"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 While walking in the woods a couple of days ago, I saw this beautiful little tree struggling to support a much larger tree that had fallen. Although the fallen tree weighed much more, the smaller tree had not given in to the added weight and stress. Instead, it stood tall and persevered....a little bowed...a little crooked...but persevering...while taking on the burden of a tree that had grown beside it for years. This little tree is a beautiful symbol of how "we" should be willing to take on our friend's burdens...support them...hold them up. Their burdens are not always light...neither are ours...but burdens are always lighter when shared with others. A true friend will share our burdens...even if it comes with a sacrifice. What once began as a perfect little tree...is now bent and bowed. The added weight and stress has changed its course of life forever....sacrifice! This little tree may never grow as tall...or as straight as the tree pictured below (4) but what a testimony! The perfect example of what true friendship looks like. But wait, are we missing something? What about the larger tree? After all, friendship is a two-way street. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 When choosing friends, we need to be very careful. Friendship goes both ways. We need to choose friends that build us up and support us the same way that we support them. If they don't...then they are not true friends. Find that one...or two...or three people that are TRUE friends and build on that friendship. Our friends are who molds and shapes us into who we are. Surround yourself with only GOOD, TRUE friends! And this is where the larger tree comes into play. If it were not for the larger tree...bending and shaping the smaller tree...perhaps the smaller tree could not fulfill its true purpose...perhaps God will use the smaller tree to welcome travelers down a long dusty road (Picture 5 below)...God's perfect plan??? Be the kind of friend who would take on the burden of another friend and expect nothing less from someone that you call "friend." Know that it is okay to remove people from your circle of friends...especially social media. A true friend will share in your burdens, a fair-weather friend will cause more burdens (stress). Surround yourself with people who bring you joy and remember, not everyone deserves a place at your table. I have been praying for you this morning! Stand strong, persevere. Be kind to yourself today...take a look at your social media friend list...if you don't consider them a true friend...or they cause stress for you...remove them! Have a blessed day!