The other day on the boat we talked about how our relationship began and the times that the sea seemed a bit rough. We talked about how much we are the same, truly kindred spirits and the time it took to really understand each other.
I cherish this relationship because it has been tested and we have learned to constructively resolve our conflicts and where there was hurt we truly forgave and found reconciliation.
In our early years of friendship we were nearly inseparable. We met in 1979 and we had our babies within months of one another nurseing them side by side day in and day out. We lived within a few blocks of one another and then in the summer of 1986 we moved next door to one another. In 1986 when the Space Shuttle disaster happened I rushed over to her house so that we could watch the coverage together. I learned to drink coffee at her house, and we would often say in the morning, come over for dinner. We attended the same church and had many of the same friends.
When my husband needed to go into the Vancouver for cancer treatment she and her husband stood vigil, babysitting and helping with meals.
Sometimes though too much of a good thing can become the problem itself. Looking back, we can easily see that the moving next door to one another was probably our biggest challenge. Jealousy, insecurity and mistrust bounced back and forth over the fence and though we never completely withdrew our friendship from one another, it became strained.
They eventually moved to another town and we moved to the farm. For a time the phone calls were less often, but our love for hospitality never stopped and dinner at each others houses, always a treat still happened several times a year.
Both of us wanted the relationship to work and by God's grace we slowly grew to the friendship we enjoy today.
I appreciate and value Kathy's perspective. Our different life experiences are a treasure chest for each other. I had boys and she had girls. I can glean wisdom from her and I know that she also wants to learn from me. I know that she wants our family to succeed, she hopes the best for us and I also hope that for her family.
We don't push each others buttons anymore. . .
oh if I could take back the times I did that.
I am amazed at God's goodness in this friendship. So often while I was reading this book I felt God nudging me in areas that I still need to grow up in other friendships. Every relationship that we have is a bit different because we relate a little differently to each person. Just because I can get my act together with one friend, doesn't mean that I have it all together in all my friendships.
While I am using Kathy as a real life example in my post today there are other relationships that I still need to work on, places where I need to allow God to change my heart. I really can honestly say that God is not finished with me yet.
As I read the book, I felt encouraged, challenged, a bit defeated, disappointed in myself and increasingly more determined as I read the questions at the end of each chapter.
That afternoon on the boat, Kathy and I talked about how occasionally someone will still ask us individually if we see each other? Clearly the question reveals and indicates that our friendship in its infancy stage was visible to other friends.
I've wondered at times at my personality. The book talks about this as well. Until we understand ourselves and identify the condition of our hearts and our motives . . .we'll keep walking in circles in our relationships. We need to understand that our capacity to love others comes from the Lord and not our own creation.
It is so hard to admit fault isn't it? Whether your challenges are with your spouse, children, extended family or your friends, you want it to be better .. . .don't you?
Maybe reading this right now, a relationship with a girlfriend comes to mind and you feel hurt or guilty . . and wonder if your friend feels the same. You might wonder if reconciliation is possible. I pray for you that you will be able to resolve your issues as far as it depends upon you.
I have found that I like myself more since I've done some attitude adjusting in my expectations in various girlfriend relationships. Since I've purposed to give grace where before I nursed hurt, where I once chose to be cynical I now try to be trusting, I feel more at peace.
The girls that wrote this book really do seem to have their relationships figured out. I admired their honesty and their frank discussion in their many examples.
I shared with Kathy that I felt led to write about this topic but I wondered how I would do that without talking about specifics, implicating others. The authors talked quite specifically in the book about various relationships. Kathy graciously gave me permission to talk about us. I thought, wow, how kind and how trusting of her to give me the freedom to tell about our friendship from my perspective.
She shares my hope that young women can learn to enjoy grown-up friendships avoiding the pitfalls that so often plagues relationships. She agrees that when God truly is the center of a relationship, it is a wonderful thing.
Learning to be gracious on both ends of the friendship on the journey is a dance and an act of selfless love.
The rewards that comes with being a friend like the Bible talks about are profound.
Knowing that someone is really happy for you when you are happy. .
knowing that someone is sad for you when you are very sad. . .
knowing that someone is willing to take your phone call even when they are busy ..
knowing that someone chooses to listen and tries to understand your viewpoint even when it is different than her own. . is an incredible blessing.
This book has also helped me to understand that not all my girl friend relationships will be at an intimate level of sharing all that is in my heart.
It is good and healthy to have different levels of intimacy.
With some friends we share cliches. . . ie. ..how are you today. . isn't the weather lovely. .
with some we share facts. . .ie. . I have two sons who are married and I have grand babies. .
with some we share opinions and others our hopes and dreams.
With others we share our feelings and maybe our faults, fears and failures. .
and then with a select few we share our real needs.
As I sat writing this post I stopped to think about so many of my girlfriends and the indescribable richness of what they have brought to my life.
"No prolonged infancies among us please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for imposters. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love ~~ like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love"
Ephesians 4 14-16 The Message
Last but not least. . .thank you to our wonderful husbands for the comic relief in today's pictures. . .picking good husbands is something we have always agreed about .. .ours are the best. PS Kathy's husband looks nothing like Homer.
Kathy's response from the comment page. .
Thank you for your kind words about me this morning. I remember one of the cards you wrote to me some years back that said "thank you for loving me when I was lovable, but especially when I was not." That little sentance has stayed with me. I have often thought about that and I too have over the years felt loved from you when I know you must have had to work hard to show grace when I was unlovely.
Scot and I have enjoyed our frinedship with you and Terry over the years. We have such wonderful memories that far outway any of our hickups.
I loved the truth in Charlotte's poem about friends. (check out her blog -Here I Stand) I am so rich with many frienships, and each have brought something different my way. Some have been deep, some casual. I want my friends to feel valued and respected. I want to build up my friends and encourage them where they are at, not where I think they should be at. I want them to have the right to speak the truth into my life and help me along when they see I need a loving word of reproach or encouragement.
I am grateful for you Lovella for loving me where I am, and encouraging me to be better, to grow in my walk with the Lord, to love my family more, to live life to the fullest. Thanks for the journey we as friends are walking together. Thanks for forgiving me when I have hurt you.
I hope we can be a testimony of God's love to the world of girls out there who long for healthy relationships. Honestly, I have some friendships I need to pour into more, I need to work at harder, and some that I need to mend alittle.
I love to laugh and do it out loud! That we did Friday on the boat. I just love the way you 'honored' Scot in the pictures. Girls...let your hair down abit and have fun with your friends. Don't be so serious! Oh and having two goofs along really helps. Last year Scot brought his inflatable boat and the guys had about the same fun with that as they did with the belly boat this year.
I can only imagine camping this summer. I already know what the new fun toy is for that trip and it scares me abit. I am not a target! More fun, more memories. This is not my blog so I better sign off. Thanks for investing in our friendship Lovella.
I love you! Kathy
Have a wonderful day my friends, I'll be posting again on Wednesday.