Journey to True Friendship- Childishness to Maturity

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child,

I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
1 Cor. 13:11 ESV

Childish friends are fickle
True friends endure

Childish friends rely on shared activities
True friends rely on shared hopes and values

Childish friends make you want to do better to receive praise
True friends make you want to be better

Childish friends always want to impress on the surface
True friends make an impression simply by being true and steadfast

Childish friends shy away from conflict or struggle
True friends are open, honest, and broken with you

Childish friends gossip
True friends show grace

Childish friends are for children
I choose the path to True Friendship

I hope you will join me.    

This series has been a challenging one for me in some ways.  I am no more an expert on friendship than you are.  Sometimes I’m not that great of a friend at all.  I am by nature weak, and insecure, and selfish.  But I am also a new creation, every moment if need be, and I know that I can make the choice each day to move toward True Friendship with those I treasure.  My friends.  I have been blessed by your companionship along this journey, and hope that you’ve gained some encouragement, and will go forward to learn more about yourself and build better, truer friendships.

“The unfolding of how we were created to need one another,
to need our relationships with one another, in order
to live fully into the people we were intended
to be is magnificently masterful…I am amazed 
at the beauty of how this opportunity
for growth is revealed to me as I engage
in friendships with others.”
The Friends We Keep, Sarah Zacharias Davis
If you’ve missed any of the series and would like to go back, please use the button on my sidebar.  I have also linked below the books I referenced throughout.  May God bless your friendships and grant you new companions on your own journeys!

Journey to True Friendship- Friendship is easy (if you want to stay safe)

“We desire to break out of our isolation

and loneliness and enter into a relationship
that offers us a sense of home, an experience
of belonging, a feeling of safety, and a sense of 
being well-connected.  But every time we 
explore such a relationship, we discover quickly
the difficulty of being close to anybody
and the complexity of intimacy between two people.”
Henri Nouwen, Here and Now

Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, the day-to-day struggles get the upper hand and we function in our default mode.  
And our friends will have a default mode too.  When the going gets tough, and the honeymoon period of friendship is done, when our human nature shows up and meets face-to-face with the humanness in our friends, and if we truly have let the masks go, we have a choice to stay and grow, or give in to the fear and pull back.


What do you do with it?  Are you a paste-a-smile-on-and-hide-it person?  A sweep-it-under-the-rug person?  A cold-shoulder person?  A hot-headed, be-honest-no-matter-who-it-hurts person?

I’ll be completely honest.  This is not an area that I historically have been all that good at.  I come from a long line of under-the-rug sweepers, and have friendships I can look back with the realization that I pulled away rather than sought to resolve a problem.  And I know that I have been the one to hurt a friend at times and, 20/20 being hindsight, look back with a critical eye at my own insensitivity.

Lisa Whelchel, in her book Friendship for Grown-Ups, borrows the idea from an author friend that insensitivities and hurts are little “bricks” that lay between friends:

“…time and neglect or apathy or denial are exactly what enable
one brick to remain, and then another, until there’s a pile or the bricks
are so heavily laid one upon the other that you can wake up 
to find a brick wall of separation between you and another person.  
Once a wall starts appearing, you either walk away from one another, 
because who can walk through walls.  Or you have an explosive argument 
to blast through the brick wall- and at least one person, if 
not both of you, is going to be wounded by the blast, bruised in
the rubble, or buried in the dust.”
In most of my adult life, I have chosen to remain slightly distant rather than deal with any bricks.  The bricks may be small things or big things, but unresolved they will do damage regardless of the size.  There is a better way to deal with them gently, but head-on, if we are brave enough.

When conflict arises (which, if a friendship is close and it endures, probably will happen at some point) what would it feel like to say, “I’d love to talk with you about something.  You are so important to me and I want to make sure I’m understanding you right, and not assuming something you didn’t intend.”

Or, “I realized recently that you were very upset and I wanted to see how I added to that.  I may have hurt you with my words and I want to apologize to you.  I appreciate you too much to let this slip away unresolved.”

Or, “Can we talk about the other day?  I was hurt by your decision to go with so-and-so rather than me, and I wanted to tell you my feelings before my desire to sweep them under the rug got the best of me.  I care about our friendship too much to let that happen.”

Conflict doesn’t have to look like it did in our families growing up.  The word “conflict” is not a bad word in itself, but most people’s default way of handling it is not healthy.  There are skills that can be practiced and learned.  And aren’t our friendships worth it?

Nouwen, above, calls it the “complexity of intimacy between two people” and I think he’s right.  At its most deep and abiding, friendship is true and honest and doesn’t shy away from the fact that both people are bringing in baggage and bad habits, personality flaws and misunderstandings.  It will inevitably be complex.

And my hope and prayer is that I will mature enough to give my friendships what they truly deserve: loving honesty, forgiveness, and the chance to withstand conflict if and when it occurs.

What conflicts have you come up with, real or perceived, in your friendships?  How have you handled them?  

(A book that helped me tremendously in conflicts in my church work, and later even with family, is Crucial Conversations.  The tools I learned when reading this book would benefit the outcome of any conflict, be it personal or work-related.)

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

Photo credit

Journey to True Friendship- Sharpening

You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 MSG
If I had to pinpoint one thing that I missed most about the true friends I had in my twenties- before I moved, became involved in church work, and unwittingly got myself on my island– I would have to say it was that they weren’t afraid to say the hard things.  At its best and most true, friendship is not merely a mutual admiration society.

Of course, friendship should be a safe and encouraging place.  But a true friend won’t sit by and watch you make bad choices, allow you to fall into patterns of sin, or get lazy and shirk your responsibilities.  A true friend will, lovingly and gently, say what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.  A true friend will know your goals and take them seriously enough to make sure you remain on track.  A true friend will know when it’s time to just listen in silence, and when it’s time to give you a kick in the pants.
In the last eight years or so, as my basket #2 grew and flourished, I went to moms’ nights out, occasional Bible studies, moms’ group meetings and family events.  I had plenty of encouragement, laughs and support.  I commiserated with my friends about the life of a mom, sometimes shared prayer requests, and even occasionally my deeper struggles.  I don’t want to downplay these times because they were emotionally, socially and spiritually fulfilling in their own way.
But there were times I needed sharpening.  And you can’t sharpen steel with silk.  Or even terry cloth. Sharpening requires friction, something rough to scrape against.  I longed for someone who would help me become a better me when I lost sight of my goals and priorities.  Someone to whom I could confess my sins who wouldn’t shy away from holding me accountable even as she forgave, loved and prayed me through them.

To me this is a part of friendship that, while it may only take up a small percentage of actual day-to-day interaction, allows me to spiritually and emotionally rest, knowing that my friend truly has my back and I have hers.

Is this an important part of friendship for you?
How would it feel to have a friend who was willing to 
say the hard things while still fully 
accepting and loving you?  

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

Journey to True Friendship- Insecurities in friendship

I stood there silently, watching her back as she left.  Her strawberry-blonde ponytail swung against her shoulders.  I felt as if my life had crumbled into pieces and was now lying at my feet, beyond repair.

I was ten.

“You’re not my best friend anymore, Pam is,” she had said, before walking away.  We were at a picnic together, now I was alone.  And numb.

Middle school drama, of course, is nothing new, and plenty of children have experienced worse.  But for me, an introvert who would have preferred to spend all my time with this one friend, who had told my my mom when she found me sitting on my bed on Saturday afternoons that I didn’t need any other friends, it was a life changing moment.

Fast forward nearly thirty years.  Though it no longer has sting, and I see with wiser eyes, I can still easily remember the pain of that day.  And to be honest, that little ten-year-old girl still sits quietly inside me, occasionally whispering questions and doubts about my adult friendships.

Do you ever have fleeting, or perhaps not-so-fleeting, 
insecurities about your friendships?
Friendships are not static relationships.  In our grown-up lives, we will have fair-weather friends, friends for a season, friends that endure, friends that hurt us, friends that heal us, friends who give more and friends who give less.  When we are truly honest with ourselves we will admit that we are sometimes the fair-weather friend, the friend that gives less, and the friend that hurts.

But if we humbly look at friendship through the lens of God’s love, we see that insecurities have no place.

