A friend loves at all times - Proverbs 17:17
When anyone asks me about my relationship with God, honestly it doesn’t bring up feelings of fatherly love or almighty love straight away. Don't get me wrong, God is the Perfect Father, but I just see Him as my best friend too. Think about it: He is trustworthy, He is loyal, He loves me, He does not judge me, and He listens to all of my problems. God and I hang out a lot- granted, I do most of the talking and he does most of the listening- but we still have fun.
We haven’t always been this tight, though; much like an egg, my shell of religion was stiff and immaculate until something cracked one day and out came the real substance of my relationship with God: friendship.
During my childhood, my family went to Church at my grade school almost every Sunday, but I only understood two things about the excursions: one, I really had no choice in the matter if I went or not, and two, on Sunday mornings they took the young kids into the cafeteria during service and gave us a fun, kid-worthy explanation of the sermon while distributing cookies!!! Man, He made a good first impression with those cookies, let me tell you.
Thus introduced a steady friendship with Him as I leveled-up in my Catholic grade school, but it was based solely on facts. I understood that He is one part of the three-tiered Holy Trinity. He has a son named Jesus. He loves me and everyone else. Plain and simple. I knew all these facts to be true, and I believed in His existence, but I never felt Him around. I never authentically experienced God’s love, wisdom, understanding, and friendship until my the shell of my religion cracked the day after Christmas in 2008. I accompanied my mom to a mammography center where she was to undergo testing for a suspicious lump previously found in her right breast. I thought it was a regular check-up at the time.
Boy was I wrong.
After three hours of waiting patiently (which was hard since it was the day after Christmas, and three hours in a doctor’s office is a while for a twelve year-old), I vividly remember my mom’s pink and white phone ringing, almost sounding like a death knoll, and her answering the dreaded call while grabbing my hand. I couldn’t look at my mom, so I stared at a man straight across the dull room and focused on his round head and big glasses. Whilst focusing, I heard one tiny word escape from her phone:
She had cancer. It was in stage II, which meant she needed surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy immediately. To be honest, I thought my mom was going to die.
But she would not let that happen. She fought her way through treatment with strength bestowed by God and after a year of hardship, my mom was left with no trace of cancer and a heart full of His love. I know in times of struggle, people turn to God to lift them up over the pain and help them to learn and grow from that experience.
But for me, God didn’t lift me up. He stood by my side and showed me how to uplift others. He manifested in all different types of people during that year: my mom’s amazing friends who came to every chemo appointment with a ready-made gift basket and handfuls of love, my own friends who made sure I was coping well by offering to help in any way possible to cheer me up, in my family members who dropped everything just to help our family out with dinner or other menial activities like that, and even in my mother who never once lost her faith even when she was the sickest she’s ever been in her life.
Through God, these wonderful people taught me more about religion and love than my textbooks ever could. Actions, especially those of friendship infused with love, make Christianity what it is, and my life wouldn’t be the same without my best friend, God.
Read more stories like Tessa's on the Lane of Roses Story Page