Five Minute Friday – Friend

5-minute-friday-11. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. (OK, I have to edit, I just do.) 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. Then visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Please give me your best five minutes on:

FRIEND…

That word holds so many definitions, emotions, and thoughts. Every one uses his/her past to mold a definition for that word. This is not done consciencely, rather in the depths of what makes a person unique. It just happens.

As a second born, middle child, I can tell you that friends hold a special place in my life. The more, the merrier. I’ve been blessed to have AMAZING friendships throughout all stages of my life. Some come and go at just the right time and others are as steady as the sunrise and sunset. All are beautiful and enhance life in more ways than human words can explain.

Recently I had a day akin to “Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. When I was a teacher, I read that book to my Pre-K students every year to ensure them that even if you had a bad day, things will get better. I loved that book. Apparently I still do :).

Anyway, my day went from bad to worse and all I wanted to do was talk with a friend. Someone who would understand the disappointment and pain so I sent a text and immediately got a response. We planned to walk… and talk. She had a bad day as well.

After walking about 1/2 mile I fell – flat on my face. All I could do was stay where I was and cry and yell, “THIS HAS BEEN MY WHOLE DAY!” I sobbed. It was literally the physical manifestation of how my day had been.

When I finally got up enough to to sit on the sidewalk, there was my friend…. sitting there crying with me.

THAT is a good friend. Someone who does not try to make things better, but feels your pain and suffers with you.

God, in his mercy, created the idea of a friend. He certainly knew that we’d fall flat on our faces at times and would need someone to be there.

When Monday Lasts All Week

MondayThe week started as any other – on a Monday. For some reason it never left that beginning.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, most of this will not be new. The events unfolded one after another almost as if someone were throwing darts right at me. It has been painful, to say the least. In fact, last night one of my best friends texted me to say, “At this point, I actually catch my breath when I see a text from you because I’m scared! THAT is a crappy week, no doubt!” Yep, truth. Funny and sad.

Last night a neighbor stopped by and when I opened the door, the tears begin to fall. Mine, not hers. I felt so bad for her. There she was just popping by, only to get an emotional mess greeting her at the front door. I’d just burnt my finger after a very unsuccessful dinner with my kids. She hugged me and prayed for me right there. It was just what I needed. A God-send for sure. And as God would have it, her husband is a plumber and they were coming to check on my “situation”. The situation of my hot water heater leaking and the complete take-over of my attic by small woodland creatures.

Then there are the bright spots among all the YUCK this week that reminds me that I’m not alone (even though I know I’m not… being reminded is very helpful). Family and friends who were there to help and blessed me along the way. And a reminder that God is not surprised by anything that has happened this week. In fact, he already had things in place to help me through… even if one of those is my tax return. Not through it all yet, but praying it ends soon. Please.

On the way to school this morning I apologized to my children for my attitude last night. Because it wasn’t good. I told them that I am choosing to see the mice as a blessing. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have gone into the attic to see the water leaking out of the hot water heater. I explained that sometimes things happen that seem bad but that God ALWAYS looks out after us and can work ANYTHING out for our good. I’m pretty sure my son thought I’d lost it by the look on his face. I probably have. I blame it on my noisy refrigerator, the leaking water heater, and the mice. Lots and lots of mice. Um, yeah.

But seriously, I also recognize that some of what is going on is God’s grace. Grace so big that I don’t really understand it all. Without going into personal details, there are things and people that God is slowly taking away from me. It’s been awfully painful. And yesterday I found out about another person in my life that will be moving to another country. (That makes THREE. Yes, three friends who have been with me in the THICK of my emotions and ALL THREE will be in different countries. Another country? Really?) That fact pushed me over my emotional edge. Sometimes it just seems too much. But I know in my heart God takes away for a reason. To be honest, I know the reason but it doesn’t make it easier.

This morning as I waited for the last minute to get out of my warm covers (still can’t believe it was that cold in April), I emailed my friend a reply in response to an email I sent last night about grieving. In it I wrote – Even in my crying I hold onto knowing that although I cannot understand it, I must trust His heart. He’s been nothing but good to me.”  And the truth is… I fiercely trust his heart. Even in the midst of a week of Mondays.

Sometimes life is not fun or adventurous or exciting. It’s hard and sad and basically just sucks. Choosing how I look at the hard part is what will get me through even the crappiest of days… and weeks… and even years. So today I’m choosing to hang onto the God who not only parts seas but cares enough to save my house from a flood and an army of mice. And the one that chooses to bless me when I don’t deserve it in the midst of it all.

*My memory verse for the past two weeks has been extremely helpful this week – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Five Minute Friday – After

5-minute-friday-11. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. (OK, I have to edit, I just do.) 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. Then visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Please give me your best five minutes on:

AFTER…

Happily ever after… came but not how I expected it. I am happy and it is after. But not like the fairy tales I’d read where the boy and girl “live happily ever after”. They lived together after. That didn’t happen for me.

But even though my after did not turn out as expected, I do have an after. And just like any kind of disaster, there is hope and new growth in the after. The plants that grow after a volcano has erupted. The new life that comes after winter when everything “dies” for awhile.

My after brought laughter and joy and a better relationship with those I love. My family. My children. My friends. All sweeter because of what happened before the after.

So yes, I am living “happily ever after” … but writing my own fairy tale with God as my hero. And the good part about that is he’ll never leave.