I get by with a little help from my friends...a lot, actually!

It's wedding week at our house.  Contrary to popular myth, it's not crazy and stressful and tense.  Instead, it is sweet and exciting and blessedly anticipatory.  If I am crazy, it's "crazy thankful".  God continues to show Himself strong on our behalf, to display His favor and generosity and lovingkindness. 

Especially via our friends.

I have had frequent opportunities to sit back and weep with joy over the goodness He has sent through our friends. Not just for this wedding, but for the past two years.

This verse stands out to me - A friend loves at all times. (Proverbs 17:17)  Oh, how I have seen that be so true for me and my family!  We have had joys of new babies and weddings and awards.  We have had sorrows of disappointments and dying and rejection.  And we have walked through difficulties that are too painful to make public. 
Through the journey, friends have been there.  Notes.  Calls.  Texts.  Assuring us of love and prayers.
Flowers.  Food.  Tears to mingle with my own.  Rejoicing when we have had joy.  Remembering our needs and moving to meet them.
Friends have thrown parties, made bows and tent cards, transported kids, housed guests, arranged flowers, and been kind enough to have my needs on their radar. To think that my friends, in the midst of their very full lives, would even be thinking about the fact that it is "wedding week for the Chambers crew" is mind-blowing to me!  Maybe it seems "little" to you but when you ask me how my Mom is doing or how you can help for this weekend, or let me know that you are praying, well,  it's anything but insignificant to me. I feel most unworthy and that I must have exceeded my allowance of blessings, surely.

My heart is full.  I want to flood my friends with blessings in return.  I want to shower them with thankfulness and kindness.  But I know I cannot repay the love I am given so consistently.  Because it is given so freely, with no thought of recompense. 
So I turn my heart towards Heaven, praising the Giver of all good gifts.  Thanking Him for His generous supply to me through His people.  Asking HIM to bless my friends, as only He can do.

In the midst of my joy, He reminds me that, though my life is characterized by the presence and profusion of friends, He orchestrates times for every life - mine included - where the journey is single file.  There are places He takes us where no friends can go...except Jesus.  Caverns so dark that no light can penetrate...except for the Light of the World.  Waters so deep that we are overcome to the point of drowning...until we find the Everlasting Arms underneath us.

Situations where we know the psalmist is reading our mail when he penned this verse:
 Reproach has broken my heart, and I am so sick.  And I looked for sympathy but there was none.  And for comforters but I found none.   Psalm 69:20

In those times, we find Psalm 18:24 to be abundantly true - There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. 

Friends are among the absolute greatest of God's blessings to us...but He does not intend for them to be to us what only Jesus can be.  (And when we expect (demand??) that of them, we are in for the greatest of disappointments, the deepest of hurts, and the most painful of sorrows)

Only Jesus alone is THE FRIEND.  The friend of sinners.  The friend who lays down His life.  The friend who always hears and always understands and always knows what is best for His own.

May Thy salvation, O God, set me securely on high.  I will praise the name of God with song and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.   (Psalm 69:29,30)

What a friend we have in Jesus.  Amen. And how I praise Him for providing so sweetly to me through His hands and feet...my friends!  Thank you, Jesus, and thank you, friends!