Last night was my last Stepping Up DVD lesson. In it, Beth Moore talked about how every person and every experience she had, even the negative ones, led her to Jesus. She spoke about how sometimes it is on the broken road of life that we find Him. She also told us that we are all on a pilgrimage, and that we need to be good fellow pilgrims, ready to help others out when they need it. The lesson really made me think about my own pilgrimage and my own broken road.
As I reflected on my own broken road, I realized that scattered along the way, along the side of my road, there have been many fellow pilgrims. And, I have been blessed to call each of them my friend. Some were sent to me for just a season, and some, I pray, are here for the journey. They have influenced me for the good, and some of them have influenced me negatively. But, no matter what, God has worked through each and every one of them, and I have been blessed.
I have been blessed beyond anything I can imagine with the friends I have had over the years. My friends have walked along side me, at times helping me up, and at times carrying me over the rough travail. They have wept with me and for me. They have dried my tears and have bound my wounds. They have comforted me in times of sorrow. They have held my hand through break-ups, through ended friendships, and myriad failures. They helped me bury my aunt, my dad, and my grandma. They have shown me that the end of my world has not yet happened, no matter how I feel. They have held my hand while Jesus healed my heart.
They have laughed with me. They have danced with me. They have sung songs out of the sunroof with me. They have shopped with me, laid out in the sun with me, and have eaten a ton of great food with me. They've spent countless hours talking to me on the telephone, talking about everything and nothing at the same time. They've taken pregnancy tests with me and have been in delivery room with me. Now they have even emailed and blogged with me.
My friends have done all these things and so much more with me. They have pushed me and challenged me. They have forced me to grow. They have opened their hearts and their lives to me. They have talked to me about and have shown me Jesus. They have taught me to trust and to love, and they have each made me a better person. Even when they hurt me, even when they disappointed me, and even when they've left me along the side of the road by myself. Because no matter what, my friends have forced this weary traveler to keep living and walking forward on this broken road. Walking forward in search of my God, whether I knew it at the time or not. Walking forward, inching closer and closer to my Mount Zion.
And, I am grateful. I am grateful that I am a sculpture, chiseled by God, but through the hands of each person who has touched my life. I have been shaped by each and every friend I've ever had. And, I know that God has worked through each of their hands, even when those hands chiseled what seem to be mistakes or imperfections created by heartache or negative experiences in my past. He has a plan to make even those imperfections beautiful, conforming to the image of His Son.
So, to each of you out there who I am blessed to call "friend," even the ones I have haven't met in person (yet), thank you. Thank you for making the mosaic of my life brighter and more colorful by being a part of it. And, please know that it is an honor for me to be your friend. There is nothing in this world I would rather do than walk along side of you on this pilgrimage. Nothing. I will laugh with you and cry with you. I will be here for you whenever you need a friend. In the middle of the day or in the middle of the night. When the road is level, but especially when it is broken. I can't take the credit for the good things, and I can't heal or fix the bad ones, but I pray that I can help spur you on to the One who can.
God bless my broken road. It has led me to you, and you help lead me to Him. I love you all more than you'll ever know.