Friendship. As women we crave it, but it isn't always easy to come by. I recently heard someone say that they'd heard an older woman say We may get older, but we're all just teenagers inside. I was struck by the truth of that simple statement. We want to be liked. We want to be accepted. And we tend to hang out in our "cliques" because it's comfortable. I don't think we do it to be mean (well, that may be different than high school), but it's easy to hang out with people we know. Real friendship takes time, and most of us are so caught up in our busy schedules that we'd rather stick with what we know instead of taking the time to try to connect with someone new. And honestly, many of us aren't even taking the time to regularly connect with the women we already know and love, so bringing in someone new can seem completely overwhelming. True friendships require nurture and care, and they are so very important.
This year, I have had two dear friends move overseas as missionaries. One of them in particular has walked beside me for about nine years. We have been through pregnancies, marital struggles, miscarriages, babies, mission trips, and lots of laughter, tears, and late nights together. When she moved, I felt like I didn't know where I belonged anymore. Yes, I had other friends, but she was my "go to"--the one I could tell anything and could always count on to understand how I was feeling. (And she's still that for me--it's just she lives on another continent, with a seven hour time difference, bad internet connections, and we can't be at each other's houses in 5 minutes time--it's more like 24 hours!) When she left, I had a period of time where I felt kind of alone--and I didn't like it. It wasn't because people weren't friendly or didn't invite me places, but it felt like something was missing.
In those first few months after she moved, I thought a lot about the value of friendship and saw first hand how much friendship matters. I truly felt like a piece of me was missing (we do joke that we share a brain, so I guess part of me kind of is missing), and I was reminded how much women need that in their lives. Yes, many of us are married and have a best friend in our husband, but women need other women. We need to have someone who cries at commercials with us or who understands the mama pain our children can cause.
I'm always struck by David and Jonathan in the Bible. Their friendship had such a depth to it. I think that is the kind of friendship we all desire, and I think God desires for us to have those friendships in our life, too. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17), and friendship is certainly a gift. Though it can be hard, and though it takes time, it is worth it.
As I move forward, I hope to remember how these past few months of transition have been for me; I want to have my eyes open to those who may be lonely or needing a friend. I don't want to be "too busy" so that I am no longer making new friends. The Lord's plans didn't end for me once I hit my mid-30's. He still has much to teach and show me, and part of that very well may involve people who I haven't yet called friend.
Who can you reach out to today who may be hurting or lonely? Is there someone new in your neighborhood who would love it if someone just said hi? Is there another mom at your child's school who always seems to be standing alone? You never know where God might have a new friendship in store for you--and you never know how He might use you in someone's life. Take a chance this week. Ask the Lord to prompt you, and then respond in obedience to what He has to say. You never know, you might just meet a "Jonathan" for your life.