Friends.

It’s such a blessing to have those friends you know may go, but never stay gone. They may go off on their own and have their own adventures and go through their own journeys but never forget you. I have my own friend like this. We grew up together, watched each other fail, rise, struggle and win. He watched me fall in love and fall apart. I watched him grow in faith and rise in leadership. I’m watching him and his relationship with God and He’s seen me in my own. It’s this friendship I have taken for granted, often listening to the whispers of the devil, my own self doubt and feeding my own insecurities. I chose to focus on how he was invited to things, and I was not. I focused on how he was picked to be a leader and I was not. I focused on how he chose other friends over me. Each choice led me deeper and deeper in a coward spiral towards rock bottom. I fell so hard.

I will not be going to deep into that aspect of my story, not now at least. I will say, I was so wrong to see all these aspects. I forgot to realize, at one point, I was invited and said no. I was the one who wanted to be a follower, and player in the sidelines. I’m the one who chose to pull away and withdraw, avoiding him and many others. And, we since mended our relationship, but something felt off. At least, on my end and on my part. I felt something was incomplete.

I first had to forgive myself. I had to forgive myself for my mistakes. For prioritizing my opinions, my thoughts, my pride over his. Over God’s. I had to forgive myself for my fall, and my failures. And most of all, I had to receive God’s forgiveness and let Jesus die for me. Because, as a Christian, I do believe that Jesus is God and came down to live on earth to die, crucified, for my (and all mankind’s sins). But, I believed it in thought. This year I finally believe that I am forgiven and accept and receive God’s forgiveness. I know I am accountable and responsible for my sins, but I also know they are paid. I do not have to pay anything or any one back for what I had done. After all, what’s done is done. What I did is in the past, and Jesus had already breathed, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Though He lives, my sins stayed dead with His death. And as He lives He vouches for me, He speaks on my behalf. I can go on, and be free from my past and let myself lower my standard of perfection. I am not perfect.

Anyways, I’m not here to convince any one I am guiltless. I have faults. And I had to own up to my responsibilities in the problems I had caused. Maybe the problems were a two way street, but I had to cross mine. It felt so good. and for the first time in five years, I truly feel that weight, that burden, that pushback lifted. It was always me. I was the one who erected the shield and in an attempt to stop myself from feeling, in an attempt to ignore my failure and guilt, I had strained our relationship. At least my end of it.

Praise God, that I have overcome this battle. Praise Him for guiding me, to feel again. To feel the guilt and process it, and to let myself express it. To Apologize for what I had done. I was able to fully take responsibility for my pride, my withdrawal, my hurt and anger. It was amazing. And finally, the friend I had from 5 – 19 was back. It was like all those years that I had lost, God brought back.

Truly, I can say I love the way God is working. I love the way God is moving and I am so thankful for this friend. This friend of a lifetime. I am so blessed and my heart is truly full.

God Bless
w/ love

Ari