Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day One...Value Friendship

"Friends are some of life's greatest blessings."

The idea for 13 Days to Thankful came to me several weeks ago, and I came close to discarding it because I felt like I was too busy to commit to two weeks of daily posts.  But I decided that it was a worthy journey for my own mind and spirit, so here I am on Day #1, and of course, it's almost midnight.

Today was different than any I have had in a long time, thanks to three amazing girlfriends.  If you were to ask why they are so special, I could give you a million reasons!  Each of them exemplifies many of the traits of the Proverbs 31 woman, and I just consider myself a blessed person to be able to spend five minutes (let alone a whole day) enjoying their company!  Thanks Wendy, Marea, & Stephanie.  I enjoyed laughing myself sick with you in the Black Swamp!  LOL!

Friends are an important part of life.  Although not everyone is an extroverted sanguine, everyone needs a friend...and really, everyone needs several friends.  Healthy relationships are a crucial part of a healthy life.  More than that, friendship is a Biblical theme, and you can probably think of several key friendships from the Scriptures that are set as examples for us. 

Many people have what is often called a 'best friend', a trusted person with whom they can be transparent.  My husband fills that role in my life, and I'm so thankful that God gave me someone who knows when to listen and when to speak, loves to make me laugh, and holds me when I cry.  He's my best friend.  

But we need more than just a best friend, we need an army of friends.

And let's face it.  Friendships take time, they take energy, and they take maintenance.  But they are so worth the investment!  Let me give you three reasons:
  • Friendship provides mutual accountability. 
When we mutually make ourselves vulnerable by sharing our time and our hearts, we begin to understand what makes people tick.  We learn their strengths and weaknesses, their gifts and abilities, their dreams and goals, and yes, their areas of struggle and even failure.  And if the friendship is healthy, we begin to have mutual expectations that require a constant betterment.  We want the best for each other, even when the best isn't the easiest or the most fun.  We help one another avoid bad decisions, and celebrate successes and accomplishments.
A couple of months ago at a Women of Worth meeting, I became rather transparent about an issue in my life that I am struggling to change.  At that point, I was tired, frustrated, and feeling like a complete failure.  Although my struggle wasn't a sin, it was an area of personal discipline that I really needed to implement.  As I shared as only a tired, emotional woman could, I felt the arms of my women's group surround my heart and lift me up.  I knew they would be praying for me, and that they were more than ready to help shoulder my burden.  What a blessing it was just to know they cared, not to mention the accountability they were willing to give!
On a recent evening, I spent a large block of time helping a friend work through some emotional issues.  Before we parted ways, we agreed to some steps to promote healing.  Moving forward, our friendship will offer accountablity and help to be an agent for change in her life.
  • Friendship provides mutual support.
How many times have you shared with a friend in need and then watched them give of themselves for you when the time came?  When we bought our first home, it was in pathetic shape. Guess who came to help us take care of some of the issues that were a little beyond our expertise?  Our friends.  And 9 years later, we haven't forgotten.  When we had our first baby and I had an extended recovery because of an unexpected emergency c-section, guess who brought us meals, gifts, and kind words?  Family...and yes, our friends.  12 years later, it is still fresh on our minds.
Friendship isn't a selfish venture, but it's such a blessing to see how God uses this tool to take care of His people!  Whether it is taking a meal to a family who has experienced illness, offering to watch children so a couple can take a much-needed date, or extending a hug and a prayer with one who just needs to feel us near, friends play such a supportive role.
  • Friendship provides mutual encouragement.
When we can do nothing else for someone, we can be a friend.  Sometimes it isn't possible to solve another's dilemma, heal their sickness, or change their circumstances, but really, that's not our job anyway.   We are called to be a friend.  To be an encourager. 
I often think of my cousin and friend, Heather.  She is a missionary wife and mom of 5 beautiful children, living in Argentina.  I love to follow her blog and read the responses of her friends because I know that on many days those comments are fuel to her soul.  They provide her so much encouragement for this journey that she and her husband are traveling!  How different would her days be without her friends?  And it's mutual because we've all been encouraged by Heather's contagious smile and her words of cheer. 
Encouragement is something that each of us can give.  It is free, it is readily available if we ask God for opportunities, and it can never be too lavishly applied. 

Action Step:  Analyze your closest friendships and be sure that they are healthy.  Friendships should not suck the life out of you.  Mutual giving and mutual receiving are two important factors of healthy friendships.  As Christians, we should be investing in people who have absolutely nothing to offer us,  but we should have a solid group of friendships outside of these relationships.
If you haven't opened yourself up to friendships, let me encourage you not to deny yourself and others of this precious gift that God has made available.  God has given us the simple instructions:  "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly...", and as we make ourselves available with a spirit of friendliness, there will be no shortage on people who line up to take us up on our offer.

I'm so thankful for the host of friends that God has given us.  Although we typically reserve Saturday for family, I am amazed to know that we could spend several years worth of Saturdays with different genuine friends...and never run out!  Wow!  God is good! 

Tomorrow will be busy, but I'll try to be back to continue the countdown! If you're not sure what that's about, click here.  And don't forget about the gift card!  :-)

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

image credit


  1. Dearest Stephanie,
    What a neat post! (I had planned to write that...even before I came to the SURPRISE of my name at the end of your post! How sweet of you! =)
    Friends are amazing pieces in the puzzle of one's life. Time after time we have felt the LOVE and Friendship of our big circle of friends and we feel sooo BLESSED! And yes, you are soooo RIGHT, the comments from my friends on my my heart sooooo MUCH!
    Great post! Sending you hugs! =)

  2. I too enjoyed hanging with my "sister chicks"!
    It was such a fun time even if we all weren't feeling so glamorous by the end of the day. :)

    I am SO very thankful for my friends. I couldn't make it through life without them.

    Thanks for the complimentary words......I don't know that my name and "Proverbs 31" should ever appear in the same paragraph. Haha!

    I've enjoyed reading your eloquent posts.
    You are a very gifted writer.

    Now let's see if Google will allow me to post tonight. :)


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