"Iron sharpens iron; So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17
Women are a complex bunch; I am aware this is not a "revelation", but in this particular stage of my life, it has been a most interesting and amazing discovery. I am humbled at the lessons I have learned over the last several months that have enabled me to embrace the complicated area of women and friendship, and the opportunity given to me by God to not have to study it, but to live it and experience it. There is no better teacher than life itself.
The 'mere word "friendship" causes a whirl of emotions in the heart of a woman. From a very early age we are relational with each other on a deep and intimate level. Sometimes, saying that word brings a smile to our face, but on other occasions, it causes us to think about times we have been betrayed. Unfortunately, because we are human, we are more than capable of hurting each other, but what I have found is that more often than not, our hurt stems from our own expectations of those we call "friend".
What if we, women as a whole, decided to give EVERYTHING to God.......What if we decided that the way WE were doing things was distorted and messed up, and that the only way to be truly free was to completely throw ourselves into the lap of The Almighty. What if we opened ourselves to Christ enough that we trusted Him with it all, our husbands, our kids, our finances, our homes, our jobs......and, our friendships. For me, I never really even THOUGHT about trusting God in friendship...seriously, it was never a big challenge for me to make friends, and I do not say that pridefully, I say it to set up the next point, that in never having to THINK about it, I have never been CHALLENGED to examine the purest form of it. I am not saying I should not have trusted God sooner, I am simply saying that I never had the conviction to, and in that, when God saw that it was time to "clean up" this area of my life, it was NOT an easy and pain free process.
Two months of seclusion is exactly what God had in store for me in this area. I began to look at myself in a different way, wondering, in my own flesh, what exactly it was about me that would attract new friends, what I needed to do to make that connection, where I needed to position myself in order to make "that" friend, who I needed to talk to in order to just......HAVE FRIENDS!!! In the first few weeks of moving to California, it consumed me...all I wanted was to be back in my comfortable place where I had complete acceptance........or at least complete control. I realized very early in, that I was not going to be able to do this on my own, and in focusing on the way God brought us here, He spoke very specifically to my heart that I needed to step aside and give Him the reigns. EASIER SAID THAN DONE for a CONTROL FREAK!!!
The very first place God began to deal was with the image I had of myself. How in the WORLD could I be a friend to anyone if I did not even really know who I was? The amazing thing that happened is that God knew me, surprising..........no, not at all, but overwhelming to say the least. God knew me, because He formed me. He knew I needed a "fresh approach" to myself and others, and what He started in those weeks of seclusion, He continued to transform in the weeks and months to come by placing very specific and healthy women in my life whom HE had picked out, NOT ME!! The very coolest thing about this is that the deepest friendships I have now, are the ones that held my hand and walked with me THROUGH the roughest part of discovering who God had created me to be. I will honestly tell you, that the Holy Spirit had revealed certain friendships to my heart going in, but I wrestled with it in my human-ness, cause I "thought" I needed something different. The friendships that began to be formed those early days were built on NOTHING I had done, NOTHING I had orchestrated, NOTHING I had manipulated, but COMPLETELY and SOLELY on Jesus Christ, and the work He was doing in my life. The very first thing I have in common with EACH of my new friends is that GOD was the beginning. MAYBE, these ladies did not even know going in that such a bond would form, and MAYBE, they too had been praying for healthy and meaningful friendship. What I know is, that God being the beginning, I am more than prompted daily to keep Him at the center.
Never do I want to expect from a friend something she is not able to give. It is essential to know that God made us each VERY different, and in order to love a person completely, I have to just celebrate the woman God made her to be, and rejoice that God DOES make opposites attract in many ways, I believe, to hone us like "iron on iron"! How selfish of us as women to depend on another to fulfill who we are! If we plug into Christ, and are full of His Spirit and drink from His well, then we are not going to thirst for the things our flesh would have us to. How about we throw ourselves into relationship with Christ, and allow His joy to manifest in us, and in turn, bless those around us, and then....then, we too reap the benefit of true friendship.
I have friendships that I have had for over 20 years that now, after this journey, are healthy. I praise God in the fact that He can restore what is broken and make it better than ever, with deeper respect and love for one another. I acknowledge that Christ has brought to me in this new season, friendships that are close, deep, and meaningful, and on a level with Him that is more important than what exactly SHE might be thinking of my shoes!!! I thank Him, that in the process, I have found companionship that is FUN, HILARIOUS, TOTALLY CRACK-UPABLE, and yet, a balance, in that, I will NOT hesitate to take the hand of one and bow right then and there to pray with her, to never worry if I need the same, and to know, that when I hear "I am praying for you" from any one of them, I never once question if that is true.
I am thankful today that God has given me clarity in who HE is first and foremost, followed by who I am IN HIM, and how exactly, each of "my girls" play a role in HIS plan for me AND them. I am grateful for the closest one as much as I am for the one that I talk to once every few weeks, because now, I realize God put them each in that position, NOT ME!!
Whew....I Love You Girls!!