Sunday, May 18, 2014

Left Behind...



Last Wednesday my friend Aubrey invited my sister and me to go to youth group with her. It was the first time any of us had gone and also the first time I had seen her since she got back two weeks ago. I was so excited to see her, but I was also absolutely terrified –it is like standing on a really high cliff and knowing something you really want is at the bottom, and the only way down is to jump-. Two (almost three) years is a really long time. We've lived through things the other one hasn't. We've changed. We're not the people we were two years ago. Africa is so much different than America. 

My hands were literally shaking as Brianna and I got out of the car in the pouring rain to go into the church, the parking lot was filled with giant puddles so I wasn't surprised when I climbed out of the car and stepped right into a giant puddle. And of course, when I went to shut my door it wouldn't shut. After three tries I finally figured out why. Thanks to my seat belt which somehow managed to get in between the seat and the door (Don't ask me how), by the time I got in the church I was really wet soaked.




 It was really great to see her! But I couldn't help thinking that we in a way are going to have to become friends all over again. And it was a little bit awkward. I couldn't tell you what she likes anymore because I don't know. The girls we both knew are gone, left behind like the many memories we have made together, of sleepovers and dress up. Of bonfires and the time we went laser-tagging, of playing in the woods and talking late into the night. Oh and yes the pranks we played on one another (and for once being able to stay awake longest paid off). We aren't those people anymore. We've grown up. Made more memories. We lived two years on different sides of the globe. Living lives so differently from the other's life. How on earth do you pick up that friendship that you clung to for two years? By random message on Facebook and quick Skype calls. Punctuated by internet failures and time zone differences. I remember when they first left feeling… left behind. Like they had figured out what they were supposed to be doing and were doing it and I was still sitting here in America trying to figure it out.




What is friendship? What makes a friend? And how do you stay friends when an ocean lies between you?
 
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:10 

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8


   

I think a friend is someone God puts in our life so that when we trip and fall He can use them to pick us back up and encourage us to keep going. He puts them in our lives to laugh with us and cry with us. He puts them in our life to confront us when we are on the wrong path and tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts, or how angry it makes us. He puts them in our lives to shape us into who we are. So that when those days that we just want to quit and lay down come, they can come up beside us and take our hand and lead us on (and sometimes drag us). So that when we are going through a hard time and we just can't understand why something had to happen they can be the shoulder we lean on. They can be the ear that listens to the crying of hearts. They can be the one that says "I don't know why this happened, but He does. And one day you're going to look back and you're going to understand why that happened," 

 
   

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. -Helen Keller

Moses was God's friend and as he spent time with him, he began to be a reflection of God's glory and his face literally shone with it.

Just as Moses could not be in the presence of God without experiencing a change in himself one that could be seen by everyone around him so it is with our friends.

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two covenant tablets in his hand, Moses didn't realize that the skin of his face shone brightly because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw the skin of Moses' face shining brightly, they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called them closer. So Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and Moses spoke with them. After that, all the Israelites came near as well, and Moses commanded them everything that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses went into the Lord's presence to speak with him, Moses would take the veil off until he came out again. When Moses came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see that the skin of Moses' face was shining brightly. So Moses would put the veil on his face again until the next time he went in to speak with the Lord. Exodus 34:29-35

Those that we hang out with will rub off on us for the better or worse. Do you hang out with people that will encourage you to shine and radiate God's glory or encourage you to look like the world?

I was never one to be excited to be known as a "Teenager". I told my mom I was not one and didn't want to be called that. Because teens have a reputation that I wanted nothing to do with. I was twelve and saw that they do nothing, help nowhere, and hang out at the mall with others with nothing positive to do with their lives… partying and rebellion?

No thanks! I had been doing chores, taking care of my animals on my own without anyone nagging or telling me it had to be done. I had been cooking, baking, canning and helping with the house and gardens since I was three. And I love it!
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. -George Washington

Why now was I punished by this badge of dishonor? Just because I had the word teen attached to how old I was? When we told people I was teased terribly and accused of being a "Teenager" by that comment & attitude. I've told my mom that I felt like teen's today act like they do and are not responsible because they are not expected to.

People will most often live up to your expectations and when you set the bar on the ground… Why are we shocked? What we may not realize is that even we are asked to do and be more. God calls us to be more. God tells us to be righteous to live righteously and surround ourselves with friends that want to live righteously. Not to live that way to buy our way into heaven, but because He in His mercy saves me from wrong doings (sin) and because we love Him and want to please Him –we read his instruction manual (the bible) and then do our best to live it, to love and live for Him. To care for and love others and when we do… When we do we shine. Shine like Moses, shine like the moon, a reflection of the light of God's glory. Not that we are not to reach out to those that don't believe, but the closest friends need to be those that are also shining.

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

 So,how do you pick up that friendship? –Sigh-, to be honest, I don't know. It will take lots of grace and lots and lots of prayer. But, in the end, it's up to God. It's up to Him if we are supposed to be in each other's lives. 



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