For example, surface friends look like a loosely knit infinity scarf, you know those arm knitted ones you can do in just one hour. These friends we have kept at arm's length. We have carefully chosen what version of our lives they will see. They only know the FaceBook version who we are, the happy highlights with just a little bit of the bad stuff sprinkled in to keep it "realistic." We really don't believe that they want to know the negative stuff, so we don't share it.
Another type of friend is like those extra blankets you bring out when the temperature drops. Then we have those friends who are special to us when we see them, but they are really "out of sight out of mind." We enjoyed our time together when we were around each other, perhaps in the same Bible class or the same social circle/neighborhood/school PTA. However, now that one of us has moved away, we really haven't put forth any effort to keep involved in each other's life. Oh, if our kids have a fundraiser, we might use them as an extra address to get to the next level, but we aren't really trying to keep the friendship going. We are just using the friendship to fill a need.
The best type of friendships are like those colorful patchwork quilts that tell stories. These friendships take time to develop, and they are special to us even when it isn't cold enough to need to wrap ourselves in them. Often these quilts/friendships are made up of colors and patches that aren't even our favorite colors, but when added to the whole, they add contrast, giving the end result an artistic feel. This friendship is true and rich. Nothing is hidden. Hearts are bared and shared freely, because they are safe here.
Thank You, Lord, for this gift!
I don't know what kind of friends you have. Mine are pretty brave, because I seem to drag them into crazy adventures...er...schemes, some might call them, in the name of Jesus. In my defense, you need to know that it is never my intention to do this to anyone. It just seems to happen. In addition, you need to know that I join in their Jesus adventures as well. Some of these adventurous schemes have been huge successes, and some have been adventures in learning humility. (I hate it when I bring others into my adventures in learning humility. That is sooooo embarrassing!)
My friends are also just plain AMAZING! They love with a generosity that humbles me. At my 40th birthday, some of these crazy women shamelessly surprised me with t-shirts that read "Amy Bacon Fan Club." I was honored beyond belief, laughing out loud literally as I read each woman's designated position on the fictional Executive Board from President to Sergeant at Arms. Recently, these same women and a new sweet friend helped throw my daughter's senior tea as well as my first book signing.
Do you know how I know these ladies are truly my friends? They are my friends not only at the parties but also on the days of difficulties.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
I have leaned on my friends the past year probably more than I should have. They have sifted through the remains of a fire with me, held my hand during surgeries of a loved one, and just listened to my ranting. On every occasion, these ladies have prayed with me. I knew that, whether here or across the country, I could pick up the phone and pour out my heart without judgment, knowing that prayers would be lifted up and that confidences would be kept.
What kind of friend are you? I've been pondering this question lately because I have had opportunities to speak about the subject recently. As I stood there, pontificating about what kind of friend pleases God, it hit me that although my friends certainly please Him with how they love and serve me, I'm not so sure that I'm as quick to love and to serve them. God has certainly blessed me with godly friends who love Him (and me more than I deserve) with a sacrificial love.
I am even more thankful for the friendship lessons taught by our Jesus, our perfect Friend! He loves us and sticks by us - no matter what we do! Jesus invites us to be His friends too. Isn't that so upside-down? The Son of God wants to be your friend and my friend! He gave up so much and asks so little of us for this friendship to take place.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:13-15 (NIV)
As much as I want to be a good friend to my friends on this earth, I want so much more to be a good friend to Jesus! Let us all pledge to search in the Scriptures to find out exactly what Jesus commands and then to do them. Oh, what a beautiful friendship quilt we could create!