Friday, October 1, 2010

One and the Same

Our stories were one and the same. We talked after class each week because our stories were so similar and she would ask me about things like making the transition from private school to public.  Mostly we talked about God, continually it seemed.  His provision, grace, compassion and love for us.  
I gave her a copy of my latest read, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan knowing where her heart was and how much she would drink in the depth of the book’s message.  She was quickly becoming my best friend, I “agape” (friendship) loved her dearly already. I even wrote her an inscription on the book.  “Loree, My sister in Christ whom I dearly love.  Having grasped the depths of God’s love to be endless and now residing in a place where it permeates the very fabric of life, enjoy the ride!  I hope this book builds in you more than just a love for the written word.  May it give you a thirst to know all His ways revealed through the Spirit and penned on the pages of many books in service to Christ. Love in Him, Brian”  (permission to post inscription from Loree :)
She devoured the book in no time flat, which is amazing in of itself, because she doesn’t claim to be a reader.  I received a phone call from her mid week because we weren’t hanging out yet at this point so all of our long conversations took place after Sunday school and we had only recently swapped numbers and began texting encouraging messages to each other.  This one phone conversation moved her from being a good friend to confidant and comrade in arms for God.  It went something like this, “Brian, I finished the book.  It was great!  I feel like I’ve gone crazy though.  I think people will think I’m crazy.  You know I love people, always have and I care for them deeply.  But now I really LOVE people.  I feel like I want to sell my house and everything and just love God and love people.  Am I crazy?  Do you think I’m crazy?”  Wow! 
I was smiling ear to ear.  Here was a friend who has gone through the fire, just as I have and she understands the full measure of His love.  “Welcome to the party Loree!  I believe this is truly the abundant life God speaks about for us.”  In that moment we knew we shared something very special in spirit.  Somewhere along the way in our friendship she even verbalized this truth.  “I feel like my spirit is drawn toward yours.” I heartily agreed!!!
One of my fondest memories early in our friendship is when I invited her and her kids and another family to join me making pottery with the boys.  We all had such a great time painting then we went to McDonald’s down the road for ice cream.  It was that evening, while watching her gather all the kids around her on the concrete outside of McD’s to play “bear hunt,” that I got a first glimpse of what a wonderful mother she is.  The kids all come alive around her because she has such a joyful and fun filled heart.  I remember thinking to myself even then, “Wow, she’s great...just gets right in there! What a woman!” 

(more to come)