After a difficult day in what has actually been a fairly difficult month, it would be easy to use this blog space to rant and complain, even if about my own deficiencies as a leader (of which I've been feeling a lot lately). However, God put something on my heart just in these last few minutes. As we approach Thanksgiving, one thing that I am truly thankful for is "friends."
Why do I use the quotations? I guess because as a pastor I have many friends, and I really mean it when I say that they are my friends. There are many people who I care deeply about, from my volunteers to the many members of the wonderful church congregation we share, to the many relationships I have built through my ministry at Cedarwood over the years. Make no mistake, I am thankful for them and they enrich my life. However I use the quotations because in this case I'm talking about the friends who intentionally build back into my own life, the kind of building that does not come with an expectation of return. I realize that they have been God's way of carrying me and keeping me going.
Friends who invite me for dinner with them and their families making it clear that I can just be "me" without expectation. Friends who invite me camping, fishing, etc; because they know it will be restful for me. The friend who calls me up to have coffee just to well... have coffee and force me to take a few minutes rest. The friend who stops by my office, steals a chocolate, and talks about cars. The friend who always makes sure to ask me first how I am doing before I can ask them how they are doing, and who really wants to hear the answer no matter what it is. The friend who will go out of their way to leave me a phone message at a late hour on my office phone just to bless me in my work the next morning. The friend who will put up with and even engage me back with a pun war. Even the young friends who build into my life by invading my office and hiding my stuff, who as a parent of one of them put it "just want to hang out with me."
I recognize that God has called me specifically to build into the lives of others, and I know that He has given me gifts specifically in that area. I'm thankful for that and for the many rich and I daresay lifelong friendships that have I built out of that. However, I realize that God has used the lives of some specific people to build directly into my life when I've needed it most. I think they generally know who they are, but I sure hope they know how thankful I am for them....