To have a friend, you must first be one

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on January 4, 2010

I’ve always had friends. Old friends. New friends. Acquaintances. Pals. Accomplices. Those who are ever-present cheerleaders – my biggest supporters. In fact, I am married to my best friend.

But, I’ve let friends down. I’ve lost touch with those who once meant so much to me. More than once have I let stupid things come between me and a dear friend.

I have also been hurt and have felt betrayed by friends. I’ve had friends cease to call me friend because I associate myself with one of their sworn enemies. I’ve also had friends stop talking to me because they heard something that changed their opinion of me. Something that may or may not have been true. They will never know for sure, because they never bothered to ask.

When I was little, and heartbroken over a lost friend, my Mom would ever so gently remind me that friends would come and go, but there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother and that I should turn to Him when I’m feeling down.

Now, in an age where it is so easy to de-friend and block for any small reason, I’m even more aware of how important and necessary true friends are to me. And to my children.

girlfriendsA friend to whom I can cry and complain when I’m sad or have had a bad day. A friend who will rejoice with me and share my excitement when I succeed. A friend who can be the cheerleader I need. A friend who will sharpen me and be honest with me. A friend who recognizes that I may have different interests (and other friends). A friend who is loyal. A friend who loves my kids and realizes they are, in fact, kids. A friend who loves me for me.

But first, I must be that friend.

I try to be a friend without stipulations. I have friends who don’t share all of my interests. I have friends who raise their children much different than I do and friends without children at all. I have friends who have different priorities and goals. And, yes, I even have friends who associate themselves with people who have hurt me.

I’ve been searching God’s Word for guidance, as I process feelings and recent events in my life, and have found some incredible verses. Verses that are speaking volumes to me right now. Verses that are helping me get over disappointment in myself, as well as others, and realize that my Mom was right all along…

On the importance of friends::

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

On what it means to be a friend::

Proverbs 12:26
A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Proverbs 17:9
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times

On how to ruin a good friendship::

Proverbs 16:28
A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

And, of course, the greatest example of true and selfless love can only be found in Jesus::

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

What do you look for in a friend?
How do you teach, and model for your children, how to be a good friend?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

rachel-asouthernfairytale January 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Amen.

These words speak straight to my heart. Bless you, friend.

It is very easy to wait for others and blame the lack of friends on others.. when it’s so much you, too.
xoxo

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ClassyMommy January 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Excellent post. Thanks for all the reminders on friendships and I agree it is important to be a friend first. And as a parent, it is so important to teach our children about being good friends and always trying to be inclusive of everyone. So often we all get caught up in our lives and need to take a step back and think of what we need to do for our friends. I’ve found especially since having kids it has become even harder to stay in touch with those most important to me.

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Deb - Mom of 3 Girls January 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I have two close friends that I’ve known for almost 20 years now plus a couple of newer friends that I’ve made since becoming a mom. Otherwise, it’s so hard to meet people that you ‘click’ with and I’m not very good at putting myself out there when meeting people either. I wish I had more friends, but am so very thankful for the ones that I do have. My mom never had any real friends when I was growing up, so I am glad that my girls are seeing me with my friends on a regular basis. Your words are so very true, and thank you for sharing the verses as well!

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@Elizabeth_N January 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Do you think being a blogger is isolating? Sometimes, I wonder. My goal for this year, well one of them, is to have more girl time. I need it!!! :)

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Andrea @ MommySnacks.net January 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Great post, Chris!!

I feel extremely blessed to have a best friend for over 25 years. And, when I think about our friendship I look at what we have been through. The characteristics of our friendship look a lot like what you seek and hope to be.

I would also add loyalty. My friends are associated with the very people who have done me wrong. I know those friends will always value our friendship and they can be friendly with whomever they want. As a matter of fact, even though it might sting at first, I want them to be that way. It’s the very reason I love their soul and value their friendship. It’s definitely an area I need to work on in my own life.

As for our children, we tell them to stand up for their friends as they would do themselves. We encourage them to look at a person’s character, and even if it’s not that great still attempt to make a friendship. It is hard in today’s environment where kids are so completely cruel and even engage in physical altercations. It’s tough, but we really want them to be a light even in whatever dark situation presents itself.

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Katja of Skimbaco January 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Great post Christine, my friend :)

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QuatroMama January 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm

There’s so much I love about this post, and so much that makes me wish you were my neighbor, or my Bible study leader, or on my most dialed calls list.
Thanks for being genuine, Christine.

