Friday, July 27, 2012

sticky, ugly, dull, quiet, loud, messy. worthwhile.

i have a friend that i met when i was 14.

we were freshmen in high school.
he was best friends with a boy i had a crush on, who became my boyfriend (for like 4 months - isn't that just "so" high school?).
and then my friend became my crush.
and then that ended.

but what never ended was our friendship.

for all of high school, there was a group of about 10+ of us that were tight - guys and girls. we played ball together, we did weekends together, we got into trouble together, we laughed together, did 4th of july fireworks together, beach trips together...

and then we went to college.

and while space separated us all, and some of the friendships faded, some remained.

i call that a God thing.

God always goes before us. good thing, too.

so when word got back to me that my friend was caught up in drugs, in a dangerous way, i picked up the phone and called him. and after a year or more of not talking to him, i laid it out for him as though we had talked just the day before. and he received my correction and my love.

he needed for someone to tell him what he was doing wasn't worth it. that there was a better way - and that he was worth the better way.

i'd like to say that that was the end of the story and that the happy beginning started from there. but it's not.

that was 10 years ago.

and we're still friends. and time has passed in the spaces between us seeing and talking to each other. but still the Lord brings our friendship back when it is most needed.

like now.

because right now, while he may be living the repercussions of poor choices, he is still worth more.
but he doesn't believe it - yet.

but he is.

and we don't talk all the time, and i see him inconsistently, but when we do talk or meet, it's the breath of heaven.

we started out as kids together. awkward, and flirtatious, and cheering from the stands. but now, we're standing by each other as two adults who know the hearts of the other. and we're not afraid of what the world will say as we walk through the thick of it to see the other come out clean.

i know what it is to feel alone in a dark season of life. i know what it is to wear shame and to be embarrassed and to not know who to talk to for fear of their judgment or poor counsel or even because you haven't a clue who would actually be willing to walk with you through the crap that is your life.

i know.

i know what it feels like to have someone walk with you, to hear the gory details, to hold you when you cry and when the pieces come back together, they cheer. but i also know that when the pieces fell apart again, they weren't there. and that feeling. that feeling of not knowing who to turn to again...that is a lonely isolating feeling.

and it's unnecessary.

and so i listen. i listen to this man who is going on 34, and i hear my friend who is 16. i hear him crying for real and full life, but he is so beaten down by the liar and the consequences of his choices that he can't quite see what chance he has at the fullness promised to him.

and so i repeat over and over: you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. you're hilarious. you're insanely talented and bright. you were made with purpose and for great courage. you've dreamt of standing before crowds of people and speaking of God's hope and glory. the Lord has put the desires of your heart within you and wants to pull them out. LET HIM. move. go. quit sitting still and being alone. start living.

over and over.
over and over.
over and over.
over and over.

and he sits in my living room with my husband and i. and he cries.

and we hug him.
and we love him.
and we pray with him.

over and over.
over and over.
over and over.
over and over.

because he is worth it.

and not because i say so.
not even because i think so or want it to be so.

but because God says so.

my friend was created in the image of Love.
and so i will keep walking with him until he no longer needs to call me or my husband. i will push him and annoy him and encourage him and listen to him and cry with him and fight in prayer for him and correct him and demand more of him...until the chains of bondage are broken and he is living a life worth more.

and i can do that.
i can do that because i am his friend.

i didn't sign up for a comedy show - so i don't always need him to be funny.
i didn't sign up to have him affirm me - so i don't need his male affirmations.
i didn't sign up to see him kill it on the court - so i don't need him to be the star athlete.

i didn't sign up to be his friend at all.
but i am.
and despite his faults, i love him.
and my husband loves him.

you know, at my dad's funeral, there were many strangers that walked up to me to speak. several of them were women that lived in his community. and they would say things like, 'your dad would always stop by on his tractor, or on his way into town...and he would always be so drunk. but i wouldn't say anything. i never mentioned his drinking. but i would always share the love of Jesus with him.'

they were the workers in the field.

when we couldn't continue in relationship with my dad, the Lord brought unbiased, pure, grace-filled love into my dad's life.

the Lord Jesus, the friend of sinners, gave my dad a friend.

we all need to be loved.

we all need to know that we're worthy of Love.

we just have to be willing to get a little uncomfortable sometimes in the process.

[this song is our friend's heart's cry right now. he's said over and over that he's ready. he wants to be free and feel and live the fullness of the Lord. so pray for him. i would share his name but i'm certain he'd have me keep that confidential. but pray that He would be obedient to the Lord and that as quickly as he moves forward, his joy would be restored.]

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