What a glorious sunny day in December! I had time to breathe while I waited for a friend. A dear, dear friend I rarely get to see anymore. We were condo neighbors, then prayer partners when I first moved to California 17 years ago. Neither of us had children, and she not a husband at the time. The combined weekly prayers of our trio (a third neighbor joined us) covered the full circle of female experience. Representing a lifespan between us, we prayed each other through some heart-wrenching transitions from single-hood to marriage and infertility to menopause. As time has rolled on, we've traded places and themes until now, lo and behold the daughters we prayed into existence are approaching the age we were when we met (almost)! Cue the Circle of Life song from Lion King.
It was Carolyn who changed my prayer for a baby from a request to an intercession. She aptly foresaw that the baby we were hoping to adopt was likely already conceived and growing in someone's belly. It was Carolyn who called me when she went into labor to cue me to my knees-- and again just an hour later to say her baby girl had arrived! Suffice it to say, walking with her stirs a lot of memories. It has been years since we've had more than 5 minutes on the church patio and as many as 6 other ears listening to all we confide.
Carolyn's the kind of friend I can (and do) call for a ride to the airport at any ungodly hour or from the dark roadside alley 40 minutes from home where AAA left me stranded with 2 kids recently or when I'm desperate to keep an invitation to a dinner dance and can't find a babysitter for my "spirited" child. I know she'd do anything for me...and vice versa.
Now that you know I love her, I must also tell you she typically runs a little late. So, I had some time by myself at the beach as I waited to relish this annual-at-best beachwalk we had managed to schedule. Twenty minutes later strolling up the serendipitously low tide, I realized I was 5 blocks north of where we'd agreed to meet! Oops. No matter, ours is a totally forgiving friendship too. By the time we recognized each other waving in the misty distance, I had found 2 sand dollars and heard the Lord speak volumes.
Like a trusty hearing aid, when Carolyn is around--or even approaching me from afar--I seem to hear better. Hearing the Lord doesn't happen a lot for me in this manner. Sure, when I am in His Word I hear principles and application. Far less common though is alone time when I feel His thoughts virtually drop into my mind. Usually when I walk with a friend, we are talking. While highly pleasurable and beneficial, our chatter makes it impossible to hear any other voices, especially that stillest, small voice of all. So, this day in addition to the extraordinary visit with Carolyn, I received the elusive gift of silence with God...and a tangible token from the sea.
I'm quite sure I began praying for a friend for Reid when he was about 2 (it's recorded in an old prayer journal). That prayer request is one I've reiterated, re-used, thrown out, and recycled in turns with great angst, acquiescence, acceptance, and assertion. Just recently, 12 years hence, I see stirrings of an affirmative answer as Reid talks about 2 boys on his bus route. It used to be, I was organizing facilitated play groups, recruiting typically developing peers from church, or negotiating the parameters of a playdate to ensure it's success. How refreshingly different to now be sitting back and merely asking, "Do you want to take an extra cookie for Billy?" Or coaching Reid on how to ask Aaron for his phone number so we can call his house. How much better to have the desire come from within rather than be imposed upon. How spontaneous and better than what I ever asked or imagined.
I am a sucker for children's choirs and this one does my heart good in their rendition of the irresistible old favorite, What a Friend we Have in Jesus.
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:13-17
"Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.' ! Samuel 20:42
"Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. James 2:22-24