Three Hallmarks of Divine Friendship

I think sometimes God arranges friendships in heaven. That’s what happened with my friend DiAnn Mills and me. Our paths would never have crossed if it weren’t for His Divine Intervention.

Years ago, I taught writing at a conference in Texas. It was the first time I’d flown out-of-town to teach.

I felt like a poser. A wannabe. Full of insecurity. 

The night I arrived, the entire faculty circled to pray.

Do I really belong here? 

Me? Faculty? 

After the prayer, a gorgeous redhead approached me. “Hi, I’m DiAnn. You look a little shy. Do you need a friend?”

Ohhhhh, if she only knew…

That was the beginning of our Divine Friendship.

Last week, I flew to Houston to visit her.

We went antiquing. Entering this enchanted shop, I felt like a little girl again,

In a land where all things are possible.  

Check out the name of this store.  🙂

Since DiAnn and I are writers, we chose outfits for our characters.

Such fun–to dream!

And the signs–oh, the signs!

Surrounded by creativity, each message seemed to come from God.

 

 

Then on to clothes.

“DiAnn, what about this? I love the material, but the color…”

She answered truthfully. “We can do better.”

And we did.

She found this beautiful  shirt.

And I got this one.

It’s So …. Me!

She surprised me with a homemade gluten-free peach and blueberry cobbler. (I have Celiac.)

Friday afternoon, we noticed the primrose blooming near her pool.

Wide open.

Bright yellow. 

Thriving. 

“Just wait ’til tomorrow morning,” she said. “You won’t believe the difference.”

Sure enough, the next morning they’d all but shriveled up and died. “Watch. They’ll open when the sun shines.”

That’s when I started thinking about our friendship.

During our final porch party, three things occurred to me about Divine Friendships:

1. They help us bloom. (They’re like the sun shining on the primrose.) 

2. They “speak the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15. (The orange shirt.) 

3. They accept us just as we are. (The GF cobbler.)  

What qualities have you noticed about Divine Friendships?

P.S. This happened last year at DiAnn’s.

Love,

Julie

Comments

  1. Such a beautiful post Julie. I love that you and Dianne make time for your friendship to grow- on the phone and even in person! You teach me so much, and these lessons on friendship are ones I need to learn …sending love and thanking God for you and Dianne and lessons learned xo

    • Thank you, Robin~~~~

      And to think, in God’s Divine Intervention, He brought us together so many years ago.

      Always, always grateful.

  2. We did have a wonderful time! I’m ready for another weekend of fun and laughter and brainstorming and of course lots of coffee and shopping!

  3. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Leaf Sister!

    Funny you should write about friends this week. My best friend from high school was Dawn. She passed away 9 years ago and we had been out of touch for many years after she married and moved to Wisconsin, but oh the memories I have of our times together! Choir class at school, trips to the lake, heart-to-heart talks, sleepovers, hanging out at the roller rink every week and going out for Mexican food after. We talked everyday. Told each other everything. Felt like sisters the day we met, like we’d known each other all our lives! The reason I mention a friend from so long ago instead of one in my life today is that I had an experience yesterday which put her in mind and gave me the impression she was really not gone from my life at all!

    I spoke on the phone from work yesterday to a lady at a local church who was looking for some information for an elderly lady in the church. I gave her the info and we continued to talk. After hearing her description of the lady she was helping, I knew exactly who it was — Dawn’s mother, Sharon! Upon mentioning her name to the lady on the phone, it was confirmed. We talked about how much loss Sharon had suffered. Dawn’s two older brothers had both died in separate car accidents only a couple years apart. Then cancer took Dawn years later. And most recently, I knew, Sharon had also lost her husband. She still had her oldest daughter, her grandchildren and her church to comfort her.

