A loaded word, isn’t it?
For some it may bring visions of lunch, laughter, and trips to the mall. For others, it may bring up a sense of nervousness or awkwardness. And yet for even more, it echoes of insecurity and hurt.
I think we’ve all been there. Me included. Different seasons of life have brought different friendships. I’ve had friends that have betrayed and friends that simply didn’t care about my personal well-being. Then there have been others that wouldn’t welcome nor invite me into their circle to even see if I’d be a good friend.
I know those situations pierce the heart and ache the soul because we are designed to desire relationship. When we desire it and open our hearts only to have them injured, our souls grieve.
Not the plan
I’m convicted that God never intended for friendship to represent pain.
He designed us for community and for relationship.
He wanted us to love well, bear one another’s burdens, and sharpen each other.
And He desired us to seek righteousness, pray, mourn, rejoice, and encourage one another.
It is possible.
Of course none of us are perfect, but meaningful God-centered friendships do exist. I know it because I have been blessed to have those in my life, too. Friends that give life and make it richer. That care, reaching into our messes to lend a hand. Friends that love for simply the sake of loving.
The friends that have gone the distance – the ones that enrich my life are those grounded in Christ. They grew and deepened over prayer, studying God’s Word, and serving side-by-side. Some began in other environments, but they deepened and became strong, true, and authentic when we planted ourselves and our friendship on Him.
Last week I had the opportunity to spend time with a precious friend. Jesus and the sharing of His hope was our common denominator in the formation of our friendship. Our life situations are different. She’s young and newly married. I’m not-so-young, married for a while, and refereeing 3 kids! But because Jesus is the fuel of our lives, we connected in a way that assures me this friendship will endure. It’s authentic. And it’s one that will encourage the best in me and give me hope.
We are designed for community. For relationship. But to make our friendships matter, we have to stop hiding behind walls. We need to get real and we need to get humble. We need to bring Jesus in front of our insecurities, our desire to be right, and our craving for control. When He is first and we surrender those fear-based needs and desires, our friendships become the kind He desires for us.
If your heart aches for meaningful friendships, let’s start with prayer. Let’s ask Jesus to do a work in us and in others to prepare us for friendships. And let’s ask Him to bring God-centered friendships into our lives.[bctt tweet=”Open your heart to friendship and start with this prayer #friendshipprayer” username=”lori_schumaker”]
Melanie Redd’s post really encouraged me this week. Seven Bible Verses to Give You Strength, encouraged me a great deal. This lady is a hope-giver! She shines brightly and friends, she does God-centered friendship so well because she grounds her heart in the love of God. As a matter of fact, her and Alison Tiemeyer are doing a month-long friendship challenge! It’s not too late to join them! These ladies are the real deal and will encourage and challenge you toward finding and keeping those meaningful God-centered friendships!
When you stop by her page, make sure to check out all her gorgeous Bible Verse images she included as a part of this post!
And, just so you know …
I’m so glad you’re here!
Yes, Melanie is one hope givin’ girl!
And this post on friendship brings to mind a treasure that I found tucked into the end of I Chronicles in a list of people. It’s not flashy, but just a reference to Hushai — the king’s friend. (I Chr. 27:33 NLT) Isn’t that just dear that God documented that role amidst all the other roles and characters in the endless lists?
The friend thing has been huge for me over the years because I had a mental block about who qualified as “friend material.” I wasted years being frustrated that the only people I ever saw were my kids’ friends’ mums. Now, these are some of my dearest and most faithful companions who forgive me when I ignore them for days and weeks on end, who love my kids, and who know me so well that they’re not surprised if I holler at my kids in the church parking lot.
What a wonderful nugget you just revealed to me, Michele! Thank you! Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I think we very often get ourselves into trouble by having prior expectations. They cloud our vision from seeing the gifts God has set right in front of us! Your friends sound like the best kinds of friends. I am so thankful you have them in your life!
Friendships are huge!
I love your post and that of Melanie too. Shannon Geurin also did a bit on it….looks like it’s where our hearts are stirring us to go….
I did do a few pieces although on the blog I guest post for.
Keeping tabs on Melanie’s and Alison’s series in September.
