Recently there was a picture going around on social media showing the difference between two rooms that were in a house fire. One room had the door open during the fire and the other room had the door closed. The room with the door open, as you can imagine, was completely destroyed. The room with the door closed had barely been tampered with. Sure, there was some residue, but the material things in it weren't even touched by the flames. I was so moved when I recognized that the Lord actually does this with our friendships. He closes friendship doors to protect us from the flames - to protect us from getting burned.
For the past 4 years, I've asked the Lord to give me ONE word for the entire year to resonate on (with the purpose of growing closer to Him). 2018 is control - I heard God clearly telling me give Him full control of everything. This year, He has taken full control of my friendships and is in the process of closing a few friendship doors to protect me from getting burned. I didn't know this in the beginning, but He is definitely showing me who He desires to have in my front row.
Since this series started, I've been wrestling with the thought of what a FRF really is and who would be in my front row. If you looked at my friendship pattern over the years, it looks like this - striving to fit in, befriending anyone and everyone, getting involved in the wrong friend-group for way too long, the Lord blessing me with some real friends, and now surrendering it all to Jesus to figure out who is in my front row. The past couple of weeks, I've continued to take it back to scripture and the friendship between Paul and Timothy has really been sticking out to me the most. Paul was Timothy's mentor and their friendship thrived because of the respect they had for each other. They were both so confident in Christ and so determined to spread the gospel and advance God's kingdom.
The reason this story really resonates with me is because I have my very own Paul, her name is Heather. She's incredibly wise and always points me back to Jesus. I met Heather when I was 15, she was my Young Life leader in high school but our friendship has become so much more than that. Despite my stubbornness over the years, she has never given up on me. She sees my potential and often reminds me of it. I have learned so much from her and will always look up to her godly wisdom. Within our friendship, I'm often reminded of the power God has and that He can bond two people together in such an incredible way if they have the same end goal, Him. She's one friend that I know will be in my front row, without a doubt.
Besides Heather, there's only one other person I am certain will be in my front row... Jesus. I am FOR SURE saving a seat for Him. So when I am looking at my future husband in the eyes, I'll glance over and be reminded of who designed him for me.
With only two seats filled, I know that my front row seems really empty, but I'm okay with that. When it comes down to it, I'd rather have four quarters than one hundred pennies. It's really that simple. God spreads His gospel by the way we live our lives individually and also how we operate in the kingdoms of our friendships. If we allow Him to take hold of the hinges, even though He may close the door, He will always shelter us from the flame.