It’s not uncommon for you to hear me speak highly of my friends. When I boast on social media about my friendships, it’s truly a genuine overflow of my heart, of the rich friendship that God has blessed me with.
I’ve been abundantly blessed with a handful of beautiful women who know me – the real me – and who LOVE me. And, in return, I know them, and I LOVE them.
We’ve laughed uncontrollably, (yep, sometimes till we’ve peed a little… okay, I’ll speak for myself…), we’ve danced like fools in our living rooms, kitchens, and yes, even out in public. We’ve put on fashion shows for purely our own enjoyment (although I’m sure some onlookers have had a laugh at our expense).
We’ve had lip sync battles, impromptu songwriting duets, beauty pageants – even though we know going into it that “Peaches” from Georgia will always be crowned the winner.
We’ve sent ridiculous Snap Chats, video messages and text messages to one another using entirely the heartfelt language of emoticons. We’ve gone on vacations together, double dates together, wedding dress shopping together and have spent hours and hours simply being present, in the moment, and enjoying one another’s friendship.
We’ve also seen each other at our very worst. In our darkest seasons of hurt, pain, depression and shame, we’ve stayed close in the darkness, clinging to the hope that dawn would someday break, casting a warm glow over the broken pieces of our souls, filling us with the strength to rise again, rebuild with what pieces are necessary for our future, and to willingly leave behind the pieces that have no place being carried into our destiny.
We’ve learned what each other needs to hear when discouragement and doubt set in, and we’ve determined to be one another’s cheerleaders. We pray for each other, send Scriptures to each other, hold each other accountable to new habits and lifestyle choices. We take the promises the Lord has spoken into each other’s hearts as seriously as if they were our own, and we pray, fast, speak hope and remind each other of the days yet to come.
One of the Lord’s clearest signs to me of His overwhelming love truly is my friendships. They are worth fighting for, defending and guarding at all cost. More on that here.
I recently celebrated a birthday and my friends asked me how I wanted to celebrate. My response was simple and sincere.
“I want you to pray for me… and then I want to have a dance party.”
So that’s what they planned. I was so blessed and encouraged as each of them prayed words of hope, truth and grace over my life. They expressed their own heart of love toward me as well as painted a picture through their words of how they saw God’s heart towards me.
They prayed for so many specific details that only the Lord would have known I needed to hear. They prayed specific answers to questions I had asked Jesus about only days before. It was truly the most beautiful way to celebrate my birthday.
They presented me with a gift that night that blew me away. Being close friends, I have shared different dreams that are in my heart with them. Knowing these dreams, they designed and hand crafted a “Dream Tree”.
(A mason jar with tree branches that had been spray painted gold… everything is better when it’s gold!). Tied to some of the branches were letters that hid a secret message that needed to be deciphered, that spoke specifically to one of the dreams that is in my heart for my future. Attached to the branches, folded like birds perched in a tree, was money. Symbolic of their financial investment – a seed – into my future.
The creativity, symbolism and financial contribution in this gift is so precious to me.
Friends are a gift from the Lord. And He uses them regularly to remind me that I am loved.