You have probably heard this saying...I have for years!
And it is so true!!
Think about a flower garden....perhaps like this one:
|Jardin des Tuileries - Paris|
The Tuileries Garden in Paris, France
When the 4 of us were in Paris (April 2010), the Tuileries Gardens pictured above were not yet in bloom. But I could tell by the lay-out that there would be hundreds of flowers in all different kinds of colors and types come May and June. It is a magnificent place to visit. Even with the barrenness of April! But, oh how I wish we could have been there when all the different varieties of flowers were in bloom......I love walking in gardens! I love all the different kinds.....
Our friendships are like that. We have all types of friends. I have friends that go back to my elementary days, high school days, college days and grad school days. I have work friends, church friends, neighborhood friends and ministry friends. Some of these friends are closer to me (emotionally) than others and some live in different regions of the country. Many are just "acquaintances" but several are those kinds of friends you can call in the middle of the night if there was an emergency.
I love the variety in the friendships I have. Some are born-again Believers and some are agnostic or follow a different religion.
They are all "flowers" to me.....on this life journey, they bring a sweet fragrance to my life.....some with their gifts, cards, messages or phone calls. Some with their encouragement and prayers. Some know my love languages and I know theirs so we meet those needs in each other. Some know me more intimately than others and some know my entire life history! All of my friends are dear to me.
Recently (last Saturday morning), a good friend of mine and I met at our local tea shoppe. She had surprised me by attending my mother's "celebration of life" service (I still can't really call it a funeral!) three weeks ago. However, we are the kind of friends that even though we live in the same town and text all the time, we hardly ever get together. It just so happened that we were both free that morning and she had never been to The Tailored Tea so we decided to meet! What a wonderful time of fellowship. It had just been too long since we did some face time.
And later that evening, I was reflecting on our friendship and how it's often like that with the Lord. We can call on Him daily (prayer, meditating, the Bible reading we do) and yet do we really give Him "face time"?
By that, I mean, do we let our walls down and really look fully at His wonderful grace?
Erin and I give each other grace.....we know each other is busy with our families, work, church, etc. BUT....after not seeing each other for months, our conversation picks up just like time hadn't kept us apart.
Spending time with the Lord is like that! We might go through those daily motions of reading the Word, praying, and attending church. Maybe we listen to the Christian radio station on the way to work, or play Christian music while house cleaning or cooking dinner. BUT...that isn't "Real" face time.
Real face time with God requires an intimacy and aloneness with just our Savior and our selves. I try to do this at least once a week or more.....just listening to that still, small Voice and allowing my self to be honest and vulnerable before the Lord (yes, He already knows our deepest thoughts in the deepest corners of our heart....but it is so important to get real with Him with our words and emotions).
Jesus is our Friend. Maybe it's been awhile since you were totally honest about what you desire or need or even honest about how you are really feeling emotionally, physically, spiritually. He will be there like a good Friend. He is only a whispered Name away.
Our super-close friends, who know us intimately are safe. We need those safe friends whom we can be "real" with and go deep with. Jesus is just like that. We can always be real with Him and He is safe. He is our refuge.
I learned a lot from having tea that day......and I'm thankful for the friends who are like the flowers in the garden of life.....and I'm thankful for a Redeemer Who helps us walk this journey.........
I come to the garden alone
while the dew is still on the roses
and the Voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me
and He talks with me
and He tells me I am His own
and the joy we share as we tarry there
none other has ever known.
(~Charles Austin Miles, 1913~)