Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Friends, schriends.

(Go ahead. Try to pronounce "schriends." I'll wait.)

To say that I was underwhelmed with last week's bible study lesson on friendship is understating the situation. I was underhappy, underpeaceful and feeling underblessed.
I mean, seriously.
Here is the description of the bible study that our group of women chose:

Do you ever feel like you're going through the motions of faith? Sometimes we do and say the right things, but our hearts are far from God. We lose our sense of holy awe. In Wonderstruck, Margaret Feinberg invites you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life God intended.
In this 7-session Bible study, you will be reminded what it means to awaken to wonder every day by learning to:
  • Develop a renewed passion for God
  • Identify what's holding you back in prayer
  • Find extraordinary moments on ordinary days
  • Discover peace in knowing you're wildly loved
  • Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
Does that sound like it has a section or two on friendship?
No, it does not. I would have run for the hills like my hair was on fire if I had been aware that we would be  putting our friendships under the microscope in view of what God has to say about them.

I have been deeply hurt by some relationships in my life. I have chosen to leave before I can be left to avoid that pain. Many times, I chose friends because of their likelihood to stay. And they left anyway.

This is the part where I want to say, "Okay, you big whiny-baby.You know there is a tornado tragedy in Oklahoma, right?  Get over yourself, already."
Because I am very loving like that.
"But, God...."
God chose this time in my life (that is His) to walk with me through the valley of the shadow of lost friendships.
 I did not ,would not choose this. I should not, could not choose this.(says Sam I Am)
 He did. (No, not Dr. Seuss...God)
 Yesterday Google+ video calling was working. So, bible study could take place. Unfortunately.

I want to assure you that I only did the ugly cry for about an hour and ten minutes of bible study.(Yep. on video chat.)
The rest of the time, it was just your general, every day wheezing, leaking eyes and drippy nose. Which anyone could reasonably blame of seasonal allergies.

My friends listened patiently as I told them of my wrestling with this issue. My hurt and pain over it. They read me scripture and prayed with me.They gave me answers that I could not see because I am in a muddy pit. I think I even saw them wipe a sympathetic tear or two. But that was probably those pesky seasonal allergies.
One point from the study that has haunted stuck with me is whether I have been a good friend, (sister, daughter, mama, neighbor, wife) regardless of how I feel I have been treated. Regardless of what is fair or what is "right."

   "Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.Romans 5:7-8

This is not a new thought, for those of us in the church. But, maybe I've listened to it more that I have acted on it. (ouch, that) Maybe I've run away to avoid the potential pain and inadvertently run away from the probable  blessing.
I am a long way from really getting this down, but my prayer is that I can someday, somehow be a better friend (sister, daughter,mama, neighbor, wife) that would best emulate Christ. 
On to next week.
Let's's on Forgiveness.
Oh, boy.

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