“Well they must be dumb.” The young, thin postal worker’s eyes bulge a little in the light of his computer screen. “They tried to send your letter to…Nebraska.” He turns again to me, lips pursed. “Aha,” I say, eyebrows raised. “Well, that’s not even close to Germany!” “Right?” We both laugh. My letter will be…
“Christmas gift, give it to me!” That’s how my grandfather would greet us at the front door on Christmas Day every year. I remember him sometimes having a bell, but always wearing a smile. We’d walk in past the columns on the front porch that he so proudly wrapped with red ribbon to look like…
I was confronted not long ago by a fellow Believer. She questioned my actions in a situation and then gave me Scripture references to back up her words. She wasn’t mean, or spiteful in any way, but of course it still hurt. This wasn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, over the course…
“Girl, I can’t believe you’re still single. I should totally set you up with one of my friends!” I have heard this more than once. My friends who are in romantic relationships sometimes pity my solitary state and try to “fix it” by matching me up with someone. The funny thing is, I rarely feel…
I’m doing a great job keeping up with her, I patted myself on the back as I drove home from school one day. Balancing life as a wife, a new mom, and a graduate student was challenging, yet I still managed to squeeze in a lunch date with one of my closest friends, who at the…
It’s embarrassing to admit it but somehow I have reached my mid thirties and still am not exactly sure how to crack the code of creating authentic, especially local, friendships. No matter how I try, I feel perpetually floundering when it comes to making friends as an adult. Even though my introverted self would have…
One of the strongest friendships in my life is the most unorthodox. It’s the one where we’ve rarely had a real-time conversation. Instead, we swap voicemails–these detailed, emotive, startlingly-honest monologues–and we have for nine years now. Currently, we live 3,065 miles (i.e. one very expensive airline ticket) apart. This is also one of the deepest,…
I signed up for a women’s retreat for our church, and the nerves of my introverted side made me anxious for the weekend. After I arrived and settled in the Southern California mountain retreat, the rhythm of the weekend allowed for depth and friendships to form.
On the final night of the retreat, the speaker shared the value of vulnerability in community, organically leading to beautiful moments with six new friends that night. One of those friends shared how God restored her marriage, and her authenticity trickled into every part of our veins.
Since we didn’t want our time together to come to a crashing end once we drove away from the mountains, we decided to start meeting twice a month in each other’s homes and build on the started foundation.
Through the decade that followed, our group of six became life to our bones. We walked through medical issues, raising kids, depression, financial and job challenges, marriage struggles, and celebrating major victories, among a plethora of other opportunities life threw at us.
We cried. We prayed. We laughed. We cheered.
It was as if we’d entered the story of the Israelites defeating the Amalekites. Joshua was on the front lines per Moses’ orders.
I stare at her text.
“I felt like you were dismissive and controlling. . .”
It’s like the phone burns my hand. I put it down and gaze out the window, willing myself not to cry, trying to gather my thoughts.
In following one friend’s advice, I inadvertently offended two others. And quickly clouding my sense of how I should respond and what to do next, shame swirls in.
I’m no good at this friendship thing. I don’t know how to do this. I am a terrible friend.
Run. Hide. Quit.
Though I’m confident keeping a home, doing a job, even teaching a classroom, being a friend is not a skill that comes easily to me. I’m much better at projects than at people.
But I know as human beings, we are created to love and be loved.
We are made in the image of God, meant to relate not just vertically but also horizontally.
It’s ultimately sin that fractures our friendships and causes the confusion, the isolation, the loneliness.
On a sunny Friday in October, I sat in my friend’s hallway and helped her pack up her husband’s office. We chatted as we have on countless other Fridays about love and marriage, children and parenting, faith and loss. Neither of us wanted to dwell overlong on the fact that this would be our last…
“Elizabeth, I trust that you’ll make a good decision,” said my friend as we tromped through the woods on a long hike where we had been discussing a difficult situation I was in at the time. Not only was the decision tricky but also it involved a personally emotionally charged issue from my friend’s past.
Instead of telling me what I should do, recommending five books for me to read, and then praying for me in quivering tones, my friend had simply shared her experience and then let me know that I had her trust and support no matter what.
Her vote of confidence meant the world to me and put me in a place of peace with myself and peace with her. I knew that she was the type of person whom I was totally safe to share my life and struggles with. And her example really challenged me to reconsider how I respond when friends come to me with difficult situations, particularly those that trigger something emotional from my past.
Female friendships can be difficult to navigate as much as they are beneficial to the soul. Grace and patience are required in abundance. (But that’s true for any type of relationship, right?!) Reading about friendships provides a unique opportunity to mold and reform your own behavior using a perspective a little further removed from your…