Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Friend...........A Tricky Little Word

A topic that continues to cycle in and out of my crazy life...........friendships. Unfortunately friends, good and bad, seem through all our lives too. It's not that having so many friends is a bad thing it's just that finding great friends is not an easy thing. I have begun to categorize my relationships into 3 areas, cause I'm a systematic person. I have Polite friends, Purposeful friends, and those I Pour into. Because time is always of the essence, it's impossible to spend time with everyone and a woman must decide where she wants to invest her soul. I, personally, choose to invest in these top things, going in order of importance: God, family, Purposeful and Pour friends, ministry, hobbies, and then Polite friends. Let me explain what these friends are. You have all 3types in your life. Not only are they in your life but you fall into all three categories yourself, depending on who you are relating with.

Everyone is and has Polite friends. Those are your very casual acquaintances and most of the conversations go like this. "How are you?" and you respond, "good, fine...all is good". Then then they might say something like "How are the kids and how is hubby?" and you might say "oh, kids are great, hubby is doing fine." and you get my point. All surface type of questions. All relationships do begin here and most, quite honestly, stay here! ugh. Now, they become more complex looking from the outside, as women try and fake sincerity, but bottom line..........it's still a Polite relationship. In fact, you might even be in a small group that you've known for years and you still remain at Polite relations and that is as far as it has gone. It is possible, not desirable.

The next type of friend is the type you Pour into. Those are your friends who may or may not be able to offer much to you, due to their life circumstances. Maybe they are going through a divorce, suffering from physical pain/disease, or just plain depressed and need you to be there for them. These are tough cause they involve you being completely selfless and knowing that you are not going to receive what you are putting into the relationship. These are your friends who may not even know how much they need you. But you have chosen, yes- you made a choice to be there, no matter what. You understand that these women don't really charge your batteries but they allow the joy in your heart to bubble out as you serve them! You can only have so many of these types of friends in your life or you will wear out quickly. So, go pour into someone!

The final type of friend is you B.F.F...................LOL!!! You know what I mean!! This is the woman who sharpens you, tells you (to your face) when your wrong, encourages you in dark moments, sticks around when the Polite friends run away.You may think that your current B.F.F. is the Purposeful friend........but is she? You don't really know until you've had to go through a tough time. Did she stick around? What about a moment when the 2 of you disagreed? Are you closer because of that disagreement or is it awkward? What about distance? Have you moved away and the relationship is just as vibrant? If so, that might be a Purposeful friend. Purposeful friends are those who "Love at ALL times" Prov. 17:17. Many Purposeful friends are disguised to be so.... but then when "ALL times" come along, they realize that they just can't handle the journey and find it easier to check out. That is okay. God is so good at providing in those moments. Trust me!

What type of friend are you? Many women have a hard time being the Purposeful friend. Friendships are risky, challenging, and scary! Let's face it; we've all been burned, and starting again with someone else is exhausting. But because we are always in the process of being sharpened and improved (sanctified)by our creator; we must continue to grow and continue to trust. That would be called MATURITY! Oh boy, a word that is so lacking in today's society. Growing up stinks! But it means walking through the tough times, learning from the mistakes, and trying again.

I could go on and on about this topic. I've had the greatest pleasure of knowing some amazing women. I think of Sheryl Dorsey, Robin Jones,Jaine Banks and Lori Laake. All 3 were older, wiser, and so much further in life than myself. I was in my early 20s and "knew" everything there was to know about life. These women slowed me down and became amazing friends. They were not afraid to speak the truth. As I age, I also have my amazing B.F.F.s; the ones walking and learning with me,like the ones in the picture above! I'm so blessed. However, I've lived and also felt the unwanting sting of betrayal in friendships. I've had friends drop off the face of the earth without reason; friends that I would have done anything for, friends that I LOVED! And yet, I cannot control them; I can only be the person and friend to all that HE has called me to be. One day at a time............

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends." spoken by the One who did it! Jn. 15:13 We should strive to work up to this standard. Seems impossible but it's not.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Twinkle in Her Eye

Looking back through my journal of 1000 Gifts, inspired by Ann Voskamp, I realized how amazing our lives can be if we just allow His work and His plan to take root in our lives. Some say a picture is worth a 1000 words and I would concur; and if you look close enough you might see the twinkle in Mia's eyes. Read below to see a part of 1000 gifts that have been give to me. (She being one of them!)

#7 Thankful for Mia's naturally loud and jovial, booming voice (even when it's supposed to be a quiet or serene moment)

#42 Gasping for breath as I try and keep up with Mia on her bike and hearing the loud "wheee.........this is incredible.......whee" as she descends down miniature hills that feel like mountains to her.

#38 Watching Mia smell her freshly washed babies and blankies and then look up at me, with huge blue pools of eyes and small splashes of dimples and thank me.

#43 Hearing Kennedy remind me that she thinks I'm the best mom in the whole world and knowing that I'm full of flaws

#4 Finding Kennedy's dress up clothes scattered all over the floor and feeling the gentle tug at my heart as I thank God that she is still a little girl.

#14 Watching Kennedy 'mother' her dolls and play house. She will turn out to be a compassionate mother one day.

#22 Seeing Lincoln come bustling out of his room with great approval shining all over his face because he has managed to pull on 3 layers of clothes and has successfully dressed himself

#1 Listening to Lincoln's sweet underdeveloped speech as he sings "you are my sunshine"......while he is in timeout and hopes it will cause early release for him

#29 knowing that Lincoln begs me to tell him another batman story at bedtime every night.

#30 Watching all 3 kids and the dog tackle daddy on the floor with complete freedom to tickle, poke, and kiss at all measures. Hearing the unrelenting laughter and short breaths of instant happiness squeak loudly and continue to resonate in our home.

#35 Witnessing a broken and beat down man pick himself up and continue to become the father, husband, friend, and pastor that he was created to become.

#7 Hearing and feeling words "I forgive you" whispered from each and every family member as I continue to roll out my flaws.

So there you have it......a snapshot of things I'm thankful for in 2011. Keeping this journal has been one of the best investments ever. Writing in it is like therapy for the soul and it reminds me of how much God has given to me and reminds me too of how much I have to lose. I cherish each one of these gifts each day, knowing that they are not guaranteed or even deserved each day. Any gift can be lost or taken back at any moment. I hold these gifts, not because they are soley mine but are because they are given to me to borrow and take care of until further notice.