Maridee asked me this question about my friends who are special to me. And what gave them mileage in my life.
These people... hmm... what makes them home for me...?
Well, it has come from four years of "walking with me" as they say. For four years, they have been there for me, several times a week writing, reading e-mails, talking to me.... just being available. They listened without condemnation, allowed me to open up more, did not run when I questioned their honesty or motives, nor when I accused them - but sat there smiling at me and determinedly loving me. They shared their thoughts and struggles with me, and when I struggle, they encourage me. They let me get to know them. I know of them that they have chosen not to speak a bad word about another person to a someone else. They've shown me this in their own lives, so I know that my life is safe with them, and they will not dishonor me or betray my trust. Besides that, they just love me - they love my kids, they are interested in what they do, in my life, and they share with me their family and life. They have good boundaries and let me know them well and kindly, and I respect their boundaries. They stay in my home, I stay in theirs, their kids stayed with me for summers when they were teenagers, and my boys look forward to being old enough to go to their kid's houses.
They pray with me, they laugh at me, they help me see myself, and then they tell me who I am in Christ. But mostly, they chose to love me - it has nothing to do with who I am or how I am acting on any particular day. At their house, I am free to be at home, and not be a guest. They have the ability to ask me anything in my life and I can be honest with them, yet I never feel forced to talk if I chose not to.
They are people God has put into my life. They've taken on that role with joy, and with humor at times. And I love them.
Mileage - they've worked with me over the last four years, although I have known them since I was married, through many issues in my life - bringing me close to God, teaching me that God's love is unconditional and showing me what that means, walking through the darkness of my past into light and rejoicing in me as I walked and encouraging me when I fell. They fought battles for me in prayer when I could not even pray myself, and they pushed me to stand on my own feet when I could. They let me watch their deep hurt over some very unfair treatment they went through, and so showed me how to act gracefully as God's child in the middle of an unfair situation. I've seen them cry both over things in life and over me - both tears of hurt and tears of joy. I am who I am today in a large part because these two decided to love me. They gave me the ability to be transparent for the first time in my life, and to rejoice in that ability. I say with them, I have the ability to stretch out and relax, like you would lying on the grass on a hill, and close my eyes. I don't need to keep one eye on them because I know their hearts proven over time, and I know with them, I am safe.
Their home is a quiet place. Peaceful. There they pray, and they pray a lot over many things, and the peace you feel walking into the home comes, I think, from the prayers in the house. They agree to deal with conflict right away, with grace, and humility, and they do it. I'm proud of these two, and I love them.
It is this couple who have walked with me through all of the mess of my past, and that was not even their official job. It was just something they decided to do.
These are my friends, where I am at home, and I know I am loved. I'm proud of them.