Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Counting my gifts of friendship


I am counting my gifts all the way to one thousand of things to be grateful for. I am grateful for gifts of friendships.

I have always struggled in the area of friendship. Moving every 5 years growing up meant that I went to 5 different schools in my 12 years of schooling.With each move it meant that I was the 'new kid' and had to leave my friends behind and make new friends. 

I was always jealous of friendships that had longevity - those friendships that began in childhood and lasted into adulthood. My friendship record was dismal. I do have friends that I have been friends with for years - but none of these were very close friendships.
 
10 years ago when my husband and I got married there was a room full of 'friends' at our wedding reception, most of them single. One by one these 'friends' got married and we didn't receive one wedding invitation amongst the group. I won't lie - that hurt, a lot. Because we all attended the same church, I guess we were really 'friends of convenience'.

When I suffered from depression, I lost a lot of friends. No one understood. I can't blame them really. It was a very ugly time and even I didn't like who I had become whilst in the darkness. I was unable to love people as I had not yet realised how much I was loved by my King. But there was One who did understand. There was One who loved me regardless. There was One that I cried out to and asked Him to rescue me from my depression - and He did.

I did have one woman whom I had a dysfunctional friendship with at the time I cried out to Him to save me from the depression. She ended our friendship one day, rather abruptly, over a FB comment I had made. I didn't see it at the time, but He removed her from my life as the friendship was destructive. I grieved our friendship and missed her deeply. But years later I can see that our unhealthy friendship was not helping either of us.

After I overcame depression I had a sense that I was in a time of replevin in my life. I had a sense that the things that were stolen from me - like friendships, would be restored back to me. I took a risk.
I dared to trust Him and opened my heart at the risk of rejection to a group of women who had loved me just as I was, with much grace.

I am so grateful for the friendships in my life right now. I have never experienced the quality and depth of love and grace in friendships as I am experiencing now. I may have had to wait until I was in my late 30's - but it was well worth the wait.


#129 Friends that take my kids for me so I can breathe and give my soul space

#129 Friends that bring meals when my husband is away on business

#130 Friends that pursue me when I have hot tears of fustration and exhaustion running down my cheek

#131 Friends that sit with me quietly when my body language screams "go away"

#132 Attending a Soul Space Retreat with friends

#133 Sleepover at resort with one of my best friends

#134 Watching a sunset uninterrupted by children for the first time in years with a friend

#135 Friends that love me enough to tell me the truth

#136 Friends that tell me they miss me on Facebook since deleting my FB account

#137 Friends that lift me up when I feel I can't go on

#138 Friends that I have never met in real life but our online friendships are a treasure to me

#139 Friends that sms me to tell me they are praying for me

#140 Friends that have faith for my healing even when I give up hope

#141 Friends that love me even when I'm hard to love

#142 Friends that encourage my gift of writing

#143 Friends that walk beside me during hard times

#144 Friends that rejoice with me and celebrate

#145 Friends that sharpen me

#146 Friends that I giggle and laugh with

#147 Friends that love me for who I am, not what I can be, or who I was

#148 Friends that read my blog and take the time to comment

#149 Friends that remind me of His love and grace when I am discouraged

#150 Friends that see me in my brokeness and love me, like He loves me, anyway 


What are you thankful for? What are the gifts in your world? Would you like to join me in finding one thousand gifts in your life?


Still taking lessons from the King,






19 comments:

  1. I love this, friendship is something that has strengthened for me too in my mid thirties. Its hard to open your heart but its vital.

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  2. Hi Jo, They say if you can count your friends on more than one hand they are not your true friends. I have a few forever friends and I think God places others there for a season for a reason. You also know who your true friends are when you go through a desert. But at the end of the day, Jesus is our one TRUE friend. Earthly friends are great though, no doubt of that! Especially with a good cuppa tea!
    God bless
    Tracy

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  3. Hey Jo, love those attributes you've listed there. I'm blessed to have great friends to be thankful for - and the distance at the moment (geographically) is just making me value them even more. I can't wait to head home and drink tea and chat with them.

    I went through a season where I didn't have too many good friends to count on. It's at that time my dependency on God really pushed through and grew. It was a hard time, but not one I would trade in now when I see what He did for me then.

