A week ago, my best friend came for a visit.  It was my parents' birthday present to me.  I've never been more excited about a present I received 13 days late!  We had such a good time enjoying this Panamanian adventure together.  She could only stay for a few days, but it just made everything seem right.  Complete.  And, as with everything, it made me think.

Enjoying birthday lunch with my Bible study group!

I've been friends with Amelia since 2007.  I have the unique pleasure of remembering the first time we met.  We were visiting the big church in the small town in Georgia that was our new home.  Amelia was the first person who came up to speak to us because she wanted to. not because she wore the greeter name tag, but because she was truly welcoming us.  A few days later, she called to invite us to church supper.  In her Alabama drawl, the "Come on" seemed deeply welcoming, so we came on!  We've been together ever since.  The richness of that friendship I wish for all of you.

Chloe (sorry, love, not the best pic!) and GL getting ready to cheer!

While Amelia was here, we were explaining to Chloe that the beauty of true friendship is that it wants the best for you.  She's struggling with the guilt of making new friends.  If you haven't ever moved, you may not understand the seemingly impossible internal battle between loyality towards your "old" friends and you heart's desire to make "new" friends.  It takes a special friend to not only encourage you to make new friends, but watch happily as you do so.  Oftentimes insecurities creep up, and the feelings of being replaced can be painful.  It happens within those who have left, too.  The blessing of "old" friends is the easy, comfortable place you slide into as soon as they arrive.  And, "old" friends remind you that you are capable of being a friend and having a friend.  A truth easily forgotten in the chaos of  new.  Prayers that you may all enjoy the ease of "old" friends while seeking out the "new" friends to share today.

As we watched Chloe and GL cheer for the basketball game, Amelia caught my attention.  She motioned toward the bottom of the bleachers where Carson and his friend were sitting.  I had to smile.

The second part of Proverbs 18:24 tells us "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."  As I watched these two friends sit so close together even though there was plenty of room for them to spread out, that verse sang in my soul.  Yes, these earthly friendships are sweet, but they are God's reminders that He is so much closer to us than any earthly friend or family will ever be.  That easy, comfortable place I slide into when I'm with Amelia?  It's so much easier and more comfortable in the presence of the Lord.  And He is the one who has allowed the sweetness of human frienship.


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