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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tell Me About Your Friends


I am a friendly person. I have friends. I am a friend. In fact, I have friends who have been my friends for going on 40 years! In other words, I have friends who have stuck like glue to the fabric of my life. And I have new friends. I've made new friends in just recent months, for instance. And I have friends I've never even met, thanks to you folks :)

But I've never, in all my 20+ years of speaking to women's groups, girls' groups and senior adult groups, spoken on friendship. Not once. Notta.

And now one of those good, longtime friends has invited me to her church to speak at a women's event on friendship, more specifically, making strong connections with other women. And then a MOPS group called and wants me to speak on friendship in January. And I was reminded Monday as I left our own MOPS group, after folding up tablecloths and putting away flower-topped pens, that they would like for me to speak on friendship at the next meeting...in less than two weeks.

So in recent days I have pulled from the shelf every book I have on friendship and looked up everything I know to on line. I've scoured my Bible concordance for every use of the words friend, friends, and friendship, and looked up every. single. one. of. those. verses. And wrote many of them down on my blooming index cards so I could stick them into my new "friendship" scripture meditation album.

And then I spent an inordinate amount of time decorating that album with pretty scrapbook paper. ...Because that was easier than doing the research.

More importantly, of course, I've been begging God to give me something fresh, something compelling, something significant to say about gal to gal connections. And He has smiled at me and told me to dig a little harder and in due time He will. Or so that's how His answer has seemed to resonate with me.

Bottom line: I'm struggling here.

It's one of those subjects where there's so much to say that you have a hard time finding the most essential nugget, dusting it off and polishing it up just so, and then framing it with the most flattering backdrop so that it shines and receives the consideration it deserves. Or at least you hope it deserves.

Can you tell my self-confidence is waning here?

So I've decided to do what I generally do when I start feeling a little overwhelmed. I've decided to pass the buck. Well, not completely, I can't expect you to write my message for me...then it wouldn't be mine. And I do believe God has one for me. In fact, He clearly gave me the direction yesterday. But I'd love a little input from you.

As long as you have a friend or two that is.

Would you help a struggling writer/speaker out here a little by answering at least one of the following questions? You don't have to sit here on my blog so long that you answer all three, unless you'd like to. But I'd be overwhelmed with gratitude if you'd just take a moment to answer one.

However, I would appreciate it if you'd be so bold and open as to answer one sort of qualifying question for me before you get to the friendship questions. And if you need to respond anonymously, that's fine. And hey, one answer or the other doesn't disqualify your answers from being important to me. I just need to know your frame of reference before I consider your answer to the other questions.

So here's the "qualifying question" I need everyone to answer before you respond to one or more of the others:
  • Are you a follower of Jesus Christ, a Christian? Yes or no is all I need here.
Ok, with that taken care of, here are the other questions. Remember, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take the time to answer at least one. But if you'd like to answer more that is superdeduper!

  • When you consider the girlfriend(s) with whom you most enjoy spending time, what one quality about that friendship most draws you to it?
  • Do you have a friend with whom you pray regularly or have in the past regularly prayed? What did or does prayer do to that friendship?
  • Do you currently have a friend with whom you talk about personal matters from both ends, in a healthy, godly and respectful way? How did you get to that point in your relationship and how long did that take?
  • Do you have a friend who consistently points you toward godliness and toward God, and for whom you could say you do the same? In other words, a mutual relationship that intentionally directs one another toward God? What is it about that relationship that accomplishes that "directionality?"
  • Are you lacking a good, strong, intimate friendship right now? Why has it been or is it difficult to find and/or develop that kind of relationship?
Ok. I realize those are not the friendship quiz questions you'd probably find in Glamour magazine. They're pretty deep, huh? So you're going to have to think about this a few minutes. But you know what? God's gotten me to thinking about these things lately, so I figure it would do you good to do the same.  

And I think we'll all enjoy reading the comments too. And I promise to take what you give me and write some extremely compelling and insightful posts from all that information in the future. 

Ok. I don't know how compelling and insightful they'll be, but I'll give it a good ol' Girl Scout try!

Thanks so much. Smooches and kisses and hugs. XXXOOOXXX!!!

Desperate, purely desperate....


9 comments:

  1. Thanks for making me cry Kay... ok I'm super emotional today anyway, just the word "friendship" made me cry. As you know, today is my last day with my best friend as she moves across the country. Its absolutley heart-breaking. I can look back at our firndship though and see how much we have grown together. I'm lucky to have a friend who has been with me since the start of my relationship with my husband, was in my wedding, was there for me through both pregnancies, we held eachothers hands as we dealt with a friend who was murdered and so much more. I trust her with all of my heart. She is the only and only person I tell EVERYTHING to. In the last 3 years we have both grown deeper in out faith. To have that to share with someone is amazing. I know that we will be forever friends, no matter how near or far. I am blessed with other amazing friends who are God loving women. One thing I have learned more recently is that those are the only friends I care to have in my life. They build me up,we can go to eachother for advice and we pray for eachother. SOrry Kay I'm sure this didn't help at all but I am excited to read whatever it is that you come up with. I know it will come to you. :o)

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    1. Tessa, Bless your heart! I know. I hate that she is moving too, and I hate it for you. But be assured that you can continue your friendship. That is the very essence of relationships built around Christ...they are forever (literally forever) friendships. And it can work over the distance, too. My two very best friends both live hundreds of miles from me, but they continue to speak into my life and I speak into theirs.