    I pop by and read as often as possible. I love the truth and the challenges I pick up from your blog.x

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  4. I'm blessed to be your friend, Sister From Another Mister, "bestie in Jesus", and more! YOU have made my life so much better. Thank YOU for being MY friend. I love you. xoxo

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  5. you have been a very inspiring blogging friend to me and I am very excited that my comments seem to finally be working so I can tell you that!!! :-)

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  6. Great things to be thankful for.
    I am a new follower.
    Come over for a visit
    www.ourjoyfulliving.com

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  7. A beautiful post Jo. Friendship truly is s gift from God. <3

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  8. What a fantastic post. I too have been someone that has struggled with friends. Always trying too hard to please people and ending up only with people that want what I can offer them.

    This post reminds me to first look for the love and closeness of my Father and know that He will never leave me.

    I too have had some friends removed from my life lately. I can see it is God as they weren't healthy, wholesome relationships that build and encourage me in my walk with Him.

    He is also showing me people who He has placed in my life that maybe I haven't considered as close friends but yet as I read your list of thankfulness I see they are the people who are there. The ones who listen and courage me. The ones who remind me of the promises of God for my life. It may not be the way i imagined it with hour phone calls everyday and turning up to each others houses unannounced for coffee but they are the people who see me as God see's me. Who will pray for me when I need it.

    I just need to learn to open up a bit more and also see the gifts of friendship God has given me that are so much more than I could have dreamed of.

    I am thankful for amazing ladies like yourself who God has crossed our paths, that I may be encouraged and lifted up in ways that no friend down the road could do. People who speak from Him to my very heart. Another awesome post Jo. Your words make me think so much. xxx

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  9. Jo this is the first post I have read of yours, and boy its a good one. I know what it is to move often, to always be the new girl. And as a result the friendship thing has been a struggle too. One thing I held onto through my healing years was Gods promise to 'restore what the locusts have eaten'. Sounds like we have walked a similar journey. I look forward to reading more. xxx

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  10. The friendship issues are a weighty part of our stories as women aren't they? Navigating them is best with our understanding of our identity in Jesus in tact. :)

    I love that He uses the hard things for our good.
    Blessings FRIEND!!

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  11. Beautiful post. One thing I have learnt and continue to learn is friendships come and friendships go. My nanna always said 'if you can count on one hand your true friends, you are blessed'. I agree! I have chased friends, only to be rejected. I don't chase anymore, it really is two way, unless it's ministry! xxx

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  12. Yay! I'm #148! I was like you growing up – I went to 10 different schools in 12 years. That's why I had to name this year "connect". You think someone my age would know how to do this – but I never learned – and so I'm learning now. I hearted this Joe. I heart reading you. God bless you and keep you – and God bless and keep each and every one of yours.

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  13. I love your header photo! I am guessing that was the wedding today you went to!! You must of passed on your photogenic genes to your boys! Friends are so important and I have only just made great friends in my 40's!! So great that you persisted through the friendship journey to find the true ones xxxxx

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  14. yes I have always craved that Lucy and Ethel relationship with a friend.. and i have come across some that are very close...but i have to be honest and say,,that i find it most in my relationship with the Lord ,,and when i need a human touch to it.. i can find it in my sister or my daughter..
    But reality is..that one day, none of those outside girlfriends are going to mean a thing.. we have , like you said.. the one who does not judge us, or talk about us behind out backs, and turn their nose up,, God loves us..even though he knows all our thoughts and feeling,, wooo hooo that is the best friend there is.. Great post.. God bless

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  15. Hi Jo, Just had to stop by say hello and to thank you for your honest post. Friendship is a special gift, when we find the right ones its hard to let them go, even with challenges. I love you dear. You have a beautiful family. Your boys will be heart breakers..lol!!!

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  16. Lovely post Jo! Friendship can be difficult at times. I too moved many times in my life and am once again about to embark on this journey... tough yet again, however knowing that I have my best friend Jesus right by my side means I will never be alone and while we do say goodbye at times to others He always fills our lives with new people. I am thankful for Him and all my friends along the way.

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  17. Man you have some wonderful friends!!!!!
    Loving that new pic on your header.
    xxx

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  18. I feel your pain about not being invited to weddings. Many years ago I was engaged to be married, and the pastor's daughter was too - our weddings would be just 2 weeks apart. At her engagement party she was worried we wouldn't be back from our honeymoon in time to come to her wedding. To cut a long story short, I broke off my engagement. And guess who (out of practically the whole church & youth group) didn't end up getting an invite to the pastor's daughter's wedding?! I had done the unthinkable and broken off my engagement - and I am SO GLAD I did coz otherwise I wouldn't be married to my darling husband, 21 years and counting ... :-)

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  19. Love this post anyone who knows the real you would be beating down the door to be your friend. It is so hard to find true friends today.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo