Last night, I had the supreme pleasure of a girls’ night out with two of my very best girlfriends, Colleen and Barb.
This is the only picture I could find of all three of us together!! It’s from last fall’s camping adventure (husbands present, but not photographed!).
We met at a local eatery, drinks, appetizers, and desserts were devoured, and laughter abounded as we joked and talked about the not-so-serious and downright-silly.
We also talked serious about the “real” stuff going on in our lives: husbands, kids (where applicable!), families, our own personal struggles in being Godly women.
It was good.
There was a time in my life when I did not consider it to be very important to maintain friendships. I struggled with wondering why I didn’t have that group that I just “clicked” with, and wondering why friends didn’t naturally flow into my life. As I’ve lived with depression, one of my personal struggles over the years was that I would never call people back, I would cancel plans (if I actually managed to make some!), and generally stayed to myself completely.
In junior high and high school, I was blessed with a group of fantastic girlfriends. We weren’t the most popular, or the least, we were just part of the landscape of our high school but for us, we were the greatest. As we’ve grown up, our lives have certainly gone in different directions, but we still keep in touch and they all hold such a special place in my heart.
Well… Not the best picture! But we’re all there (plus two extras, but I won’t tell you who!). You may recognize Sarah, still one of my great friends, and Nicki, who just got married in December!
I think the ease with which these friendships came even though, I now realize, I put minimal effort into them, spoiled me! When these ladies nearly all left town after high school and I stayed behind, I realized that I had no friendship skills! Bad news. And worse news, I was too deep in depression to try to figure it out. But I was super sad.
Thankfully this story has a happy ending. But before that, I spent years praying, but not actively trying; sad, lost, and confused. As a couple, Terry and I also had the same struggles ~ we didn’t have any “couple” friends who fit the criteria of both living in our same town and being at a similar life stage to us. I continue to pray for God to put the people in our lives that He wants here, in His time.
We, and I, are finally at a place in our life where we have friends. Although along the way I
may have definitely questioned God’s plan a time or two, I can see that He was working His plan, His way, in His time. And now we are blessed with a fantastic group of couples in our lives who get us, who we can be real with, and silly as well; we even have our brand-new friends from the retreat. I have not only the two lovely ladies above, but my book club ladies, and the friends that I’ve made in Character Development. My life has suddenly become filled with friendships that are deep and fulfilling.
A few things I’ve learned along the way:
- It takes work to maintain friendships.
- Women need other women.
- If I feel like I’m the one always reaching for awhile, it doesn’t mean my friend doesn’t like me. It means that they may have stuff going on. They still want to be my friend.
- Sometimes, even with the best of friends, I still have that “I don’t want to” feeling. Terry gave me a pep talk once that basically consisted of “too bad, go anyway.” That has always stuck with me, and I never regret going anyway.
- Women can find other women intimidating and unapproachable. It turns out, we all feel that way! Getting to know each other bridges that gap and makes it easier for all of us.
My definition of friendship: real people, sharing real stuff, about real life.
God calls us to fellowship. It’s part of His plan. He didn’t promise it would be easy. Here’s what His word has to say:
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.
What have you learned about friendship over the years?