12 August 2011

The Face of Friendship

On Thursday, I was able to get away for a fun girls lunch. It was so nice to put on a nicer-than-normal outfit and an extra piece of jewelry. Girls' time is so fun and not something I often have a chance to do. 

But this girls' time was particularly special because it was a small gathering of some of Dana's closest local friends. We gathered together yesterday for lunch out as a way to check in with our friend during her time of grief. It was my first time to see her since I heard the news that her husband has a brain tumor. My heart had been unable to rest until I was able to hug her, look her in her eyes and ask, "how are you really doing?"

It turns out Dana is doing really well, considering. She is sad at times but many more times, she seems to be holding on to hope, focusing on what is positive in her life and believing God is in control. The thing that strikes me the most is how she is holding so tight to Christ during this time. It is obvious by her character and faith during such a stressful time that she believes the things she professes to believe.

After our time together, which was a mix of laughter and tears, Dana, her friends and I held hands and prayed. I started the prayer and before I could even think, the words, "I'm so sad" rolled off my tongue. (When I approach God, I often want to be honest about how I am feeling. And in this moment, I was overcome by my grief over Dana's most recent news.  Our time together was meant to be a space for healing among friends for Dana but it ended up being a space for healing for me just as much.)

It was Dana's prayer, however, that most affected me. At one point, she said, "God, thank you for my friends, who I believe you put in my life to show me the different parts of you."

I love this and have thought about this concept numerous times since this prayer. I've considered how God has many different faces. And I have, many times, been aware of how God reveals himself through others. But I've never really thought about how the different friendships I have can demonstrate the different parts/faces of God.

Experiencing Dana's journey with her husband's health reminds me alot of my own journey through Bennett's illness. Seeing her friends rally around her reminds me of how Brian and I have felt watching our friends rally around us.

Friendships (and familyships :)) are critical in times like this, when one's life is in an uproar and the future seems undetermined. I am so thankful for the many friends God has placed in my life.

And Dana's prayer reminds me that God's placement of friends in my life are not just functional but spiritual - a mirror or shadow of who God is in my life.

 I so appreciate being invited to girl time Thursday. But even more, I appreciate seeing the face of God through Dana...not just through Dana's prayer but through having her as a friend.

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