I am not a fighter. I’m a peacemaker by nature; a keeper of secrets; a respecter of privacy. I ruffle few feathers. Diplomatic, that’s me. My awareness of boundaries and personal privacy sometimes keeps people at a distance—not too close—even friends. Yes, sadly, even friends.
But in good friendships, like good marriages, disagreements happen. There’s a saying: If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary. I don’t want friendships that wither, stifled by a distaste for conflict, where one of us feels unnecessary, where opposing positions aren’t discussed.
Some women possess a gift for encouraging others to open up more than they would otherwise. Sometimes you have to gently probe to take a relationship beyond shallow waters. I want to be the girl who’s not afraid to ask hard questions; who digs deeper; leans in close and listens long to words heart-spoken; inspires trust; encourages truth and honesty.
Differences in opinion can divide, but friendship is worth the effort. Friendship is worth fighting for.
Some relationships are ready-made: your kids play for the same team, you attend the same Bible study, you take your little ones to the same playgroup. Others require work, when distance and schedules separate rather than connect.
Will you make the effort to maintain a friendship? To actively pursue it? It might be as simple as a timely text, a card in the mail, a phone call while running errands. Be the one to initiate a girls night out. Just don’t fail to express the simple but powerful message: I’m thinking of you.
Some of you may be in a season where friendships seem scarce. Maybe you’re new to your area, tangled in toddlers, or working long hours outside the home. Maybe you’re self-sufficient and tend to keep to yourself. Even the most independent—and certainly the most isolated— among us need community.
We worship a relational God who calls us to serve one another. He endows us with gifts—encouragement, hospitality, giving, wisdom—which can be expressed fully within the bonds of friendship. The (in)RL conference is a perfect chance to forge community and love on ladies in your area. This will be my third year to host and women always come to my home who don’t know me or anyone else there.
While building long-term friendships is always a goal, I recognize that sometimes God places the right people in our paths for an hour or a day. Recently a woman waved me to her table in a crowded mall food court when she saw I couldn’t find a place to sit. I enjoyed 45 minutes of conversation with her and her friend. We talked about motherhood, education, and how we celebrate Christmas. I heard words that I needed to hear and shared a lovely lunch with two ladies I’ll probably never see again. God moved in the middle, aware that I needed connection more than solitude.
Are you in a season rich with community or is it time to buckle down and build or maintain relationships? The effort is worthy. Friendship is worth the fight.
by Dawn Camp, My Home Sweet HomeLeave a Comment
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I am very blessed to have good friendships…people who God has placed in my life for a short time or perhaps a long season. My very best friend (17 years worth of friendship) is preparing to move to retire with her husband and be closer to family. While my heart rejoices with her for this opportunity, it also hurts a lot for what I will be missing. Considering she will be 8 hours away by car, we will have to fight for our friendship. I know it will be different, but you were spot on when you said friendships as so worth fighting for. Meanwhile, God has been raising up other friends who are not moving away…He is so faithful if we will sit still long enough to tune into His leading. Thank you for a wonderful and encouraging post this morning!
Dawn Camp says
Bev, I know this must be hard, but it sounds like you have a friendship that can withstand distance. I’m thankful for your other friendships that are growing stronger, too!
See, this is where being Dutch comes in handy. Often I notice how my culture is so different from the American culture, how I am different from my American friends. But in this case, it’s not a bad thing. We never hold back from asking more or deeper questions. I love that about me. I love people’s heart and it is always my desire to meet someone’s heart. I notice while living in the States that people tend to not ask, you see them wonder…
I had never heard of this quote and love it: There’s a saying: If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.
Dawn Camp says
Hope, I’ve always envied people who manage to ask deeper questions without doing it in an offensive way. You can get to know the person more and know how to pray for and love them better. I never thought about it being cultural.
Kelly Kozak says
What an inspiring piece. I love my friends but distance and even life gets in the way. Need to make more of an effort.
Angela Nazworth says
This post is so lovely and encouraging, Dawn. Thank you for writing it so beautifully. I’m in an in between season …because of our many moves, most of my closest friends live hundreds of miles from me. It gets tricky to balance time for new friendships while nurturing long-distance relationships. All worth it though. I want to be the friend that you mention in this post.
