Tag Archives: Trust

Into the Fog

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How many of us entered into a new relationship and felt like we were headed into uncharted territory?  Venturing into a place we were unsure of?  It’s like walking into a familiar place but there is a fog which is covering up the usual sight we see, yet, we just keep walking into it.  As we get closer and closer to the what we know to be there it becomes clear and we feel safe, but on the way there we could encounter several bumps and bruises as we lose our way sometimes in the fogginess. New relationships can be very unsafe waters sometimes, especially if we have not dealt with our past issues and pain.

Sometimes we dive head first into a new romance thinking we are healed and ready to just bounce back into love.  Some of us get lucky but for some as we begin to unpack our old baggage into a new relationship we begin to see just how unhealed we really are.  Sometimes relationships can be just cruising along like a well taken care of Mustang.  Smooth and speeding right through the curves and bumpiness of the road unfolding in front of them.  While other times it’s like you are in a rusted out car caught in a hurricane and being torn apart piece by piece until all that’s left is a battered heart.

What I would like to talk about today is intimacy. I want to address the things no one ever talks about.  I want to expose the weapons of the enemy.  I want you to leave refreshed and hopeful not beaten down and empty.

I really don’t know where to begin or even how to convey what I am trying to say but I want to give you a mental picture.  When we are growing up and fantasizing about marriage we often dream of a fairy tale experience.  Everything is always perfect.  There are no screaming matches or rejection or disappointment…just roses and fancy parties the rest of your life.  When it comes to intimacy, here again this is no bed of roses.  Many of us enter into relationships with so much covered up brokenness we don’t even know how to be real with the person we are married to.  Some come to the altar from divorces.  Some couples are together after several failed relationships.  Many couples come from a childhood of sexual abuse or molestation.  Everybody’s story is different yet the result is usually the same.   Running in two different directions avoiding the pain.

Below is a photo I feel represents what we think intimacy should look like.  It’s all beautiful and calm and spectacular in color.  It’s what the fantasy romance looks like.  You can’t see the pain or discomfort.  You can’t see the hurt or the wanting to run away.  You can’t feel the emptiness.  You don’t see the erupting volcano of unforgiveness or rejection.

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Unless we confront head on those things which are preventing us from having freedom in our relationship we will forever feel like slaves.  We will perform and do things out of obligation rather than love and true intimacy.  We can go back to the beginning of time and see God created us for intimacy.  He created us with relationship in mind.  What happened?  Where is the disconnect? Simple.  Satan has slipped in here and there in our lives and made a mess of things.  A mess which clearly can only be healed by seeking God and being truthful about our feelings.

I was molested when I was 5 years old.  I have gone through counseling.  I have forgiven the person.  I have let go and let go and let go, yet there is still I discomfort I have that just won’t go away.  In the five years I have been married to my current husband there has been a disconnect.  I just couldn’t figure it out.  I tried to understand but nothing was changing.  I felt as if Satan had me pinned down and I couldn’t see what was causing me to feel this way.  It all stayed the same until God in His perfect time showed me a very simple thing.  He showed to me what a real touch was like.  A gentle loving touch.  One that was not uncomfortable and enabled me to feel love.  To experience what love was suppose to feel like.  He showed this to me through my husband simply holding my hand.

In that moment I felt safe.  I felt loved.  I saw a glimpse of the colors of true intimacy.  The fog began to dissipate.

When I shared this revelation to my husband it opened up a whole new world for us to explore.  It was super hard for me to even talk about, however, we invited Jesus into the middle of our intimacy and we are looking forward to what He is going to do in our marriage.  When couples try as hard as they can to please their mates in all aspects of a relationship on their own, often there is no real evidence of anything changing.  Why?  Because the healing we need to have a viable marriage has to come from Jesus.  Only He knows our inner most pain.  Only Jesus knows what steps we need to take.  Only Jesus can take the deepest of pain and heal it.  We often try to fix ourselves or our mates and just make matters worse.

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As we move forward into this new level of intimacy we are excited that God is going to do a new thing in our marriage.  He will take the dry deserts in our hearts and make them waterways.  Waterways into places of intimacy and grace.  Paths to undiscovered love.  I anticipate great things in this new adventure.  I am expecting doors to the past to close.  I am looking forward to no longer being a slave to this.  I know God has a much better plan to heal me than I could ever come up with.

