Friendship, Food and Fun
I got the email yesterday. A member of my prayer group was inviting us over for a "girls night" at her place. Food and fun. Which aren't always two different things. I said, "Yes." Of course. They're my friends, the ladies in the prayer group. And it's been a while since we got together for anything besides, well, prayer.
When last night rolled around, however, I decided to blow it off. I was tired, not feeling well, and in pain. I didn't even call her. I told my husband I wasn't going, went into the master and starting running bath water. The plan was a long, candle-light soak, a cup of hot tea, and the next chapter of my current book. I don't know about you, but, to me, that sounds like the perfect way to end a really crazy week.
That's when my cell phone rang. The "Where are you?" call. I made my excuses, hung up, and started lighting candles.
Then the land line rang. It was another friend, the Militant Mama in our group. She's from up north and very persuasive. She was a high-level sales person for Yellow Pages in a previous life and I can never tell her no. Ten minutes later she was in my driveway honking for me.
Ten minutes after that, I was in my friend's kitchen laughing with the ladies I have committed to praying with and for. The ones who hold me accountable and don't let me withdraw to pout when I step into one of life's valleys. The ones who cheer me as I approach my mountain tops. The ones God placed in my life to encourage me and to spur me on. The ones I can always be myself with and say exactly what I'm thinking and exactly how I'm feeling without worrying about them throwing brimstone at me for being a sinner because they realize they're sinners, too. Those friends.
It's so incredibly easy to say, "I'm too tired." Too tired to be with them. Too tired to invite them over. Too tired to go out with them or meet with them or call them or drop them a note. It's just so easy to blow them off.
Except for the Militant Mama. She's on me like a flea on a dog, you know?
God puts people into our lives that He intends to encourage us, to hold us accountable, to be there for us, to laugh with us and hug us and pray with us and fuss at us when we get out of line. That's what He intended when he said,
Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father,Because that neighbor nearby is there to be in our lives - to speak into our lives.
and do not go to your brother's house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away. Proverbs 28:10
Do we submit to His will for us in these relationships? Do we acknowledge that those people are not in our lives by accident? That there's a reason? That He set it all up because He wants us to be in fellowship with these people, to grow with and learn from them? To be there for them? Even when we'd rather just stay home?
It is good for us make time every once in a while to get goofy with the girls. To be sisters that gather just to laugh and share stories and find out more about each other.
You know, I've been praying with these women for almost five years and they didn't know I was Cajun? Maybe that's why He had me go last night - so they could know I'm Cajun. The looks on their faces were priceless. I loved our crawfish discussion. And the way they pronounced Tchoupitoulas! I thought I was going to bust a gut laughing.
Seriously, when we have relationships that keep Jesus at the center, we grow closer to Him as we grow closer to each other. If you don't have the type of relationships in your life that bring you closer to God, please stop right now and pray that He changes that for you. But just know that He may insist Jesus become your best friend, first.
He had a much better time planned for me last evening than I had planned for myself.