Does this mean that insecurity will not still be a presence in our lives and in our friendships?  No.  We are human, after all, and don’t have an easy eternal perspective, though we may get glimpses of one occasionally through the Spirit.  We are sometimes plagued with envy, selfishness, jealousy, moments of second-guessing what we’ve said or done, and feelings of unworthiness even as beloved children of the King.

But what it does mean, in my experience, is that we can call out our insecurities for the lies that they are, and trust in the goodness of the gifts God gives us in our (also very human) friends.

Looking back over years of friendships I can see that God guided all of them.  With some less healthy friendships, relationships that caused me to doubt who I was or try to be someone I was not, He spoke softly to me in various ways, gently encouraging me to invest less; with others, He, in His wisdom, grew them without much effort on my part.  In some friendships, where I have thought that I did something to bring distance, healing has come in the form of an apology from my friend for her lack of trust and vulnerability.  In others, a prompting from the Spirit for me to make things right has brought intimacy and closeness where I thought there could be none.  And through all of it, as I often looked to others to find my worth, the Lord taught me gradually what it really means to find true fulfillment in Him.

I still occasionally have an all-too-human tendency to be insecure in my friendships, but in prayer and praise I remind myself that God delights in me, and that if I delight myself in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart.  That He fills my cup to overflowing, and that looking elsewhere for that filling will only lead down the road of doubts and subtle, pervasive emptiness.  Turning my heart toward His brings confidence and peace and allows me again to find joy in the relationships with which He has blessed me.  When I am confident of my identity in Christ, I can more freely give and receive love in my friendships as well.

What insecurities have you struggled with in friendships?  
How can you release those going forward in order to experience fuller, more confident, relationships?

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

Photo credit

Journey to True Friendship- Just ask

We cannot wait passively until someone shows up to offer us friendship.  
As people who trust in God’s love, we must have the courage and the confidence 
to say to someone through whom God’s love becomes visible to us: 
“I would like to get to know you, I would like to spend time with you.  
I would like to develop a friendship with you.  What about you?”
Henri Nouwen, “Here and Now”

There are some people we just like being around.

Maybe they are the yin to our yang, the introvert to our crazy extroverted-ness, a leader when our tendency is to follow.  Maybe there is a grace there that we can’t seem to ignore, or a flair that we can’t seem to explain.  Perhaps we find that we have an odd hobby that we share a passion for, or our kids hit it off and we do too.

If you were to think about the people you see regularly, maybe the ones you see every once in a while (or perhaps even women you know through the online community), and choose a couple that stand out to you as people who, for you, have that special something, who would they be?  

Jot their names down.

Right now.  I’ll wait.

Ok.  Now think about what would it look like if you intentionally reached out and started pursuing a deeper friendship with them.  Maybe you could ask them for coffee.  Tell them you really enjoy their company and would like to get to know them better.  Toss an email their way and tell them that you admire them.

Scary?  Nerve-wracking?  Risky?

Yup.  Probably.

But what’s the worst that can happen?

There have been times in my life when I have intentionally reached out and a friendship I desired never took off.  And it wasn’t the end of the world.  It really wasn’t even all that uncomfortable.  Either the person I wanted to cultivate a deeper relationship with didn’t have the time or the ability to reciprocate, or the chemistry just wasn’t there as I hoped it would be.

One friend, who still remains a basket two friend, has two sisters locally and spends most of her social time with them.  With another woman, one whom I admire and look up to for so many reasons, conversations just don’t flow all that smoothly.  There have even been some times in my life when I had a basket three friend and I didn’t know which basket I was in for her.

And I’ve come to realize, with each of these friendships and others like them, that it’s OK.  Making friends is not an exact science.  

Given time, intentionality, communication, and vulnerability, the friendships we desire can be achieved.  We may be surprised at the way things develop, the situations that arise and bring us closer to, or distance us from, certain people in our lives, but nonetheless, maybe the time to wait for friendships to come to us is past.

Just ask.

What is it that holds you back?  

