I'm feeling a little nostalgic today.
This weekend I'm looking forward to spending some time with an old high school friend who is coming to NC to move her daughter out of her dorm room back home to FL. We'll call her Ms. P.
While I'm running through what we can do while Ms. P is here, I can't help thinking about all the great memories of my middle school and high school years.
This is where it's going to get a little personal. No DIY projects, no painting furniture. This is a story of how I became the person I am today.
My childhood was tougher than some, not as tough as others. I lost my dad when I was in middle school, I grew up in an alcoholic family. My mother did her best but was dealing with her own loss and we got lost in her grief. Each of my siblings and I turned to what we thought would help us handle our own grief. I turned to my new church family.
God placed wonderful people in my life at this time to help me. I met Ms. P when I was 14 years old (almost 40 years ago!!). My best friend at the time attended a church down the street from my house and she invited me to a youth group outing that consisted of spending the day rollerskating at a nearby roller rink. I was so nervous about meeting new people and being the "new girl". There was no need, everyone was so kind and welcoming.
I began attending the church and became part of a wonderful group of people who I considered my family. Not only did I get to see what other families were like but I also learned about God's love and what He did for me so I could be a part of His family.
As a teenager living in a one parent home (my father had passed away the winter before my 14th birthday), and believing that growing up in an alcoholic home was "normal", it was quite an eye-opener to see other families that were so different. My friends' parents adopted me. I had lots of "Moms & Dads."
I was a young girl, starving for love and affirmation.
God placed me in a new family that taught me true love. I will always be so grateful to each and every one of them.
My new church family taught me about Jesus, peer pressure, dating, friendships, responsibility, music, gratitude.
Mark 12:31, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
I saw first hand the verse "Love your neighbor as yourself." My church family demonstrated love towards me every day. They didn't have to. They did it because God commands us to. They taught me by example, fed me, bought things for me, kept me safe, and always made me feel welcome. I sang in a high school music group called "The Young Believers". When we first started out, we had to buy matching outfits. I didn't have the money so a wonderful couple in the church bought my dress for me. I was so touched that complete strangers would do that for someone they didn't even know. It still brings a warm hug to my heart. Here is a picture of Ms. P and me at one of our performances.
Proverbs 13:20 "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."
Being accountable to someone kept me in line so many times. God always put just the right people in my path to save me from myself and my bad choices. Sadly, I still made some bad ones but it could have been worse!!
2 Timothy 2:22 "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."
I didn't date a lot but the guys I dated were such good guys. Again, God put these people in my life to teach me the kind of man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. The good times and bad times helped me to grow to depend on God for my fulfillment and not some fairy tale dream. The Rascal Flatts song "Broken Road" just popped into my head.
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.
I'm so grateful that my Northern stars were such amazing Godly men!!
Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loveth at all times."
I have a friend who is coming to visit that I've known for 40 years!!! I've reconnected with so many of my old friends on social media. And they really were my family when I needed one. Again, I'm so grateful!!
Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."
Being a part of my new family, I learned to think of others more than myself (still learning this one!). I worked in the nursery taking care of the little ones, helped teach Sunday school, camp counselor and so much more. A kind family in the church gave me a job when I was in high school. Again, they didn't have to but they saw a need and they jumped at the chance to take care of someone in need.
Ephesians 5:19 "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord."
I have always loved music from a very young age. I would sit by the stereo that was in our dining room (YES! The dining room!) and sing as loud as I could. My poor family!! My mother said I was going to be the next Doris Day!! But singing with The Young Believers and being exposed to talented musicians, I learned so much more about how to use the gift for the Lord. A very talented piano and organ player at my church offered to give me piano lessons before school FOR NOTHING! He didn't have to do that. He did it out of the kindness of his heart. I wish I would have stuck with it. I am living vicariously through my kids. They are all wonderful piano players in part due to the fact that these talented musicians from my past taught me to love music.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
I've always been so grateful for the church family that God blessed me with so many years ago. As I'm now a mother, I get to understand more what role they played in my growing up. I want to be that same blessing to my children and their friends. I've told my kids that our home is always open for anyone who needs a meal, a bed, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen. I was blessed with those things and I want to give back.
I told you this post was going to be personal.
My beautiful blonde bombshell friend of 40 years!!
And you know I love a little before and after!!
Thank you Ms. P for the great pictures.
I've so enjoyed catching up with my sweet friend this weekend. We've reminisced, laughed, gossiped, and relished a 40 year friendship.