I am giving you fair warning that this is a long post. I am feeling wordy today and this post has been working it's way through my system for a while. Consider yourself warned, but still encouraged to read.
What seems like many years ago now, I went through a period of what I would now term fairly serious post partum depression. It was serious. It lasted 6 months. I told no one. No one guessed, not HHBL, not my parents, not the few friends that I had. No one here on Earth knew that I struggled to get out of bed daily. That I struggled to get through the basic tasks of the day with three children under the age of five. That if it had not been for the fact that I never was without my children in the car with me that I would most likey have sent said car off the bridge that spans the Chagrin River, I had the place all picked out. That is a scary thought isn't. It is certainly scary to me as I sit here, 18 years later and think about it.
Life was very bleak. And that time, when I was at the lowest point that I have ever been in my entire life I literally fell on my knees and cried out to the Lord. You see, there was one person who knew how I struggled and it was my Jesus. I remember that day vividly, as I think we all do when we have times like that. I remember clearly asking Jesus for a friend, just a friend.
And let me tell you that the Lord answers the cries of our hearts and in abundance.
This stream of thought has been brewing in my mind for quite a while as I think about the groups of friends that I have. Groups and groups and groups. Friends and more friends. More than I could imagine and such a varied group let me tell you. Some of the groups have overlaps and some sort of stand on their own but all precious to me.
They came slowly at first because, you see, I had to learn that I was someone who was worthy of friendship, that I was someone whom people might actually like to be friends with. I firmly believe that the lie that, "you are not a person that other women would like to know" is the internal thought that the Evil One uses to bring discontent. We all have a desire and need for friendship and companionship and if we feel that we are someone that others do not wish to know then we are isolated and more vulnerable. I speak only for myself on this but I have seen the same thing happen in others.
First there were friends that were the mothers of my daughters friends. We had a common thread that bound us together. We spent time together on occasion helping in the classroom or on a field trip.
Then a few more were added when I went to work at my daughter's school.
Linda will shoot me if she ever sees that I have put this picture up but tough! Yes, we were the "kitchen ladies".I loved that job and I loved those women and they are still my friends, amazingly, even though we no longer work together and for the most part our children are grown. I learned that yes, I am a funny person and someone that works well with others. Although I occasionally run with knives.
And then there were these lovely ladies. I have to say that Stacey and Susan have been my friends for a really long time, we were college roomies at Baylor University. But, as life has a tendency to do, we had drifted into our adult lives and out of each others. But the Lord continued to fulfill the cry of my heart and brought us back together and I have to say I do not know what I would do without them now. We still live in different areas of the country but we try to spend a "girls weekend" together every once in a while and we talk and email and Facebook and.....
Lest you think that it was all, "Lord give me, give me, give me.." let me assure you it was not. I had to learn to be a friend, to know how to listen, I had a lot to learn. And I am still learning let me tell you.
You never know when friends will present themselves. For a period of time, a short and rather awkward period of time I was a Creative Memories consultant. I was not cut out for that job but that is another story altogether. What was great about that little fork in the road was the friends that I picked up along the way. The whacky (you KNOW you are guys), scrapbooking women who made me (and make me) stay up late and cut pictures and do all that incomprehensible scrapping stuff. They are another link in the friendship circle. Yes, that is me with my very short hair. It was a phase.....that lasted 15 years.
And then there are these women. This is one of those overlap situations where there are women from several different "friend circles" (I sound like a cell phone company). There are women from my neighborhood, there are women from the "kitchen ladies" days, there are women from way back when my kids were little, there are women from Bible study. They all come to my house in December for a rather raucous ornament exchange where there is eating and laughing and stealing. When I started this thing almost 10 years ago many of them didn't know each other and many of them only see each other once a year, at this thing. But they are friends and another link in the circle (I can hear "The Lion King" song in the background).
And then there are these precious women who mean the world to me, who took care of me after my surgery when my mom went home, who make me laugh, who study the bible with me. They are my sisters of the heart.
And now I have added another group to the friend mix. I don't have a picture to show you but they are my knitting buddies, the crazy, quirky women of TriCounty Knitaholics. We meet every other Monday unless of course we need a "supplemental meeting" which seems to happen a lot. What can I say, don't mess with women who regularly use pointy sticks.
So, all those many years ago, when I was so low and so lonely and cried out to the Lord for one friend....He blessed me. He blessed me a thousand fold with friends overflowing. And I treasure each and every one.