Several weeks ago, laying on a low, palm branch in a flowerbed in my backyard, I spotted a tiny bird nest. Although I have been an avid bird watcher for years, (#ThankYouMom) I’ve never had the blessing of having a family of hummingbirds move in and make their home in my yard! The tiny nest I spotted was a warm incubator for two, tiny hummingbird eggs!! Upon this discovery, I was instantly smitten by (and infatuated with) the process that was about to unfold. Like most expectant parents, we (the kids and I) have been (obsessively) checkin’ on the nest daily while keeping friends (and the gardener) at an arms length. Snapping pictures and even shooting video of our soon-to-be yard members has been exciting but has also become over-the-top!
Following a terrible wind storm in late January that nearly blew the nest away, was a torrential downpour that left our little eggs practically floating! The attack of crazy-monsoon weather in the midst of our California drought wasn’t good for my new friends! Still, their mama sat faithfully on the nest doing everything she could to provide a safe refuge (moms are good like that). When the sunshine finally returned, egg #1 hatched; shortly after that, the second bird made its debut. As she waits for the day when her babes take flight, the protective mama, sits on guard, on a nearby branch ready to scare away potential predators (in this case, me).
The storms we face in life are much like the monsoon winds and rains that almost destroyed the nest. There is a lot that comes at us in life. A lot tries to take us down. At 44 years old I have come to understand that there is something much, much stronger and more powerful than all those storms combined…
The bond of Friendship
Because after all hell breaks loose in your life and the dust finally settles, its the ones who are STILL standing strong next to you, that really matter. The few faithful are the ones who truly matter. True Friendship isn’t a novelty. It’s not for the weak or faint at heart. It’s not just for the girls-night-out or the weekend get-away. Friendship is about trust, honor, respect and commitment. It’s unconditional love, forgiveness, reciprocation and support.
Friendship…. a gift to protect and nurture.
I love what the Bible tells us, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Well what does that mean? When I look at this nest, I see not one baby, but two. I see them neatly, tucked into a warm, safe place and cuddled very close together. As the winds blow this branch around and rain comes pouring down, these two are NOT moved. Kinda like your closest friendships. When life came at you through a financial disaster or a heartbreaking divorce, perhaps there was one that was faithfully by your side. When you received your chemo treatments for the cancer you were fighting, were bald, exhausted and weak, a faithful friend was right there next to you every, step of the way! Or when you experienced the death of your child, and there were no words to express, that friend knelt down beside you, cried and mourned your loss with you. Why? Because friends love each other. For better or worse, through rich and poor, snot and tears, birth and death, weddings and divorce. Friendship equals faithfulness.
Friendship is a verb.
True friendship brings out our best qualities, makes us feel safe, valued, appreciated and validated. Even if you’re not asking for it or think you don’t need it, a true friend is one who gives you and me, “food for thought.” A proverb I love says it all, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Our true friends “sharpen us.” They make us think, ponder and entertain all aspects of our decisions. They challenge you and me to consider all perspectives. One who speaks shallow words or showers you in empty flattery, should make you leery- in fact such talk should make you run away, and FAST; But that friend who lovingly gets in your face, speaks truth and does everything she can to help you be the BEST you can be, is the girl to cling to! As we both embrace and value the impartations of those closest to us, we recognize and deeply appreciate the gift of friendship.
Two are better than one!
God strategically places people in your life, right when he knows you will NEED them. There are no coincidences in life, no random happenings, no luck to speak of! Repeat, NO LUCK people! Don’t give credit to “luck,” C’mon! There are “divine appointments” that God orchestrates to take place in your life at precise moments.
Life is tough and oh so challenging…. so, be choosey about who’s doing life with you in your nest, and don’t ever apologize for being selective! Your nest (or friendship circle) is sacred- it’s a sisterhood. Life is short! So, surround yourself with those who are worth your time, energy and effort. Those who pour into you, inspire you and build you up… those are the ones who are keepers!
And by the way, don’t compromise what you believe! Be strong, for heaven’s sake!! Your friendship-nest need not be huge- the more intimate, the better. Allow into your nest and invest in, those whom God highlights to you as the ones who will be there for the long haul, not the ones here today and gone tomorrow.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return on their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up… if two are together, they can keep each other warm…though one may be overpowered, two together can defend themselves…and a cord of three strands isn’t easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)