Chapter Three - Seeing God In Our Friendships

Sometimes what we don’t say speaks louder than what we do, and her mother had mastered the art of reading between the lines. Listening felt like love to Joy. Oftentimes perception is more important than reality. It has nothing to do with intelligence. Sometimes our loudest communication is simply the motives of our heart. What happened was not as important as how Joy felt.

“If you tell me about it,” her mother would say to her, “no matter what it is, I will not punish you for telling the truth.” Little Joy would confess. She loved talking with her mom, knowing that she was always heard. Listening is a gift that passed from Joy’s mother to Joy to me. There’s nothing like having children that brings out the real you. This came into sharp focus when my two daughters would talk with me.

Before I knew what Joy’s mother had told her, I always told my children they would not get in trouble for telling the truth, so they’ve been good about being honest even when they didn’t want to. However, there were times when I could sense the walls of my own agenda going up in my mind, which their communication couldn’t climb.

My walls were put there by fear, and taken down by Joy’s love and my own 12-step recovery work. Our friendship was such a safe harbor, protected from the tempests of incivility and misunderstanding. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (1 Jo 4:18, 20).

Growing pain and healing pain may hurt, but that pain can be your doorway to healing. It was for me. You just have to be willing. …uphold me by your generous spirit (Ps 51:12).

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