“So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:7-8 NLT
Yesterday I was talking about a good friend of mine, and the other person said, “That’s wonderful. It is so hard to find a good friend.” I was taken aback by her statement. I honestly have not found this to be true for me. God has overwhelmingly blessed me time and time again with amazing friends. My high school crew from church was rock solid. I still have so much love in my heart for my college roommates from 20 years ago. I worked with some amazing people in Springfield who still hold such a special place in my heart. My first few years in Waverly were hard because I held back. Once I jumped in, I was just floored that so many deep, spiritual, Jesus-loving people were all at this amazing church I was blessed to serve. I have met lifelong friends here, friends who have walked with me for 10-15 years now (much longer than I told God I wanted to live here).
This summer, I feel like God has been giving me songs to soak in. This week’s song is “Defender.” A couple of days ago, I opened my email to see the name of one of the best people I know. She just wanted to share this song with me. Yep, the same song I was already living in. How awesome is God, that from 8 hours away, He puts this song into the heart of my soul sister, and she sends me a message reminding me that God is with me and fighting for me when I feel weak.
This stage of life for over 8 years, staying home with kids, has looked so much different than I ever expected. So much harder, so lonely and isolating. I didn’t realize that, as a pastor on staff at a wonderful church, I was sure used to a lot of encouragement, support, a lot of validation in my ministry and the work to which I had committed myself. I had no idea how stepping away from that into full-time raising kids for a few years would test my faith and foundation more than I had thought possible. At the same time, when I feel woefully inadequate for some of the challenges God has placed before me, I have been gifted some amazing friends to cry, pray, hug, and carry me when I couldn’t walk on my own.
Jesus, You are so good to me, far better than I deserve. I sometimes feel guilty for the abundance of lifelong friends you have placed in my life. Thank You for knowing that life is hard, harder than we expect many times, and we need to lift each other up and allow ourselves to be lifted as well. Thank You for the reminders this week that I am not alone, You have not forgotten me here. Praise Your beautiful Name.
If you are looking for a good friend, send me an email. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the One who does.
I’m sharing this version that I listen to whenever I can. The second song in the medley is another one I have soaked in the past month or so.