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BE FRI…A Lesson in Patience

Flashback with me to the 1990s:  New Kids on the Block and Best Friend necklaces were the raddest thing on the planet. the latter of those was imperative to survival as a fifth grade girl. No worries for me, I wore my half of a Best Friend necklace proudly to school, sitting next to, and spending time with my favorite friend whenever we could. Until…

I woke up, put on my favorite pair of hot pink leggings, gray sweatshirt, Keds, and bounced into the fifth grade class with the cutest side-pony you’ve ever seen and took my regular seat next to my favorite friend. I was fully prepared to embark in our daily routine of lunch swapsies and matching up our respective halves of a Best Friend necklace. Imagine my shock to see that she was already matching her half up with someone else! How could this be? We picked the necklace out together. I rushed over to sort out the confusion and the truth spilled that she had indeed chosen a new bestie over the weekend.I was left alone with a sad little half of a necklace – an enscripted “BE  FRI” with no “ST ENDS” to be found.

Tragedy in the fifth grade. Surely this was the end for me. I managed to survive the remainder of the school day, though I’m not sure how. I rushed to the car in pickup line and burst into hot, angry tears. As my mom tried to console me she said, “It’s ok, honey. You still have lots of friends. You’ll find someone else to share a necklace with.” Oh, but I won’t. I couldn’t. I was convinced I’d be best friendless for ever and ever. It was later that evening when she tucked me in she said, “Maybe this girl isn’t your very best friend after all. I’m sure that God would not leave you friendless. You have lots of friends. Maybe you’ll meet your ‘best friend’ in college.”

College? Was she crazy? At 10, college seemed like an eternity away. Clearly I should just start shopping for a new one right away! How could I possibly wait until then for a BFF? Thus began my first season of waiting. (Nod to my sub line Waiting for Sticky Notes.)

It wasn’t until high school, a new round of best friends, and a new season of waiting that I found what would become my “life verse” in Proverbs.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust.  Easier said than done. I can listen, I can heed, I can even submit (mostly) but trust. That is hard work, friends. I don’t know about you, but I ride the struggle bus when it comes to full trust in just about everything. Dictionary.com defines it like this:

trust (noun): 1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence. 2. confident expectation of something; hope. 3. confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit.

Wait. Uh, bor-ing. Even as a grown up I don’t want to wait for much. “Patience is a virtue,” they say. I say, patience is a big old pain in the bootie. Yet, God teaches it to me over and over again.

Friendships are hard no matter what age you are 10, 15, 20, 25, 40, and I bet they’ll still be hard at 65 and 85. Women in that age-range feel free to weigh in, I’d love to know if this gets easier. Like all good things we have to wait it out and work for it. Though I couldn’t see it then those fifth-grade girls and high school girls and college girls all served a new and beautiful purpose in my life. Growth, faithfulness, loyalty, reality, trust, I am who I am because of friendships real ones and fake ones.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

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