    The rest of my workday I could hardly focus on work. Memories came flooding back — all the happy times Dawn and I had, and the sad ones too. It felt as if I’d had a visit from her, from beyond. I know that sounds strange and maybe it’s not how things work. I don’t know. But it was a comfort to me. She seemed near. And it was no coincidence that I was the one to get this call. God knew the connection that was there and coordinated the whole thing. I’m sure of it. Maybe Dawn was looking out for her mother, too, and had something to do with sending me to help. I feel blessed. Maybe it’s not a friendship long lost. Maybe it’s still there and always will be. One day I know, I’ll see her again. And by the way, she passes those 3 criteria you listed. She did help me to bloom — always nudging me to do things I was prone to hold back on, introducing me to things I wouldn’t have tried on my own, and most importantly, introduced me to my future husband! She was a great listener and advice-giver, but did so lovingly and with compassion, accepting me for who I was. I sure do miss her! I think I’m going to write her mother a letter. I’ve thought of it many times and have never done it. This is my third nudge to do it and might be the reason this all happened.

    If you didn’t see it, I told about this on Facebook last night and posted Dawn’s picture too.

    I love that you got to visit your good friend. What an awesome little shop you two went to and such sweet blouses you found! Thanks for taking us along on your trip via this blog and your pictures and God bless you and DiAnn 🙂

    Leafy Other Julie 🙂

    • marci says:

      What a nice story! I love it when God works in His Mysterious Ways.. Gives me goose bumps, and I am always in awe. How wonderful to feel your friend, Dawn once again. Have you seen or talked to her mother? Just wondering. Thanks for sharing this. It has reminded me of dear friends I have had, now in the arms of the Lord.
      God Bless,
      Marci’a

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        I have not talked to Dawn’s mom since the day of Dawn’s memorial service 9 years ago. I plan to write her a letter and see where it goes from there. I did however find Dawn’s daughter on Facebook a few years ago. We chatted a bit and I sent her pictures of her mom she’d never seen, of her younger days and she really liked that. There have been many “mysterious ways” connected to my friendship with Dawn. God is in all of that somewhere 🙂

    • Leafy~~~ I’m so sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to responding. Crazy week here. We had check fraud which mean police report, several trips to the bank, etc, and I just got back from Dr. I have horrible chigger bites. Anyway, so sorry, and back to your story.

      This is such a God-thing!!! You’ve shared with me about Dawn before–how special she was/is to you, and then from out of “no where” you are put in touch with her mother! Holy Goosebumps!! What a story!!!!!!

      And the best part is yet to come–when you two get to have a reunion in heaven.

      Thank you, thank you for sharing this. What a faith builder. And how kind of God to come full circle and let you connect with Dawn’s mom.

      XOXOXOXOXOXO Big hug!!

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        Hugs back to you! So sorry for all that commotion you’ve had to go through and I hope you feel better soon from those bites, too!

        Take care 🙂

        • Thank you, Julie. Will probably have to blog about it next week. God stayed so close to me…

          Much love, my friend.

  4. Cathy Mayfield says:

    What a fun time! God was surely smiling as He watched you and DiAnn!

    Loved the idea of checking out the clothes for your characters and choosing outfits! I’m adding that one to my repertoire for when I teach my writing classes! Depending on the time period, there are antique stores, specialty boutiques, and the mall. Having the students go to one of these places, pick an outfit, and take a photo with their phone would be a fun exercise. And I’m all about fun when I teach!

    I’ve begun developing friendships this past year, especially with our daughters leaving home (still have one!). I think you and DiAnn have one of the key elements down – a commitment to get together in person, even if it takes time and distance to plan it. Often, people drift apart, when all it takes is a phone call to re-establish the contact and a visit to re-create the closeness. After all, God gave us a great example in becoming flesh to dwell among us, to hold our children on His lap, to feed our bodies and souls, to show us the ultimate way friends sacrifice for each other. <3

    When our oldest daughters were young, we got together with another homeschool family, and the mother, Debbie, and I hit it off. For several years, we visited back and forth. She taught me to paint on wood, and I loved on her kids and her old English sheepdog. After we moved from that side of the county and our girls graduated, we lost touch. I visited her a couple times, and the sweetness we knew returned. I'm planning to find her phone number somehow and calling to set up a time to get together and start a new season of our friendship. Thank you, Julie! And DiAnn!

    • Hey there, Cathy–again, like I said above in responding to the other Julie, so sorry it’s taken me a while to respond. Crazy week!

      Just makes my day that you can use my shopping experience to help you teach. Oh, yes, with fiction, I totally get to know my characters–even do a full interview. I print up pictures off the computer of what I think they look like, and please don’t laugh–I talk to them….Yes, I know how nuts this sounds.

