Friday, March 14, 2014

Faithful Friday: Friendship

Years ago, I prayed for a new friend.  One dependable, honest, trustworthy friend, who was not family or married to me.  A friend that didn't "have" to be my friend.  Someone who sincerely wanted to be my friend, just because.

Just one.

I didn't need a flock.  At the time, I had recently joined the world of Social Media and had hundreds of "friends" but I desired true friendship.

It was a daily prayer for so many months I cannot remember the count.

Proverbs 27:9 
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. 

After Austin died, dozens of friends flew into my life.  Some for only a while, in the earliest part of the tragedy, some for longer.  And though I had and treasured true friends then (and even now), my soul still searched for a friendship I couldn't quite find.

Looking back, I didn't even know then what I was praying for.  But my soul did.  And God sent her to me, in his perfect timing.

Over a year ago, my pastor suggested to a group of us to search out an accountability partner.  I'd never really ever heard the term before, though I had some expectations of what that might be.  Initially, I was very hesitant.  Though an open book when writing, sharing my personal feelings, hurts, needs, and struggles is not something I willingly do in person.

Proverbs 11:14 
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

The only exception would be with my husband.  He has and always will be my best friend.  And yet, while we tell each other everything, there are still subjects/struggles/areas that you sometimes can't fully share.  For this reason, our pastor did not recommend using your spouse as that partner.

What if you are struggling with each other?  What if you're being stubborn in an area and need advice from an outside party?  What if sharing your weakness could result in an argument?  As easy as it would've been to just choose Tim, my heart knew I needed to prayerfully seek someone else.

One of the purposes of an accountability partner is to, just as the word indicates, hold each other accountable.  While a spouse can certainly do this, it could seem more like parenting than friendship.  And if you're spatting, having a godly reminder could just aggravate things.  Like when I'm having a bad day and I'm venting, maybe a little too loudly, and hubby gently tries to calm me.  Sometimes it makes it worse.

In the beginning, your partnership may be something as simple as checking in to see if you've kept up with your daily Bible reading.  A true accountability partner though learns and knows your weaknesses, your struggles, and prayerfully guides you to becoming a stronger Christian.  Whatever the area(s) may be, you set goals with them and they remind, push, and encourage you.  It could be something severe, like an addiction, or it could be something more spiritual, like increasing the people you talk to about Jesus.

Proverbs 27:17 

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. 

As you grow closer and get more comfortable, life filters in.  Needs of those within your family and others who are heavy on your heart become shared by the prayers of this friend.

When my friend took on this task, she might not have been prepared for the crazy chaos this life can bring.  She might not have realized the sometimes daily advice or support I might need, as storms seem to frequently come my way.  Maybe she looks at her caller ID and rolls her eyes, sighs, or wishes for a moment of peace.  If so, she never shares it, as she is always there, always willing, and most importantly always praying for me.

Proverbs 12:26 
The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.

I trust her counsel.  I know she seeks the Ultimate Source for the Truth I am seeking.  I know she doesn't give me advice just to quiet or appease me.  And I without a doubt know that when she says she'll pray about something, she will do so fervently.

She's been such an unexpected blessing to me.  From someone who stubbornly didn't want to open my world to anyone else, to someone who wouldn't know where I'd be today without her.

If you have such a friend, tell them today how much they mean to you.  If you do not, I will join you in prayer that God sends one your way.

Have a blessed Friday, friends...


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