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Sunday, July 15, 2018

What is a Friend?

If you look up the definition of the word friend, this is what you might find:

a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

Over the years I've been blessed with many, many wonderful friends. My first friend was my older sister Kim. Just two and a half years older than me, there's no telling how many hours we spent together playing, reading, arguing, loving. We were lucky to have two little girls our age live across the street and another one next door, despite living out in the country on a dirt road. I cherish sweet memories of summer days spent with Paula, Valerie, and Lori, riding our bikes, having water gun fights, and sleeping under the stars. 

When I started school, God blessed me with a friend who would be a rock in my adolescent life. Kathy and I were in the same 4th grade class and became best friends. We lost touch during our junior high years when we went to different schools, but once we hit high school the friendship was reborn and continues to this day. She even put up with me as a roommate our freshman year of college. 

After I transferred to a college in Oklahoma, where I knew not a living soul, I had to trust God to bring me some new friends. He did, in a mighty way. My roommate Sherry and our neighbor in the dorm, Susie, remain two of my dearest friends. We try to get together for a girls' weekend every few years, and oh, the wild and crazy fun we have!! To top it off, each of us married tall, handsome men named Brian! Another college friend, Teri, and I shared our first apartment together. I can't even tell you how many boxes of mac and cheese we ate that year! 

Of course, the greatest blessing that came out of my college days is meeting my bestest friend and love of my life. Brian and I have been together 34+ years. I can't imagine life without his solid strength and love. Now that we're empty nesters, we've enjoyed becoming a couple again. Our Friday night burger date is a highlight of our week. He truly is my best friend and favorite human on the planet!

Some of the sweetest friendships I've made as an adult have come from my church family. We have friends we've known for 30 or more years and still enjoy hanging out with them. Our Texas gang --Tim, Terri, Eddie, Rhonda, Bob and Tamera-- will always be our treasured friends despite the distance that separates us now. When we moved, we knew making new friends was a must. Our co-worker Brenda has become a dear friend, and we're gradually meeting folks at church. I also cherish the friends I've made in the writing world, like Pam and Paula. 

So THANK YOU, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHOM I'VE CALLED FRIEND! I hope I've been a good friend to you too!

But looking back at all the friendships I've enjoyed over the years, I realize there is one that is far different from all the others. It's a friendship that began before I was born, really. This Friend will never, ever let me down. He will never grow weary of my presence, he'll forgive my mistakes immediately, and he'll always be available when I call. He listens to me whine, cry, laugh, and sing. He picks me up when I fall and carries me when I'm too weary to walk. When I'm afraid, he's right there, ready to comfort and do battle if necessary. He even thinks I'm cool enough to be his neighbor and has prepared an eternal home for me. In fact, he loves me so much he willingly took the punishment for my ugly, horrid, despicable sin. He literally died for me. Would any of the friends I've listed above do that for me? Would I do that for them? If we're being honest, I believe the answer to both questions is no. 

Is Jesus your friend? He can be. He wants to be! One of my favorite hymns growing up was "What a Friend." It may seem a bit old fashioned to some, but the words of it are still as true as the day it was written. I'll leave you with it and pray that each person who pops into the blog today will know Jesus as their very best friend! 

Blessings,
~Michelle 



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