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Brandy January 4, 2010 at 8:57 pm

i am probably the worse influence on my kids when it comes to friends. I don’t have any. I moved 4 years ago and just haven’t made any since. I have met a few bloggers but they didn’t give me a second look.
good post though thanks for sharing your thoughts

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Adrian January 4, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Friendships with women is one of the things I’ve struggled most with in my life. It can be pretty tricky when everyone is so busy with their own lives and families and don’t have time to spend with you. I haven’t had a best friend, or even a single close friend in years and I really miss that, but I don’t quite know what to do to fix it. Good post.

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Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) January 5, 2010 at 4:11 am

Christine,

I sincerely think this may be one of my favorite blog posts I’ve ever read!

Friends are so important and I agree with you on everything you said.

I am so blessed these days to have a wonderful neighbour who has become my best friend. Her name is Julie and she has two girls aged the same as my two girls. We met when our first girls were babies. Julia and Madison are the best of friends and I love to see them play together. They truly love each other. I hope they are able to be friends for a long time.

Sadly, as important as I know friends are, I do not invest enough time in my IRL friendships — other than my friend Julie. I find it basically impossible these days with my businesses and my family. I just don’t have any time left over. I know that is foolish of me and I do regret it. I hope to try to invest more time with friends locally.

Of all my friends that I’ve had through the years, I only really ever had one major ‘falling out’ where I ended a friendship. It was sooooo painful for me at the time, but I look back and see how foolish I was. (She lied to me and dated my freshly-ex boyfriend behind my back. I was so hurt it made me sick to my stomach. But how wrong I was… she truly loved him, whereas I hadn’t loved him and I had broken up with him, and they got married.) I lost out on that friendship by being unable to forgive.

Most of my other friends I would still consider friends, but just that I don’t see them very often or I’ve lost contact. Thankfully, now through Facebook I’m a bit more connected to old friends… but I do need to invest time.

I truly value my blogging friends — such as YOU!!! And I find such kindred spirits online who share the same experiences that it can sometimes be hard to replicate those friendships with offline friends.

Thank you for such an inspirational post!

Your friend,
Susan

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Nicole January 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

Thanks for the reminder. Gods word is so comforting.

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Toni January 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Wonderful post, I am lucky that i have some great friends but I have definitely had the ones not so great as well. Love those verses too they are some of my fave.

Loyalty is a big thing for me and trust, because of the bad friends those are the things that are a must in friendships for me.. Treat the ohter how you want to be treated.

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Casey January 5, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Genius! I love this post!

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julie January 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I have always been of the mind set– you put into the friendship and hopefully it comes back to you. Friendships are like any relationship, they need work and time.

I too have lost friends, and gained some new friends. I treasure those friendships. I also understand that they are busy and also have kids..but a phone call or email or note is something that they need to to know that they are valued as a friend. Its takes 2 people to be friends.

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To Think Is To Create January 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm

This is so lovely…a humble confession, a quiet urging on, it’s beautiful.

I have had a major roller coaster this year with friends, the first time in my life that I’ve had a season of so many close friends, and so much pain as well. Going through very hard times in life can really show you who truly cares and who just likes you for some fun times. When you aren’t fun and need love, that’s when you see the real friends step up. Thanks for sticking with me. xoxo

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2augboys January 5, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Thanks for sharing from your heart, Christine. Thank you, too, for the reminder of the importance God places on friendship, too. I love the versus you posted. I hope He gives you peace about the recent events you mentioned and comfort from those friends who love you for who you are.

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Sarah January 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Just stumbled on your blog somehow….you know how the mommy-blog-network goes. :-)
I loved this post–I needed this Scriptural encouragement today! Thanks for sharing!

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Sara Rose January 10, 2010 at 2:09 am

One of my favorites is Prov. 17:17 A friend loves at all times!

It’s rare to find a friend who will be there through the thick and the thin. Loves you for who you are. Gives you grace. Knows when your hurting and is there for you. Someone who you can laugh with. Someone who will teach you how to properly put on eye makeup.

Thank you for being all these things to to me Christine! I love you so much and thank Jesus for blessing me with an amazing sister. You are a true friend, a Kindred Spirit!

Stuck with me for life :) – Sara

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Stephanie October 20, 2010 at 12:41 am

I really needed to read this. Thank you!!!

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