Growing up, I was the baby and only girl of my siblings. On the street that I grew up on, where many of my fondest childhood memories were made and my athletic ability was born, I was the only girl-surrounded and forced to hold my own with the 7 boys who lived near us. I’ve always appreciated the sweetness that girlfriends bring- dolls, nail polish, cupcakes, fierce attitudes, and nurturing hearts. In my life, I’ve been fortunate to foster relationships with girls who felt a lot more like my sisters than friends. And while SOME of the “sisters” that I’ve known all of my life will be in the proverbial front row-many more of them won’t (and not because I love them any less). I’ve found that my front row friendships feel different. My conversations go deeper and I’m free to share my wildest dreams without criticism with my front row friends (FRF). The common thread in these friendships has been and will continue bee our shared love for Jesus and our individual desires to grow in relationship with Him.
The verse that most accurately depicts FRF in my mind is Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. This verse speaks to the advantage of companionship and the essence of how and why front row friendships thrive. FRF help each other succeed by speaking life into hopes and dreams while lovingly offering correction when necessary. They lift each other up when one falls-to stress, failure, doubt, worry, fear, etc. A FRF will get down in the mess with you, not to wallow, but to help you to your feet so that the journey that you’re purposed for continues. FRF warm you with their presence, words of wisdom, laughter, and in my case tears lol. In the moments when life is the coldest and darkest that it’s been a FRF can change the atmosphere and restore light where there was once darkness. Most importantly, FRF protect and defend you with all that they have (not just physically, but spiritually). In my own life, my FRF showed up on the front lines of battle with the Enemy armored with the Truth to cover me with prayer (at times when I have lacked the words to articulate). Over and over, I’ve seen FRF rally and charge boldly into the battle of another’s life to resuscitate and empower them to hold tight to the promises of God’s word. But FRF don’t just risk it all on the battlefield they stick around long enough to see the victory that you were believing for. In the world that we live in when it is easy for people to bow out when life gets harder than they signed up for and friendship requires more than they were prepared to give…it is my FRF who have walked through the fire with me that I am most thankful for. Fireproofed and front row.
This post is dedicated to a special front row friend, Mercedes Rutledge, who unfortunately won’t have the honor of sitting on the front row at my wedding, but will have the best view from Heaven. Mercedes, you are forever etched in my heart.