It was a sunny, Southern California, summer day and there was ample time to adventure. Like little girls did before cell phones, I dialed up the landline and asked my friend to come out and play.
The new girl in the neighborhood had beat me to her, but after a little rustling on the line, they said I could join them. Since it was the 1980’s, my mom didn’t give it a second thought when I skipped out the door to head up the street.
“We want to talk to you,” the two girls said as I joined them on the front porch. “We’ve decided we don’t want to be your friends anymore.”
I wore all the emotional maturity of eleven and so did they, and it wasn’t but a day or two before they revoked that declaration to unfriend me. BUT … I remember wondering what the new girl had that I didn’t. I remember being bruised by the fact that I had come first in friendship, and my friend should have fought for me.
Do you ever wish someone would fight for you?
In the past weeks, I’ve had a few friends say “thanks for not giving up on me.” Because I didn’t quit when schedules wouldn’t line up, or they didn’t return a text, or they said “let’s get together” but never came through. I didn’t give up.
What they likely don’t know is that fight knocks the wind out of me every single time. Maybe it’s because I was that little girl on the porch, or the grown up woman who believed in friendship and wasn’t fought for, but that no-quit attitude is an act of obedience and a battle of will.
Be the someone you need someone to be.
God wrote those words of selflessness over my heart last year as I complained about friendship and just how stinkin’ hard it can feel. He instructed when I admitted that, while I had my own unreal expectations and friendship flaws to bare, my heart was fragile and full of an itty-bitty, enormous amount of terror at the idea of pursuing new friends.
“Because who fought for me, Lord?”
“I did.” He said.
This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.
This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.
John 15:12-13 MSG
Jesus gave His life as the greatest expression of love. Maybe our sacrifice—our put it all on the line gesture—is to call even when they don’t call back. Or to send another text, and another after that. Maybe we swallow our pride, preconceived notions, and they-like-me-they-like-me-not ponders and fight anyway.
It won’t be easy. Worthy battles rarely are. There will always be a way-down whisper that says, “Stop. Give up. If they really cared, they’d show it.” But those lies are written by an enemy who would love us to quit all light, and hope, and goodness.
God replaces lies with truth. “Go on. Keep trying. Don’t you just treasure it when someone fights for you? I did for you, and you can too.”
Who can you fight for?
It’s been thirty years since “the porch incident” but I still remember it, and I think that says something about the power of friendship, and kindness, and fighting for both.
Sometimes the reward we receive is the friendship we give.
And I love that prize, but I also know that sometimes the real battle is the one to let go. When wisdom says we don’t enable, or patronize, or wear ourselves ragged being everything to everyone. When we don’t pursue relationships God would sooner see removed. Sometimes that fight is better left to God.
But sometimes, and I like this far better, it means we’re quite simply the someone we need someone to be. Sometimes it means we go wild and crazy on a sunny, summer day and march straight up to that front porch and promise friendship. ♥
By His endless grace,
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