Thank you Lori.?
We have such community here in blog world and I think because we know how meaningful friendships can be when they are rooted in Christ, we are compelled to share that truth! I love our community here! So many beautiful hearts!
Love the friendship prayer. Friends are such an important part of our lives, aren’t they? I am so glad for you and Alison, that you were able to connect in person. Face time really changes the intimacy of a relationship. I love my online community, but getting together with them in real life is the best!
Thanks, Sarah. I love praying scripture. I always tease that I feel like the clouds separate and the Heavens come down when we pray His word with boldness! It was such a treat to get to spend time with Alison. She is such a gifted young lady with a humongous heart! I can’t wait to meet the rest of our crew!
Blessings and smiles,
The interesting thing about true friends is that while it’s nice to see each other regularly, that isn’t necessary to keeping up the friendship. My friend, Julia, and I have seen each other only about 12 days since 1998, yet we are as close as ever (maybe even closer). As we talk and pray together on the phone regularly, our hearts stay close. We may not have shared outings anymore (we have both moved since our friendship began in 1993), but we have shared our hearts and carried each other’s burdens through many a difficult time.
I love your friendship with that younger woman, Lori. I truly believe that is how Titus 2 is carried out—not through a “program” at church, but through loving, caring friendships.
I love your story, Patti! I agree. One of my dearest friends and I have now lived in different states since 1992. We are lucky to get to see each other once a year, but it never matters. A quick text or a short call – all just serve as extra blessing to a friendship that is rooted deep and forever!
Lori- I loved this! Friends do matter. My closest friends are those who can be authentic and raw with me. There is such a deep connection when we can admit to each other in our struggles. The friendships which are just surface level don’t survive.
I always thought my friends needed to be the same age as me, but over the last few years my closest have been those older than me. So much wisdom there.
The prayer was beautiful also.
Popping over to check out Melanie’s post too.
Thanks for hosting today!
Isn’t it neat how our eyes are opened and we see the unique relationships available intertwined firmly with the love of Christ? Thank you so much for your kind words. I so enjoy your visits here!
Blessings and smiles,
Good morning Lori. Oh my how friends matter no matter our season and it doesn’t matter the generation gap. I love how you reminded us that Jesus is the key. Have a blessed week.
Thanks, Debbie! Sometimes that generation gap even makes it sweeter 🙂 Have a wonderful week, friend!
Lori, your website is beautiful and inviting! Your post on friendship resonates with me from my own experiences and it seems to be an area any woman I know struggles with from time-to-time as you clearly describe. I think we can forget that some of this comes clearly through whatever residue remains from our old nature. Some surely comes from where we are in our walk with Christ and how secure our identity is in Him. Even so, friendships can be the best of times and the worst of times so your thoughtful, wise words are a blessing.
Thank you, Pam, for your kind and wise words. The quality of our friendships and our identity go hand in hand for sure! Thank you so much for visiting today and blessing me!
Blessings and smiles,
Well… I’m just blessed!
Thank you, Lori, for sharing my post with your link up and friends! My Sunday posts are really simple, and I share them praying that people will be blessed by the power of the Word. I’m so glad you were encouraged!
And, I’m so glad you got to meet Alison. Isn’t it sweet to meet blogging friends in real life? I think it’s a little taste of heaven on earth.
Hope you have a good Monday~
Isn’t it just God to take the simple and use it in big ways? Your Sunday posts are some of my favorites! Thank you so much for partnering here with me!
Beautiful Prayer Lori! I am thankful for my best friend of 24 years that loves the Lord. He is always there when I need him.. You have become such an encouragement to me here at Moments of Hope. Thank you again for including me. Your writing is an inspiration to continue sharing God’s truth.
I am a big fan of Melanie too! She was one of the first bloggers that introduced herself to me and encouraged me. As a new blogger it was very much needed. I thank God for allowing me to be introduced to so many women of God that love the Lord and are not afraid to share His truths. Thanks again for this wonderful prayer . i hope you have a fantastic week . Blessings to you and yours my supportive blogging friend!
