Tribe. Squad. Besties. Whatever you call it, you need it. And I think you need it outside your home. Don’t get me wrong, my husband Jesse is my very best friend. He knows me better than I know myself, I really believe that. He loves me for me and I love him more than I can even express. BUT girlfriends are a must. I don’t know when I realized female friendships were hard...I had a great group of friends in high school, we drifted through those awkward years with many a fight and disagreement but one of my favorite things is to have lunch with them. When Zoe came home I got a very unexpected gift in the mail from them. It really was the best. They have shown me that even with time and distance we are friends and we have history, and that history matters. After high school I found myself in a weird spot: all my high school friends went to college and I was surrounded by women who were older than me and a few stages in life ahead of where I found myself. Two of my very best friends came from this era of my life. They taught me how to mother and be a good wife.
These four: Jessica, Amanda, Tesa and Destiny taught me how to be a good friend. Jessica and Amanda taught me that even though we grow up and move along, our history together matters. We grew up together, we have walked through SO many seasons and really, I think they know too much. Destiny and Tesa man, they got me at a pivotal time of transition; from kid to wife, from Jesse’s wife to Ezekiel’s mom. They held my hand and kindly guided me.
And really don’t get me started on my very first friend. My cousin, Melissa. She’s the best and without her my life would be lost. I cannot even begin to type out the lessons she has taught me. So I’ll save that for a later post.
So when did I realize female friendships were hard? When I realized I wasn’t being truthful with myself. When I wasn’t being authentic and real with the relationships I had. When I wasn’t being intentional. When I was cutting myself off but then mad that no one would reach out.
I got to spend some time today with two of my favorite friends. They are beautiful, strong, giving, loving, hilarious women that I want to be just like. We sat by the pool with a whole gaggle of children and just got to talk. Talking is my favorite. There were moments of silliness and laughter, moments of questions, but then there were moments of true vulnerability. I know it sucks to be the one friend who says, “This year has been really hard on my marriage.” Or “I really don’t like this kid right now.” Or “Please pass the cheetos.” (By the way that was all me.) So I know it sucks to be that person but I also know that it sucks to keep it in. It’s so hard to feel alone and I think we do this to ourselves, for fear of not being liked or fear of not being understood or,huge one: fear of not feeling safe.
Now let me tell you, I have a tribe, I struggle with being honest with them only because I feel like my honest is ugly. I know deep in my heart that that is lie. They are amazing and they remind me of that. We are better together. Always. Better. Together.
So I want to encourage you, reach out find someone who is safe. One of my favorite moments from this past year was a text I received that said, “I need people. Will you be one of my people?”
Do a Bible study. One that I just went through with some friends is called A REAL GIRLFRIENDS GUIDE TO TAKING IT ALL OFF by Stephanie May Wilson. It was so good and really helped us get to know each other.
Go to the gym together. I believe that there is no greater time to get to know people then when you are both in gym clothes and sweating. Misery loves company and really accountability to hit the gym is never bad! Here in Texas some of my best friendships were formed at the gym, if you keep seeing the same person over and over again maybe your meant to be friends. That's exactly what happened with my sweet friend Julianna. We kept bumping into each other and now I can't imagine life without her. She really has taught me how to be a better friend and what it looks like to serve like Jesus would serve.
My final thought on this comes with a scripture…
Colossians 3:12-14 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
If someone comes to you with a tender and vulnerable heart, don't be a jerk. Be a friend known for compassion and kindness. Bear each others burdens, be a good friend. If they are hurting, sit with them, feel their hurt, don’t allow your sweet friend to hurt alone. If your friend hurts you, forgive and forgive quickly (and wisely).
Put on love, always walk in love.
I am so thankful for the friends I have in my life. I can only hope I am as good of a friend to them as they are to me.