“A faithful friend is a steady shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure.” — Sirach 6:14
I believe that God brings people in and out of our lives for a purpose, and I am grateful He knows who I need in my life, and when, far better than I do. Today, I’m writing letters to two of the precious friends who are on my heart today.
When my husband’s job was eliminated, I had to find a job fast–after 13 years of staying home with my little people. I landed in the role of front office secretary in a brand new elementary school, surrounded by an incredible staff, superb adminstrators, and one priceless new friend, the school nurse, Alyson, also back to work after a stay-at-home sabbatical. Like me, she was mom to a chronically ill teen. For the year that we worked together, we shared countless heart-to-heart conversations, laughter- (and tear-) filled lunch breaks, brisk walks around the bus loop, dark chocolate and coffee, and plenty of spontaneous prayers. I know God put Alyson in that office for me–she was the gift that kept on giving every day of the ten months we worked together.
And then there’s Jaime, who I first met when my daughter Shelby was nine and a student in her husband’s third-grade class. It took us years to really get to know each other–so well that we can finish each other’s sentences. Her husband Jeff taught three of my children; Shelby was fortunate enough to have him twice. Jaime, a career switcher, taught my middle guy, Bryan, in her inaugural year as a third-grade teacher.
But it wasn’t until we worked together that we discovered God had an even bigger friendship planned for us–the kind that spans a lifetime. My hubby’s job was eliminated the summer after I left my school secretary position. We found out the morning we were headed to Hershey Park. A mild panic set in–health benefits would be terminated (not good news when you have a chronically ill kid). As we drove north, I scrolled through my voicemail messages and found one from Jaime. I listened, and my heart raced with the phenomenal news. She was taking a part-time kindergarten teaching position. Would I be interested in being the teaching assistant? Half days with health benefits. Within 30 minutes, we’d traded phone calls, talked to the hiring principal, and set up an interview. We started work together that August, just as my husband accepted a new post–in Orlando, Florida.
God delivered a paycheck when we needed it most, and He gave me Jaime, a faithful friend to support me, a stressed-out wife and mother, through 15 heart-breaking months of epic commuting separation. Jaime kept me smiling through all the craziness. She poured out love and praise. She listened without judgement. We shared Subway lunches and long conversations. Her smile and wraparound hug never failed to renew my spirit. She was my prayer warrior in every sense of the word. Nowadays, though she moved on to a different job, we still work hard to get together when we can–whether it’s an early Saturday morning breakfast at Pine Grove Restaurant or an afterwork glass of wine at Magnolia’s.
I am forever thankful for my treasured friends who steady me when life gets a little rocky, who buoy me when I am sinking, who recognize when I need honest feedback (even if it is difficult to hear) and deliver it with grace and wisdom. How blessed my life is with the addition of such incredible women–supportive, loving, faithful, encouraging, prayerful, and wise. Not to mention, quirky, witty, and adventurously fun. I’m one lucky girl.
Be blessed–and be a blessing.