Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#26 - Friends like Jess

Good morning. It's a bit overcast here in Columbia this morning... a quick time-out for a "SHOUT OUT" to USC! Baseball Champs - Congrats! Proud to live in Columbia! What a great victory for my home-town team!

Anyways.... enjoying a nice cool morning. Birds chirping, the fan blowing a nice breeze on me, the boy sleeping and my blonde Kahve coffee re-filled. Could life be any better? I know that it will just keep getting better! But PRAISE THE LORD that I have learned to love and enjoy RIGHT WHERE I'M AT! I haven't always been like this. I spent years living in condemnation. Wishing I were "further" in life. Wishing I had accomplished goals sooner. Living in defeat and living in the "someday", "when I", "eventually". Let me just tell you, that's not a way to live. Missing so much of the now because the goals of the future are still unattained. So... each day, you live in the future, in the goals that haven't been accomplished yet, missing all the joy that could be found in today. Praise GOD for a re-newing of my mind. Praise God that though I still have many goals that are yet to be accomplished, I have learned how to enjoy the now and love the present. I heard a quote that said, "It's taken you your WHOLE life to get to where you are RIGHT NOW, that is a long journey, and a great accomplishment."

Anyways... let's go ahead and get started today. 
Proverbs 30:14 - There is a class of people whose teeth are as swords and whose fangs as knives, to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among men.
Proverbs 31:20 - She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].
Honestly, Proverbs 30:14 sounds like a bit of a morbid verse to choose for one to focus... but WOW, we are going to see how different of a "Class of People" that our Proverbs 31 friend lives in. Really we are going to look at opposites, and how beautiful it really is in the end..... just wait. :-)

There are many "classes of people" out there. Many whom you do not want to be associated, and a select few that you do. This class of people, that it talks about in Proverbs 30:14 is that class that you want to steer clear. Who are they?  They are the greedy, the mean, the spiteful, the angry, the upset, the selfish. These are the people only out for themselves. It talks about how their teeth are as swords & fangs are as knives.... they are going to do WHATEVER it takes to get what they want. WHATEVER it takes! If that means physical harm, so be it. I picture a cat, when it's angry, fangs out, hissing, slanted eyes, angry.... actually I made this very face yesterday when I saw a cockroach in my house! I HATE COCKROACHES! (And, believe it or not, I even made the hissing sound... right before he met the bottom of my shoe & I sent him to meet Jesus!) ANYWAYS... I picture this "class of people" as "spiteful", looking for a way for them to push all others out of the way to get to their goal, their prize. The verse talks about teeth & fangs... obviously a part of the body that is in the mouth, so this "class of people" could partly be tearing down not only physically, but also with their words. Slander, ugly comments, mean or untrue accusations, all in the name of "getting what they want."

Who is this group of people that they are devouring? The poor & needy. The Hebrew expounds on these people as: afflicted, wretched, weak, poor, lowly, humble, subject to oppression & abuse, needing help, in want, deliverance from trouble. They are the "already low", so easy to conquer since they are down. Man, I don't know about you, but there have DEFINITELY been times when I have fallen in one of these categories! I can think of a time just 5-6 months ago where I was "afflicted." The dictionary defines "afflicted" as being distressed with mental or bodily pain. Have you ever been there? Distressed mentally. Distressed with pain in your body? 

Several months back, call it hormones, call it truth, call it whatever you want, but Tyler said something to me and I had a MAJOR break down. I was crying, I was bawling! I don't recall exactly how the topic came up, but I was already feeling insecure about this area.... it was in the area of "friends." My honest feeling about "friends" over the last 10 years has been, "I don't really need them. I don't really have time for them. I don't really want them." I didn't want to put forth the effort to be a friend. In my mind, that's why I got married. Tyler is my best friend. He is my favorite person on the planet. He is who I love spending time with, hanging out with, relaxing with, going to the movies, dinner, church... dreaming with, creating memories with.... he is my best friend. I thought, "Why do I need another friend? I have everything I want and need in Tyler (and God)." Well, Tyler on the other hand, for 10 YEARS has pushed me to "make friends" or "go have lunch with so-and-so". I begrudgingly did it sometimes, all the while hating it. Feeling like I was trying to "force" this friendship when I didn't even want it, and me and "so-and-so" did not even really click anyways. Ahhhh! 

If you know Tyler and I.... we have a lot of "friends" that we are in business with. People who would call us "friends"... people we could call at 3:00 in the morning and they would get up and drive 4 hours to get us if they had too, people who are truly "salt of the earth" good people. Friends. BUT... maybe it's a guy thing, but as I cried and reflected on the "truth", I thought about how Tyler has "all these friends"... guys that he really likes to be with, no strings attached. And, as I cried, I felt like all my friendships were "surfacey" and "shallow." I have had a few good friendships in my life that went deep.... and none of my friendships reflected any depth. No deep, down, "you can see my soul" sort of friendships. So, I cried and cried and cried. When I got real with myself, I DID crave this friendship with someone other than my husband. A girl. Someone I could laugh with, be silly with, have fun with.... be me with. As I studied the Proverbs 31 woman, I did not see ANYWHERE it talking about her having "friends". That made me feel better.... I thought, well, she didn't make time for friends (amongst her being perfect and being super-woman), I don't have to make time for friends. That held for awhile. But I continued to search. I continued to dig. And, like always, the Bible revealed more to me.

