One of my dearest friends moved away today. To be sure, not away away—Birmingham is little more than a two hour drive, and I visit there quite often as another of my dearest friends lives there as well. But she’s not here anymore. I can’t meet her for coffee on a busy errand day, savoring the sanity of good conversation, a refuge in the midst of the city’s roar. I can’t run over to her house for tea and prayer when I need it.

I don’t know that I ever really took that for granted, but now that she’s gone I feel like I need it more than ever. This move is actually one of the things we prayed for together and I am more than thrilled about the way that God answered. I wouldn’t wish her back for the world. I just miss her.

This sister prayed with me and for me through one of the most difficult seasons of my life. She walked with me into darkness and when the light dawned she saw it with her own eyes. We have wept and laughed together. We have come boldly before God’s throne together. She has seen my ‘yuck’ and loved me unflinchingly. You just can’t be too grateful for a friend like that.

Friendship among Christians is absolutely one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen in my life.

When I look around me at the companions I have been privileged to walk with in this great journey home, I seriously want to fall down on my knees and thank God with tears. Helen Keller said:

“My friends have made the story of my life.”

And I know exactly what she was talking about.

The sisters God has surrounded me with have lived holy lives before me and they have made me want to be holy.

They have been honest about their struggles and given me the infinite honor of observing how the Lord is working in them, conforming them to His image. I have seen them brave in their trials, steadfast in their sorrows, delirious in their joy. And I have been eternally impacted by it.

Without them, without the realities I see in them, I really believe that my concept of God would be but a poor, small thing. We need to see Him, beautiful, tender, wounded, merciful, compassionate, real in one another. And we need to let them see Him in us. It’s part of the deal. It’s ‘Jesus with skin on’.

“Those friends whom thou hast, and their affection tried,
grapple to thy soul with bands of iron.”
(Shakespeare)

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