Of This I’m Certain

We quickly became friends. We bonded over the complexity and unfamiliarity of a new job. We weren’t sure we would survive the training. It was so intense. We struggled together. Each encouraging the other when we struggled. We worked together for six months. She found something new. Something more suited to her strengths. So she moved on. Just knowing she won’t walk through the door again makes me sad. I walk past her empty office longing to see her. To stop and chat. A new person will soon take her place. Life goes on. But those memories of our time together will live strong.

I know one who won’t leave me when times get tough.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. 
Of this I’m certain.

I think of another dear friend. She has faced tough times. Many tough times. But her faith in God has not wavered. I value her friendship more than I can say. Our bond has held strong through many years of separation. Our work brought us together. Then a move separated us. We met while young. Many years have passed. But I remember the many meaningful conversations. There was a time when I thought I would never see her again this side of heaven. Now we live nearby. Work nearby. We’ve picked up where we left off. It feels so good.

No matter where my path may lead, I have One who walks with me. One who will never leave my side. Of this I’m certain. 

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:9

There’s another friend who has my heart. She has faced loss time and time again. But God has provided the desires of her heart. She listens when he speaks to her. And he does. She speaks words of truth and faith to me. Right when I need it. She encourages me. She prays for me. She is a true friend.

Some friendships are for a season. Others are for life. But with each friendship, there are new learnings. New experiences. New challenges. When does trust set in? Who will open up first? Who will disappoint first?
Friendships are necessary for a good life. True friends build up the other. Support the other. Correct the other. Speak words of truth without fear.

Good friends are hard to find. You never know when one will cross your path. I find that I must always be open to that new person I meet. They may become a new close friend.

Common bonds are so important. And sometimes rare. When you connect with that one special someone, hold on and make that friendship count. Put in the work to build that relationship. Sacrifice. Get real and share. Dare to trust. Have fun. Through the good times and the bad, be the friend. Don’t give up. 

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Of this I’m certain.

Thinking of Home

I think of home this time of year.  The home where I grew up.  The home of my childhood.  Oh.  It’s no longer my home.  I’m rarely in the area, but when I drive by it even looks different.  New owners.  New look.  New traditions.  New memories.  It’s no longer home for me.

But I like to remember when it was.

I remember mornings when our entire family would sit around the breakfast table.  Mother would make homemade hot chocolate and toast for breakfast.  On the rare occasion, we would have donuts from the bakery. Mother would buy glazed donuts.  There were no fancy donuts back then. Glazed are still my favorite.

I remember working in the garden in the summertime.  We would plant long rows of green beans.  Tomatoes.  Corn.  Cucumbers.  Lettuce.  Peppers. It was hard work, but it was worth it.  I say that now.  Back then, I would have given anything to get out of doing all that work.

Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

I remember the summer evenings.  We would sit outside with the radio in the window listening to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.  We kids would play softball.  Until the year that our parents planted sweet gum trees in our yard turned softball field.  Now forty some years later, those trees are full grown.  I wonder if they’re still there.

Oh.  I remember the year my dad planted a row of pear trees.  He loved pears and was hoping for a bumper crop.  When the trees eventually produced fruit, someone would always steal them.  But oh.  He loved his pears.

Saturday mornings were spent cleaning the house and baking desserts for Sunday.  That was the girls’ chores.  The boys were out working with the pigs.  Sunday was our day of rest.  Our Sabbath.  Oh.  The boys still fed the pigs.  But we went to church.  Sunday afternoon was nap time for the family.  Odd sounding these days.  But what I wouldn’t give for another Sunday nap. Then back to church for another service.

We always got to choose what kind of birthday cake we wanted. There were no store bought cakes for our family.  My mom made her cakes from scratch.  Carrot cake. Red velvet.  Italian cream.  German chocolate.  Chocolate sheet cake.  Her cakes were out of this world.  What I wouldn’t give for one of them for my birthday this year.  Summer birthdays didn’t require a birthday cake.  Oh.  There was a choice.  My dad and brother always asked for a watermelon instead.  Who knew that birthday candles fit nicely on a watermelon.

The living room was a sacred place come nighttime.  Daddy would call us into the living room, so we could have family devotions.  He would read a Bible story and then we would pray together.  Every night before bed.  I love that memory.

These scenes from my childhood are imprinted on my heart and mind.  For that I am thankful.