 

Dear God,  I thank You for loving us just where we are.  I invite you into the wounded parts of our hearts.  I surrender all of the past emotions and pain to You knowing You will take care of it all, I just have to trust You in the process.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

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Towels in the Washer

caution speed bump

Let me set the scene for this blog:

Busy day at work. Phones ringing.  Orders coming in.  Got behind.  Having company over for dinner.  Need a roasting pan for the chicken.  Go to Walmart.  Husband asked to have money put on our debit card.  Wait in line for 20  minutes.  Get home and prepare chicken.  Won’t be done until 9 pm.  Go to lie down before company comes over.  Husband asks for the laundry to be moved from the washer to the dryer.  GROAN!  Just sat down.  Feet hurt from 5 mile walk from day before.  Contacts are dry.  Slight headache from work day.  HANGRY.  Open lid to washer and find towels in with the regular clothes.

TICKING TIME BOMB EXPLODES AND HUSBAND IS THE NEAREST VICTIM!

How often do the most innocent persons in our lives get the brunt of our bad days?  I am not sure that I have ever gone off on my husband like I did yesterday.  Words I usually do not spew out were flying like missiles aimed directly at him with intent to harm.  I did not care in that moment what I said I was just so angry I let everything I said become like a personal attack on an innocent bystander.  I quickly apologized after I cooled down and it is a good thing my husband knows my heart enough to realize I meant nothing I said in those heated minutes of World War III happening right before his eyes.  I mean today I can at least laugh about it.  The look of bewilderment and surprise on his face was truly priceless, poor guy.

Well that was just a precursor to today’s volcanic eruption.  I got a good night sleep and we even slept in, however, something was still off with me.  I noticed my left shoulder was aching and this usually only means one thing…rejection was trying to rear it’s ugly head.  I had my husband pray over me before we started our day.

Kinda wish I would have just left it alone.

 

After returning home from our morning coffee and a drive before hubby went off to work, I went inside to get my camera and a bite to eat.  I don’t want to get into too many details but you will need a little background story to understand what happened next.  We live with my 86 year old father because he is unable to live alone.  He gets around okay and can still take care of himself but he can’t do laundry and upkeep on the house.  Besides on the occasion when we do leave for a few days he gets fearful and something usually arises.  Anyways, dad is very protective of the refrigerator for some reason (we are guessing fear of some kind)  and things are not to be kept in there for very long and must be put into the smallest container possible.  So for the last 5 years there has been an ongoing frustration with what and how we keep things in the frig.

When I went into the kitchen the first thing dad said from his chair in the living room was “What are you going to do with the chicken from last night?”  I replied with an I don’t know at the moment, perhaps make chicken soup tomorrow.  This response was not what he was hoping for and me having my own agenda for the day already planned out, this simple situation turned into World War IV.  I cringe to even relive the live action warfare which conspired again.  I apparently touched a live wire somewhere in my brain and again here I was spewing words (to my own father) that should never have been released from my mouth.  In anger I took the chicken and threw it in the garbage dumpster outside, grabbed my purse and my camera and left.

I immediately called my husband in tears and frustration.  What was happening to me?  I was a wreck.  Acting out of character.  Using unsavory language at people I loved.  Of course he reminds we prayed for God to come in and heal whatever was causing the pain in my shoulder.  And then he said, “Resentment.  You are dealing with resentments from your past.  And maybe it has something to do with it being Mother’s Day tomorrow.  I don’t know, but let Daddy to heal you.”

So with a heavy heart I started seeking God in what to do.  I took my camera out and visited several of my favorite spots which is how I connect with God the best.  I captured birds, turtles, flowers, geese and their babies and even a muskrat only to discover on my journey that God had me stop and ponder at a tree.  A tree with a strip missing like a fresh wound.  He said this pain was from a fresh wound, yet it was an old pain which had been ripped open by life’s circumstances.

