Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dwelling Together in Unity

They've scarcely walked out the door, and I am tearfully wishing them back. We all have friends like this, I am sure (if not, I am only too sorry for you). Friends that you start on the same page each time you get together, and pick up reading the chapter you had been reading together before. Friends whose growth challenges you, and whose speech is peppered real questions and insights. There is also a level there that people scarcely reach together -- wherein your familiarity gains you ground to be utterly real, utterly comfortable, never even thinking of trying to impress, only share in gladness and joy together. Truly, this level is so ideal for Christian unity that it must reflect the glorious unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I am speaking of our dear friends Jam
es and Christen Taylor who have been with us since Thursday for an amazing visit. James ran the Derby Marathon yesterday, which is worth reading about on these 2 links. I'll merely say it was a great deal of fun to watch, and quite inspiring to my own fitness goals. Josh and I are planning to run a 5k at the end of the summer, which is such small potatoes compared to this! We were so blessed with gorgeous weather and well-behaved kids being dragged around every which way.

Today we were able to take our friends to our beloved new church, Clifton Baptist. We simply adore the caliber of worship we enjoy there, and we were quite sure James and Christen would appreciate it as well. We're so blessed that Daniel and Hannah are so used to visiting churches from being out on deputation that they immediately immersed themselves into the church as well. Daniel had a "twin friend" (same sweater), and Hannah wanted to know if she could sit by some of her friends at lunch (unfortunately, just us at lunch).

I must say, though, the highlight of these hours together was what it always has been -- long talks, doing nothing much of anything but enjoying one another's company. Christen and I had 2 lovely afternoons of sitting outside just chatting and sharing -- how pleasant to get right down to real things without any formalities of small talk -- while the kids played. I thank Jesus -- my Best of Friends -- for understanding the true pleasure we frail humans might take in being with a friend. What a slice of Him we might know by enjoying the company of a person who understands and accepts us in our weaknesses, while all the while helping us improve our faults. I do so appreciate Christen's sensitivity to gossip and slander -- a sin I guiltily pet and entertain in my own life perhaps more than any other. How refreshing to have a conversation in which you do not ever once tear another person down.

I had a blast playing with the kids, too -- for those of you who know me, my "kid cup" needs filled pretty regularly, and can hold quite a bit! Daniel and I played outside together yesterday while Hannah napped, and swapped jokes that made absolutely no sense (many of the funniest things do not!). It's great to see someone growing up, and becoming more of the person the Lord is making them to be (does that make sense?).

My cup runs over. I am only too blest.


GloryandGrace said...

I am SO glad you were refreshed by their visit, and even though I didn't get to meet them while they were here, I feel like I at least got a LITTLE part of the enjoyment after receiving their comment (and yours, apparently, heehee).

I know what you mean when talking about those kinds of friends. The week of my birthday was extra sentimental and emotional, and reminded me of those friends I hold so dear and have so much history with, as well as my family.

Thank you for sharing, my friend - I actually meant to leave a comment on your previous post, but when I saw this one I thought I would leave one here :)

Grace and peace~

Donette said...

Gret - only God is the giver of such good gifts. I feel the same way about a few friends in my life, one of which is Laura, who you will meet in a few weeks. Funny how we have only been friends for a short time, but we connected well, a testimony to her genuiness more than mine, I'm afraid.
This post was such a blessing to me. I love the God-focus you have toward EVERYTHING in your life. I only hope my own thankfulness is glory to Him and not an idol unto itself.

Josh said...

Explanation: The reason James and I are sitting on the bed in the one photo is that our TV is unfortunately in the bedroom, the living room being full of my desk. :)

Anonymous said...

lol--Josh's comment! I was kind of wondering....;)
I would like to say: Daniel Taylor=one of the cutest children ever...possibly second only to Cede....there was a boy at Rob's wedding that reminded Abby and I of him in all of his tucked-in freckled faced glory.

GloryandGrace said...

I thought you guys were having a chat on the latest sale at Pottery Barn...but now I know you're actually manly men :oD

Anonymous said...

Gret - I love your depth in friendship. I had that deep abiding joy in a relationship once long ago, but PRAISE HIM, it would seem that He has begun to trowel my heart once again as I have become vulnerable to others. Cherish these moments and pray they continue for a lifetime!

Steph said...

Cute pictures of the kids and Taylor family. I got to meet Kristen's bro and sis il a few weeks ago. Her s.i.l. is an animal nut like myself so we had lots of stories to swap.
Hey, how did Jamie Z. end up being in your neck of the woods? Does she live down there too? Boy, she sure does look like Angie - I hadn't seen her in awhile.

Gretchen said...

Grace -- I know you understand the sweetness of an old friendship! I had to keep myself from borrowing your title "Kindred spirits Reunited". :)

Nett -- Thanks, girl. I can't wait to meet your friend Laura, she sounds wonderful. I like what you said about thankfulness also could be an idol -- I totally know what you mean. Too easy to worship the gift more than the Giver, OR merely love the Giver because of His gifts. He is good regardless of whether or not He gives the gifts, right?

Jeish -- and not only that, they were watching the manliest possible program: "NAS-CORE!"

Emma -- You would have died laughing to hear some of Daniel's jokes. SO CUTE! And he was adorable running with James in the marathon -- pretty fast little kid! I was sprinting behind him with the baby stroller to keep up!

Geen -- mmmm. Lovely phrase "trowel my heart. . . " I shall pray that.

Steph -- yeah, we had lots of fun. Sad that Calvary is not going with Christen's bro and sis-in-law, though I haven't met them. Jaime Z's husband is at the seminary here, too. He graduates in May, but might be staying to doctoral work. Their little girl (born at the same time as the quads) is TOO CUTE! Claire, I think. Jaime is the nut she always was, which is major fun in a sometimes strait-laced world of everyone thinking deeply all the time. :)

Josh said...

No Explanation: I have nothing to say, however, to excuse my oddly-shaped head in the afore-mentioned photo. Whatever you do, please don't click on it to see the gigantic-sized version.

Johanna said...

Josh, you crack me up! Thanks for pointing out your oddly-shaped head. :D

Gret - I asked Mandy last night when we we're gonna come see you and she said she's booked every weekend till about July. Crazy girl! I guess some people actually have a life. :P you have any empty weekends coming up that need some life?

James and Christen said...

Sunday I left in tears. This was the first time I realized what good-bye would really mean.

I am so blessed by your friendship. Thank you for your constant desire to grow more like Him. You have sharpend me more than you know.

Keep praying for us to magnify Him