Reflecting on the year as it comes to a close, I see myself still walking on the road to recovery from the great hurt in my life.

I was asking myself typical strength-based questions that counsellors would often ask clients in crises: “What has allowed you to come this far in life, in spite of all you’ve been through?”

My answer? Friends. My friends are a clear manifestation of God’s love for me.

In my mother’s last days of her battle with cancer, my friends from cell group stood outside her hospital room for hours just to support me. They even stayed overnight with me so I wouldn’t be alone. And during the funeral, they came every night to be with me.

Outside of my grief, they never failed to speak the truth in love about my relationships. They reminded me that I deserve God’s best, and caught me whenever I stumbled.

My friends were God’s way of being there in my pain and grief. As my wounds healed, they showed me how to pray. And they helped me dare to believe I could trust God for all the healing I needed in my life.

As I’ve always been a timid child, I realised I only survived the recent storms because God blessed me with friends who would go to hell and back for me. When I didn’t even know how to feel, they gently helped me to acknowledge my emotions. They helped me to grieve.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

They knew the song in my heart, and sung it back to me when I had all but forgotten the lyrics.

They helped me smile again when I was sure I had lost the ability to do so.

When I think of my friends, I think of Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity”.

This season, the Lord has reminded me to give thanks for the amazing friends He has blessed me with, friends like Jonathan who walked with David in sacrificial love (1 Samuel 18).
When life gets difficult, open your eyes to see what God is doing for you through your friends. Who are the Jonathans in your life?

After many trials over the last few years, I felt as if my faith was tested … And that it had drained out of me.
Some days I couldn’t help but wonder where God was in my pain and sorrows. I had doubt I never really articulated only until I intentionally sought the Lord for healing this year.

When I finally found the courage to ask God why my mum had to die from cancer “prematurely” – especially when so many others had experienced healing – the Lord immediately spoke through an article I read that night.

Immediately, I was filled with gratitude for the Lord’s love and faithfulness in my life as well as my mum’s. It dawned on me then that I had to reconcile with my Best Friend in life – Jesus Christ.

My friends were God’s way of being there in my pain and grief; they were a clear manifestation of God’s love for me.

When I couldn’t relate with anybody, I had Jesus. When nobody understood me, Jesus did. How could it be that the Saviour King was also my Friend?

This Christmas, I am finally coming back to Jesus, learning to believe and trust in Him once again. He is the Best Friend who tells me: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

And Christmas isn’t just for pre-believers. When the Lord said that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10), He was also talking about lost sheep in the faith just like myself.

My heart is filled with gratitude in this season when I think of the friends God has blessed me with. It is filled with thanksgiving as I run back to my Best Friend.

This is a submission from a participant of our Christmas Gift Exchange. From now till the end of December 2017, we are giving away a limited edition Tumbler in exchange for every story on the Christmas themes of love, joy, peace, hope and giving. Click here to find out more.