It’s been over three years since I first moved to Beulah, and in all honesty, there are still some days that are really hard. Really . . . lonely. Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful people up here who have adopted us into their family; and I have a small handful of friends. But what my heart really desires, what my heart really needs, is a “bosom friend”. A friend whose relationship goes deeper, a friend who can put a smile on my face for days after spending time together, a friend who I can chat with for hours or simply just sip a cup of coffee with. A friend like Carmen.
What I love about my friend Carmen is that no matter how many weeks (or months!) goes by before we talk again, our friendship picks up right where it left off. When we do talk, my heart is full for days afterwards. Carmen always makes me laugh, and she’s always ready to listen. Just thinking about her makes me smile and I can’t help but praise the Lord for her friendship. The bummer part, though, is that Carmen lives in Texas. Not in Beulah with me.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Lord has been working on my heart. He’s been teaching me about the risk of relationships. I’ve been reminded that friendships like those I have with Carmen and a few others don’t just miraculously happen. They have to be cultivated. They have to be invested in. They take time. I’ve been challenged to be more inviting; to open my home more to those I know well and those I don’t know hardly at all. I’ve been reminded that to have a good friend is to be a good friend. I’ve humbly realized that the world around me isn’t necessarily going to say, “Wow! What a great girl. I want to be her friend.” I’ve come to understand that I need to initiate conversations, coffee dates and play dates. Just as Jesus invested in others and loved them – He desires us to do the same.
“‘For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same?'” – Matthew 5:46-47
It’s easy to stay with what we know; with what we’re comfortable with. But a lot of times, the Lord takes us out of those situations and places us far from the comfortable familiar. Far from our families. Far from our “bosom buddies”. It’s easy to simply exist and wait for someone to notice us, to begin investing in us. But I think that would be “loving those who love you”. We’re called to something higher; to something harder. I believe the Lord desires us to step out of our comfortable familiar and love not only our enemies – but those we don’t know.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor . . . [practice] hospitality.” – Romans 12:9, 10, 13
“‘I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.'” — Acts 20:24