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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gross

Friends are There When You Need Them

So, here’s something I’m grateful for today: friends. I know that seems pretty basic for a gratitude as gratitudes should be as specific as possible, but when you get to be my age, you can have friends for decades, and that’s a really long time to stick by someone, which is anything but basic!! I mean, it’s hard to imagine people putting up with all of my quirks and goofiness for that long!

The stated purpose of my church is this: “Helping people discover Christ through the seasons of life.” I go to Harvest Community Church of the Nazarene in Mitchell, SD, and we talk a lot about the seasons of life. We have a gorgeous tree as our logo, and we have visuals in our church that show the tree going through the four seasons. I am thinking about how we have friends during certain seasons in our lives.

When my husband and I were first married, and we just bought our first home in a small town here in South Dakota, we had friends with young children because that was the season we were all in. Both of our boys were born in Winner, SD, and we went to an amazing church with a lot of young families–our nursery was hopping! It was the perfect place for us–God definitely put us in Winner during those years for many reasons, but part of that was to bond with and learn from the friends we made there. I remember going to a weekly Bible study one evening when my first-born, Garrison, was probably just a few weeks or a month old, and I couldn’t get him to quiet down, so one of the other moms took him, walked with him, and got him to sleep, and she let me just sit and relax. It was such a blessing!

As our kids grew older, and we moved to a larger town in South Dakota, our friends group changed as did the season of life we were in. We became close with people who had children around the ages of our boys. We have one special family we still keep in contact with, and one of my favorite memories with this family is the blue plate memory. When they moved in, we took them cookies on a blue plastic plate, and it was returned with some ooey gooey scotcheroos (some of us call them Special K bars)! So that blue plate traveling back and forth between our houses with desserts on it became our own personal tradition over the few years we lived as neighbors.

Now, in my season of life as an almost quinquagenarian, I have a lot of amazing friends, and a lot of them I met through church or work. Okay, so why that long word that just means someone in their 50s? Well, because it sounds better than saying, “I’m almost 50 years old.” I have to fancy that up somehow! I have a fantastic friend group that has 14 of us women in it, and the women range in age from early 40s to over 70. When we get together, there’s a lot of laughing!

But the friend that inspired this blog post is a friend from college–she and I have been friends for over 30 years. We met our freshman year at the University of Sioux Falls when we were only 18 years old! So, a while ago, as I was trying to learn about social media and the lovely algorithms that determine how our posts will be seen, I sent a message to this friend as she has experience and great knowledge in this arena. So we talked, she explained, it was a great conversation, and then I realized that the last two times I reached out to her it was because I had technical questions. So I wrote another message and said, “You are a good friend. I need to reach out more often and not just when I have questions like these. How are you?”

And you know what she said? It makes me cry right now as I’m typing because she has so much grace and love . . . She said, “Here’s the thing about life long friendship–we’re there when you need us . . . No matter how much time has passed.” She gets it. The season of life of our friendship has extended over three decades! I love this woman! I just need to be more intentional in showing her that!

I did ask her if I could quote her for this blog, and she gave me permission on one condition, that we go out to lunch. You know what, I can do that! M, you embody this verse: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). I am truly thankful for all of my friends, those from seasons past, those in my present season, and those who have stuck with me through all my seasons! Hey, friend, if I haven't told you lately, "I LOVE YOU!"

Thanks for reading, friends!



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