Forever Friends

a journalesque post


In composing this entry, I had difficulty deciding on the title. This post is about friendship, saying goodbye, and the eternal bond of believers. It is based on an event, a luncheon given by my friends to show their love and support for me as I become a mother, but even moreso, as I leave  for Cambodia.

I chose “Forever Friends” based on a familiar song by Michael W. Smith. In junior high (nearly 2 decades ago!), I took a class where we learned to “sing” in sign language. (There’s a song signing scene in Napoleon Dynamite that cracks me up every time.)  “Friends are Friends Forever” was one of the songs that we learned. As corny as I thought this song was over the years (especially when accompanied by the signing), it popped into my head as I was thinking about my precious friends, their love for me, and the changes that would necessarily accompany my move to Cambodia. Indulge me as I share the lyrics with you:

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
I can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter of your life is through

But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

And with the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you live in
Is the strength that now you show

Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

No a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends

As the countdown to our Cambodia departure rushes on, I’ve been somewhat suppressing my emotions regarding our move. I am incredibly close to my family and friends, and the thought of leaving everyone is sometimes more than I can handle. If I dwell too long, I become a sentimental and emotional mess, especially in my pregnant state. Depressing thoughts creep in, like…”This could be my last Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family” or “I won’t be here for my sister’s pregnancy” (No, Bethany’s not pregnant!) or “What if something tragic happens and I’m not here?” or “My kids won’t grow up with their cousins.” I can go on and on. My usual strategy is to push these thoughts away as soon as they come.

This luncheon was instrumental in allowing my friends and I to face the reality of my Cambodia departure–to grieve for the loss, but to simultaneously rejoice in God’s goodness and sovereign purpose in our lives. Hosted by two of my dearest friends, Sarah and Larissa, it was a sweet testimony to their enduring love for me. The delicious food for the event was Mexican salad, complemented by Sarah’s famous ice cream pie. Following the lunch, they all generously blessed me with several pampering gifts…including a pregnancy massage gift certificate! There were also some delightful baby gifts, Taste and See by John Piper, and a Starbucks gift card. The most significant gift, however, was a scrapbook album lovingly created by Sarah, using photo contributions from my other friends. The album was composed of  page dedications from each friend, including a written letter. This treasure will definitely accompany me to Cambodia, and I will cherish it as one of my most priceless possessions! Thank you, Sarah, for all of the time and resources spent to create this beautiful album, and thank you to the rest of you for your contributions! Needless to say, when I saw the album, I could not control my emotions, and broke down into tears. After the gift opening, they asked me to give them specific prayer requests. Each woman then took one of the requests and prayed for it, spending nearly an hour in prayer. It was such a sweet time, and many more tears were shed…I KNEW that the luncheon was going to be one big cry fest and my expectations were indubitably fulfilled.

So, while this luncheon was simply the beginning of many tearful goodbyes, it was a blessed reminder of God’s faithfulness in giving me so many amazing friends. Friends who will not forget, but will continue to support me by prayer and in correspondence. Friends who will “let me go”, knowing that this is God’s sovereign plan. I know that it will still be incredibly difficult being half-way across the world from these precious ones, but I also know that God will grant me incredible grace, even in their physical absence. He will fill their void in His own way.  They will be my “forever friends” regardless of how our lives will change, because He is the eternal bond of unity between us.

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Sarah commencing the luncheon

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Some of my “Forever Friends”

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Jess and Sarah

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Rita and Alisha

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Sister Bethany and Mom

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Esther and Jenn

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Larissa and Jess preparing the food

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The delicious luncheon

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Pampering gifts

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Sarah helping me unwrap…

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…my wonderful memory album

One thought on “Forever Friends

  • September 19, 2009 at 7:13 pm
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    Dearest Christiana, Thank you for posting this. I love your deep feelings and your honesty. The Lord has provided you with amazing friends and family and I praise God that they are there with you every step of the way. What a wonderful gift they are from the Lord! You are truly blessed! And now with your future comes more blessing, more of knowing Him, more of sitting at His feet. May God bless you amazingly as you continue to walk with Him! Love you!

    Reply

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