"A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure."
This is so very, very true. I am so blessed that in the small community parish that I belong to, I have several friends. And actually, not just friends, but truly "faith filled" friends. Many years ago, we were relatively new to our church and I was relatively new to marriage and motherhood. I was feeling overwhelmed and lonely. In an attempt to meet some other women from our new church, I joined a women's Bible study. That was where I first started to meet these women. At the time I was pregnant with Isaac and anxious about the upcoming labor and delivery of the newest member to our young family. They reached out to me and although we had really just met, they organized about 2 weeks worth of meals to be brought to our house after we got home from the hospital. It was then that I started to feel like I was a part of something a little bit bigger than myself.
Over the years our little group of friends slowly started to grow and so did our kids. It was then that we had our first official "Tea." We were a small group of about 5 women with a houseful of kids. We decided that we would get together at my house after all of the school-aged kids left for school and we would enjoy a cup of tea. It was so much fun. Not only did we grow in our friendships, but our kids formed bonds as well. Our little parish was starting to feel like a family. Over the years, our group has grown and our friendships have strengthened. We have been there through pregnancies (many, many pregnancies lol!) and nursing babies. We have sent our children to school and cheered on each other's kids as they played sports and performed in concerts. We have been there as our kids have graduated and headed off to college. We have been there for each other through illness such as cancer, and surgeries. We have seen each other through the loss of parents and grandparents, the loss of jobs, heck even the the loss of sanity. We have cried with each other for our children and our marriages. We have been together through divorce and dating. We have shared books and music and laughs, so many laughs. But the most important thing that we share, and I believe it is the reason that our friendships continue to grow, is faith. We share a deep faith. We pray for one another. We lift one another up in prayer in a way that only a true "Friend in Faith" can.
Over the years "tea" has changed somewhat. We use to meet at least once a month, sometimes twice a month. But time has moved on and now instead of a houseful of kids there are only a couple that aren't in school. Due to jobs and just the regular insanity of life we are only able to get together every few months now. But when we do there are many things that are the same. We still can't actually finish a conversation. We tend to go off on a million tangents. We still drink obscene amounts of tea and coffee. We always have way too much food. And when everyone leaves, I always wonder why we have waited so long to get together again.
We have also added a new twist on tea by having the evening version of tea called "Girls' Night. It is basically the same thing, except instead of coffee and tea, we have wine, lots and lots of wine (and beer for Lisa). We always have a ton of food. And we always, always laugh. No matter what is going on, we take the time to get together and just be stupid and silly and we laugh. There are few things as healing as laughing with your FIFs. When you can laugh together, despite all of the chaos that life throws at you, those little cracks on your heart that threaten to spread and just break you down, well, those cracks start to heal.
We had a Girls' Night last night and I wasn't going to go. I have so much to do here to get the house ready to sell, that I was going to stay home. But then I looked around and realized that everything would be here tomorrow. ( It was also pointed out to me several times by my girls!lol) The thing is, well, I won't be here. In a few short months, I will be moving to Ohio. I know that my FIFs will always be my girls. I know that, but I also know that it will be different. I was looking around at my friends and I started to get very choked up. I know that this move is God's Will for my family and I am in. I really am. But I am going to miss my FIFs terribly. I don't know what Steubenville will have for me. I hope that I can meet a few special people to become friends with. But I know that no matter what, nobody will take the place of my FIFs in my heart.