If you, my Reader, happen to be a woman, then you probably have a love affair with chocolate. There are some of you out there who would rather eat other types of food. Why I don’t know, but you do. I won’t hold it against you. But for this post at least *try* to love chocolate.
So many times, those of us who are gluttons for chocolate feel guilty because we eat too much of it. But let’s look at chocolate in a different way. What is the relationship between friends and chocolate?
This past weekend I went on a Women’s Retreat with my church. I cannot begin to tell you about all of the fun we had, mainly because what happens at the retreat house, STAYS at the retreat house. We were participating in Group’s Cafe Chocolat Women’s Retreat. The focus was on God’s Grace and there was chocolate E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E!
Twenty-one women gathered in a spaciously beautiful house on a lake. We were to be away from our families for 2 nights so we’d have plenty of time for Bible study, fellowship and….well, chocolate.
We arrived to a spectacular view and we quickly ate and settled down for the first session. There were 6 sessions in all, each with a different Leader. The Leader’s book had the specific words that were to be read, so no one had to come up with their own information. Everything was prepared in the curriculum. Each session began with a worship time as we sang along with a CD. Then the Leader took us through the session.
We started out doing some fellowship ice breakers which allowed us to get to know each other a bit better. I “knew” everyone who was coming on the trip, but there were a few whom I hadn’t ever really had a conversation with. We split into groups and had a fun time answering simple, but profound, questions about ourselves.
The second session took on the topic of friendship and what solid friendships look like. Being an introvert, I have a hard time making friends and keeping them. I have many hang-ups and insecurities which make me push people away at times. This session made me ask the question, what type of friend do I want to be? I know I want to be a friend whom people can rely on at anytime and in any season, but I’m not sure if I actually am this type of friend.
Think of the event when the 4 friends dropped their paralyzed friend through the roof to Jesus so he could be healed. Would you be the friend willing to do whatever it took to get a friend help? I’d like to think I would. But if I begin to think about my track record, perhaps I need to be less distracted so I have more time to help others.
What about the friend who was lowered down? Are you willing to receive help? Are you even willing to ASK for help? I find at times that I cannot help those friends I have because they do not tell me that they need help. If I don’t know, then how can I help carry the burden? But then I look at myself and conclude that I have no right to whine and complain about the lack of help from others when I do not communicate my needs to them.
No person can read your mind. No person can read my mind.
And so we need to put the pride down. We need to lay down the pride which tells us not to ask for help; and we need to lay down the pride which tells us that there is nothing we can do to help our friends. If you think about it, humility is what makes a good friendship last forever. And only when we accept God’s grace can we truly know what it is to be humble.
So friends are like chocolate. Different seasons of life bring about different flavors of friends. These 21 women from this past weekend have been used by God over the past 5 years in different ways to bless my life. God brings us exactly who we need when we need them. And some of those friends stay, and some of those friends go as the years fly by.
I enjoy eating different types of chocolate in different situations or holiday events, but I always go back to my favorite kind of chocolate because it makes me smile no matter what is going on. And I’ll always go back to those few friends whom I know are there for me no matter what is going on. These are the friendships that last even if there is no communication for days, weeks or months. These are the friends who somehow know just the right time to pray for you, or send a text message. These are the friends who laugh with you, cry with you, pray with you, comfort you, and love you in all things at any hour of the day. I know I have solid friends in the women at my church whom I can call upon at any time, and then there are these few who know pretty much everything about me, but stick with me anyway.
I know they would carry me to the top of the roof even if I told them not to.
What is your favorite type of candy bar and how does it remind you of a friend?
**More chocolate thoughts to come…stay tuned…