Summer is my season. I come alive when the sun stays up late and the temperature rises over 90 degrees. While I was just a little girl, one summer in particular forever changed the person that I would become. It has shaped, even to this day, what I think friendship is and should mean to two people.
When you’re 14, everything is important, absolutely everything. Everything is dramatic and the end of the world. Everything is love and everything is hate. There is no grey area when you’re 14. Especially when you’re 14, a girl, stick thin, unpopular, and easily intimidated.
I was 14 when I lost my best friend, the one that I thought would stick with me forever. Sure, friendships at that age aren’t meant for forever, but what if they are? I admit, I have thought back once or twice to that time and wondered if she would still be a part of my life now. If that summer never happened, would we be raising our kids together?
With The Lord’s nudging, I am certain that we would not. I don’t know where she is or what she is doing, but I know that if it weren’t that one summer of change, another summer would follow close behind. God had His hand in the whole thing; He was certainly catching my tears and setting up my future.
When you’re 14, you tell your best friend everything. They know all your secrets, even the ones you don’t want to tell your mom. I remember she would tease me and encourage me to feel deeply about a certain boy, a boy that soon would break us up so far that you could never tell we were friends in the first place. It doesn’t matter what specifically happened; I am over 20 years and a whole lot of forgiveness removed from that summer. What does matter is that I can now see how God was by my side the whole time, and He allowed a best friendship to fail so that true friends could take its place.
From then on, though, I compared all my friendships to that one. Even into my adulthood, I really am not surprised when I don’t hear from a friend for a long time, or when they move away and never call. It’s a work in progress, this feeling of not being worthy of a good friend. God has redeemed it over and over, but He’s also the one that has given me thick skin so that I would know how true friends are supposed to treat each other. Anyone who thinks grown women don’t need real friends is greatly mistaken. We need real, tangible women in our lives, not just friendships over social media.
For the month of July, all the contributing writers at Managing Your Blessings are writing on “Summers That Changed Us.” I absolutely could have chosen a safer, easier summer to write about. It could have been about the summer that I got married at the sweet age of 19, or maybe about the summer when I had my first baby. It could also have been about the summer that I said goodbye to my parents and moved to a foreign country to fulfill my calling as a missionary. But the summer that God brought to mind was the one when I was just a tween, the one that I would do my best to push away and the one that God would never let me forget.
No matter who comes into your life, hurts you, takes away someone special, or tells you that you’re worth nothing, you have a God, a best friend, who defies every last word.
“You are my friend” – James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
“I like you” – John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
“I will never leave you” - Deuteronomy 31:8, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Summers That Changed Us Series
This post was a part of the “Summers That Changed Us” series going on this month at Managing Your Blessings. Be sure to check out other great posts in the series!