I used to be consumed with family life-being a wife, a mother. Those were good things, but I didn’t spend much time tending to friendships. Then when my first child, Emma was a baby I started feeling depressed. It was just too much to be all encompassed with home life. I forced myself to start seeking out friendships again.
But it wasn’t until the last two years, when my world fell a part, that I began to really, truly experience the full worth of true friendships. When I became a single parent and my husband and I separated, my close friends were a life line. I began to open up to each of them about what was really going on and shared with them the pain I was experiencing. They accepted me. They gave me the support and encouragement I needed. The Lord really showed His love for me through “my girls.” Some of them were with me from the beginning and some of them the Lord provided along the way, as He knew I needed.
And you know the funny thing about my friendships? Many of them have qualities I lack. To one who shows gentleness beyond compare, to another who has incredible perseverance, and to another who truly lives in faith. I could just keep going, listing the incredible qualities of these women.
I have noticed, a true quality of the friends I hold so dear, is that they aren’t afraid to be bold. They haven’t always told me what I wanted to hear or what felt good at the moment, but they told me what I needed to hear. They risked their reputation to share with me the truth God put on their hearts. Sometimes that even meant being silent and not having an answer for me, so that I would remember that Jesus needed to be my solution.
One of the main reasons my friendships have become such a gift, is that I opened up my heart to them. I shared with them the real, raw, and ugly. And a bond grew as they in turn opened their heart’s to me. A true friendship is a safe place where you don’t need to hide. I wasn’t always open like that and now I’ve learned the value of it. It’s suffocating when you hold it all inside.
I have seen the selflessness it takes to be a true friend. My friends have been so readily available to pray, to listen, and to help carry my burdens. Even though their lives were full with spouses, children, and living their life, they still made me a priority. You know a friend really cares when they come back to you and tell you they have more thoughts about something you shared with them. It means they were thinking about you, even when they didn’t have to. Maintaining friendships isn’t always easy, but it’s worth more than getting caught up in the busyness of life.
One day, one of my friends will go through something heart-wrenchingly painful (though God-forbid), and I hope I will offer them the same love, the same hope, and the same encouragement that they have given to me. I’ve experienced what it means to be carried along by the prayers and love of those around me. May I do the same, and may I never EVER underestimate the gift of God-given friendship.