“A true friend sticks by you like family.” Proverbs 18:24b (MSG)
Did you know that you need friends? In fact, as a mother, friends can become your lifeline when life gets overwhelming, which, as I am sure you will agree with me, happens a whole lot.
But I didn’t learn this truth until later in life. I was that girl who, even though I had several people around me who I could call friends, I never really gave myself the opportunity to develop a close relationship with any of them.
It was as though my capacity to be a good friend was not there, and as a defense mechanism, I would be friends only if that friendship placed no demands on me. The moment I began to sense the relationship was becoming deeper than surface level, I would withdraw emotionally. I did not want anyone to break down the walls I had built around my heart.
Thankfully, I did have a few friends who broke through my barriers with persistent love.
As I grew older and my relationship with God deepened, I began to realize how much of a problem my defensiveness was. God began to open my eyes to understand that if I was to become all that He created me for, I needed to surround myself with people who exemplified what I call ‘my three Gs’ – Great, Godly Girlfriends.
Now that I have allowed the Lord to do His work on my heart (an ongoing process!), I can see why I needed these friends all along.
I believe every woman should surround herself with three levels of friendships:
- Mentor friends: These are the friends who are older than you, more experienced than you, whom you can ask for counsel from whenever you need it. These relationships are crucial because it is easier to learn from the experience of others than to make the same mistakes.
- Peer friends: These are your contemporaries, they understand your current life’s seasons because they are in that same season as you, or have just gone through that season of life you are in. They are important because you can easily approach them, and they can relate to you at your level.
- Protégé friends: These are the friends whom you can be like a big sister to and help teach something that you’ve already learned. We should all have these relationships because every one of us is able to both give and receive. Protégé friends are crucial because others can be blessed and grow because of you.
So, while it is true that friendships can often be messy and require a lot of work to cultivate, it is also an important part of life, and especially in our lives as women. As you seek true friendships, be ready to also give true friendship in return. Let God’s Word be your guide in all your dealings with friends: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).
Maybe, like I was, you have been hurt or betrayed by some friends in the past. But I want to say to you today: let God heal your heart. There are good people in this world, who will be true friends to you. Open your heart once again and let the Lord bring you these friends.