i encourage you. read Part 1 first. read the comments on that post too. then, hop back over here for the heart heavy i am about to share.
i’ve spent this past week making notes for myself. an outline of the heart pushes, the mind grazes. the heaviness sitting in my gut as i process friendships again this week. the words you shared with me. the emails and phone calls. they brought comfort to me too. they allowed me to feel less alone as we battle for good & solid & supportive friendships. those that offer grace. mercy.
i maintain good friendships. God gives my friends grace & mercy to give to me; because i need it. i WANT to maintain good friendships. i know what i should do. make time. give back. love wholly. cherish deeply.
// my cup runneth over. i do not deserve the caring & generous friends that i have now. but i am thankful daily for each one of them. i wonder if sometimes we experience heartache of friendships lost so we can revel in the joy of determined friendships. i have good friends. lots of them. they are faithful. whole. loving. supportive. maintain friendships. good friendships.
here’s my 5…
#1: give joy.
i have hard days. hard weeks. earlier this year craig & i had a hard 10 months; yes! an entire 10 months of circumstances that hurt. the friends that called just to listen, the ones who called to check on me when we temporarily separated in the Spring. they prayed, encouraged. they offered me bits of joy and peace when those seemed to be fleeting… so, give joy. all the time. be the listening ear. the one that offers a joyful word. words of thanksgiving. words of encouragement. for in that moment, they probably needed it.
did you get a birthday card from your sweet friend? send one back. did she pick up the phone and call you or schedule an outing? now, you take a turn. even if it’s out of your comfort zone –>> this is reciprocal friendship. when you reciprocate it makes them feel value; it confirms a friendship; it provides physical evidence.
#3: love wholly devoted.
through the tough. the hurting moments. through divorce. through miscarriage. through sadness. BE THERE. be devoted. be caring. put away your pride and your hurt. give them your attention. they need it. in that moment. friendships strengthen when they go through the hard and lonely together. you may be the only steady daily support they receive today.
#4: forgive with grace & mercy.
when they ask for forgiveness. forgive. wipe the pain, the hurt, the fear away. start anew. refresh yourself and your friendship. we all fall. we all sin & fall short of the glory of God. oh to have perfect friends. alas, we do not – we are all level on this field and need to have undying mercy & grace for our sweet friends.
#5: make time.
there is never enough time. ever. we have to make time for our family, our spouse, work, playdates, date nights, ourselves. when do we have time for friendship? for those that matter… we make time, just like everything else. pop in a short cartoon for the kids to make the phone call. say no to events to say yes to coffee with a friend.
give your friendships value. elevate them. we need friends. desperate to have comfort in friends. to share. to delight. to encourage. to spend hours talking about life over dinner when it’s been a whole year since the last chat. we crave to have girlfriends that will love & support us in spite of ourselves. i know that i sure do!
but sometimes it’s time to say goodbye. sometimes it’s best to say no more. you are the boss here. you decide what friendships stay & go. it’s a heart thing. consider praying about it. consider following the encouragement of others. considering stepping back to recognize if they are toxic. if they hurt. if they manipulate. if they are not allowed anymore of your precious time.
#1: be forthright & honest.
just say it. tell them. leave the anger & the hurt and use “i feel” statements! a message. leave a voice mail. something. get it off your chest – hold less tightly to the information so that they too can have the ability to work through the hard. this is not the easy one. you might get shaky. you will likely be extremely uncomfortable. putting words to hurt opens communication and allows closure.
#2: take a break.
perhaps the need to break is harder. take a break… but still consider telling them. that you need space & time. you will come back around when you are ready. my prayer is they are receptive & respectful.
#3: with a 3rd party.
if their grip is too tight. you may need to take a friend with you. a counselor. a mediator. a spouse. i rely on my husband for sound advice and as the steady voice of reason he helps to reduce any potential escalation i may endure. bless that man.
#4: natural separation.
in time you respond less. connect less. call less. choose to be less. as you do this they may fill some of that void with other friendships and not realize what happened to you at all. be prepared for the call or message one day asking what happened; be prepared to answer with forthright & honesty if you can.
#5: old fashioned snail mail.
this is perhaps my favorite. sitting down with a glass of ice water at the kitchen table reflecting on a friendship. spending time going through the happenings. preparing a letter knowing there is no quick auto-response. a few days to get there. several more for a response. it sits heavy but comfortable knowing the action you took is one step closer to healing. it gives permission for them to process and respond. it gives handwriting to emotions. the wait can be hard; but do your part. own it.. let them own their part.
i urge you. warn you. hope to scare you…
…out of ever blocking someone on facebook without reasonable, logical cause. yes, this hurts. to not return a call after some concerned voice messages. to not reply to a letter for months. to delete the email of the concerned voice without responding. why? because ladies, our hearts hurt. we yearn. we desire to remedy. we do not want to be the source of your dissatisfaction. rather give us some blasted terrible qualities so we can overcome them. make them better. be a better friend to our other friendships.
writing this little series has given me thinking with purpose. organizing my thoughts and my hurts. attempting to remedy this hurting heart that years for long-lasting friendships. a girls weekend in Chicago every year for the next 20 years kinda friendships.
my hope is that this post will stir something in you too.
part 3 to follow. i’m sure of it.