Friendships add flavor to our otherwise mundane and sometimes rough day. When I’ve hit my limit with my children and it’s not even 10 A.M., it feels SO good to know I can pick up the phone to call some of my closest friends. All I have to do is utter a sound and they can complete the entire sentence for me.
My friend Erin, for example, just has to text the word ‘coffee’ and I’m there as soon as I can find clothes that are clean. We let the kids entertain themselves in the backyard and catch up from our last conversation.
Then there is Aliisa; she’s the one who calms my blown-out-of-proportion fears, speaking in wisdom. Plus I get my baby fix by cuddling with her chubby infant daughter.
Then there’s Audra: Her kids are the same age as mine and she has seen me at my worst; I can even try on swimsuits and she can tell me whether or not to go for it. She is the friend who flips when I flop. Meaning if I fall flat on my face, she is there to pick me up off the floor and encourage me to stand up! We all need a flip flop friend.
And my neighbor Pauline: A godsend in more ways than one. It pays to have one close friend just a few houses down . . .
Having a friend or two makes our world go round, plus it gives us a chance to use up those extra 13,000 words we as women NEED to speak– instead of on our husbands. So what do you look for in a friend? I actually have a list that I’ve gleaned over the years forming friendships. And I’m teaching my kids what to look for in friendships.
1. You are who you hang out with.
I hated that saying but it’s so TRUE. The people we interact with tend to rub off on us. So if your friends are the kind that like to go to the bars to get hammered, chances are, you will do the same thing. I’ve taught my children to look for friends who put God first in their lives.
Funny thing, all my friends from the days before being a Bible thumper are gone. Granted I have new friends who are not walking with Christ, but there is a difference: they accept me for who I am now. My old friends didn’t know what to make of the change within me.
With kids, I need someone who can make me laugh at the most frustrating moments. I’ve got one friend in particular who totally gets what I deal with on a daily basis with kids who are strong-willed and ADHD. Whenever I pick up the phone, she manages to make me laugh.
3. The Truth
My close friend and adopted sister in Christ–-she and I used to go rounds. I mean ROUNDS. She would speak something to me in love and in truth; and me being filled with pride, anger, perfectionism would not speak to her. She would call and text before leaving a voicemail on my answering machine.
My husband, who happened to LIKE hanging out with her husband, would then call Lance to relay the message to Angela that I was still mad at her. Ang would then reply with something and thus the process went on for days until she was sick of phone tag and would then be on my front doorstep.
Back then, I realized I hated the truth–it hurt. It hurt because I was hard on myself–I’m not perfect. Angela’s friendship taught me that we are all flawed in one way or another. It’s the journey through purpose that changes us from the inside out.
In order to change, to grow, to come to that graceful journey’s end, we need to have friends who are willing to spur us on by speaking the truth about our issues in love. How else will we change and grow to become the person we were created to be?
Now that my kids are growing up and forming friendships, I pray that each of them has a friend that like a sharpening iron. I pray they find their match who will encourage, push, and cheer them to the finish line.
I pray the words of Proverbs 27:17 over them as well as my current friendships: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Whether you have several close friends or you are new to the whole bonding experience with other women, I pray that you find someone who you can share your dreams, frustrations, and the not-so-pretty side of yourself. And perhaps if you are new to friendships and godly friendships at that, maybe these tips will help you find that perfect friend to open your heart to.
Learn more about the author Heather Riggleman