The post below is written by the Friend I met up with last week. It’s an absolutely beautiful testimony that I’m sure will resonate with many of you. It resonated very deeply with me for it describes the journey that I too had been on.
Here’s to all who have ever desired true friendship. Have faith that in God’s time and in His own mysterious and wonderful way, He is preparing you to enjoy what you have always desired… only it may come in a way you have never expected.
I thank God that I have a friend who is able to connect with me at a soul life and at a spiritual life. I thank God that He has allowed us to walk in very different paths over the years, but yet were never separated. I think largely because in our paths, Heâ€™s been with us all the way, and the life lessons that Heâ€™s shown us and still show us, still keeps the ties of our friendship strong, because in all our differences, we are still bonded by the Spirit of God.
It was a very painful time when you and everyone else had to leave and I seemed to be the only one that had to stay. The distance was not only one of physical distance, but of emotional and mental distance. Our worldviews and lifestyles have each evolved on their own, because of the company we kept and because of what we did and what was happening in our personal lives. Then I realized, itâ€™s time to let go. If I didnâ€™t, I would only be dragged along aimlessly. Letting go was so hard. It felt like I would die, because I thought they were my lifelines. I thought my soul would die, because apart from my friends, I thought I would have nothing else.
Did I blame God at that time? I think so. Perhaps not so much blame but as to question why He would do such a thing.. such an unkind cruel thing.. to give me friends, only to take them away. But then, I had overestimated Godâ€™s hand in the human will. He has given us choices, to choose His will or ours, and never imposed it on us. If I wanted to, I could have insisted on my way and left the same as well. If I wanted to keep the friendship going and if the other person wanted to, we could have, not even physical distance would separate us but I took the easy way out, I just wanted to blame someone for the inconvenience, for the pain. I couldnâ€™t blame you, I couldnâ€™t blame me, so I blamed God. He was an easy target.
But looking back, the greatest gift I found in this time was a friend like no other – and I believe you would concur with me. I had long prayed for a friend as Iâ€™m sure you have too, for a friendship from the heart â€“ a friendship like Jonathan and David from the Bible had. And it was so long in coming until I realized now, through those painful times of aloneness, that very friendship was forged, and it was trials and time that built the depths of that friendship. I found another Friend, that in spite of being misunderstood, ignored and maligned, stood stand by me and helped me heal my broken heart.
Letting go did not kill me. I had thought I would die. But I realized that I didnâ€™t. I found a new life, with richer experiences and relationships, especially with that of my family. I thought I would die, because I thought my family did not provide me with all I need. But God did, through my family. It seems He has and is fixing what has gone wrong in my life â€“ things that I thought was really normal when it was not. He restored broken relationships and added new ones, richer than before. Did my desire for friendship go away? No, it didnâ€™t. But I discovered new ones, then I realized in getting my relationship with God and my family right, I can now love others much better, truer, deeper. He was building my inner capacity to truly love, not out of my neediness, but out of strength and love for others. I remember i had prayed to understand what God’s perspective on friendship was so i could be that friend, then i realized i had my priorities wrong. Because God wanted me to first learn what it was to be His daughter, then a daughter and sis and friend. His ways are truly higher than our ways.
Friend to Friend:
In the past I never could have understood how friends whose lives are evolving separately and who practically never spend quality time together can grow deeper in friendship. But that’s exactly what I’ve experienced after I learned to let go and to put my relationship with God in the center of my life.
That night I told you I felt you were greatly blessed because of all the trials God has put in your life. I really, really meant it. We suffer so much in times of trial because there is still so much of ourselves that we hold back in fear from God. That is why God gives us trials – to prune us, to train us, to help us become the people we yearn to be but have no courage to become. The process is painful, but when we fling ourselves into God’s arms in surrender and despair, we come to realize that we have never been more deeply loved. And while you hate the pain, I know that your desire to love God is great enough to overcome your fear of suffering. Every time you accept your cross, you expand your capacity to love and to being loved by God. Each time I see that happening in you, I am inspired, grateful, glad and also very proud of you!
Ever since we parted ways so many years ago, I have marvelled at how God has courted you and embraced you through the many events that have been happening in your life. So often I have rejoiced in my heart from afar even as I felt distant from the concrete happenings in your everyday life.
There is no friend or lover in this world who can satisfy our heart’s deepest longing. Only God can be that Friend and Lover, as I am sure you have also come to realize. The most wonderful part of the journey is that when we embrace God as our First Love, we find that we are so much freer to give and receive love from other people. Relationships deepen even as past fears and insecurities melt away. The ties that bind us to others are no longer ones of desperation and need but of love that trusts and hopes and never fails.
We are always a work-in-progress. Even as we grow in our understanding and faith, we easily slip back into old ways if we do not renew our commitment continuously. That is why God sends people into our lives to help remind and encourage us.
Your struggles to be faithful no matter what comes encourages me to be faithful in my journey. :) Let us not be ashamed to bare our brokenness in each other’s company but revel in how God abides in the tattered tents of our hearts!
Yes, T. T. :)
I also gave the same book to this Friend… that’s why!
hi ann, thanks for this post! which book are u referring to? The one i borrowed (i keep forgetting the title) or the Sister breige mckenna one?
The latter! Cos the ‘tattered tent’ analogy is Sr. Briege McKenna’s. And the book u borrowed is “The Inner Voice of Love” :P