In high school, I dated a boy named Greg. He was my first love and is a big reason I know the Lord. I loved his family and we made a lot of great memories together. Ultimately, though, we weren’t right for each other and after two years, Greg wisely ended the relationship.
I’m someone who believes that God often brings people into our lives for finite pieces of time. Greg was a huge part of my life when I was 16, but obviously not anymore. We live in different parts of the country, are both happily married and have had very little contact in recent years.
Fifteen years later, I look back on that time fondly, knowing that God was preparing my heart for the deep love I have found within marriage. Little did I know that He was also preparing the way for a rich friendship to bloom more than a decade later.
You see, about a year ago I received a Facebook message from Greg’s older brother, Rob. He was a doctor now, married with a young daughter and amazingly working at the same health care institution I work for in Nashville. In his note he said, “My wife Katie is awesome, and I think you two would really hit it off.”
He was right.
Katie has become one of my dearest friends. We love doing life together, and our kids are the best of friends. We cook and share meals. We craft. We change diapers and wipe runny noses. We paint and plan parties. We share Target deals (a very important part of friendship!). We worship together at church.
Katie shines Jesus brightly.
When I take time to sit back and think about how this friend came to be in my life, I am blown away by the workings of God. He didn’t just bring a high school sweetheart into my life who helped lead me to Him – which would have been plenty.
Fifteen years later, he brought a dear friend into my life that I would have never known without having first knowing Greg. And not just a let’s have coffee once sort of friend, but a soul-sister.
We serve a God of surprises. In my life I have seen God surprise in many ways, but it is relationships that have the most significance to me. God delights in each of us and He created us as relational beings.
My friendship with Katie is a surprise that continues to bring me to my knees in thanksgiving.
What has God done in your life that surprised you?