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the seasons of friendship

Yesterday, I spent time with an older woman that I used to attend church with. Over the last few weeks, a friendship has sparked and she insisted that I take this sewing machine that her late-husband gifted her before being called Home. As I have sat and looked at it, I’ve pondered, prayed, and thanked God for her friendship and the grace and wisdom it provides me, as well as what He has been teaching me through and about friendship.

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Friendships are kind of a funny thing. They make us feel a variety of ways; valued, secured, loved. Unfortunately, they sometimes leave us feeling the opposite of those things as well. At times they seem effortless, and other times they leave us feeling drained. Yet somehow, regardless of how they’ve most recently made us feel, we remain in a constant state of hope - longing for friendships that bring more of the joyful and less of the latter.

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In the past eight months, I feel that God has revealed a couple of hard truths to me regarding friendships. Truths that felt like a ‘Holy Spirit smack’ leading me to repentance and acceptance. 

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One hard truth is that a lot of times the latter feelings come not because of someone else’s actions, but as a result of our own insecurities spurred from lack of true communication; compliments of a digital age where we have not only accepted, but also embraced ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ as a currency for our self-worth and/or value as well as mistaken followers for friends. Rather than run the risk of having to have a potentially awkward conversation, we rest in those insecurities. (But is it really rest?!) Or instead of making time to spend with a friend, we continue to fill our calendars with ‘busy’ things. A wise woman once told me, ‘Confrontation is inevitable, conflict is optional’.  She also said to me, ‘If you’re too busy to love people by giving your time, then you’re too busy’. Hopefully her granddaughter will start believing those things enough to live them out all the time instead of just some of the time. (That granddaughter...🙋🏼‍♀️)

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Another hard truth is that although we are called to love everyone, we are not called to be ‘besties for the resties’ with everyone. His word tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that for everything there is a season. Although friendships are not explicitly mentioned, it’s true for them, too. Sometimes a season can last a lifetime, others just a few days, weeks, or years. Regardless, a friendship not being what it once was isn’t always the result of the lack of loyalty, love, or because of something that occurred, but rather that He has called the two parties to different seasons. For some, it may be a season of new friendships, for others more intimate friendships, or maybe even a season of loneliness. 

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Often, friendships changing pace or ending seem difficult or devastating but in reality it’s just another way He molds us in His image if only we are willing. They cause us to deal with ourselves, apologize for our actions, initiate potentially awkward conversations, lovingly hold one another accountable, let go of a something that once felt like a valued possession, as well as push us out of our comfort zones by making us vulnerable in offering companionship to an senior woman or a girl you occasionally run into at church. But most importantly, they sometimes seem difficult or devastating to make us increasingly more aware of our great need for intimate relationship with Him. 

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I know this because it’s what He has been doing with me this year. He’s been using my pondering, praying, and attentiveness to grow me, mold me, draw me near to Him, and to help me to not only say but to truly embrace being ‘just a lady cheering on other ladies’. Because any gain of one of His is also a gain of mine because it’s for His Kingdom, not about Kamey’s.