The beautiful scene above was the setting for the “Ladies’ Day” I was privileged to speak at last weekend in the UP. The church has a very adequate and comfy mission house where we lodged. The only thing between me and the church was this snowy parking lot.
I had the blessing of having a dear friend travel with me. She graciously volunteered to accompany me on this adventure. When I questioned if she was sure she wanted to make that sacrifice, she said, “What are friends for?!”
What a joy to have someone literally “at my elbow” all weekend! We navigated the airports, meal decisions, hilarious situations in the airports, bumps in the presentation of my lessons, AND this parking lot, side by side. She’s a decade+ younger than me, so she would link her arm in mine as we maneuvered across the parking lot, turned ice rink. As we walked I would hear,
Watch that patch of ice!
Look out for that rock – it’s pure ice!
Don’t slip right there!
Together we made it to the safety of the church building where we continued to serve together. Not many would have known she was serving – she did it from hidden places – the quiet of her room at the mission house when she prayed and also wrote me an encouraging card, in the mission kitchen when she fastidiously watched an egg boiling so it would be the “perfect” soft-boiled egg. Then she served from way up high in their sound room as she flipped my Power Point presentation for me, all the while missing out on the action in the sanctuary.
Again she served as she snapped pictures of me talking to the ladies afterwards so I could remember them as I wrote their names in my prayer journal upon returning home. She was always on the lookout for how she might serve, and she did it in a way that God was glorified and those around her were blessed.
She won’t like it that I’m recognizing her in this post, but I must because she is the essence of what a real friend does. It’s far deeper than getting powerpoint slides on a screen – it involves coming alongside, looking for ways to serve and encourage. Sometimes I think she has a secret camera in my world because her timing is uncanny! That comes from a person walking under the Spirit’s control and allowing Him to prompt her, because “that’s what friends are for.”
I learned so much about friendship this weekend as I considered her.
- Folks all around me need a “hand on their elbow,” if you will. They need to know that someone sees their need and cares enough to reach out to them.
- They need my close communion with God so that I will be directed to when and how I might serve them.
- It’s risky business being a friend- she could have gone down with me, had I fallen, but she didn’t mind. I doubt she ever gave it a thought. She was more concerned with what I needed next, because “that’s what friends are for!”
My take–away’s about friendship:
- Look for needs – what could I give?
- Look for weaknesses – how should I pray?
- Look for gaps – how might I serve?
- Look for disappointment – how could I bless?
I’m not the only one blessed with this dear friend; she has more friends than springtime has daffodils, and it’s no wonder! Today I honor her and the many other friends the Lord has poured so richly into my life. Some are close, some are far away. Some I don’t talk to very often, but we could pick up the phone today and pick up where we left off. Thank you for the blessing of your frirendship!
Let’s don’t isolate ourselves; we need each other. Let’s link arms and navigate life together – That’s what friends are for!