Monday, November 13, 2006

The Blessings of Faithful Friends

The Lord has blessed Josh and I enormously these past months with some very dear friends. They are the Taylors: James and Christen, David and Sharon, Phil and Mary Ruth. This family is 3rd generation missionaries to go to Brazil. James, David and Sharon grew up as MK's in Brazil, and now are on deputation to go back to serve themselves.

We had David and Sharon at our house last night, on their way through town from Iowa to North Carolina (deputation takes you many miles!) I was reminded of what sweet fellowship one can have with likeminded friends. How great our God is, to create something so amazing as the Joy between two friends when you realize "you have felt that too? I thought I was the only one!" I rejoice when I think of the blessing God has given Josh with friends like David and
James. Not every man is capable of having very very dear friends, but my husband is, and needs encouragement from strong Christian men. Here is a picture of David holding his new nephew, Jeremiah Taylor (doesn't that just sound like a missionary's name?) last night at dinner.

Of course, I wish David and Sharo
n were always around, but the truth is, my relationship with Sharon has been based on a series of visits and late night talks, knowing that we are parting in the morning. There is such a sweet grief to long to be with your friends longer, don't you think? I think it is a taste of longing for eternity, where time has no power or constraints.

James and Christen have lived nearby for the past 11 months. Christen and I became immediate friends, mostly for the immediate need for a friend we both had! I had been wrestling with the Lord over jealousy I was harbor
ing toward other girls around me who seemed to have tons of good friends. The Lord brought my jealousy to light, made me realize that He is the Supreme Friend, and the Affection of my heart, and then gave me Christen. She got me back into running (and then had to quit due to pregnancy), I got her into blogging, we worked together at Camp OUTT, cooked fun meals, shared songs and books, drank millions of cups of tea, told a million stories, and a million praises of the Lord's goodness. I so appreciate Christen for her flexibility, (she and James currently share a bedroom with all 3 of their kids, including their 8-day-old Jeremiah), her simplicity (finding the fun in wearing matching church logo t-shirts to play scrabble), her boldness that shames me (so ready to witness and challenge others in an encouraging and upbeat way). Thank you, so much, Christen, for reading my books and giving me some of yours. Thank you for being such good company, someone I always want to sit and catch up with.

James and Christen are leaving soon, leaving a huge "Taylor Void" in our lives! The absence I believe, will be a bit like climbing up the stairs and thinking there was one more step, and nearly stumbling when the step is not there (to quote Lemony Snicket). I embrace that pain, that small death in my life, as a way to honor the Lord. He gives and takes away. How blessed we have been to be given such friends! Would we really annul His will? Has He been a desert to us? No, indeed. He is the very fountain of blessing!

9 comments:

GloryandGrace said...

I read ckhnat's comments and saw yours about coming to Southern in January! Woohoo! My blog isn't quite as exciting as Christine's, but feel free to check it out! Do you know where you'll be living yet?

Grace and peace~

Sarah said...

Gret--how cool to have such friends! We are not so blessed at this time in my life, and often I have a pity party for myself. But I should not--to every thing there is a season, and my season is to grow and minister to those around me--regardless of whether I have "good friends" or not.
I am sure He has some kindred spirits for you in KY! :-)

Anonymous said...

Gretchen, you are such a good writer! I enjoy reading your blog so much. I also LOVE your cute little yellow barrett!!

Gretchen said...

Wow, Sara, thanks! You can borrow the barrette any time. Or simply purchase at the local Wal Greens. :)

Sar, I know what it is to feel a bit dry in the friend department. I do appreciate what the Lord worked in me when I felt a bit lonely. He can totally cause us to look outside ourselves (which is why the pity party is unacceptable, as you say, because it defeats the purpose!). Who else is alone? What child would love undivided attention? I am not in a pressing conversation, therefore I can be that person to someone else. Your focus is dead-on right. What is the BEST for you this season? Plus, it makes you really appreciate and grow in your relationship with your husband! Nobody to steal your attention away from him. Except the kids, I guess. . .

ckhnat said...

I'd love to get together with you. I leave for Tasmania on Dec. 7 and don't get back till Jan. 23 ... but keep in touch. I can give you some contact info of friends that can help you get settled, find a good church, make friends, etc.

Sarah said...

Very true Gretchen. God knows I am a very social person and used to having friends surrounding me. So it is a lonely spot to be in--but a wonderful one, because I have to grow and stretch and learn to be selfless. And I am making different types of friends than I ever would have. And yes--it is nice to be "best friends" with my husband exclusively. :-)

Sarah said...

Gretchen, you have been tagged! Check my blog to see what you have to do....

James and Christen said...

I praise the Lord for you and your friendship over the past year. James and I have both been so challenged and edified through knowing you and Josh. This Thanksgiving I give thanks for you. I am going to miss you so much. I pray that God will allow us to have more time together in the future.

Gretchen said...

Yaaaaaaaay! Christen finally read my post about her! :)