I must tell you, I have great friends. Really great friends who love me and love my family. I have friends who pray for me, friends who laugh with me and even friends who laugh at me. But, throughout this deployment, I have been given the opportunity to see how friends react to a long-term, stressful situation. I had friends who came out in full force last year and now dwindled. I have friends who will babysit my daughter and even will keep her overnight. I have friends who don't know what to say. I have many friends who offered to help and have never followed through. I have friends who are very concerned about me and how I am doing when they see me, but are too busy to call. I have friends who take my daughter and even will keep her overnight (can you tell how meaningful this one is to a tired mom?). I have friends who pray for me. I even have made friends who are going through this same experience with me. I have experienced many times of gratitude and some disappointment throughout the past 17 months. I am so thankful that I understand that as humans we are going to let each other down. I don't think it is personal when a friend disappoints me, but it often feels very much so. I know we do the best we can and that we all fall short because of our human nature. I truly believe that my God is the only one who will never let me down. Now, I am not saying that I have not had some big, fat pity parties over disappointments. Yes, I have indeed. In fact, I am even battling with one this evening. But, I know that the enemy likes to use that tactic to push me into a defeated attitude. In our message at church this morning, the pastor challenged us to "stand in victory" over the one who tries to defeat us. So, I am ready to dust off the disappointments and stand.
I have to brag a little about the Racer here. She has really shown me what a friend is. She goes so far beyond the typical friend. She really puts feet to her friendship. Let me give you a few examples (or 12):
- She prays for my family.
- I can always count on her to babysit and she always acts like it is a pure joy to do so. And she does offer to keep her overnight :)
- She asks me about my husband.
- She is the only one who has volunteered to do child care for our monthly Family Group meetings and she puts up with the udder chaos and sweltering heat in the armory all so we moms can have a couple of hours to meet and not worry about our children. And she comes every month!
- She loves those kids (behavior problems, crying and all) and she prays for them.
- She has spent hours and hours organizing my house when I have become too overwhelmed to do it. She offers to do this so willingly knowing that organization is not her first, or her second, or her 22nd love.
- She encourages me in all I do.
- She laughs with me and at me.
- She lets me laugh at her.
- She doesn't judge me. She takes me right where I am each and every time.
- She challenges me to be a better wife, mom and friend just by living her life.
- And most of all, she lets me in to her life too. It is all well and good to have friends who are there to help you through a crisis. But, when the crisis is over, it lacks depth. The Racer is not that friend. She trusts me enough to be vulnerable. She invites me into her family and allows me the opportunity to pray for her, her husband and her beautiful children.
Thank you Lord for the friends you have brought into my life. I know that each and every one has a purpose. I know that each encounter provides me opportunity for me to know You better. Thank you for friends who sharpen me. Thank you for Your hands and feet extended to me during this trying time. May I never forget the lessons I have learned about friendship and may I use them to be a better friend tomorrow. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.