In the second grade, I did everything with my best friend. At school we spent every recess and lunch together. At sleepovers we played with Barbies and talked all night.
In the seventh grade, I still did everything with my best friend. At school we arranged for our lockers to be next to each other so we could see each other during passing period. At night we talked for hours on the phone — the kind with spiral cords attached to the wall.
Everyone joked we were twins because we did everything together.
In the twelfth grade, my family moved. I spent my senior year in a brand new city at a brand new high school. Completely alone, without any friends to orient me to my new surroundings, I looked for a new best friend.
I looked for her in the other girls who liked the same things I liked. I looked for her in the places I would typically hang out. And there were a few false starts. I’d get to know someone and wonder . . . Maybe she’ll be my new best friend? But time would soon reveal that she already had a best friend, someone she’d known since she was in the second grade.
I could relate. From afar.
My new best friend never materialized. Not in the way I had hoped. Instead I became casual friends with a lot of different people. I enjoyed the groups I was a part of and the people I knew. But that deep friendship . . . the kind of connection that makes you feel like someone really knows you and gets you and likes you . . . just didn’t happen.
Then I moved again. This time to a small town on the northern coast of California, and my new church had fewer than 200 people. It seemed as though most of the people I met were middle-aged women with families — all in a season of life that, as a 21-year-old, I felt sure I had nothing in common with. But they invited me to their mid-week Bible study, so I went.
The women gathered around tables and the Word. This was new to me. I was used to Sunday school classrooms and youth group activities and weekend gatherings. But these women read from Scripture. They shared their lives. They prayed together. And they always hugged before saying good-bye. They hugged me too.
As the weeks grew into months, I discovered a new kind of friendship.
This kind of friendship wasn’t found in a new “twin,” a kindred spirit who was just like me. The women I became friends with were not in the same season of life as me. They were older, and their daily lives with jobs and children and homes seemed quite foreign to mine. But I realized none of that mattered.
I’d been looking at all the externals. All the ways we were different — different ages, different stages. And I had missed all the ways we were the same. I had underestimated how much our love for Jesus made all those externals disappear. We were human souls, in need of a Savior, and together we learned more about Him every week through His Word.
Sometimes I wonder the direction my life might have taken if I had met another twin-like best friend?
Would I have been as willing to attend a mid-week Bible study with women I thought of as “much older” than me?
Today I am one of those “older women” — attending mid-week Bible study at church, studying the Word, sharing life, praying together, and hugging good-bye. And I keep an eye out for the young women who join us. Because I remember . . .
Sometimes we find the sweetest of friends in the most unexpected places.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
How like God that He goes ahead of us and prepares a place for us but it might not look like WE expected it too. God’s funny that way. Like you, I am now on the “mature” lol end of the spectrum and I have found the most delightful friendship in a young woman I am sort of mentoring who is still in college. We do have a lot in common though generations separate us. She comes to me with questions and with God’s help I try to provide answers. In turn, she reminds me what it’s like to be young, enthusiastic, and have a zeal for the Lord. Her free spirit and unsullied outlook are refreshing to me. I agree that we need friends of all ages, colors, backgrounds, etc. because it makes our lives that much fuller. Thanks for encouraging us to get outside of our “box” because God might have something new and fun waiting.
Michele Morin says
I’m challenged by your words because this is the prayer of my heart as well — to reach out to the young women around me in such a way that they know they are part of the community and to build into their lives so that they become confident in who they are in Christ and begin to use His gifting.
So thankful for the women who have reached out to me over the years.
Dawn Burnside says
Such a wonderful story and as I read it reminds me of how God is looking out for me as well. I am a middle aged woman who used to be surrounded by acquaintances and had one special girlfriend that is now far away. I’m 53 yrs old & had no idea how much the lonliness of not having a close friendship around would affetr me. Then I found a church that is truly amazing. Then I joined a women’s group & was accepted with open arms. And very recently, I took that extra step & volunteer in guest services & I have met two women there that give me that special girlfriend feeling, they are truly kind & loving, plus we are enveloped in the Lord’s Love & Care. I have yearned for this, I just didn’t know how it would come about but God did. Even though it’s new I will ttreasure my new unexpected friendships & I will treasure them. God is so very good & nurturing & kind. Thank you for reminding me how grateful I am
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
My newest friend is my daughter’s new mother-in-law, now that was an unexpected surprise and a great blessing. I keep telling Amy, thank you for bringing me a new friend. I share that because I have noticed as I get older that it is getting harder to make new friends that are the kindred spirit kind and not just the surface kind. We don’t outgrow that need for close friendships.
