Tag Archives: friendships

Broken Friends

 

“Confront me with the truth and I’ll shut up, show me where I’ve gone off the track. Honest words never hurt anyone, but what’s the point of all this pious bluster? You pretend to tell me what’s wrong with my life, but treat my words of anguish as so much hot air. Are people mere things to you? Are friends just items of profit and loss?
 
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Warning!  Warning!  Warning!!
What you are about to read may cause you to remember some not so nice things about your past.  I apologize up front for any emotional roller coaster I have taken you on.  
 
Just recently the Lord has been dealing on my past, as ugly as some of it was, and the things He brought to my attention were not so pretty.  My life as many of yours, has not been a bed of roses.  My parents adopted me when I was 9 months old and I was brought into a home where I was wanted and loved but the same did not ring true for my parents.  My dad drank and my mom constantly nagged him.  As I grew older I just wanted to run away to where ever I could escape the stress.
 
As I looked to friendships to fill voids in my life, I learned to confide in others very easily and I trusted.  Always trusted.  Then at age 5 my best friend Wendy moved away.  Now some say age 5??  Well I remember as if it was yesterday.  I remember waving goodbye on the curb as my only friend was driven away by her parents.  Then at age 8 my next best friend Kim moved to Texas with her family.  I still can remember the emptiness I felt as one by one they left.
 
Then the heart-breaker was when Eleanor died and went to be with Jesus.  I don’t remember how old I was but I remember waiting for her to come home on the bus (she was handi-capped) and as soon as she would get off the bus we would go lay in the grass for hours and watch the clouds in the sky.  When Jesus took her home I was just devastated.  As time went by I had friends but no one really close until just before Junior High.  My friend and I got really close and I spent more time at her house than my own.  Her sisters and brothers were like my own.
 
Then one day she confronted me and all of a sudden she did not like me anymore.  She said she did not like the way I did my hair or make up and other various things about me and it shattered my idea of what best friends were.  Through out the remainder of Junior High and High school I had friends.  Some were close and others were just fun to hang out with.  At this point I really did not want to get too close to anyone.  The rejection that I felt from my past Best Friend relationships was too much to bear repeating.
 
When I got married, my ex-husband separated me from most of my friends. As my life began to revolve itself around raising kids and taking care of my ex-husband and trying to hold down a full time job, I felt I just did not have time for any friendships.  Even when I started to go back to church I really did not see any need to seek out a best friend.  I figured God was all I had left and He would never leave me.
 
Just recently my husband and I started a class at church called Love and Respect and the facilitator was instructing the husbands to choose someone to be accountable to.  He said the wives did not need to do that because they always were talking to someone on the phone or had a circle of friends to help hold them accountable.  My immediate thought was, “Not Me!”  I no longer have a best friend.  I have no one in my life except my husband to confide in.  I don’t have someone to call at 2 am if I have a crisis that just needs a girlfriends help.  I was bestfriendless…..and to me that was just fine.
 
What I saw in all of this was rejection.  I did not even realize I had a fear of rejection until that man spoke that one sentence about finding an accountability partner other than our spouse………
God has a funny way of doing things for sure.  After class I was in the sanctuary during the opening welcome and a friend came to me with exciting news and I just looked at her with tears in my eyes and I asked her to be my best friend.  
 
Here is another prime example of how God knows exactly what we need before it’s anything we want in life and soon we come to the realization that it’s what we needed all along.  For me it is on to new beginnings.  I am searching the face of God on this new best friend relationship.  It’s been so long for me that I am not sure I even know how to be a best friend to anybody but my hubby.  
 
So now that I have bared my soul on Best Friends I hope I have not stirred up some things in you, BUT, if I did, I pray God begins a new work in you.  I pray God leads you to that perfect friendship.  A friendship that is lasting and edifying,  One that will withstand any storm it faces.  God is love and love is true friendships.  We all need that one person separate from our home life that we can trust and confide in.  Someone who will listen.  Someone who will laugh and cry with you.  But most of all someone who will hold you to that higher standard.
 
 
 