      Thanks so much for your comments. They actually do help me out. I just needed some real live quotes instead of things from books! You have blessed me with your willingness to share!

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    2. WHy did I even put on mascara today?! Thanks Kay, I know you understand more then most, you have moved a lot and living in this town people come and go all the time. I am thankful that Nikki is my sister in Christ because I know that we will be sharing a bunk bed in Heaven! Or will it be a cloud? ;o) One word of advice that I have is to never take a friend for granted. Don't put them off and assume that you can hang out with them later. Never look back and wish that you had done more for the friendship. Live your friendships to the fullest. One last thing, don't be upset if your husband doesn't understand your friendships or why you are sad that your friend is moving. I don't think that they understand the bonds that we have with other women. I love my girlfriends in ways that only other girls can understand. I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  2. Kay, I can answer your last question. I have always struggled with developing friendships. I was chronically emotionally abused as a child (by my father) and have found that, although I've managed to find a wonderful godly husband, I simply don't attach to people very well. The women I count as "friends" right now I would never think of calling in time of need; they seem to have deeper issues than I do. It's a lonely place to be, and I'm just now coming out of my denial about the extent of the abuse. Recently I found out the one sister I counted as a friend thinks I "deserved" the abuse. (She bought the abusers lies.) So your post on friendship has really struck a cord. I can't tell you what to speak about or what angle to take, but if I were in your audience that day, I would love advice on reaching out and growing friendships when you've been taught NOT to rely on other people, and if it came from someone who has successful friendships like you do, I would be listening very carefully. God bless.

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    1. This post makes me so sad. I can't imagine going through that. I'm truely sorry for your pain in this. It kind of sounds like you are attracting the wrong kinds of people. Maybe you reach out to people that need help themselves and you don't realize it? SOmehow you need to surround yourself with people who won't bring you down, who can lift you up. Church can be a great place to start. DO you go to Bible Study? Once I started surrounding myself with God loving women my friendships changed for the better. Sorry I don't mean to impose, just some thoughts. I wish the best for you and that you can find some good friends, I think everyone needs atleast one amazing friend :o)

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    2. Thank you, Tessa. The effects of emotional abuse, especially if it occurs when you're a child, are so complicated it's hard to know WHY friendships are difficult, although I do wish I had good friends. I do attend a Bible study and we are very involved in our church. I am praying often, thanking God for being with me during those difficult years (for He was with me or I wouldn't be here) and eagerly watching how healthier women around me connect with one another.

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  3. Yes I am a follower of Jesus, a believer and a blog writer who is not afraid to write about it either.
    Question one: when I consider a friend I look for confidentiality, genuine speaking, and integrity of heart.
    Question two: Yes I have a prayer partner and it makes us feel closer
    Question three: Yes I have that kind of friend and it took many years to get to that point. it is not right away.
    Question four: Yes I have that kind of friend who stirs up faith and qualities of faith we all want to have.
    Question five: I am lacking a good strong friend right now only because my best friend just got remarried after being widowed for over seven years, I was her matchmaker so it really is my own fault we don't have time to visit.
    I know I have to share her with him now.

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  4. Yes, I am a follower of Jesus Christ.
    Question #1 - My best friend is never judgmental, always willing to listen and doesn't necessarily offer advice. She is just there to listen and understand without telling me what I should or shouldn't do. If I ask, she will tell me but she doesn't push it on me and I respect that in her.
    Question #2 - We do the Bible study together and we also do our prayer journaling at the same time. It has grown in to a much closer relationship because of this.
    Question #3 - Because I am a very private person, I do have a hard time sharing with my best friend at times. It has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me not wanting to admit my faults and weaknesses. She would not ever judge me. I would love to learn how to be less controlling when it comes to personal matters. Hope that makes sense...
    Question #4 - My best friend helps me to be more Godly. She encourages me to keep up on my Bible study homework. We enjoy doing this together and talking about what we learn. I can say that because of her, I am a more Godly woman.
    Question #5 - I am so blessed to have a best friend like I do. Even though the circumstances for the relationship are a little strange. She started as my co-worker and is now my employee. But we are able to keep those boudaries quite well with each other. Boudaries is a HUGE issue in any friendship. That might be something you can hit on.
    Kay, Thanks for the opportunity to tell you about my best friend. Helps to remind me just how lucky I am.
    Kari Ferrell

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  5. Yes, I'm a follower of Jesus Christ!

    #1 I look for a trustworthy person who respects confidentiality. Someone I can trust. I look for someone who can listen. I also look for a friend who is fairly positive in her outlook. I have friends who struggle with depression, always have problems, etc., but when I'm looking for someone I want to have a give and take two way relationship with, I look for someone who is open about her problems, but wants to grow, change and move on. (Not a chronic complainer who always feels sorry for herself. Sounds terrible, but people like that are draining!)

    #2 Prayer deepens the friendship. My best friend and I have known each other 8 or 9 years now. We pray together almost every time we see each other one on one. It is a great support to know that if I have a need I can call or e=mail her briefly and know that she will pray for me, even if we don't have time to get together. We pray daily for each other.

    #3 We can talk about anything to each other because we both know the other won't tell a soul! And we love and accept each other no matter what. We've both been through hard times and good times. I think it took about a year to develop the kind of trust relationship we have now.

    One more thing:One thing about our friendship is that we really like having quality time together one on one, but we try to be flexible with each other when one or the other is just going through a busy season. We try to encourage each other to reach out to other women, and our friendship definitely includes others. We resist women jealousy or possessiveness issues!!!

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