Good morning! Today’s entry comes from my beautiful and dear friend, Cathryn. I asked if she could write a guest post for me, and she has so graciously provided me with this. She also blogs at Beloved. Get your coffee ready and join me in reading her post :).
Hello Friends and Followers! I wanted to share why I cherish my friendship with Mandy. As she mentioned in an earlier post, Tea for Two, we have been friends for ages. Meeting when we were young teenagers, though we lived far away from each other we still kept in touch via email and MSN (I feel so old!). We would also get together a few times a year usually for a sleepover or an entire weekend. Our get-togethers were so precious, and I definitely cherish those memories of catching up and talking about everything that was going on in our lives: family stuff, work drama, school stresses, what was going on in our walk with Jesus and how we were growing closer to Him or how we were struggling. We often compared lists of books written by Christian authors and even spent some time reading snippets together. Mandy has always been a strong Christian presence in my life, which I am so thankful for. She has always encouraged me to pray and I think she actually has played a vital role in where my prayer life is today- one of the times we were at my house, we were talking about our future. Dreaming, and wondering if we knew the men we would marry already or if not, when we would meet them- and talking about what our hopes were for our future husbands. It was during this conversation that Mandy mentioned that (my memory is a tad foggy here) she had either read or heard something about praying for your future husband even before you knew who they were and how that just really resonated with her. I think that was the first time I had heard about doing that, and really loved that idea. I remember after that conversation, we prayed together (another great thing I love about our friendship- we never go without at least one prayer time in our visits) for our future husbands, and our dating relationships with those people God had planned for us. Praying that we would be patient, that God would mold them and us in His image and that our focus would be on Him.
As we have gotten older and time has passed, we have continued to stay in touch and make time to get together. We were both in attendance at each other’s weddings (we both married men named Matt which makes things fun and confusing during conversation, having to clarify by “my Matt” or “which Matt”). Matt and Mandy have been married longer then my Matt and I. We were married June 2013, and during our first year of marriage I remember emailing Mandy often, to ask for advice or just make sure that what I was going through was normal or even just seeking marital reading material suggestions. Not long after I was first married (January 2014) my husband got a job where he had to be sent away for intense training for a few months, so I was only able to see him on weekends. At the same time, Mandy’s husband was hired with the Canadian Forces and they had to be separated for a long period of time too so that her Matt could undergo intense training. So we were experiencing a lot of the same emotions and struggles together which really helped since no one else in our lives (or at least my own life) could relate in any way to what I was going through. I at least got to see my husband on weekends, Mandy didn’t even get to see her Love for several months. It was for sure a very difficult time on both of us, though our friendship grew to a whole new level. We saw each other more regularly then we had in previous years, just because we needed that contact with someone who “got it”. We texted each other regularly to check in and make sure we were doing okay and not too lonely. We prayed for each other when we were together and also when we were not together. God for sure had His hand on us while we were enduring the distance with our spouses, because we were always able to comfort each other when the other was having a hard time…I honestly don’t know how I could have gone through those months without her.
One thing that Mandy mentioned in her post, Tea for Two ,was how we are able to ask each other the tough questions. I feel like our friendship has always been a safe place to ask each other how we are doing with our walk with Jesus and genuinely want to know- as well as a safe and loving place to both firmly and gently keep each other accountable and encourage each other. It has always been a natural thing we discuss and challenge in a positive way- however, as we have gotten older and experienced life’s highs and lows, the questions we ask are different but with the same intentions. Our history together and deepness of our friendship and our common faith in Jesus as our saviour allows us to cut right to the heart of it. How are you? What are you studying in your quiet time? How are you and hubby doing? Are you going to church regularly? Are you making an effort to continue growing in faith? How is your prayer life? How can I be praying for you? How can I be praying for you and your marriage? – these questions are incredibly personal but so important to have a friend who loves me so much and to care about me enough to make sure that I’m still walking with Jesus and continuing to grow in my relationship with Him. Not all of the questions we ask each other are specific to our faith, but it is all encompassing.
I realize by the above rambles that it may seem as though we only have serious conversations, and let me tell you- that could not be farther from the truth. Mandy is quick to crack a joke and can be a tad sassy in a great light hearted way. I love this Lady so much, she is so kind, sweet, fun and for sure someone I truly admire and look up to. I can’t forget to add our shared love and passion for a good cup of tea. It does wonders for the soul. It is comforting in difficult moments, it sooths you during tough conversations and it is just simply put, the best drink ever. Ever.
As time has passed we have gone through different phases of life together. As life continues we find ourselves in yet another phase, the waiting and praying phase. Mandy and her husband are waiting to find where they will be posted, it is a time of mixed emotions: apprehension, anxiety, excitement and faith. I know that Matt and Mandy are spending time together praying for this next transition that they have been working towards, my Matt and I have also been praying for them as this will be a huge change for them. We pray that they will trust in the Lord to care for them, that they will have faith in His plan and that as they prepare for this new adventure that they will find community in their new home. I pray that wherever they are sent, that they would be at peace with the posting. I am excited to see how God uses them and challenges them together and am looking forward to future emails, texts, Facebook messages and hopefully Skype conversations with Mandy as we walk alongside each encouraging one another.