Friendship: Living with Arms Wide Open



FLAW- Casual

LAW- Committed


No person is more alone than he who is without a friend. -Unknown

The Call to Covenant


I (Stacey) was driving to a neighboring town one day on a cloudy stretch of gray highway, enjoying the music playing and minding my own business—which is rare and why I remember this so vividly—when I heard a phrase bound so loudly through my head and heart that I almost pulled over to see who had hijacked my backseat. There were only five words, but they were strong ones: “Make a covenant with her.”

Do you ever know God said something, have no idea what it means, but know obedience better be a little quicker than your understanding?

At least I had one thing going for me: I knew exactly who “her” was. The covenant part alluded me a little, since it sounded serious and a little bit like I couldn’t leave it when I wanted. For a split second, I wondered if there should be some kind of ceremony involved. Should we sign a contract in front of witnesses and maybe eat cake? Yes, we should definitely eat cake.

While I was debating between lemon or white chocolate mousse, I decided that perhaps she should know first. This moment was going to be special for sure, but maybe she would prefer gelato and I wanted to be sensitive to her needs. I dialed Tabatha’s number and repeated what I had heard: “God said to make a covenant with you. So, I’m making a covenant with you.”

Perhaps the breakdown was in my delivery, but honestly, I expected something a little more grateful or weepingly ecstatic because of what I had just offered her—my undying commitment until my last earthly breath. Instead, she sounded somewhat alarmed as she asked what that meant and if she was supposed to make one back, sort of with the reflection in her voice that said she had just eaten one of her allergic foods that was triggering her gag reflex. I said I wasn’t really sure. She accepted my covenant, thanked me, and we hung up, my car rolling a little lopsided on the wheels of a one-way commitment.

Looking back, it seems a funny and ridiculous moment, but not an unusual one by any stretch. We live in ridiculous moments! Although it might seem absurd to the innocent bystander, it was one of those times that I never wavered over what I knew God had asked me to do. Never in a million years though would I have guessed how those words would hold us over the years.


But first, Tabatha had some things to work out . . .


From Casual to Committed


Wait, Friend, how much time and mental fortitude is this gonna require of me exactly?


Does laying your life down mean your whole life? Instead of taking a bullet for you, can I tackle you to the ground so we can BOTH be saved!? Or, is my uncertain death going to be a requirement in every scenario?


Undying commitment, you say? Like forever? Like the same person, who doesn't always get you—and heck if we're honest, doesn't always like you—won't leave you and won't stop loving you? Ha! Prove it, Var.


People are begging for a place to truly be themselves: accepted, loved, and not left behind. A place to truly belong, to stretch and grow with honest and loving accountability. But these places can seem like a fable, just out of reach. Too many people have told you to be you, and then slowly and painfully peeled away your originality to fit their preference of who you are... or who they think you should be.


A few people have stayed, just long enough to give you a hope that commitment still exists in this selfish, selfish world. But too many people have also let you down, and some have even walked out too soon, unwilling to put in the effort that true connection requires. It is these very breakdowns in our relationships that leave us exchanging connection, in deeper and more meaningful ways, with causal laughter, dinner, and coffee dates, that are just safe enough to soothe our wounded souls but dim our desire for anything more.


But maybe, just maybe, we were made to experience something more: closeness to someone that makes us feel seen, heard, and known. A place where your causes become her causes; where she is dedicated to who you are and will be, and like Jesus, she never leaves. A kind of binding that feels more like freedom. A frailty that feels more like Faith stirring in a once hopeless heart that beats stronger now, because you are not alone anymore.


YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Let this truth whisper against the parts of you that were too afraid to believe in fairy tales and happily-ever-afters. Look into the eyes of the friend God has placed in front of you. Her commitment is calling to you and daring you to test its breadth. And my dear friend, I can tell you right now, it's wide enough for you to step into. The arms of covenantal love that Won't. Let. Go. It will bind the broken parts of you that got hurt along the way with a tenderness that will be a balm to your weary soul.


This Love will teach you of its faithfulness, staying power, and acceptance, showing you the goodness of God and His gift of the deepest connection. And if you accept it, its power will heal, strengthen, and catapult you into deeper places of intimacy and calling that you have longed for but could never achieve... Alone.


Note from Tabatha-


To move from casual connection to committed affection requires trust, obedience and, above all, a giving and receiving of love, as someone else's hopes, dreams, and destiny fill your arms with Life.


For far too long, I have left Stacey "rolling a little lopsided on the wheels of a one-way commitment." In a lot of ways, I did the same thing with the Lord. Too afraid to trust again, to held down by hurts and past disappointments, yet too filled with Faith to let hope fade out completely.


Covenant has come calling once again, and for Heaven's sake and mine, this time, I am running straight into its arms. (But Lord, You sure did make Stacey tiny, so please warn her for me! Tell her it's not a bullet that's coming in for a landing; it's me, her forever friend.)


It's time to get this car rolling, perfectly aligned to drive right into everything the Lord is calling us to. Let's go Var, I'm ready!


JOIN US ON FRIENDSHIP FRIDAYS


Join us on Podcast Episode #38, as we discuss:


What Covenantal Friendship is and What Is It Not

How to Know If You’re Called to One

Why It Might Be Hard to Make One

How Covenant Leads to Calling


SUBSCRIBE to the Podcast Here.


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-Tabatha & Stacey

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