The Gift of Friendship

How many things in life do we take for granted?  Hmmm… how about breathing?  Do you consciously think about every breath you take?  Of course not!

What happens when you DON’T have something – or when you are faced with losing it?  How much more do you realize the worth of it?  A lot more, right?

I mentioned in my first blog post that I didn’t have many friends growing up.  Sadly, this is true.  Up until I was 15, my friends were few and far between, and didn’t last very long.  When I was 15, my family moved to Missouri.  There, I met a true best friend.  When we moved back to Georgia when I was 16, the hardest part for me was saying goodbye to the first real friend I had ever had.  Thankfully, we kept in touch.  Oh, am I ever thankful!!  For the next few years that followed, I went through an emotional roller coaster ride.  Depression, anxiety, confusion, anger…  Poor girl. There is no telling what all she read in the texts I sent her during what I know was two solid years.  But she never once showed any signs of weariness.  She was always there to pray for and with me, and to encourage me.  She showed me what true friendship looks like!  To this day, her example helps me be a better friend!

Now, to those who doubt the validity of social media friendships, I have several BFF’s to prove that these friendships CAN be real!  (Side note: I do encourage caution with meeting people on social media!  There are some crazy people out there.  But there are also some wonderful people to be met!)  I have one dear friend who lives in Australia!  We have never met in person, but she is one of the people I turn to first when I need prayer!  I know I can always count on her to be there for me.  Another friend (whom I met while live Tweeting during a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie!) is also one of my prayer warriors.  Again, we have never met in person, but I am so blessed to have her in my life!!  Yet another social media friend and I finally got to meet in person.  She seriously has the sweetest heart – always there for me.  So thankful for these lovely ladies!  I have several other social media friends, but I won’t go through the whole list, for time’s sake!

Social media friends are great, but for the past eight years (since Missouri), I have struggled with not being wanted or accepted by people anywhere near my age.  Granted, I’m different from most people my age.  But I’m serious – people near my age wouldn’t even talk to me, much less take the time to get to know me!  (Elderly people and kids love me, by the way!)  As someone who already struggled with feeling inadequate or inferior, this rejection only added to my struggles.  Finally, about six years ago, God brought a wonderful family into my life.  They basically unofficially adopted me!  (I think they would have REALLY adopted me if my family would have let them! Haha!)  We have spent so much time together over the past several years.  Yard sales, apple festivals, and just hanging out watching movies and eating ice cream!  The bond we share is quite literally a dream come true!  However, I still lacked friends my own age.  I also lacked a church I could call home.

A couple of months ago, my friends and I went to a local church to hear a group from Lee University sing.  There was something about the church that made me want to go back.  I have been attending this church regularly for a month or more.  And what an impact it is making on my life!  The people are so friendly and welcoming, and I am making friends my own age! (And I’m getting to sing with the band!!)

Today, I and my friend that I went to Little River Canyon with met up with two friends from church.  One is the pastor’s daughter, and the other is the youth pastor/music director (AMAZINGLY talented guy who I want to feature on here some day!).  We went hiking at Pine Mountain.  The friendship and bond in Christ that we all share allowed us to have such a fun morning together!

I say all that to share with y’all how God has gradually brought friends into my life.  The right people, at the right time.  Through all the years of struggling with loneliness, there has only been ONE Who could fill that void, however.  The friend that Proverbs 18:4 tells us “sticketh closer than a brother.”

No matter how thankful I am for the friends God gives me on this earth, I am even MORE thankful that He is my friend.  Who better to talk to about my problems than the One Who knows all things and never makes a mistake?  Who better to turn to in the middle of the night than He Who never sleeps nor slumbers?  Whose example could be better to follow?  Indeed, none!

Friendships can be tricky at times.  But if you want to see what true love and friendship does… here is a scripture that always stands out to me.  It shows just how great God’s love is!  In the gospel of Matthew, just as Judas gave Jesus the kiss of betrayal, “Jesus said unto him, FRIEND, wherefore art thou come?”  Wow!  I mean, can you imagine if someone who was supposed to be your close friend was betraying you?  I don’t know about you, but personally, I wouldn’t still be thinking of Judas as a friend at this point!  But the love of God surpasses all.

Would that we put as much selfless love into our friendships as Christ!  I’m not saying let yourself be used!  I’m saying be a blessing, and you will be blessed – whether in this life or the next.

I am so, so thankful for each of the friends that God has blessed me with!  Each one brings something to my life that inspires me to be a better Christian!  But I PRAY that I am not the only one who receives a blessing from our friendship.  I hope and pray that I am a blessing and support in their lives as they are in mine!

Proverbs 27:17
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

If you struggle with loneliness, all I can tell you is to draw near to God.  He will never let you down.  He may not always do things your way, but He’ll never let you down.  He always knows what’s best.  His timing is rarely on the same schedule as ours.  I wouldn’t have chosen to be 22 (almost 23) years old before having the friends and experiences that I have now.  But I wouldn’t go back and change it for anything.  You see, God’s timing is always PERFECT.  And He knows what you really need and when you truly need it.

Friendship is a gift.  So treasure it.  Don’t take it for granted!  And never expect someone to fill a void that only God can fill!  I can tell you from experience, He’s a pretty awesome Best Friend!


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