Happy Thursday friends.
it's good to see a schedule again after a few weeks of craziness around here.
College kids are home for the Summer and have found their spaces back on the Ponderosa.
And this Mom is getting better at letting them do their own laundry and buy their own Little Debbies.
Ahhhh, Summer will be grand.
With most of the crew 16+, it's like a big house of friends more than a heap children to wrestle into chores.
Meals roar with laughter and inside jokes and less about who was supposed to get the napkins and which side the fork goes on.
And it's fantastic.
Here's the thing.
When you have a whole herd of friends, there's bound to be times of sharpening, times of apologizing and even times of someone running to hide.
Usually more of the apologizing due to little sleep, little coffee, and little Bible reading and heeding.
And I get that.
Friendship has always been muddy for me.
Me who seems to laugh 24 hours a day to you three readers.
Me who loves a good chat and to connect, can make a real mess of this art called Friendship.
I've learned that when you aren't comfortable in who God has created you to be, your friendships will inevitably be wonky.
I think this is a wonderful reason why the Lord reminds us in Proverbs 18:24- "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Be friendly, sure, be a great, amazing, wonderful friend.
And when you mess things up, I am here stuck to you like glue to help you remember who I made you to be.
A long while back someone called me to ask me to go with her to take ladies to a ladies meeting.
"Go WITH you to take YOUR ladies?" I asked a bit dumbfounded.
Yes was the response. I need you to go so my ladies will have a good time.
I guess I should have been honored to be the entertainment, but I was a bit stunned to tell you the truth.
I'm not sure why I went, but to help this friend, but came home exhausted and hurt.
I DID keep the laughs coming, helped them through each task at this ladies event and made a pretty good "Tour Guide, " if I do say so myself.
But when I got into my vehicle to drive home, I realized that I will never do that again.
My "Tour Guiding" days were over.
This was an unhealthy friendship from the get-go and they just got going.
I now realize they were insecure in their role, I was insecure in mine and it was not a good situation for either of us.
Our friendship didn't stick around but the Lord stuck close beside.
On the flip side, I have been the needy friend sitting by a lovely pond telling my friend that I needed her to do more to support me. I needed cards and phone calls and reassurances.
It sure was sticky.
I shudder to remember this whole thing and sure am glad that the Lord stuck beside me though my sticky stinky-ness filled with such insecurities that only He could fill.
See what I mean about everything being uncomfortable when you're not comfortable in your own skin?
Jude 1:21a tells us- "Keep yourselves in the love of God, "
If we keep OURSELVES in the love of God, we can love other's well.
I've written so many times I feel, on the two friends who loved me out of oppressive works-sanctification and back into the arms of God.
They were friends who were so rooted and grounded in love as in Ephesians 3:17-19-
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
Their roots were so deep that they could withstand my doubt, despair and depression.
And now that I have roots to match their own, I can be the right kind of friend too.
I remember the exact season of my life when I realized that I need to be the giver.
MANY many many many times I have taken from a friendship.
I took my value from them,
my ability to be a good wife and mother,
my own stability,
and my own feeling of being acceptable.
Sadly, I have muddied more friendships I believe, then I have nurtured and grown.
Just as in early marriage, I went looking for happiness with selfishness leading the charge, and it sure was a mess.
Amazingly I have friends who have stuck with me through high school, college and even Junior High, forgiving my failures and loving me in spite of my foibles.
They too, have grown and I think when you have friends who saw the good God was going to do IN you and you saw the same in THEM, it's an unshakable bond.
I remember a very specific conversation where I let my guard down and admitted one of my very worst fears to a friend.
I told her that when things get "hairy," when I say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing or they say the wrong thing and hurts begin to fly, I fly to coop.
I excuse myself and try to forget that ever happened.
She listened and admitted, "I will at some time do the wrong thing. But I can apologize for the wrong thing- make it right, and then I can move on."
My non-confrontational lobe in my brain just about exploded when she said those words that I have now memorized and played on "repeat" when needed.
Like a really good Peach Cobbler recipe, this is one to memorize friends. Trust me.
Expecting perfectionism in any friendship is lighting the match and waiting for the explosion.
I WILL make a mess. I still say the wrong thing. And I can ask for forgiveness and make it right. And the friendship can just keep on sailing.
This sounds easy-peasy lemon-squeezy, but take a break and go get some tea or coffee.
Try to remember the last time YOU said the hard words, did the work to make something right instead of just hiding/avoiding.
I've got allll afternoon.
(cue elevator music)
I get it.
It's crazy hard.
I've sent flowers states away to apologize for not saying sorry so many years later I don't even remember what all went up in smoke.
But I can reach out.
I can say, "Please forgive me if I have done something wrong."
I've even done things to try to help in the wrong way and hurt feelings and instead of running, sat on the side of a trail and apologized for doing things the wrong way even though I loved them like crazy and still do.
Here's the thing.
We can let the devil tell us that we are terrible at friendships.
We can let him freeze us into never getting a coffee with someone to get to know them better because it's all fun and games until something is misunderstood.
We can allow him to keep us isolated and not knowing the joy of shared laughter or the encouragement from someone else in the "Throws" of child raising,
Or we can tell him, "YOU'RE RIGHT! I TOTALLY STINK AT THIS. I CAN'T REMEMBER A BIRTHDAY TO SAVE MY LIFE AND I WILL EAT THE CANDY I MEANT TO GIVE TO A FRIEND BECAUSE I AM HUNGRY."
Take the stick he has been beating you down with out of his grubby mitts and throw it into the pit he comes from.
Tell him, "I will make a mess, I will apologize for said mess, and I will move on."
"No friendship is perfect, all of them need HEAPS of grace and forgiveness and that's just okay with you."
And then write the card.
Send the text.
Send the roses if the Holy Spirit prompts.
Because while you are so worried about being the BFF, the other side of the coin is that that your friend isn't perfect either.
Did you catch that?
Satan has this way of getting us to magnify all of our own weakness and fault lines that we think we are the weak link and everyone around us is perfection.
Au Contraire Mon Ami.
Romans 3:10-12- As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Some days we muddle through here on the Ponderosa, explaining that tears are because "you hurt their feelings," or "you made them feel badly by what you did."
Most days we rehearse how to make things right with their sibling, their FRIEND.
Yep. We over here in "Friendship bootcamp."
Some are still on KP duty and some have to do laps, but everyone has joined the ranks to be a good friend.
And what better place to learn these things than Home Sweet Home.