God to this dream…we will finally meet, you and I have both seen it now.
Here’s lookin at you kid…
All my love ❤