I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Friendship, Thorns and All

By Paula Boire, writing as Sara L. Jameson
                                                                       
You may be wondering about the picture of a thorny cactus for a friendship blog. Most of the year the cactus is a plant of thorns, maybe tiny, almost invisible ones. Maybe dagger length. Maybe long, curved hooks. But all of them, P.R.I.C.K.L.Y.

Fortunately, one thing cacti have in common is a season to bloom. Granted, it’s short-lived, but the colorful, waxy blossoms that crown them are a beautiful sight. And they dwarf the awareness of the thorns. For a time.

People can be like a cactus, with prickly places in their personalities. After all, we’re WIPS, God’s works-in-progress. God’s Word tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The amazing thing is that He still loves us. Still accepts us as we are. He's still patient with us. Doesn’t give up on us.

Friendships, like family, were meant to function the same way. Friends are fun to pal around with but the friends who accept me, thorns and all, are an enormous safety net, a huge blessing. A place to be myself. A place to grow beyond my current collection of thorns. And they can be a means to a closer relationship with the Lord. In short, they can be life-changing.

Today I would like to honor two friends: Rose and Peggy. The Lord brought Rose into my life during an extremely difficult season, one that went from tough to dangerous. 

Because Rose was a woman after the Lord’s heart, He used her to straighten out so many areas of my life, providing an acceptance of me no matter what I had done. 

Decades ago, life in an abusive marriage had driven Rose close to the Lord. The result? Such an intimate fellowship with Him that the Lord enlarged her prophetic gifts. Countless people were blessed by her ministry. Including me. Her unexpected death the day I left Romania with Romanian Security Police literally at my heels, stunned me. But it forced me to ramp up my own walk with the Lord, learning to wait until I’d heard from Him. Drawing me closer to Him.

Several years later, the Lord blessed me with Peggy’s friendship. Peggy loves the Lord with her whole heart. She is an unshakable encourager who cannot be deterred from building up and comforting others. A woman with a nurturer’s heart. A woman of prayer. Without her friendship, her unflagging confidence, I wouldn’t be writing this blog today. Because I would’ve long ago given up on my dream to write.

I’m the plant with the thorns. My friends?
They’re the blossoms.  

How about you? Has God given you friends who love you, thorns and all, who grow you in Him?

22 comments:

  1. Oh yes, God has given me such amazing friends...from my siblings (who I truly consider friends) to childhood friends who have been with me for my whole life...to college friends...and more. And the Ponderers!!

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  2. God has allowed numerous people to come into my life, but there are specific ones who have enlarged my heart with their grace, unconditional love and wonderful friendship. I'm so thankful to have such amazing friends!

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  3. Hi Melissa, I so agree! My sister is my dear friend. I can't imagine life without her. :-)

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  4. Hi Lisa,
    And they are such precious friends, aren't they. A huge blessing from God. :-)

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  5. Yes, God has given me amazing friends, those who have discipled me, challenging me to walk more authentically with Jesus, those who walk alongside me, encouraging me, and those who I get to be friends with but also be their encourager as they live life daily.

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  6. You really touched my heart when you said your sister was the rose, Paula!

    I have a very dear friend who is like a sister to me. We spend our childhood together as best friends, and now she live within walking distance so we walk and visit together about 3 times a week.

    Becky is most assuredly the the rose in our relationship, loving me in spite of my thorns. I thank God for a sister in Christ who has been just like a sister in the flesh.

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  7. Becky is my lifelong friend, but Shelly is a more recent friend who "clicked" with me a few years ago. We bonded over homeschooling our kids and then over fiction writing. She also is the rose.

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  8. Friends are like my world. I really enjoyed reading this post.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  9. I've been blessed that many of my former students have grown up to become close friends. Yes, the best friends are those who take the chaff with the wheat without judging or hardly seeing the difference. Sometimes gifted friends know who we are more than we even do,.
    Someday I'd like to hear more about Rose--and the security police close on your heels. Did I tell you about my misadventure in Yugoslavia? I'll save that for in person someday . . .

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  10. Paula, what a lovely post! I most definitely have the kind of friends who are willing to stick close, even when I am P.R.I.C.K.L.Y! God brought me a friend who is like a sister out of a most unlikely relationship,and today our whole families are close. Like your Peggy, my Chelle has encouraged me to write, and even pays me (in haircuts) to write for the salon she manages. She and her husband are probably the biggest supporters (complete with nagging!!) of the Creation/evolution ministry I share with my husband. They are always pushing us forward, in love.

    I'd like to point out that steel sharpens steel, Paula. I am quite sure you are that friend who loves despite thorns and encourages growth in Him. I would imagine that there are many women (myself and the Ponderers included) who are thankful to call you friend!!

    Oh, and I'm with Dee...I'm going to need the details of your escape from Romania with Romanian Security Police literally at your heels!! (And Dee, you will also need to share about Yugoslavia!!)

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  11. Jeanne, your friends are fortunate to have you as an encourager. Thanks for posting. :-)

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  12. Hi Teri,
    The story of your friend brings tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you have her and that it's been a lifelong friendship. :-)

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  13. Hi Gina,
    That's so neat that your friends are your world. Thanks for posting. :-)

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  14. Hi Dee,
    Yes, many of my students have also become lifelong friends. Visiting them is a precious gift. Eager to hear about Yugoslavia . . . .

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  15. Hi Heidi,
    It's so awesome to see how the Lord works in people's lives. You're in my prayers. :-)

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  16. A lovely post. Fantastic writing and so inspiring. Good friends like this a hard to come by. I have a few. The best one is my dear husband. It's a good feeling to feel comforted in that love. Keep writing. I enjoyed this post!

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  17. Paula,

    What a beautiful post!

    God has blessed me with precious friends, and I am eternally grateful for each one.

    I love your fiction but I'm waving my hand in agreement with others: I'd love to read about your real-life adventures, especially about Rose and Romania. Maybe, you'll weave some of them into your fiction. Like Peggy, I urge you to keep writing!

    (And I think you're a blossom!)

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  18. I've met some of my best friends through the Ponderers and My Book Therapy...
    Will the Romanian incident end up in a book? I'd love to hear about it, along with Dee's story about Yugoslavia!

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  19. Your post was lovely...but every word was momentarily forgotten when you dropped your little teaser about Romanian secret police...and then left us hanging!!!! Must. Share. :-)

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  20. Hi Roxanne,
    The problem with weaving the Romanian adventures into a book is that it's not enough decades ago to qualify as a historical nor recent enough to be contemporary. :-) And, I worry about the Romanians who were involved. Things aren't as stable there as one could wish. Thanks for posting!

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  21. Hi Pat,
    Not so sure about the Romanian escapades. I don't think the 80s count as a historical. Yet. :-)

    I agree with you, the Ponderers have been a HUGE blessing in my life, too.

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