That Friend

Do you know that friend that always has a major crisis going on in his or her life? Every time you talk, their ongoing struggles consume the conversation? And all you want to say is “Get over yourself. You have made it through worse situations and frankly, there are people with even more difficult struggles”. Well, what happens when “that friend” is you?

What happens when you are the one that feels like you are a burden to the people around you? You feel like a Debbie Downer because every time you talk to them or send them a text, it’s about yet another thing you are going through? Right now, I am “that friend”.

Since last June, I have been working with a Counselor on multiple traumas I have experienced throughout my life and although the work done and the Counselor himself are extraordinary, it is completely overwhelming and exhausting.  I get so lost in, not in reliving the trauma, but the years it has stolen from me. Years of anger, depression, oppression, bad decisions that have kept me from the truth and the promises I have been afraid to pursue.

There are mornings that the healing pushes me to pursue God’s truth and His promises for me; and then, there are mornings—like this morning—when it takes everything in me not to call out of work. When I finally willed myself out of bed, instead of putting on my face of fortitude, I didn’t have the energy to put anything on my face at all.  I wanted so bad to reach out to my friends to ask them to pray for me because the weight was too much to bear. I started typing the text, but quickly deleted it as I remembered that just a couple of days earlier I had requested prayer for another crisis that was weighing me down.

Instead of reaching out to my friends as I wanted to, I chose to turn on the Christian radio station to tune out the chatter in my head. As soon as I heard the first song come on, I knew the Lord had taken over the song selection and was my very own DJ. Song after song, I felt the burden that was weighing me down lift right off of me. Song after song, I was reminded that I was not alone.

I was reminded that instead of keeping me from God’s truth and His promises for me, anger and all of the emotions I have felt for 30 years were protecting me from even darker roads than the ones I had travelled. That when I fixed my eyes on Him, I had finally found everything I needed. He lifted my soul and opened up my eyes. He is rewriting my story and nothing could be better.

This healing journey I am on is a difficult one and I know there will be tons more of good and not so good days ahead. But as I listened to the playlist on the radio, I realized that my angst not to text my friends was not because they wouldn’t be encouraging; the angst was the Lord prompting me to reach out to Him. In my fear of being “that friend”, I was reminded that Jesus was the only friend I needed.

3 a.m. Friend

Do any of you have a 3 a.m. friend? You know the kind of friend who will be there for you at any time even if you call them hysterical at 3 a.m. I do. I have known JC for about 23 years and from the moment I met Him, He has always been there for me. Even if we hadn’t talked for months or even years, every time I called, He would be more willing to listen.

He is several years older than me and has experienced lots of the hardships I have experienced, so He never judged nor chastised me when I told him the latest mess I had gotten myself into. With His help, I have made some drastic leaps of faith in my life. I would like to share with you some of those leaps, how having a friend like JC has helped me and encourage you, if you don’t already have one, to find your 3 a.m. friend.

How did JC become my 3 a.m. friend? Well, He had always been there for me, but there was this one time, after I had been complaining about wanting to quit my job and “move on” that He called me in the middle of the night. JC called me out of a dead sleep and said “what is it that you want?” I told him I wanted to give a 6 week notice at my job. He said “then do it.”

There had been several times that JC has talked me out of quitting a job, but this time He was talking me into it. I hadn’t asked for His opinion, I was just venting, but I guess He felt I just needed someone to tell me that everything was going to be ok if I quit my job. Then to further encourage me, on my way to work the next morning, He had dedicated a song by Natasha Bedingfield to me. It said “Live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten.” Then in a conversation, after I told him what I was interested in doing next, He contacted a mutual friend and I had my next job.

Not only does JC know about jobs, He is always all over the place. He moves around more than I do. I actually met Him when I lived in Boston. I remember when I was about to move to Florida, people would ask me what JC thought about the move. I was young and rebellious then, so I really didn’t care about what JC had to say about it. After several years of not talking to Him, I found out He had moved to Florida, too. Even though He was only a call away, I didn’t reach out to Him like I used to.

He apparently had been keeping tabs on me though because when I was thinking of going on mission trip, He suggested I go with Him to Guatemala. It was because of Him that I fell in love with Guatemala and have been back many times since. Then when I was thinking of moving here, He gave me some great advice which ultimately helped me decide to make the move.

Lastly, JC has taught me a lot about myself. He knew me “when” and knows how much better than I can be. JC exemplifies Proverbs 27:5-6, which says “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” In love and without judgment, He helps me see what mistakes I have made, how I can learn from them, but most importantly how I can use them to reach my goals. My friend Kathy also knows JC very well and she says that He has an amazing way of creating beauty out of ashes.

In closing, I hope you can better understand what a great friend JC has been to me. Despite, many of my faults He has always stuck by me. He has helped me through some difficult situations, kept His distance when He knew I didn’t want to hear anything He had to say, and never allowed my stubbornness to affect our relationship when I did want to hear what He had to say. As an article in Psychology Today states “Time and distance do nothing to diminish the bond we have with these kinds of friends.”

I encourage you to find a friend like JC, better yet I recommend you ask JC to be your 3 a.m. friend. You won’t find Him in the phone book, but you will find Him in the Bible. His full name is Jesus Christ and I am certain if you ask Him to, He will be there for you like He has been for me.

Final speech of the semester. Thank You, Lord!