I am in a season of seeming friendlessness. It seems my close friends have all moved distantly in the physical sense and/or relational. Our children have all grown and moved away, gathering together in their own homes and apartments – we no longer have that tie of co-parenting to keep us in touch with each other. Or, friends have moved out of state for job or health reasons. Others are moving into the grandparent stage as actual grandparents- and me- I am a Mama-grandma, raising my grandchild. While friends exclaim how fun grand-parenting is and plan play days and outings with their grandchildren I am running to preschool and conferences, deciding whether to home-school or not, thinking about music lessons, and wondering how to develop a friend base for a child, when all my contacts for friendship actually avoid interaction with me because I am constantly attending to a young child’s needs; it’s one interruption after another, after another while trying to visit of go somewhere. I feel isolated and alone. I’ve reached out in Bible study, Sunday school classes, and just in general. I’ve made lists of things to pursue for my own growth and to meet new people to ward off these negative feelings, and although I continue to learn and grow, I still come away unconnected with anyone.
As I type this, I have received a heartfelt e-mail from a true friend, prayer warrior, and kindred spirit. Unfortunately she lives thousands of miles away and does not wish to speak by phone, so we e-mail back and forth. It is what feeds my friend hunger when I am starving. I will press on in my friend quest. I am searching for a grandparents group in my area (I wanted to start one at my church and was told there wasn’t a need). I will continue to trust Him for the desires of my heart and the outcome in my situation. There is great joy in each day, even in the toughest moments.
Dawn Camp says
Juliea, I pray you find or start a grandparents’ group. This sounds like a difficult season, but I see how important you must be to your grandchild. It sounds like you are much needed! Your long-distance friend sounds like a great blessing, too. Sometimes they are the greatest support.
Joanne Peterson says
I am also a grandmother who the Lord called to adopt our tow boys now 3 and 4. Statistics say 10% of all children in the US are being raised by grandparents, and 23% of all adoptions are being raised by parents who are 55 years of age and older.
I’m not sure where we all are located. There certainly are quite a few of us. I just don’t run into any of them myself.
I do identify with what you are saying. I’m in the same place. I don’t know where you are according to your life. I became involved in MOPS. I don’t really identify with the women being young, but I do identify with being a mom again after what would have been an empty nest. I do identify with the Mentor mom. They are a lovely, lovely group of women. The children are just that, children.
This is very difficult. One day at a time, and one issue at a time. The Lord does reveal what He would like you to do for each situation. I did home school the first time around. I know I am not called the second time around. I am very much at peace with what the Lord has said we are to do for school now. (I never thought I would say that 16 years ago)
In many ways raising children in my 50’s is harder than the first time around. I had a built in support group, and more energy, and built in children in the neighborhood. But, I have to hold onto the promise that the Lord told us we would have everything we need to raise our two boys. So I have to make a conscious decision to believe Him.
I shall be praying for both of us.
Dawn Camp says
You are brave women and I’m overwhelmed by this job you’ve taken on, to step outside your comfort zone for the good of your grandchildren. Blessings to you!
Edwina Cowgill says
What a timely message for me as I struggle with feelings invoked by how a friend is treating me- or at least how I per
Edwina Cowgill says
oops – didn’t mean to hit the post key!
Anyway, I am perceiving her treatment in one way – and she may not even be aware of her treatment or my perceptions.
Donna T says
Thank you for this. I believe that God is calling His women to form the friendship bonds needed. It is becoming more important, I know, in my life.
Today’s world is making us less and less personable. Separating us. God is working to change that.
I have believed the lies that my good friend is too busy or has her own life so I only wait until I can get to NC to visit & spend time with her. I realize today this is a lie. I realize it is my fear of rejection. I WILL reach out to my friend today.
Thank you for this & thank God for reaching out to His women.
“I Simply Love this”
at my age figured out how much we need each other in our lives
Friendships for me have always been work. I am such an introvert that when I finally look up, so to speak, I realize how lonely I am. Friendships weren’t encouraged in my family of origin and I guess it just became ingrained in me; however, I do encourage my kids to have friends and be good friends. I know how precious a good friend can be; I may only be able to count my good friends on one hand, but I appreciate them so much. This article has inspired me to tell them that and to pour into intentionally being more of a good friend. Thanks!
Dawn Camp says
Lola, nurturing a few close friendships is a wonderful thing and more of a blessing than many that aren’t as deep.
Kathy Dryden says
I was recently contemplating reviving a friendship that went by the wayside. My concern was how to do that without seeming angry and distraught. Circumstances just led us away from each other. I have spoken to her many times in my mind , but it is time to use pen and paper. Your post today hellped me know that God is directing me and i must follow His lead. Thank you.
Thank you for this beautiful post. I’m this friend, person and I was this spouse who is always digging deeper. I want to really understand the other person, meet them where they truly are, see their heart and have a beautiful, vulnerable connection. It is built on authenticity and trust…unfortunately some people are not willing to reveal their true self.
