One of my goals in life has become...never forget the valleys, never forget the hard times! I often remind myself of the valleys because when I forget the valleys, I also forget the blessings that have come because of the hard times.
Several years ago, I made the decision to home school Eric through Kindergarten. What I first thought was a simple decision became a hard journey. Every single friend, at that time, sent their kids to conventional school. Instead of hearing things like "I respect your decision." I would hear things like "If you would just put him in school, you could go shopping with us" or "I can't believe you would risk our friendship over school. Why can't you just do what we do?" I spent many days with tears streaming down my face saying, "God, I just can't do this. I know you have called me to home school but the cost is too much. I am losing my friends over this!"
I did lose some friends. It's easy to look back now and recognize that they weren't deep friendships. We didn't discuss deep heart issues, we discussed TV shows. We didn't share Bible truth with one another, instead we gossiped and slandered others. Most discussions were no deeper than what the next day's weather would be. However, at the time, I didn't recognize what a deep God-honoring friendship looked like and so the loss hurt greatly.
God used that experience to show me that He doesn't call us to obedience without coming along side of us. He doesn't leave us alone. I feel like that first year of home schooling was a year of falling in love with Jesus. He came alongside me and helped me in my unbelief and in my inadequacy as a mom and teacher. By the end of the school year, I KNEW that I was called to home school my children and losing friendships was worth the love that developed in my heart for Him. My life was complete with Jesus by my side, not my shallow friendships.
Soon after that school year, God started blessing me with incredible friendships. I have so many deep friendships now that I am blown away. I have friends that will confront me on issues that I need to work on in my life. I have friends that pray for me and with me. I have friends that have stuck with me through thick and thin. My home school, marriage and personal Bible study has been enriched by friends who have come alongside me and taught me. And, if all of that were not enough blessing, He keeps bringing friends into my life. He has even renewed old friendships for me. My prayer partner in our home school cooperative is one of my best friends from high school!
I am so thankful for the blessing of friendships. Though I KNOW that Jesus is enough, I also never want to forget the valley of loneliness. When I remember that hard time, my friendships become even more of a blessing. Thank you LORD!