I love this photo that reflects a beautiful bond of friendship. I can imagine that it has probably lasted over the decades or even a lifetime. These long-lasting friendships are so precious! My friend Caren and I have been friends for sixty years, and Nancy for nearly forty. Now that's a treasure! I met my friend Debbie about thirty years ago. When we met, she had a preschooler and a toddler. Over the years, our friendship changed with the times. It began with my obsession to love on her girls. I was still childless at this point, and was eagerly pursuing parenthood. We were a big help to each other. As her girls grew into young ladies, they started babysitting my two boys. Debbie was now in a position to help me in this season.
All of our "kids" are now adults, and Debbie and I still cherish our friendship. It became more difficult to get together once she moved over an hour away, but the cord of love kept us connected. This week she once again proved to be one of my dearest friends. This category of friendship requires time, commitment, inconvenience and sometimes finances.
Our problem began when our special needs son boarded the wrong train home and ended up several hours away. After calling a group of friends to pray, I immediately called Debbie to see if she could pick him up and stay with him until two of our friends could come get him. She agreed and took off to accomplish this mission.
What makes this story more precious is that Debbie committed to help me despite the fact that she lost her husband last week. I had to ask her for this big favor despite her extremely stressful situation. I knew her commitment to our friendship ran so deep that she would put herself under more stress to help me. My son exited the train in an unknown and desolate territory. This could have ended up badly. Yet I knew I could rest secure because of her support and the commitment of our other two friends to rescue and watch over him. All three of my friends helped me even though it meant enduring fatigue, time, travel and more. This is the deepest commitment to friendship: sacrifice.
According to an article by the Mayo Clinic (Healthy Lifestyle, Adult Health, Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health, www.mayoclinic.org), friendships provide the following health benefits:
Reduces your stress thereby strengthening your immune system
Helps you cope better with traumas
Encourages you to maintain a healthy lifestyle
Increases your sense of belonging and purpose
Helps reduce depression
Helps reduce high blood pressure
Helps reduce body mass index
Helps you live longer
God created us for relationships with people and with Him. You might be asking, "How can you be friends with someone invisible?" It's a mystery with a simple answer. He sent His son, Jesus, to live on earth as our human connection. God sent His Son to live and die for us. Because of His sacrifice, He is the way we can now connect directly with God. Once you allow Him to reside in your heart and spirit, you will become friends though God's love letter to us, the Bible. You will also learn to love Him as you see how He provides for you.
Of course my husband is my best friend, but without my female friends, my life would not be as rich. I like to think of my friends as the water that quenches my dry soul and the sun that shines through my dark clouds. My life is abundantly blessed, and because of each one of them, I enjoy this amazing treasure!