For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9, NLT)
There’s a chill in the air, but the fire is strong and it crackles autumn gold. My friend and her family–her parents, cousins, brother, aunt and uncle circle the fire pit and Lonny and I fit right in. Our kids are a wild gang in the side yard. They’re playing football though it’s nearly dark.
These friends are blessings.
This farm is as comfortable as home.
When Lonny and I moved to our small river town years ago, we found it tough to fit in. The community is small and tight. Not unfriendly. Just established. Many people have been here for a long time, and roots stretch deep as the river.
I thought I’d never find a friend.
We did all the newcomer things. Took classes at the library. Enrolled Samuel in pre-school. Became active with baseball and soccer and other community sports. But I just couldn’t find a deep-connection soul sister.
It didn’t help that the small town we’d come from was probably the closest thing to present-day Mayberry. And after a year, after praying and crying out to the Lord, I wanted to pack up my family and leave.
Lord, won’t you bring a friend? I’m lonely. Will You ever provide?
But there was no answer. Lonny and I were within close enough proximity to commute to our church, and my relationships there remained the same. But friendship in my new community didn’t happen. I was about to give up hope.
Then I met Tammy.
“Hey,” she said. “Are you new to town? I don’t think I’ve seen you before.”
We were at the library and my arms were full of easy reader books. Tammy smiled a dimpled smile and I knew, from the kindness in her eyes, that I’d found a friend. She took half the books from my hands and introduced herself.
“Come on over later,” she said to the small sons beside me. “I have little boys, too.”
My sons and I ventured to Tammy’s that afternoon. The boys played. She and I talked for hours. It seemed like we’d been friends for a hundred years.
And the ache of loneliness subsided.
Over the years, Tammy and I have become like sisters. My sons have grown up with her boys. Tammy’s husband is a friend to my husband, too. And that farm of theirs is a refuge.
God’s gift of friendship was more beautiful and bountiful that I could’ve imagined.
Sometimes I wonder about God’s timing. Why an answer to prayer can be a long time in coming. But I’m learning to live in the simple truth that God’s thoughts are above mine. His ways are above mine.
And sometimes, when that blessing does come, it is more-than-I’d hoped for sweet.
“Hey,” Tammy says as she sits down in a lawn chair beside me. The fire has given her face a soft glow. “Should we grab the kids and the marshmallows?”
I lean toward the fire and enjoy its comforting warmth. I listen to the children laughing and playing–shadow forms moving against the night.
“Sure,” I say. “Sounds wonderful.”
I give her a quick hug.
“Sounds wonderful to me.”
Thank you, Lord, that Your ways are always above mine. Amen.