Last week my best friend, Rachel, and her family came to visit us. Rachel and I have known each other since we were 17. We met through a mutual friend at a “Maniac’s Only” Retreat out in Oklahoma (I wonder if Rachel even remembers this??). Two kids from different sides of the country!
Later, we went on to the TM internship and then to ORU together. We have been best friends for over 13 years! And I guarantee that you will never meet two more opposite people in your whole life. God really did arrange our friendship to be an iron sharpens iron type of relationship.
Once we were walking around on campus and I was arguing some minute point (because that’s what Payne’s do for fun: argue) and Rachel stopped and yelled, “Are you going to die on EVERY hill? So, after much deep thought, I decided that Rachel was definitely right and tried from that point on (sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much), to choose my battles in relationships. So I credit any kind of discernment in that area of my life to Rachel, and my husband thanks her daily.
I don’t think this a few paragraphs in this blog will ever adequately describe my friend and how I feel about Rachel. She has always been that friend who sticks closer than a brother. We spent years laughing, crying, studying, praying, fighting, and ministering together. And through many moves, many states, and many countries, we have remained close friends. I had the privilege of bringing a “toast” at her wedding and I joked that when Rachel first met Mark and she introduced him to me, she called me after the meeting to ask me how “we” felt about Mark. Before we both married, “we” meant Rach and I!
In 2004, Rachel was working in Indonesia and we met in Bali to vacation for a week. Later that year, I met Conrad, and by the end of the next year we were both married! It continuously amazes me how much change a couple of years can bring..and now we are six!
It was always difficult to think about giving your best friend to another ‘best friend.’ But we knew it was God’s plan for our lives and such a joy! And luckily we married within months of each other, and even had kids not far apart. We have already started grooming Isabelle and Abraham for an arranged marriage. Yesterday Rachel was telling them a “story” about their future courtship as they “listened” intently and “lived happily ever after”.
Rachel married a wonderful husband, Mark, who adores her, and takes good care of her and Abraham. We asked Rachel and Mark to be Isabelle’s Godparents, because we know that no one will be more diligent in covering Isabelle in prayer than her future in-laws *wink* And we were honored that they asked us to be Abrahams last weekend too!
We love little Abraham. He’s already in our hearts. We prayed for him in church on Sunday, but Isabelle was crying, so our prayers were cut short. So I would like to pray a little blessing over Abe in our Blog:
Father, we pray that your Holy Spirit is in Abe’s life continuously. We ask that his ears always be open to your voice that speaks softly sometimes. That his eyes are always open to see the path that You have for him. That he leans on your Word to light that path.
We bless him with favor and ask that people be drawn to him, because they sense that he is, as his namesake was, “A friend of God.” We bless him with a heart of excellence, like Daniel. We bless him with wisdom, like Solomon. And a heart of boldness, like Paul.
Let this little life always be lived whole-heartedly for You.