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He told me to keep walking there was something else He wanted to show me.  On my way back to my car I used the same path so I saw things going back that I had not seen on the first time through.  I stumbled upon this tree which had been abused my woodpeckers.

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God started explaining to me what I was looking at.  On the surface you can clearly see there has been damage and an entry way into the inner most part of the tree.  On closer inspection one could see cobwebs where something else had taken up residency.  Then looking even deeper you would see the wound itself was torn to shreds.  The top hole appears to have no ending, yet there is a light which shines through the darkness of it.

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This is what so many of us deal with day after day.  We get wounded at some point in our lives and people keep attacking it, over and over and over again until we are empty inside.  Then, when we allow God to tend to our brokenness  He shines His light within us and begins to heal that which has hurt us for so long.  The key here is allowing God in.  So many times we want to fix it all on our own.  We don’t want anyone’s help.  We often feel that it was our fault in the first place that we are hurting.  We didn’t do something right.  We were not good enough at some point.  We deserved the abuse.

I am still not quite sure what I am dealing with but I do feel more at peace after spending some time with the Lord today.  I still am trying to process the loss of my mom two months ago today and there is a lot of pain with that wound.  The tape which plays over and over again that “I am not good enough” and “I can’t do anything right” taunts me even when I try to just close my eyes and ignore it.  

In conclusion, don’t you wish sometimes that life came with warning signs so we would know when to brace ourselves?  Speed Bump.  Road Impassable.  Water May Go Over Road.  Bridge Might be Icy.  Dead End.  No Outlet. Watch for Emergency Vehicles.  Do Not Enter.  One Way.  Caution Pedestrians.  Road Construction Next 20 Miles.  Railroad Crossing.  Yield.  Stop.  Frequent High Wind.  Narrow Bridge.  Pavement Ends.  Deer Crossing.  If only life could send us signs along the way we could prepare ourselves for what is coming up next.  We could be on guard for any mishap which may happen along life’s journey.  Sometimes things just come out of nowhere and we are blindsided, that is where God needs to come in and redirect our steps.  We need to trust Him enough to know the road ahead of us and let Him send the Holy Spirit to give us the warning signs to keep us on track.

Dear God, Be near me today and expose that which You want to heal in me.  Teach me to trust You with littlest of things to the great big ordeals.  I thank You for healing me from my deepest wounds.  I trust you with them.  Shine Your light on my innermost being so that I may be lead in the right direction.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Who Took My Blankie?

My very own

Just recently I had a passionate conversation and I wished I had recorded it, however, I will do my best to repeat the magnitude of what was said.

We are born.  Not by our own choice, but God’s.  We come into this world very unaware of our surroundings.  No clue perhaps in those first few moments of taking our first breaths.  Then as if out of nowhere there is a cutting.  A sudden revelation of a separation takes place.  The life line which you had been connected to for nine or so months suddenly is gone.

Now of course in those early stages of life we don’t actually have those thoughts running through our heads as birthing is a natural process which has been happening in this earth for a very long time.  For those who have anxiety at the moment you can probably close your eyes and imagine that whole beginning scene.  Those with separation issues could also relate.  What you once knew as comfort and connection is suddenly gone. Taken away.

So let’s take this to the next level.  As children we often cling to things such as stuffed animals, dolls or the ever so popular blankie.  These items become very important to us in early life.  You share EVERYTHING with this object, things you probably never told anyone else except for maybe your imaginary friend if you had one around.  I remember my son had a favorite teddy bear.  He went every where my son went.  If it was time for Teddy to have a bath, my son would stand by the washer and dryer until the whole process was complete.  He was clearly attached.

For the purposes of this discussion I am going to use the representation of the Blankie as I move through this next phase.  The Blankie is going to represent things we cling to in life as a comfort: food, family, friends, secret sins, drugs, alcohol and the likes.  Anything which we choose to go to instead of God.  As with the Blankie, we develop a relationship with our source of comfort.  It’s the one thing we know that will never let us down, it does not have the ability to.  We know when no one else understands us, our Blankie will.  It will comfort us.  Keep us close.  Never rejecting us.  Always a true friend and confidante.

