Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Match.com

"It's a match made in heaven." No, I'm not talking about a dating service...(well, I could be, but that's not the point of this post)...

What I'm talking about is the most unlikely of friends, brought together by none other than the Sovereign Lord Himself. We simply could not have done this by our own hands. There is nothing on this planet that would have allowed our paths to cross had it not been for God's providential will.

In fact, knowing what I know now, I understand why the enemy made an effort to prevent our friendship from forming. It must make him absolutely disgusted to think how God has been glorified and each other's spirits encouraged in the Lord because of our friendship. Oh foolish fallen enemy of darkness, you can wreak havoc on life but when will you learn that you don't get the victory?? Praise the Lord!

I'm to the point in my life where a lot of friends or little-known acquaintances aren't what I seek. This is why I purged my Facebook friends of more than 500 people I barely knew. What I have come to value are the lasting relationships that provide and require a mutual investment. That's exactly the kind of friendship this has become.

We did the "dance." It was awkward at first. Stumbling over my own two feet, nervous I might step on her toes. We both had to figure each other out. Boundaries. Expectations. Fear. Trust.  We weren't yet aware of God's active presence in the circumstances that originally intersected our paths. Most of this relationship dance comes in step with each one's insecurities. The more layers peeled back, the more insecurities revealed. And one of the areas that quickly connected us was recognizing so many similarities. Despite one shared experience that initially brought us together, the testimonies of our lives are extremely different. But what we had in common were the feelings, responses, and even personalities that seemed to almost mirror each other.

We laid down our masks, revealed our insecurities, let our vulnerabilities become areas we were willing to trust each other with, and provided an opportunity for God to use each of us so that we could experience more of Him. We were able to find the rhythm and learn the steps. At times she leads the outpouring of encouragement and blessing. Other times it's my turn to take the lead as her support and prayer partner. What has resulted are "God Moments" where we are truly in sync. (You may have already read about the Wake Up Call we both received.)

For this season of life, God has directed our paths so that our steps are harmoniously matched...and I am thankful.

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, sister, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. Philemon 1:4-7

As I've recently learned, the more I'm willing to be real and share my experiences, the more people seemingly relate. It can be scary when the mask comes off. What if they don't like me? What if they reject me? What if I'm not accepted? What if the "real me" scares people away? Oh yes, it's a risk...but the reward is so worth it! The return is authentic friendship. Real encouragement where you need it. Genuine prayer over specific requests. As I learn to be this type of friend, I am challenged to seek the Lord and draw strength and encouragement from Him so that it may overflow to these relationships in my life.

Do you have this kind of relationship? Someone you can be absolutely real with? Someone who lets you take off the mask and loves and accepts you no matter what? Someone you can share your deepest darkest secrets and vulnerabilities with and doesn't cast judgement or stones? At the same time, someone who can recognize areas of weakness or sin and speak the truth in love?

We were made for companionship. We were made to share life. For exactly the purpose of what Philemon says - to grant one another joy and encouragement through our relationships. To refresh each other's hearts as we walk through life together. To deepen our understanding of and relationship with the Lord.

Seek this in your life and seek to be this as well.

If you have this person(s) in your life, thank the Lord! If not, make your request known to Him and be willing to give and receive this kind of relationship that may just be a match made in heaven (or the internet - sorry, I couldn't resist)!

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