As I have posted, I really am blessed with some great and precious friends, who really do span the corners of the world. One of the things I have most enjoyed over the years is seeing my friends become friends with one another.
Some of my favorite memories are times I have gotten to share space with dear friends and just mostly sat back and watched them realize they have much more in common than just each being friends with me! Whether that’s been because I have travelled with one and visited others, or because I have taken advantage of someone being in town (or in the country!) and been intentional about having another friend or two over for drinks or dessert, or because they have met in a hospital room visiting me, they are times I’ll always treasure.
Two dear friends, both of whom I have known for twenty plus years each, heard of one another because, inevitably, I would mention a story involving the other at some point in time. Both now live overseas, and they became more linked than simply hearing stories about the other when I would go from visiting one to the other since I was “in the area” – something that I suppose is really relative, as I’m sure to most people “in the area” is hardly what they’d call their respective homes. As one of my good friends likes to always jokingly tell me when she hears I’m planning a trip, “Come see us in Czech, it’s on the way to everywhere!”
A few years ago, those two long-time friends of mine had the chance to meet up in person for the first time. And they became friends.
Every so often, one travels near where the other lives, and so they’ll meet up again in person. I love it, even if sometimes it’s hard not to secretly wish I were there with them – especially times like right now when a long conversation over tea with longtime friends seems so out of the realm of feasibility.
The other day, in the midst of a really hard week, I got an unexpected email from one of those two particular friends, with a note from the two of them.
Both happened to be in Turkey around the same time. So they tracked one another down to see one another and to pray together for me, knowing my health has been so poor of late. Since neither could be here with me, being together and praying for me seemed like the next best solution. Now that is an example of friends going the extra mile for you!
It was such an unexpected gift of an email. I knew one friend and her family were on a holiday in Turkey, but I hadn’t talked to the other in a few weeks and had no idea she was going to be travelling as well. And I certainly didn’t anticipate friends that would go to the effort to connect and be intentional about encouraging and praying for me.
As we stood on this beach, on the Sea of Marmara, which is quite huge and eventually feeds into the Mediterranean on the other side (check out a map), I could see the coast on the other side, but dimly and fuzzy because it’s so far, and God reminded me that ‘the other side’ of all that has been confusing and unknown with your health might seem fuzzy and dim because it feels or seems so far away from where you are now, but in reality, the other side is solid ground, just like this side, and God is going to be with you every step of the way!
I’m attaching a few pictures so you can see where we were praying, as well as our hands holding the shells that we will be sending snail-mail to you…May the shells remind you that though you feel fragile right now, our God is the God who sees YOU (Gen. 16:13) and you have sisters praying for you on the other side of the world.
And what a precious little something, with such symbolism – the love and prayers of dear friends who are with me in spirit, even if they’re not able to be here in person – to look forward to in the mail, too.
Friendships like these, and the prayers of faithful friends, are gifts of grace I’m incredibly thankful for!