Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting up with a dear old friend of some 33 years. We guessed it had been about half that time since we’d seen each other last. Reunions, it’s good for me to be reminded of where I’ve come from and how much I’ve changed.
When I first met Liz, I had only recently become a “believer,” I was the new kid to our small Baptist Christian school and the only Episcopalian! Everything was strange and interesting. Liz along with a core of 7th grade girls welcomed me and began to show me what it looked like to follow Jesus. Even though we were all so young, these people lived out what they believed. That impressed me. For the first time I saw that learning about God and obeying His word was doable… they even made it look cool. Where I came from, I had been the “good kid” who obeyed the rules (mostly), but these folks held a higher standard. They loved each other and that challenged me.
Most of my time (until my early twenties) was spent in the exacting world of Ballet. I was what you might call completely obsessed: body, mind and soul! This new world of God-loving people was really foreign to me and somewhat conflicting to the other. A constant struggle began in my heart. Would I allow God full control of both worlds? Without realizing it, these girls showed me it was possible. When I had the chance to share this fact yesterday, I saw Liz’s eyes well-up with tears. She had just been a young girl back then with her own hurts and struggles, yet God had strategically placed her in my path for just such a time as that. I had desperately needed a pattern to follow and she was just a few steps ahead.
God is so gentle that way. He gives us what we need as we need it. Never more than we can handle, but always with a bit of a challenge added. I have grown and changed and so has my friend. We have both suffered pain and celebrated great blessings. We are not who we were (thank goodness), but we are surely not all we will be either. God continues His work in us, bringing into our lives examples and new challenges. Sometimes making us the example to learn from… good or bad 🙂
Thank You, Lord, for the mentors in my life today (Alex, Amanda, Bobbi, Elizabeth, Kathryn, Kelly, Nancy, Marianne, my mom, sisters… all my in-laws). What a wealth of examples You’ve offered! Thank You that You never leave me to just figure it out alone. You’ve given living, breathing patterns to glean from. Your mercy is unfailing- I love YourBody of Christ! Anna