11 04 2011

I don’t think my heart will ever reach a point where there’s no more room for new friends. The world is full of fascinating people, and extroverts like me love meeting them, learning their stories, and — as much as God intends — partaking a bit of life’s feast in company.

But there’s a level of friendship that goes much deeper than admiration, occasional interaction, or mutual affection. It’s built on a history of shared experience, proven loyalty, and trust. There are no masks, no petty jealousies, no fear of rejection. And there’s no way to fake it.

It’s a friendship built by a thousand little choices, each no more significant than an ordinary stone, but stacked one upon another they become a strong tower and a refuge. A friend can run into it at any time and know the walls will hold against a host of enemies.

I have a group of friends like that. Most of us have known each other at least since our college days. Some of us longer. A few have been happily grafted into our circle in the years since, but the core has journeyed together through the blossoming of faith, dating relationships, weddings, childbirth, and raising kids. We’ve supported each other through financial worries, marital issues, and battles with rebellious teens. Helped shoulder crushing burdens of cancer, divorce, and widowhood. Shared happy achievements and heartbreaking failures, joys and sorrows, tragedies and triumphs.

We’ve laughed, wept, prayed, listened, encouraged, and yes, sometimes even rebuked. Delighted in each other and forgiven each other. Bowed as one before the throne of grace, our hearts in tune, voices lifted in harmony. We don’t all live in the same town, but we make every effort to gather our families for Christmas parties, birthday parties, and graduations parties.

Lately we’ve thrown a lot of wedding showers for our children, and now we’re entering into baby shower season for our children’s children.

We who once whispered our own secret hopes for marriage and babies are becoming grandmothers together.

We girls gather as a large group at least several times a year, and by twos or threes much more often. Some of us are related by blood, and some are related by marriage, and all of us are related by faith and the fact that we’ve done life together.

Last weekend several of the husbands went camping, and the girlfriends who could get away seized the opportunity for some relaxing fun. We ate and talked and laughed. Played games, played piano and sang. Shopped, sipped frozen coffee drinks, caught up on the latest. Spoke truth to life’s challenges, and stopped right then to pray when a phone call brought troubling news.

We loved each other whether for or in spite of, leaning into the only firm foundation — the One that has supported us through more than any of us could have imagined.

In other words, we did life together. Again. And our tower grew a little bit stronger.

Giving thanks in community for:

#71 Friendship that endures all of life’s seasons
#72 Laughter, chocolate chip cookies, and Java Jacks coffee
#73 The comfortableness of no make up, no agenda, and no such thing as awkward silences
#74 Love that speaks truth and prays in faith
#75 Hard gifts that are proven good by the fruit they produce
#76 The amazing variety of God’s beautiful children
#77 New friends and opportunities to build into them

To join the chorus of thanksgiving, visit Ann Voskamp’s site.

A note to readers:

The very last thing I would want is for someone to read this post and feel envious. Whoever you are, I hope you have dear, long-time friends you can trust and lean on, but it’s certainly not necessary that you’ve known them for many years. It’s never too late to build into friendship — one prayer, one word of encouragement, one small choice at a time. Much love to you and the ones who journey with you.



18 responses

11 04 2011
deb@talk at the table

only you would add that last paragraph..
thank you..

12 04 2011

You’re sweet, Deb. If there hadn’t been any room left in my heart, I would have made some for you. xo

11 04 2011

What a blessing to see the photos and read the story! Girlfriends are amazing – so glad God gave us such a gift. And, once again, your way with words is fabulous!

12 04 2011

Thanks, Vicki! So glad you enjoyed the photos and story. Your encouragement is a blessing to me.

11 04 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

How precious is that!!! You are blessed, dear friend. Much love, Patricia

12 04 2011

Thank you, dear Patricia. I am further blessed in far-in-body-but-near-in-heart friends like you.

11 04 2011

What an amazing blessing to have a whole group of friends living life together for that long! I’m glad you are able to enjoy that.

My life and my loved ones’ have had a lot of “#75 Hard gifts that are proven good by the fruit they produce” in recent months. Some of the branches are still bare or just beginning to bud, so I appreciate your testimony.

The Lord be with you and bless you, Jeanne!

12 04 2011

Ah, dear one. May grace abound for the seasons of hard gifts. I believe with all my heart the buds will flower. The Lord be with you, too. Much love.

11 04 2011

I just loved this post today. The older I get, the more I value those who have proven to be that strong tower, that faithful, trusted friend. Somehow, they sneak onto my gratitude list every week. I can only hope I’m as faithful and appear on theirs, too. Thank you for the reminder of what a friend REALLY is!

12 04 2011

Thank you, Cora! So glad that you are blessed with faithful friends. They belong on that list every week. xo

11 04 2011

Ever run into people asking you what a “relationship” with Our Lord is – they get the forgiveness stuff – but this relationship thing puzzles them? I think I should memorize what you wrote, a “history of shared experience, proven loyalty, and trust. There are no masks, no petty jealousies, no fear of rejection. And there’s no way to fake it.” We build ur friendship with Our Lord like that too. No?

I’m really glad I got a chance to come by today. I always heart your stuff.

Thank you for this. God bless and keep you and all of yours Jan.

12 04 2011

Thanks, Craig. I agree that our relationship with the Lord is every bit as intimate and real as the ones with have with our closest friends. I’m glad these words helped you define it.

God bless you, too. Thanks for your faithfulness in stopping by. You are always welcome!

11 04 2011
Barbara Thayer

Thank you for this special glimpse into your life. Pat (Pollywog Creek) and I have had such a friendship that has transcended the years and the miles. It has been a blessing to share the ups and downs, the homeschooling years and now our grandparenting years together. I am thankful for her and for all the new friends I have met through her as well. I appreciate you writing this today. Friends are special!!!!

12 04 2011

You have a very special friend indeed, Barbara! Pat is a treasure, and I’m sure you mean as much to her as she does to you. What a gift to you both!

11 04 2011
Bev Brandon @ A String of Pearls

just precious!
through blogging, i found a friend whom you know
only God could have arranged it
in the midst of losing almost all of my lifelong friends
i think she’ll be my friend for life
her name is Holly from Marshall

12 04 2011

How wonderful! I can’t imagine losing almost all my lifelong friends, but I do believe God is faithful in everything He gives and takes. So thankful with you that He has given you Holly. May He redeem your loss in a multitude of ways.

18 04 2011
Deborah Carr

I wrote a magazine article once on a group of women from my old childhood neighbourhood. They had gathered for coffee way back when their children were tiny, sharing advice and news and recipes. Now in their 80s, they still gather once a week, over coffee, in the same neighbourhood, in the same houses of their early selves. They’ve stood by each otherthrough the loss of children, husbands, grandchildren….now are accompanying one as she loses her memory. A poignant example of the importance of those long term trusted friends.

18 04 2011

That’s so beautiful, Deborah! Friendship is a gift not to be taken lightly. Thanks for sharing this.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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