Marilyn - Houston says
Denise, thanks for sharing your story. I am also older now and, as the years have gone by, God has given me new ways to look at friendship. I’ve learned that real friendship should bring me and the other person closer to God and His will for our lives which is a very different view from the one I had when I was younger. I’ve also learned to put God in that “best friend” spot in my life and heart because He truly is the one who wants what is best for me. I thank him for so wonderfully arranging my life with people who I have mutually encouraging and loving fellowship with. I never know when He’s going to bring someone new into the picture so I’m always looking forward!
Boy did I need that today. Thank you and God Bless. I lost my husband 4 months ago and the friends I thought I could count on and even my sisters are absent yet a few people who barely knew me have lifted me up and send me encouraging words and I know the Lord put them there. I hope one day I can be there for someone else as they have been for me. My one sister who I have never ever had even an argument with in our 50 some years and thought we were close, I haven’t even heard from. I am devastated but forgive her. Thanks this could not have meant more to me today as we approach Easter and I am all alone and seems like my family has abandoned me.
Praying for you, Lori! May Our Heavenly Father be there for you and send you comfort and peace!
Thank you, the loneliness of losing your spouse of 39 years leaves a hole so deep that I am not sure if I will ever recover. I lost my soul mate and best friend and hard to find the strength to go on but have to keep a business running so forces me to get my feet on the floor to make sure my employees don’t lose their jobs. God bless you for your kindness and reply
I’ll be praying for you too Lori. So sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I have a similar experience in that I lost my daughter not too long ago and was left behind by my closest friends and even our entire church family when the depression kicked in. It’s a very lonely place to be while trying to just stay above water when you feel so broken. Through all this darkness, God has shown me the gift of forgiveness and has allowed me to realize that He is my Best-Friend and will never leave me through this journey here this side of heaven. I pray that you can find comfort in the community of others even if they are new friends that God brings into your life. Prayers and Hugs!
Thank you Lyn and I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. I send my prayers to you also. The Lord has been my strength but some days as you know it is pretty hard. I have not been able to face going back to church yet but hope to be able to soon. My heartfelt sympathies to you and pray that the Lord will help you through each and every day.
Lori May you experience warmth of the Risen Christ friendship this Easter Weekend
Have a Blessed Easter
Thank you, I hope to be able to sleep the day away. Too painful to bear but pray the Lord will get me through it. Thank you for your kindness
Beth Williams says
Praying for you sweet sister! Losing someone is hard-especially if it is unexpected. Having no one come around to encourage you makes it worse. I’m here to encourage and lift you up! May God bring a peace to your heart. I pray you sense God hugging you and whispering I love you and will never leave you!
Thank you Beth. I pray the Lord has a plan for me. 39 years and I miss him more every day as the fog clears and reality is setting in.
Thanks for the kindness
❤ Praying for your peace
Thank you for the kind words. the pain is still unbearable and can barely force myself to get up each day. Praying for strength every day.
This is appropriate for where I am right now. i’m starting a new Bible study tonight, and I’m the only non-mother in the group. I’m also the only one who’s never been married (one is recently divorced). Time to look for similarities.
At 83 years of age, so many of my friends have gone home ahead of me. I’m recovering from a long time of being so tired I couldn’t take care of any but the most basic things. I keep thinking it will be nice when my entire house can be at least cleaner. One room at a time means it is never all clean at once.
