She came waddling(I say this in the most loving way) into the restaurant all out of breath. She sat down and immediately started talking about a $300 baby monitor. We had lunch then spent the afternoon by the pool just chatting and having a little relaxation.
You know those friends, the ones that you can go long periods of time without seeing, but when you are together it’s like no time has passed. Yeah well, I’m lucky enough to have one of them. She just “gets” me! I don’t have to explain myself, and she doesn’t question the way I do things. She will for sure tell me if I’m being dense, but she will also let you know when you’re doing something right.
As we sat there talking, I found myself thinking of how far we’d come in life. When we were kids, I remember our moms receiving state aid in the form of food-stamps. A lot of people would be too embarrassed to admit their family received help via food stamps. Not us! We would call each other up and eat like little pigs.(maybe that’s why we have big butts to this day) Seriously it was like Christmas! My mom would buy graham crackers and a tub of cream cheese frosting, just for us to eat! What was she thinking? Thanks mom… now I know why my thighs rub together when I walk.
When we were teenagers, she lived with my family. We worked at the local grocery store together, and somehow made it through high-school. There are times when I wonder how we didn’t die. We would get so excited for Friday nights when we could drink and have a good time with friends. Now do you know what we get excited about? Time without expectations. Nowhere to be for a few hours, when we can just sit and talk. Oh yeah, and CHOCOLATE! We get really excited about chocolate.
Our twenties, we worked on building the lives we chose. She went to college, I got married. She started a career, I was a homemaker. She found herself, I lost myself in someone else. She never one time pointed out the fact, although I’m sure she could see at times that I wasn’t living up to my potential.
Then came the year of 32. My whole world fell apart. She was there, although a lot of the time I chose not to turn to her. I was embarrassed(and at times I still am) because my marriage was failing. I learned so much that year about who I am. Sometimes we are forced out of a situation that is comfortable. A situation that we think we need to survive. I know God didn’t cause those events to take place, but he definitely is using them to teach me who I am again.
The point is, we went from being so excited at age 7 or 8 when one of our moms got their food stamps and we had “good food” in the house, to being able to pay $300 for a dang baby monitor!(well one of us did… not me) I’m so happy that we’ve both reached a point in life where we have decent jobs, people we love, and the flexibility to do the things we want. I have to say it looks great on us, especially you, best friend!
She said to me yesterday, “I used to drive by your old house and I would be so mad at him(my ex-husband) for what he did to you! I would hope for him to be outside just so I could flip him the bird and honk as I drove by. Yesterday I drove by, and I wanted to stop and thank him! You are so much happier now, and he was not nice to you.”
The funny thing about this is, I’ve felt like thanking him recently also. Like I said, She just gets me! The past year was a rough one, but I’m in a better place than I’ve ever been thus far. I have someone who, on most days(Hey, no one is perfect), loves me the way I need to be loved. I have a chance, that I never thought I’d have, at a career. There are two amazing kids that I get to(I say get to, because it’s a privilege) watch grow into adulthood.
I won’t lie, I still have bad days. I still get angry because someone who vowed to love and protect me, nearly destroyed me. Just this morning I contemplated sending him a bag of gummy man-parts anonymously. I know, I know, not very Christian of me. If you are perfect and never say or do the wrong thing, more power to you. As for me, I never claim to make all the right choices. Does that mean I love God any less? maybe in your eyes…
Here’s the thing about my walk with God, it’s mine, not yours. If you are meant to be affected by it, you will. I don’t make assumptions about the state of your heart, so please stop judging mine. When did it become our job as Christians, to determine whether someone else is going to hell or not? I’m pretty sure I’ve read that we are supposed to let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
If that’s you, then I’ll gladly stand still while you start throwing. All that being said, I believe there is a time and place to offer guidance to our fellow Christians. There is also a right way to go about offering “said” guidance, and there is definitely a WRONG way. I’m just going to throw this out there, but a good way to start off is NOT to tell me why you think I’m going to hell. Teach me something out of a place of love and I will listen. Too many so-called Christians try to disguise judgement as love, condemnation as Christian duty, and their own faults as perfection. Heck, there are days where I feel like I’m made entirely of faults. On those days, where all I can see is everything that is wrong with me, I choose to shine anyway. I’m kind in spite of unkind gestures I receive. I love because I know what it feels like to be unloved. I try to lift others up since I know what it feels like to be torn down by people who are supposed to love you.
I’ve come to realize that not everyone is going to love me, but those that do, will be so worth every single thing I had to go through to get to them.
So… Thank you my friend.(and anyone else who is a part of my weird little tribe) Thank you for being there as a constant no matter what. I’m so proud of the woman you’ve become! I want to be like you when I grow up! Yesterday you jokingly asked me, “Do you like my stretch marks?” Today, my answer is 100% YES friend! I think you should wear those stretch marks like a crown! They are part of you, and they came because of some of your greatest blessings. You earned them! So gather up your pregnancy hormones, dry your eyes, and get out there and love somebody today! Stop worrying about your pregnant belly! It’s beautiful! Enjoy your life and use this day to lift somebody up!