A gentle current of air made the warmth of the day pleasant to us as we sat outside our favorite little eatery with our usual choices of non-soul food. The purpose of our meeting seemed to bring a special joy to each of us that evening–perhaps because we had been apart for what seemed like just-a-little-too-long. The conversation was alive with new energy as recent events were reminisced and explained for the benefit of uninformed ears, but the element that held the most prominence for this simple interaction was its calming effect. We each knew that this was a context where we were invited to relax with the knowledge that our souls need not keep themselves wrapped up nearly so tightly as our common interactions seem to require for proper participation.
It was not that everything was so perfect or that there was nothing unpleasant or uneasy to share–in reality, there was a significant dose of imperfection, unpleasant and uneasy confessions and confrontations–but even in the presence of all these things we could be confident that the bond we shared would not be so quickly frayed by any of these. In fact, the nature of our connection is such that heart-disclosure can be real because our messes and our mutual Savior are what bring us together. We experience true friendship that can weather life’s unpredictable seasons and unceasing troubles because God has been at work in our hearts and we want to communicate with one another the strength we have found (and are, indeed, still finding) in offering our weakness to the One we call Father.
If you’re looking for a relationship like the three-way one I have described, don’t despair while you wait for God to provide you with a sister in Christ with whom you can actively cultivate each others’ heart. This jewel that presently enriches the lives of A, K and I has been such a recent gift that it all still feels new to us. We still pinch ourselves, telling each other that God is being good to us in ways that we never really expected He could. Our friend history didn’t seem to give the indication that such heart-related friends could exist for us. But what a joy it was when the blessing arrived almost on our doorsteps!
The hills that we had so long inhabited as sheep alone with our Shepherd now included two more precious sheep that seemed to have known our hearts even before our names. Each, in a unique way, was suddenly serving the others in a manner that had never been present in their buddy-ships of the past. Because of all that treasured time spent with the Savior before meeting the rest, we had gifts of ministry that had been well-developed. The time was just right to exercise them and the proof is that Christ has since used them again and again to awaken the most prominent wells of beauty within us.
I don’t know where you are in the friendship department, dear reader, but I pray you see that true friendship cannot be without beauty and the beauty that is most desirable in this area of our lives is not cultivated quickly or painlessly. This beauty is found at the feet of Jesus when His throne becomes the only place we can go, the only place we want to go. When we begin to make our daily abode there, our hearts begin to reflect the character of the One we put before everyone else. If you are in a season where God is preparing you to invest blessings and grace into someone else, trust His hand. The ministry He is conducting in you now is not worthless; it is just as valuable, if not more valuable, than the ministry that will pour forth from you later when His plan comes into view and you can enjoy exercising those gifts. Honey, it’s worth the wait!