God keeps reminding me that He IS the loop! A former neighbor, attended the same church for years, became friends, and then on her husband’s retirement they used his pension as “support income” and became support missionaries and have lived in so many places, doing so many things. . . She is now 80, her husband went on home a couple years ago and she called me recently to say that she is going to take a driving vacation and travel from her home in GA to attend her grandson’s high school graduation in CA. Then on to OR where she grew up and her oldest daughter will fly there to visit and then share the drive back home.
And, since she knows that I have an extra bedroom and bath not occupied at this time, she would like to stop here in her long list of places to see and folks to visit on this trip and spend a week with me while she catches up on the years away with folks from that church we all attended. “You can go with me to catch up”, she says. That isn’t possible really, but we can talk as late as we want at night and pray together for both our families and just enjoy being together for awhile.
And the plus side is, she’s known this old house since I first moved into it 29 years ago and had a real life; busy and happy and all this room. Open space enough to lay out huge projects and put them together and, rarely all clean at the same time. God doesn’t miss a thing when his kids need encouragement.
HERE HERE! Denise – I gobbled up these words. I’ve been here, I am here, and seeing it all with fresh eyes is helping me to not miss thing Jesus wants to teach me. Thanks for sharing!
Kimberly Nyborg says
I’ll never forget an experience with my bestie when I had done something that wasn’t thoughtful and as we discussed the situation I realized that I really hadn’t had a best friend. Going through life meant I didn’t know how to love my friend. I asked her to help me see how to be a faithful friend to her and although we have had other situations crop up we are weathering the storms and keeping it right, because we both love Jesus. So here’s to my best friend Candace Gates who I am nominating!
Judith Spradley says
Molly I loved reading your comments. I just prayed and asked the Lord to bless your visit with your girlfriend. I asked God to give you both plenty of laughter, stories to share, old and new and many prayers to ask him and see answered by his amazing Grace.
You really encouraged me this morning! In fact I could picture in my mind’s eye the fun and love you two will share….enjoy sister!
Eunice B says
Wow! What a powerful reminder that God knows what we need, and it’s not always how we envision it! Thank you for sharing this challenge to me…I’m somewhere in the middle.
Beth Williams says
God works in mysterious ways. He made us for community and will always find a way to bring us together. When my husband and I were dating we went to his “little church” with mostly older people. Not sure if I would like it . I’m used to bigger church with people of all ages. Well, to my surprise, I am in love with the church and all the people. They are plain country folk who welcome you with open arms. His ex-mother-in-law and I are best friends. We talk about everything. You just never know where you will find the friendships you need.
Pamela Torbet says
This is a note for Lori. I too am a widow and have been for a bit over 2 years. There is a group called Christian Widow’s Group, and we are all in the lifeboat together. I really encourage you to look into it, and feel that you will find some measure of comfort. It is a safe place to share your heart with people who are all sharing an unwanted journey. Google Christian Women’s group, and you should see the lifeboat. You will email a lady named Ferree, and type lifeboat in the subject line, and she will add you to the group. It is a closed Facebook group. God bless you and keep you.
This is lovely. I wish everyone had your focus and willingness to let the externals disappear.
Judy Wagner says
I can relate to much of this. I was an only child, Air Force brat who moved around a few times. When we finally settled in one area for 8+ years I thought I found my home and friends forever. Then my dad retired and we moved the summer before senior year, very hard for so many reasons. 40+ years later I am still in the same town we moved to then. Found many friends over the years and still have kept in contact with many of my “old friends” from the old days, even the one who was my best friend. But it just was never the same and I found a new “almost” best friend, but she also had many best friends from her childhood, even though we get together often for dinner, visits and exchange Christmas and birthday gifts, over the years I felt like I was missing THE best friend, as the kids today call BFF. It took me a long time to realize I don’t need all that because Christ is my best friend, he is the one who has been there through all my childhood moves, my up and downs, exciting times and sad times, family problems, boys and almost boyfriend/ fiance, school, college and jobs. He is always there for me to go to, my go to best friend. Thanks
I am turning 24 this week ,❤ & it’s chilling how this is exactly my story right now.
But I’m trying to keep my heart open and wait on The Lord
May He Strengthen my heart