What happens when God asks us to let go of the Blankie so that He can be our comfort, our true friend and confidante?  Of course!  We panic.  We cling all the tighter to our Blankie because a fear rises up in us.  How can we trust anyone else with our Blankie?  It knows us inside and out and would never hurt us or reject us or leave us hanging.  How do we know we will find comfort after we let go of the Blankie?

It all comes down to trust.  A trust beyond all thinking.  A trust so strong you have no choice but to cling to it instead of your false comforts.  For you see, a Blankie is just a false representation of love and trust.  In the end, you can’t take it with you.  It will be burned up with the things of the past.  You will step into heaven and God will be there.  Not your Blankie,–your false comfort.

God is calling us to trust Him with EVERYTHING.  Just like we shared our entire early stages of life with said Blankie, God wants you to choose to trust Him.  He wants to be your comfort.  Your security.  You source of Acceptance.

Some of us are still clinging to our Blankies.  We are at a point in our adult lives where we are afraid of being hurt and disappointed.  We don’t want to give up the very thing which has been there all along.  Drugs, alcohol, secret sins, food, bad relationships and various other addictions are not our security.  They are not our comfort.  They are not to be trusted.  Only God. God is the only one who will never let you down.  He will be there from the beginning until the end.  You can take Him where ever you go.  You can share every secret with Him.

One final thought.  In the beginning, we are not the ones who get to choose who cuts the cord.  When it comes to our false comforts we don’t have to do anything but trust God to take them and heal us from the aftermath.  We run around this big earth thinking we have to do more.  Thinking we are the ones who have to fix ourselves before we can go to God.  Those are lies.  God will take your Blankie.  All you have to do is believe.

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Dear Lord, Help me today to trust you with my Blankie.  I choose today to trust you with my Blankie.  I believe You can be trusted.  I believe You are my source of comfort and security.  Lord let me learn that the past is behind me and You are right in front of me, waiting to heal me.  I thank You Lord for removing those things in my life which are not of You.  I pray for all those who feel stuck in their sin or addictions that they made find true comfort in You alone and be healed from their wounds.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Getting to the Track is the Easy Part

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When life knocks you right of the track you are on, get back up and head toward the track.  Yup!  I know it sounds simple, and I also know it’s not easy.  Falling is never an easy place to rise up from yet it puts you in the perfect position for the greatness of God.  It places you in a vulnerable spot on which  great victory can occur.  When we feel defeated to the core then it’s time to sing praises.  It’s time to rejoice!  It’s time for joy to bubble up from within because God is about to do something so great your mind can’t even wrap itself around the miracle.

I am battling with my weight at the moment and am getting really frustrated.  I am on the right track.  I am moving forward but the train just has not picked up any speed.  The train I am on lacks motivation.  It lags behind the rest hoping at some point to catch up and get ahead of the game.  I may never get ahead of the rest and that is exactly where I need to be to have  peace within my soul.  I need to believe that I am on the right track and at least moving forward in the right direction.  I need to believe God is directing the train and His ways are greater than mine will ever be.

Today I posted a blog in my Sparkpeople app which brought me to tears right in my office.  In one simple moment of time I felt the presence of God in my life in a powerful Father-Loving way.  He accepts me.  He loves me.  He is my strength.  He is my rescuer when I fall.  He is the only One who can pick me up, dust me off and set me in the right direction, any other voices are just distractions.

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Today, choose the let Him pick you up, dust off the dirt and set you on the path towards the right track.  He does not require us to return to where we once began the journey, however, He let’s us start right where we fell.  There are no do overs with God, just continuations towards the right way.  You are good enough for God to save you.  You have not failed to the point where He forgets about you.  You are created for a plan and purpose.

Begin today to believe in you.  Believe in love.  Believe in faith.  Believe God is who He says He is.  Allow Him to set you on the right track.  If you fall off again, choose to know it is okay, He will pick you up right where you are.  You do not have to seek help, He will come to you.  Before you even ask He knows your distress and help is already on the way. He has everything you need to stay on track, no need for inventing schemes or great plans for survival.  He alone has the answers.  He alone knows your every need.  He alone is the maker of the track you are to be on.

