There is a Michael W. Smith song "Friends" that I listened to often while I was in college. The chorus is "And Friends are friends forever, If the Lord's the Lord of them, And I friend will not say never , 'Cause the welcome will not end..."
Have you ever met someone and felt and instant connection? I have a few times. College was my first real experience like that. I was able to make friends fairly easily throughout my childhood, but I rarely let anyone close. If I brought someone home, they were picked apart when they left. College allowed me the freedom to be friends with anyone, no matter who they were or where they came from.
Robin was my sister by another Mother. We could finish the other's thoughts before they even really had them. We knew each other instantly. Where you saw one, the other was not far behind. We hung out at the Baptist Campus Ministry building most of the time. We were having a one word conversation one night when someone else chimed in. We met our brother, Thom, that night. The love I felt for the two of them was more than friendship. We were kindred spirits. We had a bond that was strong. The three of us were able to share our lives together without judgement. I broke the bond when I left college. (Probably more like when I gave them up for a guy.)
Have not had that kind of friendship since. Well, that is not entirely true. When I was at The Church of Brook Hills, several of the ladies of our community group were my friends and a couple I had a strong connection with. I still enjoy their company whenever we can get together--which is not as often as I would like. These ladies were my support group when my parents died. They carried me through one of the hardest times of my life. Going to bed and staying there was not an option with them. And they were sneaky too. One of these ladies wanted to do my laundry, so I left access to the house for her when I left early that morning to go "Home". I hated the drive to my parents' but it became routine because of how long it took me to go through everything. When I got home that night, I cried. Not one, but several ladies came and cleaned my entire house. I mean EVERY ROOM! Talk about loving on me in a way that God would have approved. I still tear up just thinking about it. Words to this day fail me in expressing how much that day meant to me. It made changing churches so difficult, but I knew God was leading me elsewhere.
I have friends at church, friends from my daughter's old school, with the exception of maybe three, I rarely spend any time with my friends. This past May, I had the opportunity to meet a group f ladies. I only knew one in the group. The first night I met another sister. I felt connected to her almost immediately. We are, as they say, the same kind of crazy. She is an amazing writer. She has a beauty that makes the Proverbs 31 Woman seem dull. She encourages me in my writing, which is strange to me because in comparison, she is far more gifted.
I believe God gives us gifts in the form of animals who love us and give us comfort. But He also gives us people for our seasons. Some people stay with us to the end, while others are only here for a brief moment. We need friends, someone who is more than a quick lunch or text. Woment need other women to love them like no one else can. We need to support each other. We need to make time to develop the kind of relationships that bring meaning to our lives. We need the kind of relationship Christ had with John. John 19:26 "Then when Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to Him mother, 'Woman, behold your son.'" Christ gave His mother over to the disciple He loved, John. He spent three years cultivating relationships with his disciples. Peter was whom He chose to build the church (John 21:17). John he called beloved. Remarkable.
Invest in each other, build lasting relationships. Ecclesiates 4:9-10 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" I love this verse because it shows us a true friend. Gives us hope for that kind of friendship.
Thanks Robin, Thom, Kristen, Sheryl, Mary Lee, Alison, Pansy, Diane, Bethany, Kim, and Lindsey--you all are part of my heart. You have given me support when I have needed it. Have loved without judgement, laughed and cried without caring who was around. I love each of you.