Friends Are Like Lace

20160124_164334When I was twelve I went on a school trip from South Wales to Switzerland. The journey was mainly by coach except for the short trip by ferry across the English Channel. We landed in France, making our way to Luxemburg then on to Switzerland. Some aspects of this adventure have been lost with time, some remain a little blurry and some are still clear as a bell. I don’t have any photos to look back on due to the fact that my film got exposed to light while trying to change the roll…yeah, it was that long ago.

One clear memory I have was on the return journey. We stayed overnight at Burges, in Belgium before embarking the ferry next morning to cross the English Channel. As we toured the streets of this ancient town I noticed two women doing craftwork outside a store. On further inspection I came to learn they were making handmade lace using multiple bobbins. I was fascinated at the quickness of their hands as they crossed one bobbin over the next to form an intricate pattern. Fascinated also that they didn’t get the bobbins tangled up.

Friendship reminds me of lace, it takes time and effort, one interaction at a time, one conversation at a time. It’s only as we allow ourselves to get close to each other do we become woven together into a beautiful pattern. Some people just seem to be instant friends as if they have always known each other, but even for them, true lasting friendship will only be woven through time spent with each other, talking, laughing, crying, helping, singing, dancing, praying and …. (fill in the blank) you get the picture.

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, rushing from one appointment to the next exchanging social pleasantries with those in our path. I get it, we are not going to have a deep relationship with everyone we meet.  There are people who we know by face, and name when we can recall it. We greet each other with a warm smile, maybe a little small talk, asking “How’s the family?” not really expecting more than a “Oh yeah, great thanks ” as a reply. We move on to our next task in hand forever busy with things to do and somewhere down the line it hits us that we don’t have close friends, not even one.

I was with a group of women recently and one women in the group told how her two daughters had prayed for her to have friends. This woman is not a shrinking violet, she is warm and friendly with all the charm of a southern belle. She was always pleasant to those around her, yet still she felt disconnected…friendly to all but close friend to none.

So her daughters prayed, asking God to bring not just one friend but a group of friends into their mother’s life.

That was about five ago, slowly one by one the Lord connected her to other women in her church. Today, she has a handful of women that she calls, and they call her, close friend. Each woman bringing a different thread to their friendship, all of them vital to the overall pattern. I think God woven friendships are beautiful because they are created in love.

Want God woven friendships? Then pray. Ask Him just like the two daughters did.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13 NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Umbrella of Love

20160107_105251    Early December I received a coupon in the mail from a major retailer, it was worth ten dollars and no further purchase was needed in order to use the coupon. The store in question is in a shopping center a little way out of town, not somewhere I visit often. Still, I put the coupon in my purse knowing I would probably visit the area before the expiry date on the coupon.

Just a few days later I received an invitation to attend a birthday luncheon in honor of a friend. Most of us enjoy a celebration and I’m no different. I quickly responded to the organizer of the gathering with a “Yes. Count me in.”

I take too long deciding what to eat when presented with a new menu. When possible I go online and view what is offered beforehand.  I’m glad I did, I knew the restaurant was in the same shopping center as the store who sent me the ten dollar coupon. What I didn’t realize was they were right next door to each other.

About sixteen women ages ranging from late twenties to early seventies gathered to celebrate the birthday girl . After rearranging tables and chairs into one large dinning table, we took our seats. I ordered my predetermined online choice of chicken and salad and I was not disappointed.

When eating was done it was time for the birthday girl to open presents, and as she did each giver in turn described what the birthday girl meant to them. I listened as each one told stories of how she had been there for them, prayed with them, accepted them. It was truly a beautiful part of the celebration.

The celebration came to an end and we each went our separate way. Now you know I went straight next door to spend my ten dollar coupon. I browsed through their various displays of clothes, jewelry and purses all beautifully arranged according to their color. Oh my, it did look quiet charming, so much to choose from. I wandered to the far end of the store and that is when I saw the polka dot umbrella. Intrigued I picked it up and opened it, wanting to test the coverage it gave.

It was then as I held the umbrella over me I thought about how my friend, the birthday girl, had covered the ladies with comfort, prayer and words of wisdom when needed. In essence she formed an umbrella of love, when they were exposed to a storm.

Sometimes it’s just raining and sometimes the storm is fierce but either way, how wonderful not to have to face it alone. How comforting to know we can turn to sisters-in-the-Lord who will pray with us and for us during the hard times.

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that are my disciples-when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13 Message Bible

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I want to be an umbrella of God’s love. How about you?