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God Knew

By Kristi Herring
In Formed
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I’ve been reflecting on thankfulness. I try to thank God every day for my husband, my children, our home, our church, our jobs…etc. A lot of what I am thankful for are things I prayed for, longed for, asked God for and he answered. But recently I thought of blessings he has given me that I never even thought to ask for, things I didn’t even know I needed…but He did.

Let me tell you about my friend Jennifer.

Jennifer is a strong woman. She is joy-filled and loves Jesus and people with her whole heart. She makes me stronger. She gives me joy. She KNOWS me and loves me. God knew I needed a friend like Jen…

Jen and I “just happened” (I use quotes because you and I both know we didn't just happen to meet - God orchestrates those blessings.) to meet at a church camp we were each attending with our separate youth groups the summer before our freshman year of college. A friend of mine introduced us after figuring out that Jennifer was also going to Ouachita Baptist University (pronounced “Wash’i’taw” for those of you who have never heard of this tiny little college in rural Arkansas).

We exchanged addresses and numbers and corresponded over the summer (real letters mailed with a stamp – this was 1990). So, when I arrived to move into my freshman dorm the next Fall, I knew exactly one person. Little did I know that one person would become a lifelong friend. But God knew.

Our friendship was immediate and easy. Well, it wasn’t always easy – like all friends, we’ve had our fights and on some things, we must agree to disagree on (like when chocolate chip cookies are “done” - one of us is team soft, one is team crispy). But by the end of four years, Jen was truly more like a sister than a friend. We never lived in the same town again after college. But the miles between us mean nothing (except that we can’t share clothes anymore).

God’s plan for each of our lives has looked different. I married young, spent most my years as a stay at home mom, working part time and now have two kids in college, just four years from being an empty nester. Jennifer has been teaching elementary school for 26 years (God Bless her!), became a single mom at the age of 42 by way of foster care to adoption, and is now married with 3 elementary kids (she’s got a few more years than me to empty nesting – but she is very close to retirement). But on our different paths, God’s plan included being there for each other through it all.

We have celebrated joys and mourned losses together. Laughter and tears. Fun times. Hard times. We have each driven the distance to be there for weddings, funerals, new babies, birthdays…or just for some girl time. We can pick up the phone anytime and talk for hours like we are back in college.

God knew that I needed this friend. A gift I never asked for, didn’t even know I wanted or needed. A friend I now cannot imagine my life without. I’m so thankful for my friend Jennifer. I’ll sum this up with a sappy 1990s Michael W. Smith song, since that is when our friendship began – ‘friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them’. If you were alive in the 1990s, you are now singing this in your head. You’re welcome!

Think of a person in your life that God put there just because he loves you. Maybe it’s a lifelong friend like Jen, maybe a bonus child you didn’t plan for, or a co-worker who makes you smile every day…someone you didn’t even know you needed. Thank God for them today. He knows what you need.

FORMED

God is calling us, the people of Irving Bible Church, to become a multi-ethnic movement of missionary disciples, formed in the way of Jesus for the sake of the world.

We want to be a transformed people who experience vibrant spiritual growth together. We want the Spirit of God to shape us more and more into the likeness of Jesus as we follow him.

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