Aug 3, 2008

A Friend's a Friend Forever. . .

This is my friend from Malaysia, Paige, and one of her little ones. No, obviously, she doesn't hail from the small country on the opposite side of the world, but she does currently reside there with her family. How exciting, huh? To live in a magical land where the trees are home to meddlesome monkeys instead of scurrying squirrels. Where a nearby town houses a chocolate fountain that you could shower in (my husband's dream by the way) and having a driver to escort you about town is commonplace. Paige and her family have opted out of the daily chauffeur, but they do partake in most things Malaysian. She has taken in sights and holiday celebrations galore and is even indulging in the local cuisine. She's a wonderful cook and I'm fairly sure she will return with decadent Asian recipes when her time in the tropics is complete. I can't wait! I'm so excited for her and all of the adventures she is embarking upon, but still. . .I miss her terribly.

You see, Paige and I used to lead Young Life together. We had the honor of telling high school girls about the Lover of their souls. And we got to do it together. We had our kids 6 months apart and they became the best of friends. Don't tell anyone, but I actually envisioned what our lives would look like when her daughter and my son got married and Paige actually became part of my family. We would be loud and somewhat embarrassing, by the way. We ate together often and swapped stories of crazy children and even crazier husbands. We shared food, family, and faith. In short, we shared life. And it's something I've missed since she left a year ago.

So, I was ecstatic when I learned Paige and her fam would be "in the States" for 6 weeks (how cool to be able to use that term). I determined to spend as much time with them as possible, so I made the trek down to Houston this weekend. And let me tell you how good God is. . .it's as if a year had not even passed! I decided not to ask her a lot about Malaysia because I figured she had spent 5 weeks telling the same stories over and over again. So, we just started chatting about what was on our minds and where our hearts were. It was such a sweet time. Not only did we have "girl talk" and have playtime with our kids, but we also shared a meal with some old Young Life girls. It was a return to the last place we had been together. Yes, time had passed. Our YL girls had graduated from college, our little ones were a couple of inches taller, and there were details about her new daily life that I knew nothing about. But here we were, sharing life again. We didn't miss a beat. It was rich.

I think this is what a true friend is. A person who is excited to see you and share life with you even when it's been a while since you've done so. One that knows you so well that you don't have to bother with "catching up" but can move right on to heart matters. A friend who loves you despite the distance.

You know, God is that kind of God.

In the story of the prodigal son, a wayward boy returns shamefully home expecting the rebuke of his father.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20

Friend, have you strayed away from God? Have you created a distance between the two of you that seems so far that there is no way back? Return to Him! He is searching the horizon waiting for just a glance of your distant silouette.

Are you afraid of a harsh rebuke or an unkind word upon your arrival? Check this out:

"Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13

Sister, we have a God who in His overflowing love and compassion is waiting to close the distance. He's not ready to pounce but to embrace. And in returning to Him, in approaching Him in prayer, we'll have no need to catch up, for He knows us better than we know ourselves. We need only to share our lives with Him. Yes, there may be some repenting and apologizing to do, but forgiveness awaits. Go. Return. A friendship like no other is ready to be rekindled. Never really had a friendship with God? Light the fire, baby! This friendship is a true friendship no matter the present physical distance.

Father God, thank you for your patience with us and our rebellion. We are so thankful that you are slow to anger and that you abound in love. Give us the courage to come back to a place of intimacy with you and to find Your peace. Thank you for your unfathomable love. Amen.

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Anonymous said...

So glad to see you're back. We've missed your wisdom.

Anonymous said...

oh how I've missed your blogs...
I'm so glad to see your visit with Paige was exactly what you needed!!
love you - A

Anonymous said...

It was great to see you Sunday! Give me a shout and we can


Amy Storms said...

Glad that you had a chance to visit with your friend.--Sounds like a great time.

And yes, we DID have the creamy jalapeno...YUM. That place might have been my very favorite part of Texas. :)