Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You just never know about those random acts of kindness

Tomorrow I am getting on a plane to visit my dearest friend Sherri in Tennessee for the weekend. Libby-10 gets to come with me to hang out with Sherri's daughter, who has been Libby's special friend since they were babies. We are SO EXCITED to have a first-ever "girl weekend!"

While I am soaking in the beauty of the Great Smokey Mountains, I thought you might enjoy "meeting" Sherri. Here's a post from a couple of years ago that shows you why our friendship has endured almost 15 years - and counting.

See you next week!


You just never know about those random acts of kindness
(Originally published August 20, 2006)

A list was circulating around the Couples’ Sunday school class. Would anyone like to bring dinner for a “new couple” who had just had their first baby?

As the list went by, Sherri signed up. She’d been married about a year and didn’t have any kids -- she didn’t even know the couple -- but it seemed like a nice thing to do.

A few days later, Sherri arrived with her husband, meal in hand, to find the bleary-eyed new parents, who were completely astonished that anyone would go to so much trouble for a couple of perfect strangers. Over a pan of Low-Fat Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas, made by someone who did not consider herself a cook, a friendship was born.

That was almost thirteen years ago. I was that new mom.

This weekend I got to spend some time with my dear friend Sherri and reminisce about where God has brought our special friendship.

Since food is often the currency of friendship, after the Enchilada Incident, we shared many more meals with Sherri and her husband (they grilled; we brought the sides and the chocolate chip cookie dough). We were in a couples’ small group at church, which they bravely joined, even knowing they were the only couple with no kids yet.

We were good friends then, but things really started to gel once Sherri became a mother, about four years later.

By the time we had about four or five kids between us, Sherri and I realized our desperate need for each other‘s friendship and support. Our earnest exchanges centered mostly on our struggle to come to terms with the fact that our lives now revolved around feeding and nap schedules.

We often called each other with, “I'm about to lose it. Can we get together today? Oh, and by the way, how are you?”

We piled all the kids into the car and met over Happy Meals or Goldfish, and tucked serious conversation in between moments of chaotic insanity.

But we knew there was more.

We wanted to do a Bible study, but neither of us could get it together enough (seems like there was always a sick kid) to commit to something weekly at our churches. So we decided to try one at home.

Our first study was Wisdom for Mothers. When we could pull it off, we huddled around a cassette tape and listened, all the while hoping the kids were not burning down the house from the other room. In between refereeing disputes, doling out snacks, and dealing with diaper emergencies, we prayed our first halting prayers together for our husbands and for our children.

At the time, we didn't feel like it was accomplishing much. We were interrupted often and frustrated repeatedly.

And yet it was through this humble, imperfect attempt to get a handle on the job of being a mom that we started to catch a vision.

We were just getting started on our journeys, but we were catching a glimpse of the kind of wives and mothers we so fervently wanted to be….and the kind of women we wanted to be: devoted followers of Christ.

Since then, Sherri and I have done a couple of other studies together, and, even though we have nine children between us now, and she’s lived out of state for the past four years, we call almost weekly.

Sometimes I can’t believe that I’ve been blessed to have someone like Sherri in my life. She is a rare mixture of truth-seeker and practical planner. I can still call her and say, “I’m about to lose it. Can we talk?“ She can ask a simple “How are you?” and somehow I find myself unloading so much more than my superficial to-do list.

She holds me accountable in my walk with Christ, and in my commitment to living a life that honors Him in the most vulnerable place on earth: my home.

I’m so glad Sherri took a chance thirteen years ago and performed a random act of kindness for a perfect stranger. We've grown so much together.

There is only one way to describe the way I love her - as my sister.

Have you taken a chance on a friendship lately?
Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.
Mark 3:35


Annie said...

I'm so thankful for the women in my life, God put them there right when he knew I needed them. I hope I am a blessing to them as well!

Have a great visit!

Julie said...

Have a great time! There is nothing like a best friend!

Ariel said...

That's great! I have a friend like that and wouldn't give her up for anything. Enjoy your trip!!

fAiThFuL cHiCk said...

Absolutely LOVE this post! Have a safe trip.

E. Tyler Rowan said...

That is so beautiful. I have a treasured friend like that, too, and I thank God for her each and every day. You are blessed. Enjoy your weekend! :)

Michelle @ Sew-Krafty said...

I posted awhile back about my season of friendlessness, as God was teaching me to go to Him FIRST, people next. I am so thankful that I am now able to enjoy many friendships with some really great ladies!
Have a wonderful time.

Queen to my 3 Boys said...

Okay, I realized I've had your post open for about...5 hours. Yep, every time I go to comment, life just gets in the way!

I love this post. I have a Sherri, too. Her name is Bobbie. We met under different circumstances (in grade 4), but she is my kindred spirit. We grew up in the same hometown. I moved in 2000 and in 2004 her family followed us here. There is nothing like a friend who can finish your sentences, knows how you feel without saying it and loves the Lord as much as you.

I feel sad for those who have never had the closeness of a Sherri or a Bobbie.

Amie said...

What a darling post! Made me tear up. :) and I am so glad for you both that you have each other. Hope you have a fabulous girls trip!


Anonymous said...

I love your post. I too have a Sherri but her name is Jen. I am so blessed by her, I love her so much. She lives 9 states away from us but is moving down near us in August. I can't wait! I thank God we crossed paths. Have a safe and blessed trip.

Debbie said...

Everyone needs a friend like that. I have one, too. And she is a dear treasure.

Think I'll go call her now!

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

You are SO blessed to have a friend like that! AND to be going to the Smokies? I'm so envious.

Have a wonderful time!

Jen said...

I loved reading your story. I feel blessed to have several great friends. There is just something about talking with your girlfriends, huh?

Anonymous said...

I haven't been here in AGES! My only excuse is Life!....with 2 teenagers in the house. We are the house where all the teens hang out and they usually take over the computer. Right now everyone is asleep and one teen is in France. So I get to play...Yeah! Have an awesome time my friend. Take some time for yourself and enjoy those mountains.

This is my new kick to add to every e-mail....Here goes---
Live Simply, Love generously
Care deeply, Speak kindly
Leave the rest to Spirit

Sandy said...

I love any post on friendships! Well said. Have a great great time ...

Qtpies7 said...

I have a friend like that, too. When I was dealing with severe morning sickness, she came over to clean my house, and we were strangers who met at church. Now we live so far away, but call often and catch up right where we left off. And our kids can do the same when they do get to see each other.
I prayed for years for a close Christian friend, and even though it took a long time, she's a keeper!