© Copyright 2019 by 
Carolyn M. Soto Jackson and Carolyn Marie Photography

Houston, TX

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Love Thy Neighbor, Even If You Don't Want To

Today, God wanted to remind me of how often He has a hand in my life, so He created a day where I had no other option than to see (and feel) His constant presence.

 

It started off with a morning full of prayer. The office was quiet so instead of earbuds, the book of Proverbs resonated off the portraits behind me and my heart began feeling thankful for an innumerable amount of things in my life, one being friendships. 

 

It was Proverbs 18:24 which began the snowball of thoughts, 

 

"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." 

 

After hearing this verse, I felt a great tug on my heart about our friends, Walter & Denise. 

 

 

Walter and Denise have been in my life for a few years now. Walter is Daniel's best friend and Denise tagged along before I came into the picture. From what I understand, in our 'past lives', Denise and Daniel were not the best of friends.  When I trotted into the picture, Denise came with open arms while I was a little hesitant for a new female friendship.

 

Over time, we became mutual acquaintances but it was not until this past year that our friendship blossomed. I wish I could say we had a hand in this but that would be a flat out lie. 

 

The spark of friendship never took off until the couple was forced to hold onto dear life on the tail of God's robe, while Dan and I had just loosened our grip. Hey, let's be real guys,  a Christian Marriage is hard.

 

Like most couples, they had their ups and downs and God created an opportunity to get both of them in line with His will. After a brutal six months, I kid you not, it took one date and a month later, this beautiful couple was married. 

 

It has been nine short months since then and The Oretga's are about to welcome their first child, Easton Paul.  

 

Yesterday during  brunch, I sat back and listened to the stories we had from the last three years. The good, bad and ugly. 

 

Revelations began pouring in and my heart began filling up. 

 

After God was able to work on all four of our hearts, our friendships flourished what seemed like overnight. To be honest, Denise and I began to become quite close. Now we joke that her and I are closer than Walter and Daniel.  High five Denise, girls rule and boys drool. 

 

Over the last year, unbeknownst to me, an intimate part of my heart opened up and I was able to invite Denise into my life. Even when I did not think I needed another girlfriend, God had another plan.  

 

I could not help but to wipe away a tear while watching them thumb through our little gifts for the upcoming debut of Easton Paul. I realized that even though our new found friendship just began to commence, God's hand was in the entire situation. God wanted all four of us to learn what it is to 'love thy neighbor'. 

 

We all had the opportunity to gossip, backlash, and judge one another through this process but instead, God kept us from destroying all the work He had done in our lives. 

 

I have had the pleasure of watching Mrs. Oretga experience mood swings, pregnancy brain, nesting, and all around joy over the last nine months. I found myself so proud to see this couple make it, not just skimming by but putting in the blood, sweat and tears to make their relationship work. Not only am I thrilled about the little bundle of joy that should be making a debut this week but I'm honored to be called friend and sister in Christ to this magnificent couple.  

 

 

 

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