      Such powerful thoughts about friendship! You’re right. Friends do sacrifice for each other, and when we do, it’s a JOY.

      Thrilled with your idea to rekindle that friendship!

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        I’m not laughing about your talking to your characters! Such fun! I sometimes have my students write letters from their characters to themselves. The results can be interesting!

        I have an accordion file w/pics cut from circulars, magazines, etc. – people (divided into hair color, age, and race), houses (styles, plus floor plans from real estate papers), jewelry and other accessories, and so on. We have fun cutting them out and filing them, then going through to pick characters, etc., for our stories (so much fun having two daughters that enjoyed this with me, during their writing years at home!)

        One of my favorite round-robin style writing exercise is to break the students in groups of 2-3 (usually 3-4 groups), give each a scenery picture (from calendars, as different as I can make them), have them start a story in the setting they have, and in 10 minutes, pass their scenes to the right. They then have to figure out how their character got to the new setting and write the next part of their story. We do it one or two more times, till they’ve used all the scenes, and then read them aloud. You can’t imagine the stories and the laughing we do. Oh, how I love teaching! Only 10 more days till my first class!!!! <3

        • marci says:

          Wow, Cathy, that is really a neat round robin exercise. That has to be really interesting! I can see where there would be some fantastic stories come from that. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

          • Cathy Mayfield says:

            You’re welcome, Marci. God has blessed me with creative thoughts out the whazoo! (If you know what I mean.) Whenever I say, “I have an idea!” my family runs for the hills! 🙂

        • Love, love, love this idea, Cathy! You are a natural at teaching! Sounds like your students probably have the best time learning from you too. 🙂 You’re right where you’re supposed to be.

          Praying for you~~

          P.S. I’m not running for the hills whatsoever–I’m learning from my bloggy friends!

  5. Another beautiful post about two of my beautiful sisters/friends. What a blessing you are in my life! Thank you both. Glad you had a great time. I’m not at all surprised. Love the new outfits, too! 🙂

    • And while I was in Houston, DiAnn and I talked about how much we love you, Vonda!!

      So very grateful….

      You’re a Divine Friend, for sure.

  6. marci says:

    So glad you were able to take the trip and spend that time with DeAnn. It sounded like such a blessing! Thank you for taking us along with you- and letting us share that joy and think of our own friendships. I really like the 3 things you wrote about Devine Friendships. I will need to write them in my little notebook to remember. Like the pictures too, and you sharing your trip to the shops with us. How I enjoyed getting to browse the shops with you and see the goodies! I love the cross in one of the pictures, that you took of the cream colored top. If that was for sale and a price I could manage- I would have grabbed that up!

    A dear friend of mine- we cannot get together, because of health issues for her and other things, and she lives in another state…. but we can chat on the phone and we can dream of all the places we would go! She also likes antique shops, and we would go to some of those for sure as we traveled across the country — in our dreaming. I could not have come up with any better things than your 3 for those special Devine Friendships. God gave us each other, through Our Prayer. and though we didn’t know each other growning up, we can so picture how we would have been friends, growing up. We always find something to laugh about, even when one of us is going through a hard time…
    Whenever we talk, we always can make each other feel better.
    Those are qualities I have noticed about my Devine Friendship with her.

    So glad you shared that with us this week!

    God Bless,
    Marci’a
    xoxoxo

    • Hey Marci’a…not sure if you’ve read my above responses to Cathy and Julie, but I’m so sorry I’m behind with responding. Wild week here!!

      DiAnn and I didn’t buy any antiques–because you don’t actually have to spend money to have fun shopping, do you…and my top was on major sale! The brown shirt just called me by name and so I brought “her” home.

      Love how God gave you your precious friend through Our Prayer. That’s so beautiful–He orchestrated it in Heaven. And you’re right–there’s nothing like laughing–even over the phone–with someone we love–someone who understands our goofy kind of humor.

      XOXOXOXOX—and I believe I owe you an email…soon, my dear.

