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Friendship Redefined

A few weeks ago as my oldest daughter, a very independent, internally thoughtful, daydreaming eight year old and I drove along, we struck up conversation.  As we chatted here and there, we both eventually realized it was strikingly more quiet than usual.  I said, “It’s quiet without your sister isn’t it?”  She agreed and said she missed having her with us.  Because usually, it’s just me and the four year old or all of us.  Very rarely is it just my oldest and I.  Acknowledging that I too missed her, I said, “You have a sister so you’ll always have a best friend” and continued, explaining a friendship in the future was just one of the reasons I stress kindness between them. I told her that even though they will have disagreements, treating her well now will ensure that when they are older a friendship is there.  She chimed in that, yes, she will always have a friend: God.  

I just sat there thinking my eight year old has that wisdom we lose in adulthood.  Here I am trying to teach HER a lesson and I’m being reminded of the biggest lesson. Of course I didn’t just sit there.  As I thought about her statement, I confirmed it with a simple, “Yes honey, you are right.”  

Of all the things we think of God to be, do we really think of him as our friend?  You don’t have to search far to find scripture that tells us He is, in fact, our friend.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28) That verse is exactly what we want from a friend: a safe place, rest from our burdens, someone to share the good, bad and everything in between. This led me to think about struggles in my past and how much easier they would have been if I had just remembered that thing that came so easily to my little eight year old: “God is my friend.”

I’ve struggled with this my whole life. I’ve always been the type to get along with everyone. I do think I’m blessed to have many people I can consider a friend, but a lot of friends doesn’t always lead to those really deep friendships.  

I remember in the third grade getting one of those “best friends” necklaces for my birthday.  A heart split in half; one for me to keep and one to give to my best friend. I did eventually choose someone to give it to, but I remember the struggle I felt in choosing. I didn’t feel like I had a best friend. I remained the type to have lots of friends all through high school and into college.  There, I did find a group of friends, even a few I would come to truly consider my best friends.  But college was four short years. In the scheme of life, that’s a blink of an eye. So when I moved to the very tiny town where I currently reside the ache in my heart for friendship was back. I was four hours from home, living in my husbands tiny hometown. Even though my husband’s friends were welcoming, I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. It was hard. I cried… a lot.  Distance can leave the heart feeling very lonely. 

I feel like we see the phrase “best friend” all the time. In movies, especially the funny “chick flicks”, the main character always has a trusty side kick best friend. The type of friend that knows every single thing about you, will stand by you no matter what and fight for your dreams just as hard as you do. I see people out there with friends and families that do that and sometimes get jealous. I think, “Wouldn’t it be easier if I had hard core cheerleaders in my corner?”  Then my daughter reminds me: I do. I have the biggest most powerful friend I could imagine in my corner.  Not only is He rooting for me, He breathed life into my dreams. He was with me in third grade when I couldn’t decide who to give the other half of that necklace to; with me through every good, bad and mediocre decision in college that led me to where I am today. He is cheering me on at this very minute as I type and He will be with me through every triumph, mistake and hardship that is yet to come. 

God is with us. That’s what we need to remember.  We also need to remember that when we feel lonely from a friendship standpoint, He can fill that emptiness. Every single person has a desire to be known and loved. We need that from people around us. But we will have times of trial, struggle and loneliness. Our friends and family will let us down. We will let them down. It’s part of being human. We are all flawed; every one of us. We have got to be able to hold on to Jesus and allow Him to be the one to fill our void. 

Now before I close, I want to add, God has provided me with some wonderful friendships. Those college friends, they are still there. Not close in proximity but close in my heart. He’s provided me with sister in laws that fill places in my heart that needed filled, and many little friendships for a season that have taught me things I needed to learn. So maybe I don’t have that one best friend that lives next door and does every single thing with me all the time. But I do have real, meaningful friendships.  As I get older my mind is becoming more accustomed to the fact that things don’t always look the way I think they should, and that’s ok!  If we can remember that God is at the center of everything, even friendship, life becomes so much easier to navigate.

I want to thank my friend, Rita, for being my guest blogger this week. If you’d like to connect with Rita, click here for her website. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to follow the giveaway details on the Mirror Mirror Instagram page to enter to win two $50 Starbucks gift cards!

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