Friendship Phases   
  originally written 15 Feb 04
added to first website 16 Feb 04 
“Don’t go where I can’t follow!”

     These heartbreaking words were said from one friend to another in a recent movie that has become a part of my life.  I want to shout these words as I face another separation from one who has become dear to me.  I know it is inevitable, this physical separation.  This is a natural (albeit unpleasant) part of this military lifestyle.  
     Our friendship has grown through exploration of one another’s histories, emotions, hopes, dreams, and helping each other through many trials during our time here.  This morning as I was thinking of all this, wondering how I will deal with these final days together, I realized the enormity of this gift we were given.  Indeed, we have been given a special gift of friendship that allowed us to not just handle, but also grow through, the difficult times that came along.  We have become dependent upon one another for our emotional survival.  We have laughed together, cried together, encouraged one another in our marriages, our parenting, and our walk with the Lord we share.  Yes, this is a rare and special gift.  My heart wants to shut out future friendships because of the pain of the eventual separations.  “I don’t want to make new friends!” is my heart’s cry at the moment.  I know this sounds silly but it’s where I am at the time of this writing.  However, even though things seem bleak at the moment, I know we will be okay. This reaction to the pain I am experiencing is a knee-jerk reaction.   I know I will move beyond this and my heart will be open again.  How do I know this? Because He is ever faithful to mold me into who He created me to be.  He will not leave me in my sorrow.  I am confident the One who gave us this gift will not abandon us.  He will be with each of us as we go our separate ways.  He will shower us with other gifts in our future because that is part of who He is.  He longs to give us an abundant life as we walk with Him.  We, like small children, want to hold on tight to what we know, to what we are comfortable with.  He sees the whole picture of our lives and knows what He has in store.  He is in control of our future lives and He will guide us and bless us beyond our imaginations.  I have no need to fear what the future holds even though I cannot see my path clearly.  I know Who I walk with and His vision is clearer than mine.  The gift He gave me is changing but it will not disappear.  I need to remember that I walk with the “giver of all good things” and He is my eternal friend and father.  
     My desire is to walk in thankfulness all my days.  These coming days may be painful but they will not be crippling.  We will rejoice in the hope we have through Jesus Christ and that someday we will meet again.  Whether here on this earth or in Heaven, we cannot know, but it will happen.  So I will choose this day to pick up the pieces of my broken heart and give them back to the Healer who created me.  I will rejoice in His presence and be thankful of past, present and future gifts.  He is Jehovah-Jireh, my provider.
~~Shirley
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