The pastor of our church and his family were given a difficult burden to carry last year. Over the course of several months, many Sundays we were reminded how important the church family and other close friends were for them during their tough time. One phrase my pastor repeatedly used was "garden friends," which refers to Jesus' time in the Garden of Gethsemane when he took Peter, James, and John with him after having told the other disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." (Matthew 26:36-37)
Though there were 11 disciples (friends) with Jesus at this time (Judas had already left to betray Him), He only asked 3 of them to go with Him in those final moments before His arrest. These were Jesus' closest friends.
As women I think we often long for these close friendships. We want to have someone to understand us; someone we can cry and laugh with; someone who we can call in the middle of the night when needed--not that any of our earthly relationships are perfect, but they are important. We long for Proverbs 17:17 to be true in our own lives: A friend loves at all times.
But some of us (myself definitely included) let ourselves get busy, and we don't nurture these God-given friendships. We let ourselves get caught up in our children, our husband/boyfriend, our work, our school, and we let our friendships slip away.
I had a friend call this week who I hadn't spoken to (other than via Facebook or e-mail) in probably a year. Listening to her sweet voice reminded me of what a precious prayer partner and friend she is to me, and it left me longing for more "stolen moments" to keep up with her. It reminded me how God had blessed me with that friendship and how I was missing out by letting it fade away.
In light of all of these thoughts, I have a birthday in a few days, and I have decided not to let it just pass by. I have invited some of my favorite people, definitely including some of my "garden friends," to go to dinner with me to celebrate--not to celebrate me, but to celebrate our friendship.
I am thankful for God's reminder to me this week: Friends are a gift from God, and I hope all of you are able to celebrate yours today.
*And if any of you are longing for those friendships, but don't know where to turn, here are some helpful links:
MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)
Women's Bible studies (at FBC McKinney)