It had been months since we’d seen them, years since she stood behind me, hands on my shoulders, and Jesus came, showing me his face, his tears, the posture of love underneath a stripped bare almond tree. These are the friends who fight–for freedom, for justice, for love. From one vantage point, it looks like, when they go to work, they are in the business of supplying steel. But behind office doors, they are warriors for the broken and brokenhearted, employing people just discharged from prison or currently living in the homeless shelter next door.
When we walk through the front door of their home, our friend goes down on one knee in front of our eight-year old daughter, a knight before a princess. She has never before had a knight kiss her hand. My son is welcomed with a firm handshake and a look right in his eyes; he is welcomed, respected, seen.
These are the friends who honor. They engage our children with questions and make them virgin pina coladas and let them sit on the couch with their shoes on and dessert plates in their laps and squirt whipped cream in their mouths because when they were little that’s the last thing their moms let them do. They make us dinner and sit with us for hours on the couch afterwards, sharing with us their hopes and their fears, asking us how, really, we’re doing.
They listen. They are present. They create space for our whole family to be ourselves. We are loved here–welcomed in and wrapped up tight. We are safe here, this place where friendship pursues and rescues and loves.
Justin and I need people in our lives who are willing to go into the darkness with us so that we can better see God’s light.
Because before Nikki prayed for me, that night, years ago, I was lost in darkness, not knowing there was any way out.
Because the morning Justin met Peter for breakfast the first time, he found a man willing to speak truth, with boldness, to men who needed freedom from lies and healing from past sins.
We need friends around us, sisters, who will honor us, see us, come alongside us and help us better realize the love of Jesus.
These are the three questions Peter and Nikki asked us that night on the couch that made us feel honored and loved and seen:
Who do you have around you right now who is praying for you, lifting you up, challenging you to be more like Jesus?
Who is pushing you to go deeper into what God has for you?
Who is encouraging you to die (to that old self) so the new self can rise?
I love these questions. I love that there are people around us, friends who love us, who invite us over and ask us these questions. Because I need to be asked them; I need to pursue friendships with people who do this, because I need to be pushed, I need to be loved and encouraged and challenged. And I want to be the kind of friend who pursues my friends with these questions, too.
Do you want people in your life who see you, who pursue you, who challenge you? Are you the kind of friend who sees, who pursues, who challenges the friends in your life?
Which if these three questions would you most want to be regularly asked? Or is there another question you need someone to ask you today? (You know I want to ask you, right?)