“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1
“You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I remember the first time I ever had an argument with my friend Melissa. It was about thirty years ago, and we were standing at the front desk of the hair salon we worked at after closing time. I turned to walk back to my station when she stopped me to chat about my current boyfriend. The conversation went well until she asked me the deeply personal question: “Is he a Christian?” As soon as the words left her lips, I felt embarrassed because I had never even thought about his faith. Hot anger began to rise up in me, and I scowled and responded, “Why do I care if he is a Christian? I’m not even a Christian!”
Can you believe I said that? I was quite a different person before I came to know Jesus! It turns out she was so wise in saying that to me because about a month later he went out with another girl while we were still dating, and I was heartbroken. I came to work the day after the breakup with my tail between my legs. Melissa never said, “I told
you so,” and she never gave up on me either. She knew I was a broken person in need of a Savior.
She even invited me to a Christian concert. I gave my heart to Jesus that night, and He began making big changes in the way I lived.
I am so glad Melissa didn’t call it quits when I snapped at her. She still pursued a friendship with me and was a bridesmaid at my wedding to my Christian husband two years later. We are close friends, but complete opposites in personality. I love that part of our friendship; she has been and always will be one of my “iron sharpening iron” friends. We still have little fusses from time to time, but I am a much better person because I have her in my life. The truth is, friends who know you and are brave enough to speak into your life help make you a better person and should be treasured. Since we love to give “help” in the Help Club for Moms, Melissa and I decided to team up together to help you stay friends with your dear ones for many, many years to come. Take it away, Melissa!
It’s so interesting to think back on that conversation. Deb was defensive, feisty, and angry at my question, but I knew in my heart God wanted me to share my faith and conviction with my friend. I wanted Deb to know Jesus and the deep love that He has for us, so when we went to that concert, I was so happy to see her walking down the aisle to accept Jesus. Just thinking about what the Lord has done in Deb’s life and my life brings me great joy; and I’m so happy we are lifelong friends.
Are you longing for a lasting friendship? Is there a Deb or Melissa in your life? We are out there, and if you look, you will find one of us. Most likely you already have someone who needs you and whom you need, but it takes work to stay friends. In any relationship, there are times when you want to walk away without ever looking back. It can seem easier to just find a new friend. As we grow older, we may feel regret from losing contact with wonderful women in our lives because we didn’t realize their value. Friends do come in and out of our life, so how do we keep valuable friendships for a lifetime?
Deb and I compiled a list in hopes of helping you cultivate great friendships:
- If you don’t have a friend, pray and ask God for one. He is faithful to provide when we ask (Matthew 7:7).
- Pray for yourself and your friends. Ask God to help you be the best friend you can in the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).
- Love unconditionally. Accept your friend’s shortcomings and limitations. Don’t expect her to be like you (1 Peter 4:8).
- Be a reliable friend—it builds trust and respect. Do what you say you’re going to do, and let her know well in advance of any change in plans (Matthew 5:37).
- Speak highly of her husband. If you don’t like him, find something nice to think and say about him. No one is perfect (Titus 2:4).
- Encourage each other’s kids. Be the one who loves your friend’s kids well, throughout every season of their lives. Her kids will never forget you (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
- Don’t impose your parenting ideals on your friends. Let them walk with God, and trust them to parent the way God tells them (1 Thessalonians 4:11).
- Remember, Satan hates your friendships. He will do what he can to bring division between yours. Try to assume the best as much as possible ( John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:8).
- If you are upset with your friend, don’t gossip to other people. This only makes things worse. In fact, never gossip. Gossip destroys friendships (Proverbs 11:13; 20:19).
- Make haste to settle conflict. Don’t let the devil get a foothold in your relationship. Pray and ask God to help you love her like Jesus and then humbly talk about the offense (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Deb and Melissa
Faith Filled Idea: Share the Love
Take time to call, text, or write a handwritten note to your friends this week and share how they bless your life.