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Do you remember that song, "Friends are Friends Forever" by Michael W. Smith?  It was popular during my high school years. Our church youth group even presented the musical for our community. Since the date was recently announced for my 20th high school reunion, I've been thinking a lot lately about special friends over the years.  It is easy to forget the impact that friends have on our lives and the blessings they bring us.  And as life gets busier, time with friends seems to become less frequent but I’m being reminded that it must be treasured.

It’s easy to feel isolated and alone in this world. We easily feel the pressures of the world to do it all.  We're often told to exemplify perfection and model having it all to the world.  When I feel those pressures caving in, I cry out to God and often to my closest friends and admit out loud my concerns.  They may sound like this, "I cannot do it all, I can barely even do part of it, I'm too scared or too worried or too overwhelmed." It's in those moments that the treasured friends surface and listen. They remind me of my humanness. They remind me of their own imperfections and lack of super powers. Treasured friends keep us grounded and in reality. Treasured friends do not try to make us feel guilty for who we are, put us down to make themselves look better or try to solve all our problems. Instead, treasured friends forgive us when we forget to text them back, overlook our messy house and celebrate with us our own successes.

One of my main group of friends and support systems is a group of women I feel like I don’t have time to see every week.  But, I’m learning that I actually do have the time.  I am part of a small group who meet regularly for prayer, discussion and Bible study (sometimes weekly and sometimes monthly depending on the season). This group started years ago in a friend’s basement and has changed a lot over the years. Those of us who had toddlers when we began meeting are now well past the stage of learning to walk. Each of us has family, volunteer jobs, part-time jobs or full-time jobs. Some of our group member’s schedules have changed and they no longer join us and some new women have been able to join in. We don't always make it every time. We don’t always have all our “homework” completed and we don’t always show up on time.  Right now we are journeying through the study, Namesake together.  Just this week we reminded each other of some of the life impacting moments we’ve witnessed together and how they are shaping us as women made in God’s image.  I treasure this time with these friends.

I’m thankful for these friends in my small group and those in my life that were part of a specific season. The friends from that musical, the friend who helped me survive college, the friend who took me to the grocery during an extended illness when I couldn't drive, the friend who makes me soup when I have a stomach virus, the friend I married, and these small group friends that know my current joys and concerns. I'm so thankful for each of these friends in my life and many more.  Honestly, I don't know what I would do without them. 

I hope you have some treasured friends come to mind from your own life. Maybe they are friends from a small group or book club, neighbors, co-workers, family members, or college roommates? Maybe you're in a new season in life and you're searching for some treasured friends?  Wherever you find yourself, may you be reminded today of the value of friends.

“A faithful friend is a strong defense; And he that hath found him hath found a treasure.”  ― Louisa May Alcott