The gift of a friend. What exactly does that mean? To me, it sounds like it means that friendship is a gift that should not be wasted or taken for granted. Think about it. A gift is something someone gives you. It is something that is received. When we think about friendship as being a gift, it reminds us that friendship is not always just assumed. True, different personalities play into this, but for most, whether you are super out going, or extremely shy, or just somewhere in between the two, a person's friendship is theirs to give, not ours to take. So why do we take advantage of it so much?
As a child, I struggles a LOT with finding good, solid friends that would stick with me for life. I was never mean to any of them, it's just that in their eyes, I wasn't fit to be part of their group or clique. My first best friend experience happened in 1st grade. This girl and I were pretty much best friends. Or so, that's how I saw it. The next year, this girl decided to not hang out with me as much, and start making someone else her best friend. Now, in elementary school, these kinds of things happen quite a bit. But for me, I wanted to be loyal. So seeing my best friend no longer have an interest in me was very hard to understand. I didn't quite get it, and at times, people had to flat out just tell me in a very harsh way that they just didn't like me anymore. Hurtful? Oh yes. Little did I know that scars were being left in my heart, and I would have to deal with this later in my life. After that, it seemed as if the pattern would just repeat over and over again each year until I just knew that I didn't really have a best friend. That's why I think it was so hurtful when I heard people say as kids that they were best friends. Because I didn't know how that felt or what it was really supposed to mean.
Later on, as I got older in elementary school, my cousin, who is 2 years younger than me, and I started to hang out a lot. We had a TON of play dates, we had sleepovers, etc., etc. We even started a band together and wrote 2 songs together. I can't even describe how fun that was. But I knew her and I both subtly "battled" all the time for control of the friendship. She had a strong will, and I knew because I was older, I didn't have to take it. So, at times, we butted heads. A lot..... But, the good news is that it never ruined our friendship. But I feel that I did later. I remember in 7th grade sitting in her dad's office, with just her and I alone, and I told her the hard news that I didn't want to be in a band with her anymore because I didn't like how she sang. I feel so stupid for acting so judgmental and jerk like. I was acting like exactly like the girls who had treated me badly as a kid, and told me they didn't like me right to my face. What a mean and horrible thing to do.
At times I wonder if I hadn't done that if her and I would have still been best friends. I wonder at times if she would have continued to work on her singing. I wonder if she would have not tried so hard to be different, but just know that she is perfectly fine just to way she is. I regret every day how I treated her. I just wish she could see how sorry I am that I pushed her away.
To that person, if you are reading this, I am so incredibly from the bottom of my heart sorry for the way I treated you. After all, didn't we always used to say that we were best friends/cousins/just-like-sisters? :) Either way, just know that I never meant to hurt you, not even back then. Love you. :)
Now, with that, lets continue. Throughout the rest of middle school/JR High, I still face the same old "lets be bffs this year, but I'll forget you next year" game, that is, up until 8th grade. In 8th grade, I got yet another taste of what a best friendship is like. I met Liv, and I re-united with Bai. :) Now, Liv was somewhat new to Omaha, and Bai and I had met in 2nd grade Sunday school. :) We were never "best best friends" as kids, but we did have a few play dates. :) I remember in 3rd grade, she came to the school I was at, but sadly, after 4th grade, she moved to Pennsylvania for 3 years. But, I knew that night when her & I sat on the front porch steps (we were part of a small 7th grade girls-before 8th grade- bible study) and talked literally from the time we re-united to the time my mom came to pick me up, there was something special there. :)
Little did I know that 2 years later, I would get sick, testing both of our faith and our friendship. I can say that everything we went through both together and apart during that time made our friendships stronger. Liv, Bai, & I were inseparable. That is, until Bai, my bff that I love like a sister, went off to college. I was scared that I was losing her. And I felt that if I didn't say something quickly, she'd lose me too. But, thankfully, we sorted it all out in a super duper long, yet extremely important and meaningful e-mail. I can say I love her like a sister more that ever, and I pray that nothing would ever tear us apart. Best friends for LIFE. Remember that, girl. I love you, a LOT!!!!!!! :))))))
Now, even though Bailey had left, I still had Liv. And her and I grew closer too, but she recently moved to TX to follow her dreams of being in fashion. :) Thankfully, I also now have a ton more friends in my college group at church that I hope to keep for life, and friends even outside of there.
You see, I've grown from the shy, scared, insecure(ok, so I still struggle with being insecure sometimes), clingy girl who just wanted to be loved, to a brave, confident, and strong young woman of God, who KNOWS that no matter what, she is loved. I am LOVED. No matter what. And all those scars that were marked on my heart, He has healed them. All of them. I love his healing. What a beautiful mystery it is. :)
So, Thanksgiving is tomorrow and this is what I am thankful for: I can't describe to you how thankful I am for friends. I don't mean that in a vague or shallow way, either. I am truly, truly grateful for all of the friends the Lord has blessed me with. And I know now that the friendships that don't really exist anymore aren't because I caused it. It's because He allowed me to go in a different way so that I could meet friends that would love me for me. I now realize that He has blessed me in so many ways.
It's funny how as kids, we don't quite understand the value of friendship. And no, I don't mean value as in the happy meal or value menu at McDonald's. I mean the beauty, the love, the care, the GIFT of a friend. It's someone you can cry with for no reason. It someone you can trust in a time of need. It's someone you can laugh with over silly things, both big and little. It's someone to share joy with. Someone to listen. Someone to say, even if they don't know how to help yet, "I'm here for you". That's friendship. Celebrating moments together, praying for one another, going on crazy adventures together, that's friendship.
And you want to know something? There will be times in our lives where we will feel lonely. It will happen. But it doesn't mean you are alone. You are not forgotten. You are not nothing. You are a beautiful creation, made by the one and only God Almighty. HE created you, HE LOVES YOU, HE desires to be close to you. To have a friendship with you. In the end, even though we are being blessed with fellow human being to help us through life, they might fail you, but HE NEVER WILL. HIS LOVE NEVER FAILS!! Don't give up hope.
"Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years, I'll love you for a thousand more"- Christina Perry, "A Thousand Years"
I feel like the Lord is saying this to you, and to me as well, as a testament of his undying, and unfailing love for you. He will never leave you. Just trust in him.
"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb." - Psalm 139:13 (NIV)
He's known us since before we were born, and has desired to show us His love from the second we were conceived.
Even if your friends and family leave you, HE never will. The ultimate best friend. He is truly our first example of what A Gift Of A Friend really is. His son Jesus is our gift. HE is the gift of a friend.
Friendship is a gift not to be wasted. Don't waste it or spend anymore time with out it. It is worth every bit of your heart. I promise, He will not break your heart. He only desires to mend it. :)
And that my friends is the most beautiful gift of all.
Thank you for reading this, and I hope you were inspired, or started to perspire or something. :) Love you all. :)
<3 Sami :))))
Don't mean to have a cheesy ending to this, but listen to the words of this song:
"Gift Of A Friend" by Demi Lovato
(lyrics video version)
We Have a friend in Jesus. ALWAYS. :)