A true friend loves at all times… in the glory and the grit, in the bedlam and the beauty... because that’s how Jesus loves.
"A friend loves at all times …" Proverbs 17:17a (NIV)
I’d forgotten I was sporting a rumpled crown of bedhead until my 3 year old put on a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses and shimmied right up to the couch where I was sitting.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the silver lenses, my hair standing straight on end and my eyes rung with smudges of yesterday’s mascara. And I laughed out loud at the shocking sight.
After a harried morning of getting my school-age children out the door, I was desperate for connection. So after dropping my kids at school, I decided to swing by a friend’s house without worrying about my uncombed hair or my old ratty sweat pants. I might have looked like a woman in disarray, but in that moment, my whole world felt right.
My friend sat cross-legged on the couch beside me, her white T-shirt stained with a yellowed streak of spit up. For all I knew, she’d slept in that stretched-out T-shirt, rising in the darkness to feed the newborn who now nestled in her lap. But that hadn’t stopped her from inviting me in when I’d knocked on her door that morning with a bag of donuts and two steamy mugs of coffee.
Dirty breakfast dishes were piled high on the kitchen table. Toys were strewn across the floor, but we perched together in the mess and talked above the roar.
I confessed my latest parenting flop, and she admitted her struggle with impatience. We swapped prayer requests and potty-training tales, shared recent challenges and victories.
We wiped noses and mediated arguments, refilled sippy cups and reheated our coffee. And as the kids played at our feet, we asked those hard questions about marriage and motherhood, about daring to dream and walking by faith.
A droopy-diapered toddler grabbed a banana and began to croon into his make-shift microphone like a star-studded soloist. So we set down our coffee cups and clapped along with the impromptu rock concert unfolding in the living room.
And as my friend’s laughter rose above the musical clatter, I wondered how many sweet moments I’d missed before I learned this liberating truth: True friends don’t need to have it all together to enjoy being together.
True friends don’t need to tidy up their lives before they can share them. They don’t need to figure out all the answers before they can voice meaningful questions. True friends don’t need guises; they just need grace.
Today’s key verse reminds us how God’s recipe for friendship is built on presence, not perfection.
A true friend is willing to be present in every situation, even when there are breakfast dishes on our tables or stains on our shirts, even when there are muddles in our marriage or struggles in our soul.
A true friend loves at all times … in the glory and the grit, the bedlam and the beauty, because that’s how Jesus loves.
We have a Savior who willingly steps into our messy lives and offers us the gift of His friendship. And because His Spirit lives in us, we can do the same for others.
So, let’s tear down the facades and build up some faith. Let’s shatter the guises and scatter some grace.
Let’s ask Jesus to show us someone who needs a friend who loves at all times. And then, let’s offer her the perfect present of our imperfect presence.
It may not be comfortable. It may not be easy. But, in time, it will be beautiful.
My daughter danced up to the couch where my friend and I sat sipping our luke-warm coffee, and she planted a sloppy kiss on my cheek. Then she twirled like a ballerina and landed in my lap with a giggle.
"You look lovely, Mommy," she proclaimed as she patted my crazy tufts of un-combed hair and raised her eyebrows at me above the rims of those shiny shades.
I winked at my little girl and returned her happy grin. And I wondered if bedhead looks different through a heart-shaped lens.
Kind of like looking at ourselves through the eyes of a true friend.
Dear Jesus, I want to be the kind of friend to others that You have been to me. Help me offer someone the perfect present of my imperfect presence today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 15:12-14, "My commandment to you is this: love others as I have loved you. There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. You celebrate our friendship if you obey this command." (VOICE)
Proverbs 18:24b, "… a true friend is closer than a brother." (VOICE)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Schedule a "bedhead date" with a friend. (You could even sport some pajamas.) Spend time together without any fuss or facades. Just enjoy being together.
Ask Jesus to show you someone in your life who needs a friend. Do something to get to know that person better.