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

Photo credit

Journey to True Friendship- Making an investment

Having acquaintances doesn’t take much effort.  Surface conversations, easy laughter, see-ya-when-I-see-ya mindset.  The bulk of our friendships will fall into this category, and there is certainly a place for them.  There are so many wonderful people I love to see, hug and spend time with when our paths cross, but I don’t really make much effort to dig deeper into the relationships.

In Grown-Up Girlfriends, the authors use the imagery of baskets when they speak of friendships. The three baskets each hold a different level of friendship, and we need to be conscious of how many they each contain.  Basket one is for people who we see regularly, know their name, but not much else about: our children’s teachers, neighbors we’re not close with, etc.  Basket two is for our close acquaintances: our bible study friends, mom’s night out girls.  We share on a deeper level, but not everything.  These are not the friends we lean most heavily on in a time of need.  Our basket three friends, only a few people at most, are those soul-friends who help sustain us.  These are the women we invest in with more resources, time and emotional energy.

Sometimes, in certain seasons or for certain reasons, we only have acquaintances and don’t choose to invest further with anyone.  We have no basket three friends.  Perhaps it’s because of busyness, or a recent relocation, or even by choice.  Yet, whatever the reason, I think this is when we find ourselves the most lonely.  We may have dozens or more people surrounding us, but we are truly known by no one.

Investments cost.  Our basket three friends will require sacrifice of the most rewarding kind.  Time to pray for them, care for them, meet with them, listen to them and share with them.  Trusting them with our deepest needs, fears, and dreams.  Praying for them regularly and fervently, keeping our hearts connected either across town, or across the country.  Really digging deep into the true places of their souls and finding out what makes them tick, and how we can best meet their needs.  Working through challenges together and dealing with conflict head-on, if it occurs.

All of this takes effort.  And it is all worth it.

This weekend I challenge you to think about who your basket three friends are and how you can invest more into their lives and your relationships with them.  How can you pour more of yourself into those friendships?  If you have no basket three friendships at this time of your life, pray about who God may want you to approach about a deeper friendship.  

Do you have any topics you’d like to chat about next week in this series?  I’d love to add your ideas to my plans.  God has been faithful in helping to shape this journey and I’d love your input.

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

Photo credit

Journey to True Friendship- Do you know who you are?

“I want to be authentic.  I want to be loved and accepted for who I am.

To do that, I need to know who I am and be brave enough 
to be different from you.”
How well do you know yourself?  
I don’t mean how well do you know the you you want to be, but how clearly can you see the way you come across to others, the true quirks, personality traits, flaws, gifts, and patterns of your life?
Are you an introvert or extrovert?  Optimist or realist?  Short-tempered or patient?  Do you wear your emotions on your sleeve, or close to the vest?  Are you a leader or a follower?  Insecure or overconfident?  A nurturer or business-like?  First-born, or the baby of the family?  How do you handle conflict~ hide from it, or face it head-on, whatever the consequences?  What is your love language?  What are your spiritual gifts?
I have always been frustrated when people say, “That’s just the way I am.”  To me it sounds like a bit of a cop-out.  Saying “That’s just the way I am” shuts people down and basically is an excuse for poor behavior or lousy communication.  In Christ we always have the option to put on a new self, to become something better than what our human nature and innate personality dictate.  It is within our power to put off the old self, the sin patterns which entangle us.  And some days we feel that power.  Other times we feel weak.
In order to be comfortable with our friendships, we need to be comfortable within our own skin, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, behavior patterns and personalities, fears and expectations, and know that each person we meet comes with an entirely different set.  
The decade of my 30’s has been a time of discovery, and the things I’ve realized about myself haven’t always been pleasant.  It could have been a time of resignation, and if I’m completely honest, there have been times I have almost thrown up my hands and said the phrase I don’t like.  With a sigh, I think, “That’s just the way I am, Lord.  It’s hard to change.  Were you serious when you said I am a new creation in Christ?  Because I certainly feel just like the old one.”
If we search through the Bible, we will find that many (most?) of the people God used knew themselves pretty well, or at least they thought they did.  David readily accepted his flaws and was quick to turn back to the Father when they were pointed out.  Jonathan, the son of a king, submitted to the leadership of his friend David, realizing his purpose in the Kingdom.  Moses knew his weaknesses in speech.  Mary acknowledged her low position and wondered why she would be chosen for such a holy purpose.  Paul, in his fiery way, spread the gospel with such fervor, yet seemed to know how he came across to others, and it wasn’t always good.

