I am not sure that I have ever had a true "best friend". It is something in life I have always desired but truly do not think that I ever found. I take partial responsibility for that as I have always kept people at arms length because most of my life was spent attempting to hide something at one time or another. For half of my life, I tried to protect and hide the things that were truly happening within the walls of my own life. This can make it incredibly difficult for anyone to get close to me for fear of revealing the truth of my situation. That has all changed. After fifteen years of living a shell of an existence, I am here.
Right now, I have a friend living with me. She is an unexpected friend. She is quite younger but quite wise. She has journeyed with me over the past couple of years as my story has come to fruition. She has watched things play out and seen things happen first hand. She has also watched me come "back from the dead". A few nights ago as we were fixing dinner, she began talking about the change she has seen in me. She has known me for over eight years and her words were that "I used to be robotic." At first, I did not understand but as she elaborated, I began to realize that for a very long time, I was a shell of a person. I was the person that everyone else wanted me to be or expected me to be and I lived in that way. Again, this was partially my doing as I did not want to let anyone "in" for fear of anyone discovering the truth behind "the closed doors" of my life and so I lost myself. I disappeared for a while, but that has changed.
Before going any further, let me begin by stating that Christ got a hold of me. He literally changed me from the inside out over the past few years. He took a totally brokenhearted and scared girl and turned me into His confident daughter. I have discovered an intimacy with Christ that has changed my world. It has changed who I am in every way. For the past few years, I watched people that I once looked up to and admired show me what being a Christian does not mean and my world was shattered. I came to realize that there are many people who probably would not recognize Jesus if He knocked on their front door. At the time, I did not recognize the importance of these people but now I am thankful for each of them. Without them, I would have never been forced to discover the Jesus I now know. Just yesterday, I received a message from a young girl asking me what I thought it meant to live like Christ in a sinful world. I am not sure I could have answered her honestly until now. My response; it is like walking in the shoes of Jesus as you allow Him to walk in yours. I have learned that this world is full of sin and sinful people. No one is blameless and no person is better than another is. Because of this, we have to love as Christ loved so that we can demonstrate to a dying and sinful world the great hope that is Christ. He did not come to condemn this world but instead He came to forgive and love. His grace is the most precious gift we have and it is our responsibility to share that gift with everyone. So for me, what I have learned is that to live a Christ-like life means to love and forgive those around me even when I may feel they don't deserve my love and forgiveness. It is what Christ did for me. As I think about this, I go back to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. His family treated him miserably. They sold him and abandoned him because they did not like what he said. What they intended for bad, God intended for good. Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused of doing something he did not do and thrown into prison. Because of his pain, he developed an even deeper relationship with God. When the time was right, God rescued him from his "shell of an existence" and turned his life into something great. God had a plan for Joseph and God has a plan for me. He isolated me from those things that kept me from knowing Him completely and intimately. He put me in a place where all I had was Him and where He became my everything. He had to become my everything and He did. I am a new person.
Now enter my first real best friend and one of my many great blessings. I could probably write a book about this person but in doing so, I might cause their head to become enlarged in which case it might then explode leaving me without a best friend so I'll keep it short. I have discovered a relationship that is described throughout scripture (Proverbs 18:24). A relationship that Jesus often spoke of to His followers (John 15:12-13). It is a relationship where selflessness is practiced and unconditional love exhibited (Proverbs 17:17). This person would take a bullet for me I have no doubt. (John15:13) For the first time in my life, I have a friend who puts my needs above their own. I have a friend who screws up just about as much as I do on daily a basis but has the Holy Spirit and understands conviction. This friend encourages me in ways I have never known (Proverbs 27:17). I have never been encouraged to spend more time with God. I have never been encouraged to write more. This person encourages the things in me that I love, not what they want me to love. This person puts me first (Philippians2:3-4). This person prays for me and with me. This person brings out the best in me (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). They make me a better person. This person has taught me so much about myself and who I am in Christ. God has used this person to change me into a better person, a better friend, a better mom. Now don't get me wrong. This person is not perfect but this person understands grace, love and forgiveness like no one I have ever known and that makes all the difference in the world and helps me to want to be more that way as well.
Over the past couple of years, God has taught me that He will most definitely take the bad in my life and turn it into good for His glory. That is what has taken place in my life. There have been years and years and years of bad in my life. There has been hurt, pain, sin and disappointment but God picked up ALL the broken pieces and HE put them back together in a way that each piece is being used in order to bring Him glory. It is amazing. I have a life that I would have never dreamed possible. It is not perfect but it is a life full of blessings. My life is full. I have a roof, which I love, over my head. I have a job that makes me incredibly happy. I have five amazing kids who bring me incredible joy and I have a best friend who has taught me real Christ-like love.
It only took thirty-six years and a lot of heartache but God has now given me more than I could have ever asked. I am a living example that no matter how many wrong turns your life may take, there is a "happy ending." All you have to do is choose to surrender your broken pieces to the ONLY ONE who can turn them into a masterpiece and when you do, He will turn them into good for His glory.