      • marci says:

        Dearest Julie, It is really good to see you are back– I know that sometimes you will take a couple of ‘sittings’ to reply to each comment, but when it looked like you had stopped mid-stream, I wondered if something had happened, and I started praying for what ever was going on- . I thought perhaps even computer problems… Knowing God knows- I prayed for what ever was going on. Yes, I did read the above. Thanks for letting us know what was going on. I do hope all is well now. it did give me an extra time or two visiting here and re-reading you writing, seeing the nice pics, and the comments, and that is always good. Yes! you are so right, it is nice just to look through the shops, and enjoy seeing all the interesting things. I have done that too. Sometimes see what they have that I use to have and how much they are selling it for now! Ha! And as Cathy would probably say, seeing all the things one could create a lot of different stories! I am thanking God that you are alright. I do hope that the problem is completely taken care of now. I know that sometimes such things can take a while to sort out.
        I know you have had your hands full, and I was glad you had a chance to get away, and have some nice R&R with a dear friend, .. and you would send an e-mail when you could. I understand about it taking a while.
        God Bless!

        • Such a kind response, Marci’a..yes, I’m okay. Still working through the chigger bite situation. But it’ll get better!! And handling the bank fraud thing, but for now, I’ve done all I can. 🙂 Feels good to let it go.

          Thank you so much for your prayers. I needed them. In fact, your prayers probably moved my heart to post what I’m going to this coming Wednesday. 🙂 🙂

          Big hugs!

  7. What a wonderful way to describe a friendship- a divine friendship- sounds beautiful. It shines through your words what a fun time you had visiting DiAnn! The 3 hallmarks are such keepers- thank you for your keen reflection on something I can certainly use in my own friendships. Much love to you friend!

    • Loving you from here, Vicky. You come to my hear so many times each day.

      I’m so glad God brought you and me together–through Robin!

      Ohhh, how marvelous are His Ways!

  8. Patricia Martin says:

    So happy that you have a great friend like Di Ann, Julie! You are both pretty redheads.(((: I felt out of place in my self defense class and speech class, but I have made some new friends–wow! Di Ann’s pool looks almost exactly like our pool–we have a Grecian shape pool as well. How’s your jet lag doing? I loved the San Antonio Zoo and might visit again someday.
    Xoxox

    • Thank you sweet Patricia. 🙂 I think since DiAnn’s a redhead, she instantly knew we couldn’t wear that scary color orange.

      So sorry you’re not feeling at home in your classes. I’m praying, right now, for this feeling to lift. I loved finding out you have new friends already! That’s great.

      And you have a pool like DiAnn’s….okay, I could be jealous…….

      No jet lag issues, but I got home, walked the dogs, and am covered in chigger bites. :/

      Wish you could share some zoo pics. I’d love to see what you saw. 🙂

      From,
      Julie–who’s so grateful for our Divine Friendship.

  9. Melinda says:

    Love the post, love the pictures and most of all love that we have reconnected. I’m looking forward to our friendship growing and blooming too. I have lots of special friends and your list definitely applies. I do my best to stay in touch with folks and facebook surely helps although nothing beats time together. Love your new top. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, Julie. I’m off on a road trip to TX with my BFF, my hubby! hugs and love.

    • Melinda, every time I see you and your husband together, I smile. Y’all are SO happy and SO in love. And you and I know that’s a gift from God.

      Can’t tell you how much fun I had reconnecting with everyone. Thanks again for including me. Heck, you even introduced me to a new restaurant.

      So very grateful. And have a blast on Labor Day. I’m sure you will. 🙂 Post pics.

  10. Julie, I’m so grateful you have a friend like that. You are blessed, indeed. And I so know that poser/wannabe feeling. Every time I speak. And going to a writer’s conference? Are you kidding me? Me? Why? It’s a constant battle.

    • Ohhhh, Shelli, surely we’re related!

      With writer’s conferences and being an introvert, I have learned it’s okay if I skip some classes to be still and quiet in my room.

      I’m praying for you. Can’t wait to hear and see pics of you in your cute boots.

      Hugs from Hot ‘Lanta!

  11. I’ve noticed that divine friendships are there through EVERYTHING. The good, the not so good, the trials, the surprises, the sadness, the pain, the joy, the laughter. All of it. That’s what a divine friendship is.

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