You, too, are such an encouragement! Thank you for your kind words and I am honored to have you partner with me in sharing hope each week! Melanie is a keeper, for sure!!! ♥
Blessings, my friend,
Our pastor spoke on friendships yesterday – you might enjoy the podcast: gracecentralcoast.org – crazy friendships
mine too have shifted through the years and now I’m pretty close to our girls the older they get. thanks for your lovely thoughts and prayer, Lori!
I will definitely check it out when I have a chance, Sue! Sounds like a great talk!
Blessings and smiles,
“Friendships matter. We are designed for community. For relationship.” Yes! I have several easy friendships; several not-so-easy ones. But all are valuable. They all change me. And I so need to be changed. Thanks for sharing your time with the younger friend. We definitely need those too!
I so loved my time with her. She blessed filled my heart to overflowing!!! Thanks, Lisa!!!
What a genuine and heartfelt prayer of grace. I love that you literally spoke His Word over all those reading your words. Thank you. We all need those friendships and I found myself nodding yes as you wrote, “I’m convicted that God never intended for friendship to represent pain.”… Yes!! I have said this so many times.
Yet, we are also befriending the broken with our broken selves and if we see this, we can let His perfect love shield us in the midst of our relating to others. I learned this much later than I would have liked to, but still… :0)
I enjoyed this.
Thank you, Dawn, for your kind words. You are so right. We meet with broken selves and it will never be all easy, but with God truly anchored in our hearts we can work through the issues. The problem is with those who cannot or have not anchored the love of Christ in their hearts. But what a blessing those relationships are that are done in that fullness! Thank you so much for visiting today!
Blessings and smiles,
“…that God never intended for friendship to represent pain.” Thank you for saying these words because I needed to read them.
I have released a 49 year long relationship that recently caused me tremendous pain. I no longer need her even though she was so hard to give up. But I have because God has others who care more about my well-being and will also share things with me today and not 40+ years down the road.
Thank you for encouraging me this day.
Caring through Christ, ~ linda
Linda, I am so thankful God comforted and encouraged your heart through these words. Thank you for sharing and please know, I will be praying for God’s peace to settle in your spirit and for your heart to heal.
Blessings and hugs,
This. It makes my heart burst because now I can hear your voice and picture you sitting on your cute writing chair working on this. And I love it. Our time together was such a huge blessing for me, and I miss you already! Thanks for being such a wonderful host and a sweet friend. Sending a huge hug to you! And some for all of your fam too. 😉 Love you!
Love you back! Even more!!!
Thank you for writing about friendship today Lori. I’ve been reminded lately of the value of lifetime friendships, but also the importance of making new friends. This was a perfect confirmation that I’m on the right track. You’re a blessing!
Right back atcha’, friend! Both aspects are important, aren’t they … the lifetime friendships and the new friendships. It can be easy to forget one or the other!
Lori, Friendships has been a difficult area for me. I have had seasons of flourishing friendships and now, with the busyness of life, rarely make connections with friends.
I am basically a shy person, but your words convicted and encouraged me. I love the Scripture prayer you created and will screen shot to pray often. Sadly, it didn’t occur to me to pray for friendships. Your prayer so succinctly spoke to the heart of the issue and with it hope that God will answer.
Thanks so much for sharing.
I am so touched that God spoke to your heart through my words. Busyness makes the business of friendship a challenge, but yet God carves that space and fills our hearts through that community. I’m stopping to pray right now that your prayers are heard and He carves that time for you!
Blessings and smiles,
Lovely post, my friend! I am blessed with many friendships and mentor many who are desiring deeper connections as well! That prayer is a perfect start! Love this!
Popped by because you were my neighbor at Holley’s coffee with the heart. So loved this post and your site. You are right, we are designed for community. I am so grateful for my soul friends. I have also seen God redeem relationships that have been broken. I am grateful for God’s redeeming grace and love. Loved this!
Thank you for the kind words, Jenn, and thank you for visiting today!
What a beautiful prayer regarding friendship! Thank you Lori! 🙂
Thank you, Stacey!
Oh, Lori! Your words truly moved and spoke to me so much! Thank you and may The Lord continue to speak through you. Much love and gratitude~ Lela