My New Old Friend


Last month was VBS at my church. Love me some VBS. Actually, when I first began going to my church sixteen years ago, come spring time, someone asked me, “Are you signing up for VBS.” My response: “What’s VBS?” I soon discovered it’s a week with our campus covered in excited and sweaty kids. From that year forward, VBS has been one of my favorite weeks of the entire year. Love it!!

This year, with my partner Sheri, we taught 5th and 6th grade – my favorite age for VBS. It’s those last ditch efforts to help them get to know Jesus before getting thrown into the world of middle-school life and boyfriends/girlfriends and major life temptations. I feel this sense of urgency as I teach, probably more so than when I teach grown women. These guys still can choose the right path.

So the point of this: Throughout the week, the topic often came up about how deciding on your friends at this age is so critical. On the last day with them, as I was closing things out, someone came to mind: Judy Bryan. I told them about her and how she and her family took me to church while we were friends. I would go and spend the night with her and go to church on Sunday mornings. During that season, that was about the only exposure I got.

Then we started getting a little older, and I decided there were cooler kids that I wanted to hang out with. As I admitted to my VBS class, I left Judy in the dust, something that was one of the most pivotal mistakes I made back then. I ended up walking with the wrong crowd and making decisions that would affect me for the remainder of my life. I should have stuck with Judy.

The better point of this: Later that Friday night after VBS, I thought of Judy again, the same things I’ve thought a hundred times over the years. I wish I would have made a different decision. And I always wondered how that made her feel all those years ago. When she came to mind again the next morning, I decided to find out what became of her and messaged her on Facebook. I thanked her for how she and her mom showed me Jesus, and I apologized for leaving her behind for a not-so-good crowd.

The outcome? We met Wednesday for breakfast. Ha! She even insisted on paying. She’s this super sweet wife and mom now – not so surprising. She even bakes bread for goodness sake! We talked as if no time has gone by at all. She’s reading my books and may be making gluten free bread for me. I would have never even suspected how things could so easily fall back into place with us.

What I know? God can restore that which is left behind. I’m thankful for this new old friendship.