For my birthday this year I was given two bracelets. They were handmade by two very special friends. I was wearing both of them the other day and as I was admiring them the following verse came to mind:
“I will restore to you the years the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25)
During my high school career I had almost no friends. Due to family circumstances I was in a different high school in a different town every year. I started off in Windhoek (grade 8), Cape Town (grade 9), Durban (grade 10), Windhoek (grade 11) and ended up back in Durban (grade 12).
I was extremely shy and found it difficult to talk to fellow students because I had so little in common with them and my life was just so different from theirs. I spent a lot of time during school breaks sitting on top of the toilet lid, behind a locked door, reading a book!
My life after school was also fragmented and it was only in my mid-twenties, when I turned back to God, that I started to make friends.
It was very difficult because I was an introvert, had no sense of self-worth and had a huge inferiority complex. Henri Nouwen once said:
“Over the years, I have come to realise that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection”
As I looked at these bracelets, specially made for me, I marveled at the people God has placed in my life. The friendships that I have made that are based on reality, love, forgiveness, laughter and tears. God has been so faithful to me in “restoring” my life and giving me friends.
This bracelet reflects my love of God and my walk with Him. “ And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ, developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” (Philippians 1:6). It reinforces the knowledge that if I continue to trust God my life will start to reflect the fruit of the spirit – the ‘fruits’ are taking an awfully long time to manifest themselves but I will get there one day!!
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16)
This bracelet reflects my love for my children and my family. The fact that it is my girls nicknames that are engraved on the discs is extra special. The thought and care that went into the making of these two bracelets made my heart want to cry. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up”. These two friends have often ‘helped me up’ when I have felt discouraged and defeated.
God has also given me the most incredible prayer partner as a friend (It took six years for God to answer my prayer for a prayer partner but, believe me, Bertha was worth the wait!) and has filled my life with other friends. My cry for a friend in my youth has been met with abundance, and the loneliness that I endured when I was younger, is a distant memory.
And then there are three people who are always going to be my best friends because they know too much about me!
God also gave me a soul mate, my husband, who is my closest friend.
“Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)
God is the God of restoration – he is also the God who answers our prayers.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11: 6)