Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Last week, we had the extraordinary privilege of hosting one of our dearest friends for the week.  She flew out from California to visit us, to see our life here, and see Nashville for the first time.  

After a rough several weeks of "breaking in" our new home, it was refreshing to open up our doors to a familiar face who was genuinely there just to love on us.  Her presence offered a tangible reminder to me about the importance of friendship.

Friendships are an imperative gift in this life.  I use the word imperative on purpose; it's first definition being: "absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable" which I think friendship is all of.  I suppose one could try to avoid it, but we all need someone eventually, so the strangest of humans still end up befriending someone in this life.  

It is unavoidable, it is absolutely necessary, and a requirement for truly experiencing life.  Even Jesus (who, we can all argue didn't require anything from this world) had friendships.  And, while Jesus may not have "needed" friends, He used friendships to show us the utmost of applicable lessons:  how to BE a friend.

Here comes the bumper sticker:  Jesus is my BFF.  Right, well, something like that, sure.  I may say that tongue-in-cheek, but the reality of it is actually true if you can cut through all the cotton candy, I'm-only-here-to-sugar-coat-life-for-you, fluffiness that we've all-too-often whittled friendships down to these days.  

Let's break it down for a second.  I'm not talking about friendships that share half-broken heart necklaces, or friendships that just post a smiley face emoticon as a facebook comment, or friendships that re-tweet verses at you when they don't have the words.  Those are all fine - those are sometimes necessary too (hey - I'm the first gal that will hug you when I get a RT!) 
But, this past week I've experienced something far deeper than cotton candy friendship.  I've been loved on by some true Jesus-oozing-out-of-their-pores people who are just being honest and vulnerable and loving the only way they know how: as Jesus did.  
Because, sometimes you don't have the words to tell your discouraged friends, so you just say "I love you, I'm praying for you." Sometimes you can't find the right emoticon on your iPhone that says "Sorry life sucks for you, but God is bigger" and so instead you get honest and just let them know "You are not alone in this".  I know, because those are the hugs from near and far that I got this last week.

Friends, all of you, you matter to me.  Some of you have sat with me as I cried on your shoulders.  Some of you are reading my blog for the first time (Welcome! Grab a Kleenex and a latte!) Some of you emailed me your own prayer requests, and I want you to know that I LOVE THAT.  I will also let you know that I count it an incredible privilege to pray and speak to Jesus on your behalf.  Please, always know that I genuinely answer all emails and will lift up your burdens to God just as you may have done for me.  

We are not alone in this.  Neither are you.

This last week I got texts, cards, emails, and real-life hugs.  People sent me verses and words that JESUS spoke aloud, and I felt them in my heart as if it were Him speaking them right in front of me.  I received encouragement from far and wide, genuine reminders that the body of Christ is real and ACTIVE and that this battle of life this side of heaven is far more effective when we join together.  

I'm reaching out to you.  I'm writing to you.  I'm SO GRATEFUL for you.  

You matter.

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