This day, October 27, has become (and might always be) a day of reflection for me. Most of you are aware that it was on this day that our friend, Summer, left us to go be in the presence of God forever.

Today I find myself thinking about all the things that have made me who I am  – specifically relating to relationships and the experiences we have together. I love what C.S. Lewis says:

We think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.

I believe everything is in the hands of God, when it comes to my life and I believe everything that happens serves His purposes. That’s not to say He causes everything to happen, but He’s certainly not standing at a distance, uninvolved.

He has given me a wonderful group of friends and a fantastic family. In both there have been many ups and downs.

Over the last few years I’ve felt as though everything I am and everything I knew was flipped upside down. It was as though my heart and mind were ransacked. Nothing was left unturned and untouched.

There were several events and circumstances that combined to form the perfect storm.

I was grieving. I didn’t know which end was up, as far as who I was or what I knew to be true. There were days I felt like I was going insane. Add to that the fact that we had moved away from family and friends. I felt very isolated in my mess.

The one constant, the oak that withstood the winds, is my belief that God is good and He is faithful. That’s what I held onto in each situation. I knew He was working and had not abandoned me.

I’ve felt joy in the midst of pain and felt hope in despair. I can see the way each circumstance, in each relationship, has chipped away at me in ways that, while painful at the time, have left me a little bit softer, a bit lighter, more joyful and more real.

Back to C.S. Lewis’ words about friendship – I am so thankful for the ones the “master of ceremonies” chose for me and for allowing me to walk through life with them, in both happiness and sadness. I wouldn’t trade any of it.

I have seen the goodness of God displayed through His people. I have seen His glory (which as Moses saw it, is His goodness) in acts of service and loyalty.

I have witnessed perseverance and faith. I’ve seen devotion and self-sacrifice. I’ve loved and been loved. I’ve held back and I’ve risked. I’ve shown up and then I haven’t.

I’ve seen unconditional love. I’ve seen, and been broken by, the humility of Christ.

It’s sometimes messy, sometimes hard, but I’ve seen the beauty and have been changed by it.

The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.

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