Girlfriends are such a precious and essential gift God gives us. Those timeless relationships that bear witness to kindred spirits who seem to glide effortlessly along life’s path with you. We all desire those close relationships in our life and need them to thrive. God created us to be in close relationship with one another because we are made in His image, His likeness, and that is to love others as we would want to be loved ourselves.
My friend attended a party at my house as a guest holding the arm of her date, a dear friend of my husband and mine. We knew she was coming and was so looking forward to meeting this wonderful woman we had heard so much about. It wasn’t but a week earlier that I had stepped back from a 15 year friendship that had broken my heart. It was a difficult decision to make but stepping back is not the same as breaking up. She needed room to navigate her circumstances on her own and I needed to release her into the the faithful and loving arms of my Heavenly Father. Friendship requires sacrifice that sometimes asks us to let go.
As one door closes another opens. I didn’t realize till the end of the evening, after everyone had said their good-bye’s, that the two people who remained included a new friend. Standing in the kitchen cleaning up the days dishes and packing up left-overs with this gal was totally natural. She knew my kitchen better than I did. In that moment, between the snacking on left-overs and laughter, I knew I had met a friend. God always provides in a time of need.
As we get older we come to realize the value of friendship. When I was teenager my friends were boxed into groups based on our common interests, and my most common interest at that age was getting high under the bleachers of the football field. As we experience life, overcome hardship, and mature, we take notice of those individuals who stick around through it all. We start to sift through our relationships, learning to appreciate their uniqueness from acquantences and fair weather friends, to trusting and deeply loving friendships. We might even find that we have fewer friends only because we are becoming more intentional with building those lasting realtionships.
Proverbs 27:9 TPT, “Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.”
She gets me – and I get her. The gift of friendship is not wrapped in shopping trips, being invited to coffee, or commenting on each others posts. It’s not found in play dates, backyard barbecues, or birthday parties. The gift of friendship arrives when she invites you into her world, no holds barred, nitty gritty, filthy, and out of order life. It is found when our kids disappoint us and our marriage is struggling that she empthasizes with sweet words of encouragement, reminding you that God is faithful. The gift of friendship is unwrapped in the compassion and prayers filled with comfort offered through tears shared over loss. It is being invited into her reality, unfiltered yuck, and painful moments of imperfection. And when we fail at life, make mistakes, choose the wrong path, she is there forgiving, leading, and encouraging us to finish the race.
It is in those imperfect moments that we get to celebrate God’s gift of friendship.