This last week, I had the most awesome privilege of being reminded of how important and beautiful friendship can be.  Friendship has a vast frame work of potential in our lives.  For me personally, I have some old friends (not the age mind you – well… that too…  totally kidding) but in the extent of time knowing them.  I recently met with my dearest friend Deanna from high school over lunch.  I told her, ‘you know you are getting old when you can honestly say, you have known someone for over 30 years’ (yikes!)  She and I met when we were 12.  We have experienced so much over the years, we were cheerleaders together, (that was a real hoot), we found the Lord at the same age,  were in each others weddings, and of course at the hospital when our children were born.  She and her husband are the God parents to David and I’s sons.
Now at the age of…. um…. 40 something, we sat at the table and just laughed!  Talked for 3 hours.   She taught me how to ‘text message’… I am quite sure it was very amusing to see two semi-middle aged women hovering over their cell phones with glee.  Yes … friendship.
God has also placed in my life another small group of gals, that are just pure joy to be around, they make me laugh, and stretch me to ‘relax’, put the books down and ‘chill out’.  I NEED that, I NEED them.
Then I have friends whom I would call ‘covenant’ friends.  Those who ‘know’ me and would love me beyond any disappointments, and take concern to the level of action, AND allow me the opportunity to grow in Jesus.  We have laughed together and cried together.   These are the women that can look me in the eye and see pain, joy, conviction, even anointing.
Recently in one of our bible studies, (by Beth Moore) we looked at the relationships Jesus had, and how we too can pattern ourselves after Him.  He had the multitude, the 72,  the  12, and then the ‘3’.  Then ultimately just He and His Father.  All these categories are very  important to us.  It struck a cord  with me, when she explained the ‘3’.   Jesus had Peter, James and John.  They got to experience so much more of Christ, because He allowed  it.  But the most interesting factor to me, in their relationship was in the Garden of Gethsemane.  They went just so far with Jesus. He asked them to ‘stay here, and pray’ and the word says, ‘while He went on further still’.  Oh the ‘further still’ of God… been there?  Want that?  Jesus went into a very intense time with the Father, His heart was in anguish, He in a sense wrestled with what was in His immediate future, just He and God, in the ‘further still’ moment.  But He left those, the closest to Him just beyond  Him, to pray, (we won’t discuss that they fell asleep) but Jesus left them with a purpose and a mission.
Friendship is a gift that is given by God and accepted by us.  Think on that.  God gives, but we have to accept.  Peter in all his honesty and ‘out there’ mentality, eventually was used greatly.  He was offered something special from Jesus, Himself.  John and James too went on to great things in God.  I believe much of this is contributed to those intimate times they had with the Lord.
This week I experienced two things, and I believe has a lesson  here for us:
1st ~ Friendships help mold us, challenge us to be more than we are, encourage us to reach for our dreams, bring a light moment when darkness may be waving at us and stand ready to hold us and pray.
2nd ~  There are those moments that no one can go with us, we have to go ‘further still’ into God’s presence, where just us and God have some business to take care of.
In this, it is comforting to know, that there are those praying, and waiting just beyond, and their love and commitment goes with out saying.
May we be a friend – experience a friend…  allow it.
In Him, DeDe  (Ps. 92:4  You thrill me, LORD!)

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