God, working within each of them, working their gifts, personalities, and even flaws to His ultimate advantage, used them all.

And He will use us, even as He molds us.

It’s God’s intention to lead us to women who will grow us and who we can lead to growth in return.  That isn’t always comfortable.  But uncomfortable is often good.  Would we really want friends who are exactly like us anyway?  We are to fill in each other’s gaps, not have the same gaps.  True friendship accepts not only the positive and negative in the other person, but also the positive and negative within ourselves, knowing that the Lord will work all to His glory if we let Him.

So again I ask, how well do you know yourself?  Because only when you know yourself, can you truly be yourself with others.

  • The Myers-Briggs personality test is a common one (with cool codes for each of the types- you may have seen them tossed around).  Learn more about it here.
  • Take a Spiritual Gifts Analysis to discover the giftings you have to be used in the body of Christ
  • Find out what your main love language is.

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

Journey to True Friendship- Who do I choose?

The Lord was doing a new work in me.
I was no longer happy to paste a smile on, chat about the kids, share a glass of wine and call that friendship.  I wanted to show someone that I was broken too.  I wanted to get below the surface, find women who desired to follow God’s heart, and walk the journey together.  As I prayed, I asked for a soul-friend or two, women I knew God, in His wisdom, already had prepared for me, but my faith was weak.  I am an introvert, uncomfortable with new things, and insecure around new people.  Though my leadership role isolated me, it also was safe- people knew who I was and what I was good at.  
I knew that my time on the island was finished.  But regardless of this knowing, taking the obedient steps required in order to follow God’s leading would take more from me than I realized.  And aside from prayer, I didn’t know how else to proceed.

Where do you find friends?

We connect with people day in and day out, people who share our hobbies, our work, our children’s teachers, our neighborhoods, our faith.  Dozens of people each day, perhaps hundreds each week, each with their own personality and struggles and gifts and fears.
How can we know who to choose?  How do we assess who will be right, safe and compatible?
We, as human beings, and I believe women in particular, judge each other in ways big and small, at first glance, and at long look.  We compare.  Often we come up short, which reminds us that our insecurities and doubts about ourselves are warranted, and causes us to withdraw; other times we feel superior, and the beast of pride gobbles us up, hardening our hearts before spitting us back out to look down our noses at each other.
Am I the only one whose default mode is evaluation?

So is the act of making friends then, simply one in which we grab a big ruler and measure each other up one side and down the other, discerning how well we will fit?
What I’m discovering on my journey is that true friendship is the opposite of evaluation, when, and only when, it is God-made.

“Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste
in finding one another out.  It is the instrument by which God reveals 
to each the beauties of all the others.  They are no greater
than the beauties of a thousand other [women];
by Friendship God opens our eyes to them.  They are,
like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship,
increased by Him through the Friendship itself.”
~C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
While I had never heard it spoken of so eloquently, this truth is the freedom that I had been seeking.  I could trust God to bring into life an entity that was more than the companionship and pleasure of a solely human-made-and-sustained friendship.  If it is true that Friendship (with a capital ‘F’, as Lewis spoke of it) has a purpose far greater than simply sharing stories, laughter and tears- that it can truly make the participants more soul-beautiful, more Christ-like- than maybe it is also true that we, as Christian women, could forego the measurements, in favor of grace.

In all honesty, there will never be a lasting human friendship that will not cause pain of some sort, at some time, in some way.  Yet the three-fold cord so often spoke about in regard to marriage, applies as well to Friendship.  Focusing on the Giver of gifts allows us to accept with full grace the limitations of other women, in order that we may completely experience the beauties within them.

So along with my mask, I chose to toss my ruler.  And while there are times I still feel the urge to pick one or the other up, I now see them for the binding devices that they are.

How do you measure up?  Are you weary of the comparison game? Can you accept the weaknesses in yourself, and in others, to more fully embrace the “beauties” God can reveal?

