You’ve Got a Friend, Post #44

Who would you say are your true friends?  Who do you go to when you want to laugh, to cry, to celebrate, to confess, to be encouraged, to be your mirror?  Who calls you a true friend?

One of my most cherished blessings in  life are my precious, deep friendships, friends from different phases of my life.  What a blessing it is to keep in touch with friends from high school, college, after college, work friends, church friends, Bible Study Fellowship friends, and friends met through my hobby of writing.

A mantra that has resonated with me since childhood is “To have a friend, you must be one.” All these years, I have tried to be a friend but made mistakes when I wasn’t intentional to strengthen my friendships. Friendships are essential to a healthy life and for growth. It seems the truest friendships are easy, are refreshing, not draining.

Three different groups of dear friends stand out for me to describe for you.  One is a group of 10 beautiful friends from college. All 10 ladies live throughout North and South Carolina, are all married to great men, and have 22 children among the 10 of them. For the last 20 years, we have intentionally set aside the last weekend in April to rent a beach house in Charleston and spend time together, while their sweet husbands keep the children back home. We laugh, eat, tell stories, encourage each other, dance,  sing, cry through difficult times. I learn so much from them. Their influence makes me a better person.

The second group of my friends all met at a church retreat years ago. These six dynamic women are like big sisters who live throughout the Carolinas and Virginia. They are in their 50s or older, have great husbands and adult children.  Like the first group, we are intentional about getting together at least once per year for a weekend together. This past winter we all were together in the North Carolina mountains. As it poured rain outside, we didn’t care. We laughed, ate, told stories, encouraged each other, danced, sang, cried telling about difficult times.   Then in June we were all together again celebrating the beautiful marriage of one of their sons. What a glorious weekend! I learned and learn so much from them. Their influence makes me a better person. 

Recently, I bid farewell to a dear friend who serves our country in the Air Force and is moving to Macon, Georgia. She is part of a group of new, precious Godly friends I met through Bible Study Fellowship. She has such a sweet, soft spoken voice and gentle spirit, which I know I need more of.  God’s love radiates from her. I know distance will not separate our friendship, just as distance hasn’t with the others.   I learn so much from her, from this group of friends. Her influence, their influence makes me a better person. Do you see a pattern?

I encourage you to evaluate your friendships and be intentional about strengthening– fertilizing–those friendships. Look in the mirror, my friend. You are a friend, and remember–you’ve got a friend. In fact, you’ve got many friends, friends who can be your mirror and show you the real you. You are blessed.

Reflect:

–Describe a true friend in the comments below. What do you love about them?

–How can you be more intentional about strengthening your truest friendships?

Renew:

-“…He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” –Proverbs 11:25 NIV84

–“Greater love has no one that this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” —John 15:13 NIV84

Recharge:

–Pick up the phone and set up a time to rekindle a friendship.

–Pick a weekend before the end of 2014 and call a few of your friends to have a refreshing retreat.

Resource:

–Find a Bible Study Fellowship class near you at www.bsfinternational.org

PS. Today is also a great day to print out my “Creating Your Personal Mission Statement Template,” which is free by simply adding your email address and subscribing to my weekly blog.

My personal mission statement is “Shine,” based on Matthew 5:16.

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