Friends are the family we choose for ourselves

There is a proverb from the bible that says,

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

Have you ever had a situation where you’ve been dropped by a friend, or you’ve allowed some friendships to lapse?

There was a chapter in my book about the friendship with my best friend, which was being strained by my christian faith.   Note: My editor said I had to trim the book down so I culled that chapter.  “Murder your darlings” my editor called it.

Anyway I fought to keep my friend because she became like a sister to me.

My own sisters are all twins – they are two sets of fraternal twins, who have each other.

It made me feel very alone growing up.  My best friend has been around since I was thirteen.  I won’t say how long its been since then, but a few decades.  I am glad to say our friendship survived.

She is a friend who has stuck closer than a sister.

Friends

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Honk honk, the company we keep

In a chapter of my book ‘Pearls to Pigs’ the friend I called “the Minstrel” and I went our separate ways.  I’d gone the extra mile for him, but we reached a crossroads and I chose a different road. 

Before leaving the crossroads I gave him the chapters of the Kingdom, where he had appeared in the story.  I always do it for friends I am going to part company with.

Unfortunately he took if for a love story, and we did not part on friendly terms.  He read those chapters to everybody, without context.  I had been a silly goose.

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I had to learn not to give pearls to pigs.  I nearly stopped writing the Kingdom story at that point, but the main character – the King, wanted me to stick with it.  If you read my story you will see how He led a badly wounded princess to a better place and I believe He wants to use the story for His purposes.

So at this point in my journey, I had suffered harm and needed healthier people to be friends with.  A companion of fools suffers harm, but he who walks with wise grows wise.  Proverbs 13:20

I kept White Flower.  She liked to gossip but had good qualities.  Walking with her was difficult – but in the end, she proved to be true.  Deborah and Kate had joined me, and now we meet the Bright One and his wife Princess Neen, who I found while traveling through a place called ‘the Flatlands.’

They became friends with me, and my friends.  The Bright One and Neen brought in Prince Dom.  My kids brought in “Mara” and her son from across the road.  We were all following the Lord, in a natural, non religious way.

I am glad they got into formation with me.  If I had been a goose I could not have flown on my own.

Look where you’re going

At the end of the movie Castaway, Chuck Noland, played by Tom Hanks, is left standing at a crossroads with a decision to make, after delivering his final package, a box which bore angels wings on the address.  

crossroads - Castaway

He’d been through a lot – a plane crash, five years on a desert island, and finally a rescue at sea from the raft he made.  If he chooses one way, “there’s a whole lot of nothing to Canada”.

If he chose to go back to the woman who gave him directions, it may lead to love, and rest for his soul.  After all, she owns the ranch with the angels wings.

Castaway, final scene: youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=tvGHSvfnlsQ&feature=fvwp

So he’s standing in the middle of the crossroads, looking.  In the Kingdom, I too had come to a place where I had to look where I was going.  The word was;

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 

My friend had come to his own crossroads, but he wasn’t going my way.  We were both solo parents, and our children loved each other like siblings.  I was worried about what would happen to the kid’s friendships but the Lord let me see I wasn’t responsible for my friend’s bad decisions.

All I wanted to do was heal from an abusive relationship, not deal with his rubbish.  I’d pretty much written my friend out of my story “The Kingdom”, but gave him his chapters as I told him what I needed from a friendship. Duh!

This character appeared as “the Minstrel” in my book.

I wanted him to look at where he was going.  It was a foolish move.  He was so ego driven he interpreted it as a love story.  But that’s for the next chapter.

I chose my way, the ancient path.  It was a good way, and it has led to rest for my soul.

My friend chose his way, “a whole lot of nothing to Canada”.  He let go of diamonds to sift through stones, and never did find a mother for his girls.  Our children also had to part ways at the crossroads, but reestablished their friendship five years later at their new school.  They remained friends until adulthood.

Their Dad tried to reestablish contact with me as well, but I’d taken a different road.  He is still mad at me and yelling horrible things, sixteen years later, from hundreds of kilometers away.  I’ve chosen to ignore him.

His voice gets fainter the further I travel.

A stumble along the way

When I first sought the King, and His Kingdom, I was not righteous.  He welcomed me anyway, and built a relationship with me where I became righteous.  Not self-righteous.  Righteousness is right standing before the King – which leads to self assurance.  In the Kingdom, righteousness is a relationship with the King, protection for the heart, and a road to travel.

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When my feet first hit the road of righteousness, I could barely discern it.  It gets brighter the further you travel along it.  I still had my old friendships, and some were no friends at all.

Back then, I could not love others as myself, for I had not learned to love myself.  I was seeking my self worth in the eyes and opinions of other people, especially men.  The King, who promised to restore my soul and lead me within the paths of righteousness, had warned me about that.  My self esteem has improved since that time and I now enjoy healthy friendships.

In the Kingdom righteousness is like food and drink. I had such a craving for words of affirmation.  Its my love language, and I had never heard it spoken.  My soul hungered and thirsted for affirmation, leaving me vulnerable to flattery.  I learned some bitter lessons about seeking my worth from other people.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”   It is from Him that I now see my true worth.

The devil knew where I was vulnerable.  Temptation came in the way of a person I thought of at the time as a friend, who I realised later cared nothing for me.

A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good.  Proverbs 16:29

I did venture down the wrong path, but fortunately I hadn’t gone too far before I saw where it was headed.  This time.

In the Kingdom there is a better path, called righteousness.  As I said, I didn’t keep to it in the beginning, but I chose it in the end, and it led to happiness, peace, and confidence.

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.  Isaiah 32:17

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Righteousness is also there for our protection, a piece of armour that covers our heart. 

Here is a lesson I learned about righteousness, “How big do you think our hearts should be?” someone once asked me.

Naively, I stretched my arms wide to indicate ‘big.’

“No” my friend said, holding out the palm of her hand,  “the heart should be big enough to fit in the palm of your hand, so it can be protected.”

I never forgot the lesson.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is a wellspring of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

Prayers, Petitions, and Princesses

After I rid myself of “Silver-tongue” the abuser , I found myself alone with my children.  I took stock of my changed life and looked around me.  Who could I trust?  I now walked a different path from the one that led me to ruin.  I needed to find friends who were walking the same road, or find my way alone. 

“White Flower” had also asked the King to teach her His paths.  She lived just down the street and became a close friend.  It seemed natural to get together over coffee and pray, while our kids played together.

We hadn’t a clue how to pray together though, or what to pray.  The Lord told me to “pray the Word”.  I took it to mean find appropriate scriptures and then pray them in the context of the situation.  The King would speak a verse, and off we’d go to find it.  Back then, I did not have Bible software or a concordance.  My Bible got very well thumbed.  I wore out two paperback Bibles in six years, the first was the ‘Good News’ and the second was the ‘NIV’ translation.

We would come back to him with our petitions, speaking His word.

For example I prayed the Word in Psalm 25;

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.  Psalm 25:4-7

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I found that praying the word is a great way to go to the Lord, using His own words.  The King honours His word.

My book is full of me talking to the King – which is praying to Him using the Word.  The faithful King responded in kind.  If you read my book you will see His replies and revelations have come true in real life.