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

Journey to True Friendship- Stepping off the island

I hid behind my leadership role.  I made excuses and put on my armor, fulfilling my role at the church without showing my humanness, without being vulnerable.  The smile never faded, the spring never left my step.  I was the quintessential “good Christian girl”: good at my job, good at mommyhood, good at praying aloud, good at being the encourager.

It all fit so neatly into my desire to be perfect, because then at least everyone thought I really was.  The mask fit so well, I began to believe the features truly were mine.  The mask was comfortable, but I was lonely.

Though I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, I was living as if it was more important to not make mistakes, than it was to make true friends.

Six years I lived like this, not letting anyone in.  I had experienced true friendship.  I had a few friends who knew me inside and out, and who loved me regardless of my faults, but most of them were hundreds of miles away.  It felt like thousands.  I was sure that eventually I would make friends like that in this new place, but little did I know that as the months and years went by, I was steadily building up a wall, brick by brick, that would end up isolating me from all I desired in relationships.  I was making myself an island.

“When people think we are perfect, without insecurities or faults, it works against connection.  Vulnerability creates connection faster than almost anything.”
Lisa Whelchel, “Friendship for Grown-Ups”

How do you go from this place of isolation, no matter how you’ve achieved it, to a place of vulnerability and trust?  How do you take that first step?
For me it was the realization that God wanted me in a place of abundance.  That He created me for community, and that community meant allowing myself to be broken and laid bare before other women. With that realization, came a choice:

to obey and reach out, or deny His waiting gifts. 

I opened my heart to Him in prayer and acknowledged the void that I had created.  I knew that the choice to obey would not bear fruit immediately, and that it carried the risks of being uncomfortable, and even wounded.

But it meant that I would be taking the first steps toward getting off of my island.

So I picked up the paddle, and set off.

Have you ever been on an island emotionally?  What brought you there and how did you leave it?  If you haven’t left, are you ready to take that first step?

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

Journey to True Friendship- It should be easy

It should be easy.

I watch my children as they effortlessly make friends everywhere- the park, the library, church.  They find someone with common interests and just start talking.  Before long they’re playing together and I hear all about their new friends when we get back in the car.

Friendship, to my children, is easy.

Why is it, then, that the years seem to take that simple act of friend-finding and complicate it, turning it into something elusive and complex?  The playful friendships of elementary school make way for middle school insecurities and fickleness, which later fade away in favor of the more subtle mask-wearing relationships of young adulthood.

By the time we reach the challenging life-stage which perhaps includes marriage and parenthood, many of us are more isolated than ever before.  And we may not even know how we got to the island we’re living on.

Is it that the deeper our issues get, the less likely we are to share things below the surface?

Is it that we ourselves have forgotten how to just accept someone as they are in favor of trying to make them like us?

Is it that comparison robs us of the ability to truly connect on a heart-and-soul level with other women?

When you boil it down to its barest, and most honest, essentials, what does true Christian friendship look like?

I have been on a journey. 

~I have battled loneliness, even amidst a group of friends.

~I have cried out to my husband, expressing my heart’s need for friends who truly understand me.

~I have prayed with hands clasped in sadness and grief over friendships that I thought were true but fell apart, deep down wondering what I did wrong.

~I have met a few women, and longed to have their friendship, but ignored the desire of my heart, assuming that they had plenty of friends and didn’t need another.

~I have reached out in friendship, only to have my hand pushed aside.

~I have found it infinitely easier at times to hide behind a wall of perfectionism and smiles, than to show brokenness and risk rejection.

But, even with all of these experiences, I have tasted enough of true friendship in my life to know that I want more of it.

Do any of these resonate with you?

If so, join me for the next two weeks and we can explore together how to fill the void that opens up when we find ourselves without true friends, soul-deep friends, with whom we can be real.

It’s time to remove the mask.

I am sharing this act of journeying with five wonderful women, 
also writing about the travels of their hearts:

Heather~ Journey Toward a Prayerful Life
Kris~ Journey Out of Fear
Erika~ Journey Into the Word
Emily~ Journey Toward Rest
Nicole~ Journey of Providence

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