A few years ago I taught a study on friendships throughout the Bible (Nathan got his name from that study!) With each new adventure (ie, place we have moved), I have prayed that God would bring deep friendships in my life. Friendships that brought me closer to the Lord. Friends that really meant, "How are you?" And weren't freaked out when I said, "Not good." Or friends that see me venturing down a path that wasn't of the Lord and weren't afraid to say, "Uh, April... you need to think about this." Friends that I could laugh with till my sides hurt and my cheeks ached. Friends that shed tears together. Friends that walked hard roads and deep valleys together. You know, life can get messy. Life can get hard and valleys can be deep. Then deep friendships took on a different meaning. When the valleys are deep and despair you feel is real. That is when these friendships really grow, when they deepen and the cement cures. It’s when they see your ugly and they keep right on walking alongside you. And you wonder why, because my mess is really ugly. It is when friends walk alongside you in the hard, and they cover you and they carry you. It’s when they stand in the gap because you can’t.
I was so heartbroken when God moved us to Gouverneur 7 1/2 years ago. I had a group of friends that meant this to me. And when God asked us to move, I dug my heals in deep because I thought for sure I'd never find that again. And today I was thinking back to that study that I had taught after that move and this picture popped up in my mind. These friends are the ones that I didn't think I'd find again. And here I am. God heard the desires of my heart and answered my prayers. I recently walked through a really deep dark valley. It was hard and painful, but these friends carried me and covered me. I remember one hard day I sent a message to my friend and just said, "Stand in my gap and pray." I never dreamed that I’d be living with such examples of friendship. These girls shine Jesus in their lives. When life is hard, it is Him who they go to… and sometimes on my behalf. I am so blessed, and so undeserving of their love and friendship.