The Power of Childhood Friends

About today’s author:
Heidi is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, music educator, and school counselor.  She is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others through music, counseling, and living a life that exemplifies her faith in Christ.  She teaches at Harvey Public School in Harvey, ND. 

You can read more about how Kerry knows her and his deep appreciation for her by reading yesterday’s post by clicking on “Legacy of Childhood Friendships.”

 

“Ghost, ghost, make a Goochi!” From somewhere in the house came the squeaky reply, “Goochi!”

Giggling, searching, finding, screaming, chasing. Repeat.

My sister Melissa, Paul (our neighbour from across the road), and I made up this hide-and-seek game (and numerous others) as we were growing up in a small village of just 40 residents. Paul was four years older than me, but because there was no one else around to play with, we became fast friends and partners in crime.

No matter how bad things may have been at school or how rejected I may have felt by my classmates, everything was better when I came home to play with Melissa and Paul. It was a safe zone. My opinion was valued. I was never left out. I was a vital part of every plan we made, and I knew I was accepted and loved without ever having to hear the words.

I rarely felt like I fit in at school. I was chubbier than the other girls, I lived out of town, and my dad was a pastor, which meant I was automatically not invited to movies, parties and dances. Thankfully we had a small youth group, of which Kerry was a part, in our church that was very active.

Even though we did not all attend the same school, we had many opportunities to interact and support each other. Our weekly meetings, along with our special outings strengthened my faith and gave me a place to belong. We spent time together on weekends, we attended retreats and camps together, and we stuck together and encouraged each other through peer pressure and tough times. As I look back on my younger self, I see so many character flaws in that girl. I am amazed by the patience and grace that those friends showed me on a consistent basis. They were truly a model of the love and grace of Jesus in my life.

Although we didn’t have cell phones and email, a small group of my camp friends formed a prayer chain during high school. We committed to praying for each other, and we shared our burdens and blessings with each other. To this day I continue to be blessed by those friendships that were formed so long ago.

James was six years older than I was. He became our Sunday school teacher and youth leader after he finished college and moved back to farm in the area. On Sunday nights when our congregation would go out in small groups to visit our elderly church members, James would load up his vehicle with our youth group and take us on a visitation adventure. We had excellent evenings learning from and encouraging those we visited. Then we would head to the ice cream shop or my house for more fellowship and laughter. Those moments of friendship, faith and fun that he fostered bolstered my faith, my self-esteem, and my courage to reach out to others.

The power of these positive childhood friends cannot be overstated. I will forever cherish the memories we created, and I know that a large part of who I am today is due to those friends who loved me unconditionally in a very conditional world.

March is International Women’s Month!  It is my hope that you will join me over the course of the rest of March in celebrating the women who have had a significant role in influencing me.  I will post daily blog-posts — some of these posts will be from me talking about the women who have had a significant role in influencing me and some of the posts will be from these women themselves, childhood friends, mentors, teachers, co-workers, etc.  

My hope is that this series, “Celebrating Women,” will accomplish three things:  

  1. to serve in a small way as a “Thank You” to all the women who have influenced me
  2.  that you will gain wisdom from those who have spoken wisdom into my life
  3. that it will serve as a reminder to say thank you and to recognize all the amazing women in your one life

Click here to see all of the posts related to “Celebrating Women.”

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