What does your future look like? Look at the people around you.

In 2002 our family moved from Colorado Springs, CO to Columbus, GA.  While the kids and I were getting settled in to our new home, the man of the house spent a couple of months at an Army school in Virginia.  He came home from that school with a new BFF (best-friend for those of you who didn’t pass notes in school).  This guy had been in the school with him and just happened to be settling in Columbus when the school was over.  At the end of this guy’s first visit with our family my jaw hurt from smiling so much.  My husband chose well.  I patted him on the back and told him how proud I was of his taste in friends. Guess what?  Eleven years later that friend is still an encourager, sounding board, and voice of reason to my dear hubby.

When my daughter was in kindergarten we had a common play area behind our house.  There were two little girls the same age as her who lived on the street behind us.  My daughter wanted so badly to be friends with those two girls.  On more occasions than I care to count she would come home from playing in the common area with tears streaming down her face.  At the ripe old age of five those two little girls were MEAN.  They would say stuff like, “Your dress is ugly so we aren’t going to play with you today.”  or “We’ve been friends for two years and you just moved here so you can’t play with us.” or “You’re ugly because you don’t have long blonde hair like ours.”

I’m not going to lie, the Mama-bear in me marched out there more than once and threatened to beat the daylights out of them and gave those girls a talking-to.  But, on most occasions I sat my daughter down and talked to her about the importance of choosing your friends wisely.  I explained to her that those girls may be great friends to her some day, but until we could see that they wanted to play nicely she needed to avoid playing with them.  I told her about the difference between loving all people and having relationships with all people.  I taught her all about the word ‘toxic’ and told her that we have to love toxic people but that we could love them without building relationships with them.

The little girl whose tears I wiped is now an amazing 18-year-old young woman.  I can’t say that she has never been hurt by her friends, but I can proudly say that when it comes to the people she has built friendships with, she has ALWAYS chosen well.  My daughter has friends who bring out the best of her character and help her develop her talents.  She is going to change the world for the better and many of the friends she has chosen along her path are going to be by her side as she does it.

This morning I sat in a room with a dozen women who are all doing the Kelly Minter Bible study on Nehemiah.  We are in week three of the study and the content is A-MA-ZING.  If you’re looking for a study on doing great things for God, I can highly recommend this one.  I’ve heard sermons on Nehemiah and read Nehemiah and read books on Nehemiah.  Every single time I explore that book of the Bible I find a new take-away.  This time around, I’m learning SOOOO much.  One of my favorite take-aways this week was the realization that Shallum (the ruler of Jerusalem at the time) and his DAUGHTERS built a section of the wall around the city.  Hooray for women fortifying and protecting cities and changing the world!

Back to the women in the room with me this morning…  As I looked around and listened and paid attention, I got a bit choked up.  The women in that room were A-MA-ZING.  Actually they ARE amazing.  The past tense of their amazingness is not appropriate.  They are very much awesome in the present tense.  I drove home from the study with one of those smiles just like I had the day I met my husband’s friend.  I am not just studying Nehemiah with these women.  A few of the women in that room are actually living out the book of Nehemiah with me.  Just like we are told the builders of the wall had to do, we are digging out the rubble in our lives and stepping out of our comfort zones.  We are DAUGHTERS working together to build our own little section of fortification around our city.

When I got home I sat down for a few minutes to catch up on Google Reader.  This is kind of a joke.  I will likely never catch up.  There are just too many amazing writers out there contributing their talent to cyberspace.  I scrolled through the 155 unread posts of blogs that I follow in search of a couple that might inspire me before I went to my lunch meeting.  I opened one that looked promising and found my way to this… http://www.bible-knowledge.com/bible-friends/  I just love how we can end up at the exact place we need to be when God is speaking to us about something.

If you click on the link above and read the post, I ask that you click the link on the bottom and read part 2 (it’s packed with scripture).  The Bible has SOOO much to say about the importance of who we build relationships with.

I’ve shared before that my husband and I pray constantly for God to sever relationships that are destructive or even distracting from what we are supposed to be doing.  We also pray for God to build divine relationships that are going to push us towards His plan for our lives.  I realized yesterday when I was reading Nehemiah 2 & 3 that we are actually just asking God to help us build our section of the wall… Dig out the rubble, add the bricks and mortar.  Amen.

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