Our Proverbs 31 friend what does she do? She opens her hand to the poor, she REACHES OUT her FILLED hands to the needy, whether in body, mind or spirit. She is PRO-ACTIVELY a friend to others! SHE "reaches out!" SHE comes with a "solution" with the "answer", SHE comes with FILLED HANDS! Who does she come too? The poor, the needy... the afflicted, the sad, the hurt, the "AMY's"!! People just like me. People just like YOU! She comes to be your friend, my friend, a friend to other's, when they need it most, she comes. When they are down, she cries with them. She loves them. She shares their hurt with them to help them heal, to help them get better. Ecclesiastes 4:11 ... if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Our Proverbs 31 friend was and is the blanket. She is the hug to bring warmth back to someone who is cold with sorrow. Someone who is so down, hope seems gone. What does she bring to the table? She brings friendship, she brings warmth.

She reminds me of my friend Jess. I can't think of ANYONE who is a better example of this! Our Proverbs 31 friend reaches out her FILLED hands to the needy.... in body, mind, or spirit. Let's look at some examples. I was NEEDY. I was 36 weeks pregnant, 9 MONTHS! It was the middle of October. How was I needy?

In Body: I could not do everything I wanted to do. We were in the process of MOVING! (Perfect timing for a prego lady, huh!) I was SO pregnant and knew Tyler Junior could come any time. We were moving into a home, and I wanted it to be ready when we brought our boy home. Let me tell you, I was needy in the "physical" arena.... I just couldn't DO things like a non-pregnant women. Jess, got our spare set of keys to our house, she came over when we were not even at the house (since we hadn't moved yet) and she PAINTED! She came over after she got off work and PAINTED. She came over late at night when I could help and she PAINTED. She came over on her lunch break and PAINTED. She PAINTED! Words can not explain how I felt. Words can not explain how much she taught me through her unselfishness. Through her desire to help. Her desire to be a friend and with FILLED HANDS, willing hands come and help when I could not. 

In Mind: I recently had some friends get married. So much was un-done, so much was not ready, there were so many loose ends. My friends getting married were trying to continue working, family was not really present to provide much help, if any help. And guess who showed up? You guessed it, Jess! She took the bull by the horns and made a list. 10 days out...maybe 4-5 days out. She made a list of EVERYTHING that needed to get done yet. Flowers, music, brides-maids gifts, groomsmen gifts, this, that, this, that... the list went on. She saw a need. The bride was not able to do EVERYTHING, mentally exhausted and could not do it all. Jess made a list and began checking things off. Doing and delegating, Jess made it happen. She was mentally there for the needy with FILLED HANDS, willing to think and do. 

In Spirit: Jess is that person that when you walk in a room, a group of people, a meeting, people gravitate towards Jess. They want to be around her. She makes people feel good. Granted, she may not be what you expect. She is not the "Christmas Tree".... the bouncy, really out-going person that you may expect. She is not the "life of the party" person. She is very laid back, but very fun. She meets people at their point of need. To some, she is a friend. To others, she is a  financial blessing in their mailbox. To some she is clothes. She is a helping hand. She is a smile. She is whatever she needs to be. I don't even know everything she does. I catch so many "end of conversations" as I walk up and hear Jess talking to someone. I can tell, they are discussing "something Jess did to help." 

People like Jess are what it talks about in Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. She makes people better. She is an iron sharpener. 

So... my new thinking. I need to be a friend. To have friends, I need to be a friend. The Proverbs 31 woman was a friend to people in their greatest time of need. When someone was low, and sad... when someone was in need. She was their friend, she was there for them to hear them, to cry with them, to love them. To keep them warm, to remind them of hope and to keep them going to the next day. She was there for them. And those people who grew up from their despair, who moved on from their sorrow, it is those people who will be there for our Proverbs 31 woman in her time of loss, in her time of sorrow. She will be showered with friends in her time of need or loss. 

I need friends. Not only are they iron sharpeners, not only do they make me a better "Amy", but there may come a time when I will need a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to laugh with. Someone to celebrate victory with me. To have a friend, I need to be a friend. To come to others with FILLED HANDS, to be a friend like Jess. 

Tomorrow is my DOR, so make it a GREAT Thursday! :) I am going on a "friend date" with my friend Jess. :) Cultivating friendship. Smoothies & a movie with my friend Jess.


Deb Ellis said...

I remember when you went through that, because I was going through the same thing. It is important to be a friend. I admire people like Jess-want to be more like her. For some people, it seems to be so natural and for others (like you and me) it's a process. Thanks for sharing

Renee said...

I am so happy you put this up... I feel that part of me is the Proverbs 31 woman... I will help whoever is in need... that is what a friend is... someone that knows every part of you... and still loves you. That doesn't ask questions but will be there for you. Amy... love you so much!

Presley said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this blog Amy. I just wanted to add that Jess is definitely a "one in a million" kind of friend. One who we all should aspire to be. I can't count the number of times she has been there for me. It didn't matter what, when, or where, she was always there in time of need. Anytime I need to laugh or feel good about myself I call Jess b/c I know she will make me smile and laugh so hard my stomach hurts. She is the most unselfish person I know and brings so much joy into others' lives. I am grateful to have her in my life and blessed that she's my friend no matter what. Thanks Amy for sharing and you are a great example of a Proverbs 31 woman.

Deb Ellis said...

Could I have Jess's phone number? (LOL) I need a friend like her!

Megan said...


I really appreciate this post. I certainly can understand a lot of the feelings that you were experiencing in the 'friends' arena. As I'm sure you went through as well, when the business team finds you and you know this is your vehicle, it is a time of learning who those 'true' friends are in our life. The ones we thought were always there and knew everything about us all of a sudden....dont.

Thank you for your heart and reaching out. You may not feel like you have, but you were the first woman to reach out to me when we moved here and that is something I will never forget! I agree with you 100 fold on our friend Jess. I have had similar experiences with her and she never ceases to amaze me. You are both huge blessings in my life!
Thank you!

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