"A simple friend expects you to always be there for them. A true friend expects to always be there for you."

So simple. Yet I've been giving it a lot of thought lately. We've been going through an incredibly difficult time. I feel like we have a stack of carpets under us that keep getting yanked. Just when we get our balance and stand up once again, another one gets yanked out from under us. And the area around the carpet is concrete. We haven't healed from previous bruises before we're getting new ones. Of course we've noticed friends who have been there for us and friends who haven't. It's a sometimes painful experience. But when I received the above quote in an email, it leaped out of the page at me like the flash of the bathroom light at 4 o'clock in the morning.

Life is hard. That's something we all know. We are not the only ones going through a hard time. One by one, I have seen friends take one hit after another. A bad car accident, a husband arrested, surgery that's not healing right, a lost job, a lost home, an alcoholic husband who lost his job--again.

There are so many simple ways to help. A meal, a card, a phone call, a visit. Sadly, I can count on one hand the number of times I've followed through on those "simple ways to help." But it takes both hands and feet of everyone in our family to count the number of ways we've been helped in just the past six months. Groceries, gift cards, endless rides for me and my kids, fun gifts, and even cash, just to scratch the surface.

Beth Moore once said, "Life is irritating. And people in life are even more irritating." Am I the sand in the oyster or am I one of the silky layers of pearl coating the sand? Am I a blessing or a burden? Am I someone's cross to bear? Do I count my age by regrets or blessings?

Gratitude and joy. Sarcasm and negativity. Hmmm....which do I share the most? I recently got a glimpse inside someone else's mind as to what they thought of me...and it wasn't pretty. I saw selfishness, ingratitude, and thoughtlessness. I saw people who gave of themselves, and I took without giving back.

I also saw God's grace...His forgiveness...His unconditional love. And I am overwhelmed.

God gave His son not only for eternal life, but for abundant life here. He gave us a new life, and a freedom that nothing, even Satan himself, cannot take away. So why do I feel imprisoned in my own sin? My own character? I don't know how to end this except to say I'm going to find out how to get out of this pit and live the life God has planned for me. I'll keep you posted! :)

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