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Empty Glasses

Joel 1:17

The seeds die in the parched ground, and the grain crops fail. The barns stand empty, and granaries are abandoned.
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Sometimes we fail.  Often we say the wrong things before we can close our mouths.  Maybe we pushed someone away because they did not see things the way we do.  Perhaps we just closed our eyes and prayed for the best.  It’s like taking an empty glass to a desert, planting a seed and expecting it to grow and be fruitful.  When we come at something empty, we produce an empty and broken atmosphere.  Yes I am speaking my heart right now as I look across certain circles in my life and find that I am missing several friends who once were close.  What happened?  Was I the empty glass?  Did I not have a desire within me to nurture life?
I probably could spend all night listing all of the things I could have possibly done in the past to hurt others or to make them want to leave my life.  I  admit I am not the best at making friendships work.  It’s not selfishness or pride, it’s just I get tired of trying to be the good guy.  I want to love like Jesus does with all that compassion and grace and I have a desire to love people right where they are at…..yet…..I fail.  Why? Maybe I still have some brokenness.  Maybe I am just too busy.  Maybe I just don’t know what to say or do in certain situations and people think I have just let them go.
This is me.  I am a product of revival.  A creation only God could make.  I am who I am, faults and all.  I am a kind of love me or let me person be I guess.  I have so many things consuming my life right now…work, family, church….how do I make it all balance and still work on relationships?  Let’s get Biblical for a moment.  What did Jesus command us to do right before He left us?  To love one another and spread the Good News.  Are we really filling those shoes if we walk around with empty glasses?
What exactly is an empty glass?  Well, judgments, bitterness, unforgiveness, grudges, feeling unloved or unaccepted, mistrust, not letting the past go, misunderstandings, hatred, religion…..I could go on but it’s not pretty.  What fills those glasses? Grace.  How many of us have empty glasses?  I have lost several friendships in the recent past due to my new marriage.  What?  Am I not happy and content and still following after God with all I am? Am I perfect at it?  Nope.  Do I do my best? Perhaps not always.  Am I allowing God to change me as I go?  You betcha!  Maybe that’s wrong with me….I am too surrender.
How silly does that sound?  Too surrendered.  I guess what I am trying to get to is quite simple, I don’t want to be an empty glass and if I have been that to anyone reading this, I stand asking for forgiveness.  I miss my friends.  I miss the passion we once shared for God.  I long for my glass  to be overflowing so that wherever I go I will water the ground.  I want to be a source of strength for someone else.  I want my life to matter for God.
We as a body of Christ need to learn how to step in and stand beside our sister or brother even if we don’t always understand what God is doing in their lives.  We need to love them right where they are and not judge them.  We need to love one another not because we are perfect at being Christians, but because we recognize we all have pain.  We all have past hurts.  We all made wrong choices sometimes.  We need to learn to seek God in the matters before us and not with our own wisdom.  Yes, as Christians following after God we need to learn how to tell people that Jesus loves them no matter what and we should be able to do the same.
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Lord, fill my glass to overflowing.  Change what you need to change in me.  Give me the compassion to love.  Show me how to be a friend.  Let me not grow weary in sharing who You are to others.  Allow me to leave a river of You wherever I go.  Teach me Your ways Lord and give me wisdom to speak the right words.  Thank you for the grace which fills my glass to overflowing each time I come to you.

Closer Bonds

Proverbs 18:24
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

photo by Victoria Welc

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, makes and models and seasons.  Ever notice we have friends for every season of our lives?  Childhood ones who help us dream and play pretend.  Teenage friends who influence our thinking and challenge what choices we make.  And then there are grown-up friends, the ones who understand what you are going through and love you no matter what is going on in your life.  I am blessed to have several of these persons in my life and I still have childhood friends though we are separated by miles, we remember the times we shared.  I feel God sends us just the right persons into our lives at just the right times so that we may experience whatever He has planned for us in that span of time.

We may lose friends here and there, but I think it is certainly for reasons we may never see until we go to heaven.  I remember losing my best friend across the street at age 5.  Her name was Wendy and I cried for days after she moved away.  Then there was my best friend Kim who moved to Texas when I was 8.  Christian who moved when we were 12.  It seemed every few years I would lose another close friend as they moved with their families.  There would be sadness for awhile and then a new friend would arrive and all would be well again.  The pain of losing close friends whom you have shared what seems like a lifetime together sure is hard.

Then there are the friends who leave you because they do not match where you are going in life.  I remember my best friend ditched me right as we were starting junior high.  She decided she no longer liked anything about me my hair, my clothes, my make-up and apparently who I was as a person.  I had no warning to this as we had been close for awhile.  Certainly here again, God had a plan in mind.  I met some new friends and those ones I have had since school.  We may not see each other as often as we would like, but we are still connected.  We often cannot see what God may be protecting us from when He takes friends into other directions, but surely it must have been for our own good.

Of course, there are the friends who leave us for other adventures as God calls them home to be with Him.  I had a friend who lived across the street.  She was a down-syndrome child and was older than me.  I was too young to understand everything about Eleanor at the time, but I knew I loved to spend time with her.  I waited patiently everyday for her bus to drop her off so that we could play.  We spent hours just laying on our backs watching the clouds go by trying to tell each other what we saw.  One day we just grew apart and soon after she ended up passing on.  I never will forget those moments I had with her, I thank God for those few short years we had as friends.

Now as I am older, I still need friends, however it seems I need accountability more than anything.  I have since stopped worrying about what everyone else thinks of me and the junior high days are gone.  I have learned to trust God to send me the right people for my life even if at first they don’t seem to like me much first at.  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we must learn the value of the people in our lives.  Now some may be closer than others but as the Body of Christ we must learn to play well with others.  I totally trust God to protect me if I make wrong choices for friends and He has separated me from some who may have led me astray.

Friends are something everyone needs and my heart breaks for those who do not have any.  I  also feel much compassion for those who still feel alone even when they have lots of friends so it seems, but in reality, they are just being used for some reason or another.  I witness terrible friendships everywhere and it just stings when a person is a friend to someone until they walk away or step out of the room.  As I have grown in my relationship with Christ, I try so very hard to not participate when others are talking about someone.  I would not want that to happen to me and so I try not to get sucked into back talk and gossip.  Now as I have always been honest here, I fail sometimes, after all I am human and have many faults, however the more I desire not to be someone like that, the easier it is to walk away or stop the conversation.

Everyone of us have feelings and they get hurt or even destroyed sometimes which is why I think God brings so many people in and out of our lives.  He gives us endless opportunities to make new friends and keep the old.  Sometimes I think it is just for testing and perhaps a friend who quickly passes through may have just been an angel.  I cannot pretend to know what God is up to, yet I feel in my spirit this thread of truth:  God exposes us to different people and personalities so that may grow closer as the Body of Christ begins to form.  If we only had one group of friends for our entire life, we would never be able to fit in anywhere else.  Cherish the friendships you have had and the ones currently active in your life.  When God calls His bride, I assure you more friends will be present than ever before and we will need to know how to interact so we can be effective as a living example for Christ.