I’ve thought a lot about this topic and feel I keep coming up short. What am I suppose to write about friendship that you might not already know? What words do I pour onto the page to encourage others to engage or simply read what I write? If I were completely honest, I would tell you how often I wonder if I’m even a good friend at all. I can be self-centered and ultra-focused. I forget birthdays, anniversaries, and making deadlines.
I can be somewhat afraid of people, too. Not in a weird, I’ve-got-to-hide-at-home kind of way. Truthfully, I often feel like I just don’t measure up. So I withdraw with polite hello’s and intentional how-are-ya’s. But not much connection beyond that. Humans can be so complicated and confusing – of which I may be one of the most confusing and complicated. Hormones kick in (yay for those middle years!), circumstances rise up, and I’m a mess. How in the world do I walk through someone else’s mess when I struggle with my own?
I’ve seen the damage done to a woman’s heart when a friendship is betrayed by gossip. I’ve witnessed the brokenness that occurs when pettiness wins and critical spirits take root.
Why does that happen? Why do we, as women, compete against one another? One up each other?
Who has the thinner figure . . .
The cuter kids . . .
The sweeter husband . . .
The prettier nails . . .
So I used to stay away from friendships like that. Partly because my figure was always larger, partly because I don’t have all of my kids anymore, divorce marred me, and as for my nails? Well, I’ve never been one to worry much about those.
But as years passed, God healed the deeply broken places where love resides. I realized I did have precious friendships. Women who loved me with my quirks and simple preferences. Women who supported me, prayed for me, spurred me on, and who allowed me to do the same in their lives.
And now? Well, now I have friends like Tracy and Jen. And no, they don’t know I’m writing about them. Being true to my challenging nature, I’m writing this late and they probably won’t even read it before it posts.
I’m grateful for these two in my life because we get to live life together, embracing the joys and sorrows, the celebrations and uncertainties. There’s no pretense and no competition with these two ladies. Probably because we know and celebrate Tracy’s incredible style, Jen’s wiz at all things technical, and my need for connection.
But more than that is because we get each other. We each have our own stories of broken hearts and insecure dreams. We each wonder if what we’re doing for our kids or our husbands (and husband-to-be) is our absolute best. We each seek after God, pursuing Him first – well, most of the time. We’ve experienced grace when we’ve messed up and offered grace when someone else does.
We ask the tough questions of one another and allow space for our own answers to pour out from those deep hidden places within. We tell silly stories we don’t want anyone else to hear, and we laugh. A lot. Sometimes those stories are borderline inappropriate, and sometimes they’re so saccarine-y sweet, we laugh until our laughter is laced with tears.
But what I’ve learned most about friendship from these two ladies is the gift of being present, of being real. No, this isn’t a plug to continue to read our posts at Facets. This is a snapshot into our real-life friendship. A friendship that has grown out of the love for the written word over the past couple of years. A friendship that has been a refreshing, life-giving gift to me. A friendship that has become a living, breathing example of one of my favorite passages in Scripture:
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT
Because that’s what we do, no matter what happens. We know how tough life can be and we’ve chosen to be each other’s cheerleader, encouraging each other on toward a life of love and grace, of obedience and faith. After all, isn’t life better with friends?