So today I had an very long, interesting and convicting conversation with my best friend since child hood. She and I have been friends probably more than 25 years. We were raised in church together and spent countless time outside of church together. People in fact used to combine our names into one name to refer to us because we were always together. Since becoming adults, we have not spent a lot of time together. We always seemed to live in opposite places. But it definitely has always been the type of friendship that when you do meet up, it was like we never missed a day.
This year, the Lord has really blessed us in that we are once again in the same town (we still do not see one another because now we have children and never have the time). We speak very often though and God has really been using both of us in spurring each other to higher depths in him.
Now the good stuff.. Although we were raised in the same church with like -minded parents, she and I do often discuss our theological differences. We do not debate or argue but rather present our cases and try to see the other persons defense of their beliefs in a biblical context.
I consider myself a “reformed” Baptist. Some of you may not know what that means exactly. Some of you think.. “OH NO.. She is a Calvinist!.” I consider myself a depraved sinner saved by the Grace of a loving God. I do however believe and align myself with the tenants of the TULIP. But all this is not the premise for this blog.
Today,however, my cherished friend made a profound statement to me. If God has shown me these very true and real things about himself and made himself known to me in such a deeper way, why would I want to be only in a reformed church with the same type of people? At first I did not know where she was going with this. But it then became clear.
I was viewing it through the eyes of sitting under biblical preaching but what she saw was the lack of sharing this TRUTH with others. And now I am left to contemplate that… If we fall under an umbrella and stay only in our own dry and safe place how will we ever reach those who are wet? I guess deep down I was resting on the fact that God will open peoples hearts to the truth in his timing but once we have been confronted with it, aren’t we then accountable for it.
I am thankful for the Godly men and women God has placed in my life to push me closer daily to the cross. Men who have spurred me to dig deeper and to search out theology, doctrine, biblical context, expositional preaching and historical Christianity. I am thankful for allowing me, who deserves NOTHING the opportunity to know him at a different level. I am thankful for Godly women who have been an example of being a “Keeper of the Home”, taught me submission, and true biblical parenting. But today, I am thankful most for those cherished friendships that may to the average person seem so trivial but through consistency sometimes challenge us the most.
We grew up in a small Catholic town in a small Baptist church. She, preachers daughter and Me, Deacons Daughter, who for fun stole cookies out of the nursery. We did not have theologians for teachers who even people who knew a whole lot of discipleship but you will never find people who “loved Jesus” more than these folks.
Knowledge may be the new rave.. But relationship will beat it every time. So whether you are a Southern Baptist, a Reformed Baptist, or a “C” word, seek the relationship however it may be found. Study God and seek God… Sometimes the deepest theology can be found in the common places..
Thank you my friend for your honesty and your love. God ordained this friendship from the start and I am ecstatic about the growth in both our of lives and where he is taking us from here! Praise be to him alone.
P.S. This picture is not us.. And I do not have any of our childhood together.. And even if I did I would be too ashamed of the clothes to post it.. It was the 80’s after all.