Female friendships are hard.
Just typing that sentence makes the anxiety pour in and my stomach turn a little. Friendships can come with emotion, competition, thick walls and not nearly enough encouragement, grace, or a listening ear. Female friendships can also be a beautiful, powerful and most needed thing that all women desire on some level. For many, this is a very sensitive topic and can bring up loads of hurt. Whatever your experience is or has been with friendships, I believe we can all agree that they can be wonderful and terrible at the same time.
While living in Utah, I met a girl who was difficult to connect with and one I really didn’t enjoy being around. I’m still not 100% sure as to why this was the case. Perhaps there was insecurity or something ugly going on in my heart. I even told Noah that we would probably never be friends and I was okay with that.
I don’t remember how it happened, but she quickly became one of my best friends. I am humbled, and a little embarrassed when I think back to my arrogance in thinking I didn’t need her friendship. Because I did.
The day we moved to Madison, this gal was the last person I said good-bye to. We cried as we hugged each other. My heart broke as I watched her and her little daughter wave as we drove off. I don’t see the in’s and out’s of her every day life anymore, nor do we talk daily, but she remains one of my long distance besties.
After our move, I prepared myself to go through a season of loneliness in the area of friendships. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe God would provide, but I was coming out of a hard season and knew my heart wasn’t ready to dive right in and trust people 100%. I thought I needed a break from community and so prepared a few walls in case they had to go up quickly.
I have been humbled once again. I love my little community. We understand each other and we see each other’s gifts when we have lost sight of them ourselves. We love each other’s kids and celebrate what God is doing in our lives with great creativity and cheering (literally). We have a string of texts that would make anyone believe we have lost our minds, but in reality, they are what is keeping us sane in the season of life we are in.
A new friend entered my life a couple of weeks ago. She moved here from another state because her husband got a job. She has three kids and knew no one when arriving here. Recently her husband decided he was done being a husband to her and left. This girl’s response? She ran to the church. She shared her story and made her way into our lives, knowing she couldn’t do it alone.
My friend’s future in Madison hangs by a string and I may possibly end up saying good-bye if they decide that moving back is best for them. I could have overlooked this friendship for whatever reason, however, I am so very thankful for her presence in my life and it has been an honor to be a part of hers.
I get it. Some people are not safe and there are times that boundaries need to be made. However, I think about my new friend who in her darkest hours could have thrown down the best excuses to withdraw. Instead she opened up her heart and was a friend. What if we all worked at friendships the way this brave woman did? Or at the very least, brought down some of the walls that are keeping us distant and “protected”from each other?
Maybe someone in the past wasn’t kind to you, or worse, broke your trust. I encourage you to be brave like my friend. Give friendship a chance, knowing that keeping the walls up is way harder than letting them down.
We were not made to do this alone.