There are some friends that we started out life with. Started out having our babies. Started being grown-ups.
We were all really close for 4 or 5 years, and then our family moved away. We didn't lose touch, but things were different. We got to see them several times a year...maybe not all at the same time, but in different groups...a girl's lunch, the guys playing golf, couples on a trip, meeting for dinner, someone having a baby.
So fast forward 25 years or so. This group of friends...our kids are in college, med school, nursing school, getting married, starting families of their own. We are taking care of aging parents. Some of our parents have passed away. Life is busy...and hard. And good. And sad.
I love the internet. It definitely has it's share of pitfalls and stumbling blocks, but in recent years, it has been such a blessing in my life. It keeps me in touch with my friends. I keeps me in touch with my family, since none of them live close to us.
We were all together at a wedding a couple of weeks ago. It was so great to see everyone. Right after that, we got a group text from one of the friends. She said that seeing everyone at the wedding made her want MORE of that...so she had set up a time for us to meet for lunch.
I wasn't sure I could go. It was going to be on a day that I did not take Joshua to LR. Altho Holly had the week off, I didn't want to ask her to watch Joshua. Aaron had taken off a few days, and I didn't want to ask her to give up any time with him. So I didn't even tell her about it. Of course, I knew she would do it...that's not the point. And the other thing was that I didn't want to make a special trip into LR on a day when I typically don't drive...AND we had an away football game that night.
We enjoy our Mondays around here, Joshua and I. Usually it's a time to unwind and regroup after a busy weekend. Laundry, wash sheets, plan meals, go to the grocery. I was still in my pajamas when Holly called. She and Aaron were going down to see the grandparents for the day, and wanted to know if Joshua could come. She asked him if he wanted to go and he did...and he started getting ready. I was looking at the clock...wondering.
Ii still didn't say anything to Holly, but when they came pretty quickly and picked up Joshua...I knew that I would be able to make lunch. I threw on some clothes...and flew out the door. I arrived at the restaurant and didn't see any of my friends' cars, so I got out my phone to check my messages. I re-read the message from my friend, making sure I was at the right restaurant at the right time. And...I was at the right place...but I was 30 minutes early! Hahahaha! I guess I was a little over-excited! But I had time to sit in the car and pray...and I prayed for my friends as they were getting ready to arrive, and for my husband and children and what I knew they had going on that day...and for what I didn't know.
The rest of my friends arrived at about the same time. We got a table out on the patio part of the restaurant. One of the friends usually takes charge of the conversation, and she did that again...and went around and encouraged each of us to tell about what was going on with us and in our families. It was so refreshing for me. Honestly, I would've been comfortable not sharing anything about me...and just hearing about the other girls and their lives. But I did share...about Jim, and all the kids, and about our move and life in our new town. I wasn't going to share about what had happened in my Sunday School class the day before, but I was just so shell-shocked about it...and my heart was so tender.
I love that my friends were as horrified as I was at the story. I love that they listened to me with compassion and without judgment for the person who had made those comments. And then they loved on me with their words...and said the nicest things about Joshua. It was so encouraging, and they will never know how much it meant to me.
I am so thankful that God is in the details. He arranged for Joshua to be taken care of at the exact time I would need to be gone. He worked the timing of this lunch out for exactly when He knew I would need it. And I needed it that day, desperately.
And even tho the lunch that day wasn't about me...God met me there, and used my friends to minister to me and my hurting heart.
I started life with this group of friends, and God has blessed us with many more along the way. If possible, I'd like to finish up life with all of them as well.
"...encourage each other..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11