Deuteronomy 11:18-20 Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
My youngest friend is only seventeen, and the oldest, who recently passed away, was ninety-one. True friends can be any age. It is the connection, the hearts of two people that seem to know each other, that creates a solid, long term relationship. Everyone has acquaintances, people you've known for years that you might consider to be your friends. But a true friend will jump in the trenches with you, listen and then be brutally honest.
Sometimes a good, long phone conversation can cure the ills of the world, or at least our own personal world. Last night was such a time. A young mom of four who has been a friend for a few years texted me with a message that a return text wouldn't suffice. So a long phone conversation ensued.
When we are in the trenches, and sometimes they do feel like war trenches, where we hunker down and hope the fighting we hear in the next room will miraculously stop, but it doesn't and we are coming undone, then we just need to vent. A two-year old toddler can overwhelm two adults with lightening speed, leaving the parents to question their abilities to see this little person through to adulthood. And when that toddler has siblings at other stages of development, the parents began to feel that everything they are doing is WRONG!
Since I don't have answers to most situations, I listen and I share. And I remember. Once when my boys were ages one and four, they were sick, really sick. For days all I did was hold one or both of them. My house was in shambles, I was in shambles and I remember thinking I would not survive. I did.
She shared some of her stories and told me how she felt she wasn't doing things right, worried about making mistakes that would scar her children in the future. So I told other stories, things that happened a long time ago, things I said or did to my children that can still haunt me today. As we talked we began to laugh which is sometimes the best medicine.
But, she said, your kids are successful adults with wonderful families, you must have done something right. I did, I said! I prayed and I asked God to fill in the spaces that I left blank. To give them grace in the places where I failed to teach them the right way. To give them strength in the places where I'd been weak. We are human, we aren't going to get it right every time.
My friend had stolen an hour away from her family to have a much needed talk. But I could hear the children, they'd found her, she had to go back to her present day life with her precious husband and family. Hopefully, with strength and hope restored to face another day fulfilling the most important calling in the world, motherhood.
My memories were tucked away and I returned to my husband in the home we share where there are now empty bedrooms. But our conversation had helped me too. As I told some of my own worries and stories from long ago, I realized something I've always known, but too often forget, God answers prayer. He did fill in the blanks And, He will fill in the empty spaces for her too.