. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.

The Gift of and for Friendship

 

Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.   -John 16:24

I was sixteen months post-partum with about thirty pounds left to lose. I’d expected it to come right off after she was born, but having only weighed just over 6 lbs at birth, my baby girl left the rest of it on me. So I joined Weight Watchers and started walking everyday, pushing the stroller for miles at a time. I would walk around our little northern Indiana neighborhood pushing my brand new baby girl and carrying the weight of my world with all of its insecurities.

It had been a difficult year. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but I’d been dealing with a new anxiety disorder that reared its ugly head right after my baby was born. The new found anxiety revealed some hard truths about some of my friendships, and I was just coming up for air after the end of one of them. So the fresh air of my daughter’s and my daily walks hit the spot.

It quickly became the most important part of our morning routine, the morning walk. There was something about pushing a baby in the quiet of the morning that let me breathe more deeply throughout the rest of the day. Sure, I was getting in shape (I ended up losing all thirty pounds and then some) so my breathing no doubt improved. But there was more to it than that. See, I decided to invite God along on those walks. I asked Him to be my walking partner. He’d help me push through the pain of lost friendship as I’d push the stroller over the uneven cracks and the sometimes muddy concrete.

Everyday we’d walk. Everyday I would pray. I’d ask Him for new friends, real friends. I’d ask Him why I’d struggled for much of my life with feeling so inadequate and insecure with my girlfriends. I’d tell Him how hard it was to see other women enjoying their friends so completely while I muddled through the longing for true friends with whom I could genuinely live life.

Every day, I would talk and He would listen. And as we walked, He offered me His friendship. He gave me His own genuine care. He let me be myself. He listened to every one of my insecurities and fears about loneliness. He heard every single longing I told Him about real friendship and women I could share life with.

Then one day I was invited to a new Bible study with five other women for the summer. Just to try it out. We would meet every other week, and our children would have babysitters. I was nervous at first and expected little in terms of the friendships that group might offer. But God was bigger than my expectations and used that group of women to show me that real and genuine and healthy friendship can happen for even me. He used that Friday group to teach me that He had heard every heart tear I’d spilled on our morning walks.

When I moved away three years later, I never expected to find that kind of friendship again. I knew that those kinds of friendships were rare indeed. So I don’t even think it occurred to me to ask Him again. But God knew what I needed. He knows what I need. Always has. Even before the morning walks of nine years ago. Always will. Even after I leave here for some time in a different place.

So you know what He did? He gave me even more friends! The kind of friends I can let in the door when my kids have barfing all day and no evidence of any flat surface in my house exists. The kind of friends who’ve seen my ugly cry and still think I’m beautiful. The kind of friends who pray for me, and with me, and point me to Jesus by the way they love me and the way they live.

Yeah. I know. I am blessed. beyond. measure. My heart is beating fast just writing about it here. I can’t believe I am so blessed.

So when I got this package in the mail from Dayspring with the adorable Everyday Joy Assortment Set, I was so excited to think about just how to give it away!

It’s on sale right now for $19.99. And it includes:

  • The most adorable little notepad that actually is a set of three notepads all tied up in a cute little bow.

  • That polka-dot Everyday Joys journal that has an encouraging verse on every page (which goes great with Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts. Just sayin’). But the bunny ears are extra. They are supplied by my 7-year-old who felt like the journal needed a little extra love, apparently.
  • A matching gift bag with free tissue paper inside (I know!).
  • And my personal favorite, a red and white polka dot mug that says “You have filled my heart with greater joy.” (Psalm 4:7) It’s my favorite because it is both left- and right-handed. (You can read the verse from either side. Coming from a left-handed person who has, all her life, had to stare at the blank side of an otherwise adorable mug for most of her life, this is seriously awesome. Trust me.)

It’s a whole collection of fun gifts to give to friends and those who truly have filled my heart with greater joy because of God’s amazing love and care for me. There are all kinds of deals over here at (in)courage, too. Seriously, all kind of great gifts to give to the gifts I call friends.

But now I have to decide who to give them to. Hmmm. Maybe I should start walking again so I can ask God about that one…

What do you say?

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