This is a powerful message. I really miss my sister and friend. I wish we live close together, so we can have those close friendship moments. I thank God for the time we do have sharing, teaching, and listening. Remember to always cherish friendship
I can appreciate your words today. I am the same type of person, introspective and keeper of friends, yet I ask the hard questions and sometimes that makes it hard to develop the relationships I’d love to have. My distant friends, in geography, are often my closest because we try and are not hindered by the seasonal/circumstance friendships. It makes me want to pull back more, but I have found the risk, even though it may hurt, has provided rich joys because I am always walking with the Lord. When He is in the friendship our connection is continuous. Thank you for writing such an encourahing reminder. I needed to remember that connection.
True friends are precious. Life long commitments. Loving commitments.
I’ve lots to do in our church. There’s never a dull moment in my life. We get together five days a week in our church in small groups. All different groups. It’s awesome. We enjoy each other’s company and bond and eat and talk and pray and study the bible and worship the LORD in Spirit and in TRUTH.
True friends are a gift from the LORD that can never be replaced by any other.
Dawn Camp says
Karyn, you have such a full life. Friendship is a blessing!
I am blessed to have a woman I call my “best” friend. We met at the beginning of 6th grade (way back in 1978) and were inseparable all the way through high school. Distance separated us after that as we both began college, jobs, and raising families, but, even now, I can text her any time and it’s like the distance and the years just melt away. There were times when we have been brutally honest with each other, but it never caused a rift. It’s mutual respect for each other that keeps our friendship alive….that and a love on antiques and historic buildings!
Sadly, while that friendship is strong even through the years, I have another friend that is completely opposite. I struggle with that friendship. I often feel guilty because there are times when I just don’t want to be around her. She has a good heart, but she is very needy. If I’m honest with her after she asks my opinion (which she knows if she doesn’t want honesty, don’t ask), and it differs from how she feels, she get upset and thinks I’m judgmental. I pray for her, but haven’t spent much time with her in the last few months simply because it’s exhausting. Please pray for this friend. She is struggling, she needs to turn back to God and seek Him rather than other things in life.
I am relatively new to (in)courage and very new to all of these blogs! I can relate wholeheartedly to this as I am finding myself seeming very isolated most of the time. I am sometimes the one to start up a conversation with a stranger, which I never would have done five years ago so obviously my shell is beginning to crack but I want more abundant, deeper relationships than the ones I have currently (I have two people that I would call close friends). I am 29 and single so meeting other people at school functions or soccer games isn’t something that affects me right now. I am also a college student once again so I am surrounded by people most of the time but I never truly to get to know them. I am trying to reach out more to the women in my small group at church so between my actions in reaching out and my prayers, hopefully I can surround myself with more people that I can form deeper relationships with.
Dawn, the timing of this post is perfect. What I do well in friendships is listen and encourage others. I hear their struggles and offer advice and prayer. But I am not good with reciprocating.
Just this weekend we had a quiet day retreat at my church where the focus was on prayer. At the end we all took turns praying and laying hands on one another. My experience was realizing I do need others in my life. I need to rely on friends in ways I have been afraid to.
Dawn Camp says
Kim, I hear you. I’m a lot the same. It’s a gamble to be vulnerable, but the rewards of support and deeper friendship is worth it.
Beth Williams says
I loved this post! So very true that friendship is worth fighting for. It is a two-way street. To keep or make friends you must first be a friend and put yourself out there. Just send a card to a friend or call someone–it’s that simple.
Most of my friends are “ready-made” from church, Bible study, etc. Still I work hard to maintain those friendships.
Friendship they are public and private blessing like all good things come from God. The word friendship brings to mind traits like acceptance,love, honesty a d loyalty, continuing, one might add traits of integrity, trustworthy and faithfulness. We participate in the nurturing the divine blessing of friendship for friendship is embodied in both giving and receiving. Jesus wept. Responsible comes from friendship, but let us not lose sight of the blessing friendship brings. Dumas said. Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remember what one receives. It’s important to note that Jesus did repimand . Martha for her choice. He also understood Martha heart. All good friendship begin and end at the same place in the heart. If the heart changes,the friendship like wise changes. Each of the two sisters ministered to Jesus in two distinctive ways Each shared a unique friendship with the master. Like Mary, may we cherish and protect our time with our friend, the Master, Like Martha, may we serve Him and make Him feel welcome. From the simple seed of understanding, We reap the lovely harvest of true friendship.