 

Dear God, Today I pray for all of us who are struggling in any area of our lives.  I know You are sending help already, you won’t leave us in the dust, broken and battered.  I pray peace to come today.  I pray You will heal our wounds and set us on the right track towards the plan you have for our lives.  Thank You for the work you are doing on our behalf.  Thank You for the healing that is coming.  Thank You for accepting us just as we are.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Like Toothpaste

 

And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
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So what is it like to empty yourself out and let God have free reign in your life?  It means that you allow God to go into the deepest inter most parts of yourself and let Him do a good and thorough healing.  It means being willing to do what it takes to be an over-comer.  It also means running the race until the end knowing that at the finish line there is a greater freedom than you have ever known before.
During this process it starts with a self examination of who you are.  You begin to assess your current situation and make a decision if it is time to let God have a peek into your mess.  Questions to ask yourself:
” Am I ready to let go?”
“Am I ready to trust God with this issue in my life?”
“Am I willing to trust and obey whatever God says needs to happen?”
Once you have said yes to all of these questions then it is time to step out in faith and let God do a mighty work in your life.  It will be difficult in some situations because we feel that we need to fix our own issues before we can even go to God for help.  This is a lie from the enemy to keep us standing in stagnant waters.  Choose to let God in and watch what He does.
As the process of overcoming begins it will be gentle at first.  God will deal with the easy pieces before He gets to the center of things, kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, you get the outer edges put together first and then you fill in the rest.  As the pieces of restoration start coming together into a masterful work of art, it gets tougher to find the right pieces and put the puzzle together but you can’t give up, keep letting God do the work.
Towards the end of the process you will feel as though you were a tube of toothpaste and God is squeezing every last bit of wrong thinking, disbelief, unforgiveness, self-hate, doubts and misbehaving out of you.  You will feel so empty that it hurts, and then God begins to fill you up with the truth of His love and grace.  As He begins to pour into you, a sense of completeness and peace begins to fill you.  All of a sudden you see the whole beautiful picture and you fall to your knees with praise for God.
I admit, not an easy process when you choose to let God have full reign in areas of your life but it is so worth it, especially when we come to the realization that we have nothing to do with it, it’s all God:

Ephesians 2 The Message (MSG)

He Tore Down the Wall

1-6 It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

So be willing to be squeezed out and refilled with the precious love of Jesus.  From our bellies will flow rivers of living water.  Once we are right with God and have allowed Him to heal our wounds, what a benefit we will be to those who are hurting and in need of a Savior!

Where Am I?

Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

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Sure seems like decades since I last wrote a blog.  I could just blanket it with a response like “I have been busy” which is the truth, however, what am I really doing?

I have known since I was in kindergarten that I wanted to be a writer.  When I wrote my first poem at he age of 6 I fell in love with the freedom I had in writing.  As I grew up I found that I could tell others what was going in my life with words on paper which was easier than face to face communication.

Now here I am 38 years later with two published books and one at the editing process.  But what am I really doing?  I am still working full time as a restaurant manger and trying to fit my real passion into this whenever I can.  At the current moment let me be real with you as a reader and fellow human.

I feel worthless.  I feel like I have accomplished zip in my life thus far.  A week ago I was ready to just quit.  Why bother? The books are not selling.  I don’t have the time to blog or write the sequel to Addicted to An Addict.  Then the thoughts:  Am I really making an impact on people?  Do my words even make sense?  Am I actually helping anybody????

Then God stepped in.  In one Sunday night service.  In 8 minutes of my life, God spoke clearly.  We have a psalmist in our church who sings prophetic words over people and that Sunday night God used her to speak right to me.  God said not to fear writing the next book.  He said I would write things that I did not even now about and that it would cause controversy.  He told me not to give up.  To rejoice.  To write.

As I let these words simmer in my soul I kept hearing, “Make room for the anointing.”   These words always came up when I would argue with God about the time I had at hand.  Work. Photography. Writing. Blogging. Church.  Socializing.  The only thing I could hear in all of it was “Make room”.

So I am in the process of making room.  I believe in the Jeremiah 29:11 lifestyle that there is already a plan for my life and I just need to be obedient and listen for God before I move.  I have to come to this place where I just trust God completely and if He says “Make  Room for the Anointing” then that is what needs to happen in order for Jeremiah 29:11 to become a reality in my life.

