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Forever Friendships

"If a friendship lasts longer than 7 years, psychologists say it will last a lifetime."- Author Unknown.

This statement leads me to believe that many friendships never make it past the 7 year mark. How sad to think that a friendship would just end. Friendships just like any relationship take time, patience, energy, forgiveness, grace, resources, imagination, and many many prayers.

I am incredibly blessed to have 3 best friends or forever friends as we like to say. These incredible women have been by my side for life's highs and lows. We have shared our best moments and our worst moments. Our friendships have been tested and have endured. All 3 women have been my friend for at least 18 years or longer. Our friendships have evolved over the years as we have added husbands, children, distance and social media. I can say that it hasn't always been easy but I believe we all have a bond that is unbreakable. That is why we say forever friends.

Cindy (aka Cinny Girl) and I met in I believe the spring of 1984. Cin's dad was the priest at the Episcopal church my family attended. My mom actually pushed the friendship at the beginning. I don't know if I ever thanked her for pushing. So thank you mom for insisting that I call Cindy. We really didn't become close until December of 1984. I'm sure as you read this you are wondering how I can be so sure of the dates. You see, it is because of Cinny that I accepted Jesus into my heart as a teenager. It was after that day that we really became friends. We shared countless sleep overs, sharing clothes, music, secrets and double dates. We actually married our teenage sweethearts and they both joined the military. So we learned quickly that it was going to take alot of effort to sustain our friendship. At one point when both of our guys were deployed we shared an apartment together in our hometown of Warren, MI. We have written letters, mailed packages, flown across the country several times and spent way too much money on phone bills before free cellular calls and the internet. Cinny and I have been friends now for over 30 years and we still giggle like teenagers when we get together. She lives in Baton Rouge, LA now and thanks to text messages, Facebook, facetime and Instagram the distance is bearable. She still needs to upgrade her phone so we can Snapchat. I hope as she reads this, she takes my not so subtle hint.

I met Trina at a washateria in Leesville, LA. By the way,washateria is southern for laundry mat. Our husbands were both stationed at Ft. Polk. I had just given birth to our first child a couple weeks prior. I really didn't have any friends yet. I was homesick and really struggling to adjust to life as an Army wife and new mom. I had actually just prayed for God to send me a a friend. Someone who I could confide in, laugh with and who was solid in her walk as a Christian. God is always faithful and He did just that. Trina and I became friends almost instantly. Trina, taught me how to bake, how to sew (well she tried), the in's and out's as an Army wife, and how to pump gas. Yes, you read that correctly. It took almost a year and half before anyone knew I didn't know how to pump gas. After the second time I asked her to pump my gas "because I didn't like the smell", she called my bluff. She tried to teach me how to drive a car with a manual transmission. She tried, and I failed. When we left Ft. Polk, I thought I would never see her again. I was well aware of the reality that Army friends come and go. But I just couldn't imagine not having her in my life anymore. So we promised to keep in touch and that we would see each other again soon. A promise we have kept. When my husband went to Korea for a year, I spent the last 67 days living with Trina. Trust me it wasn't easy for her to take me, my son Matthew 2 yrs. old and my daughter Samantha 7 Months old into her home. She also had a baby so her house was full! This was the moment we learned that our friendship could survive anything or so we thought. Fast forward several years and Trina was now a single mom of 3 kids in Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina roared in and wreaked havoc on so many lives. As a result we took Trina and her kids in with us for a few months. We now had 2 grown women, my husband and 9 kids living in a small house with 1 bathroom. Trina was working as an RN and was very homesick. It was extremely difficult for her to adjust as she was living in my basement with her children, working full time and trying to figure how and where she would live on her own eventually. I was beyond busy working, going to school and trying to keep up with all the kids so I was oblivious to Trina's feelings. Looking back neither of us handled the situation very well. The end result was Trina left right after Christmas to go back to her parents home in Mississippi. It appeared that our friendship had not survived this time. I was heartbroken. It felt almost as if there was a divorce or death in my immediate family. When all was said and done, the bottom line was that I missed my friend. It took many years and a lot of praying for forgiveness to happen and our relationship to be healed and restored. I can't explain how sweet it is to experience forgiveness on this level.

In November 1996 my husband left the Army and we moved home to Michigan. We now had 3 children and a dog. We were excited to be home. But it didn't take long to learn the truth to the saying that you can always go back home, but it will never be the same. Everyone we knew before we left had gone on with their lives. We still called each other friends, but I never felt like I fit in their new lives. I was back to really needing a friend. I missed Cindy and Trina and still couldn't really afford long distance phone calls. We bought our home about 6 months later and that's when I met Sandy. One evening we were taking a walk with the kids and we met a couple on their bikes down the street. They had twin girls a year younger than our youngest Shannon. We really do live in a small world! Sandy's husband Brian went to high school with me. Sandy and I clicked right away. It only took a short time before we fell into a routine of play dates with the girls and daily phone calls. Nineteen years later we have shared baseball games, countless dance classes and recitals, pool days, birthdays, proms and graduations and so much more. We have raised our children together. The bond that comes from the highs and lows of raising children is extremely strong.

All 3 of these amazing women know each other and care about each other. They are all so precious to me. They are all my best friend, my forever friends. We all have very full busy lives and rarely get to spend time together in person. Social Media has really shortened the distance between us. Facebook has allowed us all to peek into each others every day lives. Facetime allows us to have conversations and see into each others homes in real time. Snap chat is my new favorite way to send quick messages back and forth. Even though we are so far apart from each other, we are really closer than ever because of Social Media.

My prayer is for God to continue to bless our friendships. May we always be a source of light in each others lives. I pray that everyone has at least one friend in their life as special as these beautiful women.

"There are friends who will destroy you, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother" Proverbs 18:24, NL

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