Time for a schedule change and a  goal process to begin!!!

Broken Friends

 

“Confront me with the truth and I’ll shut up, show me where I’ve gone off the track. Honest words never hurt anyone, but what’s the point of all this pious bluster? You pretend to tell me what’s wrong with my life, but treat my words of anguish as so much hot air. Are people mere things to you? Are friends just items of profit and loss?
 
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Warning!  Warning!  Warning!!
What you are about to read may cause you to remember some not so nice things about your past.  I apologize up front for any emotional roller coaster I have taken you on.  
 
Just recently the Lord has been dealing on my past, as ugly as some of it was, and the things He brought to my attention were not so pretty.  My life as many of yours, has not been a bed of roses.  My parents adopted me when I was 9 months old and I was brought into a home where I was wanted and loved but the same did not ring true for my parents.  My dad drank and my mom constantly nagged him.  As I grew older I just wanted to run away to where ever I could escape the stress.
 
As I looked to friendships to fill voids in my life, I learned to confide in others very easily and I trusted.  Always trusted.  Then at age 5 my best friend Wendy moved away.  Now some say age 5??  Well I remember as if it was yesterday.  I remember waving goodbye on the curb as my only friend was driven away by her parents.  Then at age 8 my next best friend Kim moved to Texas with her family.  I still can remember the emptiness I felt as one by one they left.
 
Then the heart-breaker was when Eleanor died and went to be with Jesus.  I don’t remember how old I was but I remember waiting for her to come home on the bus (she was handi-capped) and as soon as she would get off the bus we would go lay in the grass for hours and watch the clouds in the sky.  When Jesus took her home I was just devastated.  As time went by I had friends but no one really close until just before Junior High.  My friend and I got really close and I spent more time at her house than my own.  Her sisters and brothers were like my own.
 
Then one day she confronted me and all of a sudden she did not like me anymore.  She said she did not like the way I did my hair or make up and other various things about me and it shattered my idea of what best friends were.  Through out the remainder of Junior High and High school I had friends.  Some were close and others were just fun to hang out with.  At this point I really did not want to get too close to anyone.  The rejection that I felt from my past Best Friend relationships was too much to bear repeating.
 
When I got married, my ex-husband separated me from most of my friends. As my life began to revolve itself around raising kids and taking care of my ex-husband and trying to hold down a full time job, I felt I just did not have time for any friendships.  Even when I started to go back to church I really did not see any need to seek out a best friend.  I figured God was all I had left and He would never leave me.
 
Just recently my husband and I started a class at church called Love and Respect and the facilitator was instructing the husbands to choose someone to be accountable to.  He said the wives did not need to do that because they always were talking to someone on the phone or had a circle of friends to help hold them accountable.  My immediate thought was, “Not Me!”  I no longer have a best friend.  I have no one in my life except my husband to confide in.  I don’t have someone to call at 2 am if I have a crisis that just needs a girlfriends help.  I was bestfriendless…..and to me that was just fine.
 
What I saw in all of this was rejection.  I did not even realize I had a fear of rejection until that man spoke that one sentence about finding an accountability partner other than our spouse………
God has a funny way of doing things for sure.  After class I was in the sanctuary during the opening welcome and a friend came to me with exciting news and I just looked at her with tears in my eyes and I asked her to be my best friend.  
 
Here is another prime example of how God knows exactly what we need before it’s anything we want in life and soon we come to the realization that it’s what we needed all along.  For me it is on to new beginnings.  I am searching the face of God on this new best friend relationship.  It’s been so long for me that I am not sure I even know how to be a best friend to anybody but my hubby.  
 
So now that I have bared my soul on Best Friends I hope I have not stirred up some things in you, BUT, if I did, I pray God begins a new work in you.  I pray God leads you to that perfect friendship.  A friendship that is lasting and edifying,  One that will withstand any storm it faces.  God is love and love is true friendships.  We all need that one person separate from our home life that we can trust and confide in.  Someone who will listen.  Someone who will laugh and cry with you.  But most of all someone who will hold you to that higher standard.