“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Friendships of Women #8

My Goodies from a recent Giveaway at Abundant Curiosities

...this is my eighth post in a series on the book titled "The Friendships of Women" by Dee Brestin...

Chapter 9 Roses and Alligators

I appreciated the reminder from Liz that friendships can fall into three basic categories: a reason, a season, or a lifetime. (See comments from "The Friendships of Women #7".) There's actually a little poem you can find on-line about it. But I have my own thoughts in regards to these categories... and feel more than free to disagree with me about them... I'll still be your friend!!!
  • Reason... one person has a need that the other is able and willing to fulfill... once the need is filled... the friendship remains but the intensity of the relationship decreases.
  • Season... friends come together for a period of time... perhaps based on their children going to school together, a Bible Study, an aerobics class, some type of common ground that comes to an end naturally.
  • Lifetime... the friends that have become grafted in like family.
Please note that I do not use any of these categories to justify the lack of conflict resolution. If a friendship ends because two people cannot reconcile their differences, this does not make it a category like a "season." Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself... let's get back to "The Friendships of Women" by Dee Brestin.

Chapter Nine discusses our response when a friend lets us down... even hurts us. We need to determine (no matter what aforementioned category) whether or friend is really just a rose with thorns (now, girls, admit it... we all have thorns!) or is she an alligator that has shown a pattern of destruction? Is it time to move on... is it time to confront... or is it a time to love?

A Reason
Quite a few years back, I met a gal who was having difficulty in her marriage. For a period of time she was also having financial difficulties. I was still relatively new to the area, so I bonded quickly with my new friend. I was able to help my new friend out with groceries, childcare, and a listening ear.

After a year or two, her marriage took an upturn. She began meeting new people. Our lives started taking us in separate directions. I began to realize that we were not as close... and I feared I had done something wrong, so to make matters worse I became possessive and jealous.

Unfortunately, it has taken me almost 10 years to finally realize that our friendship had been based on a reason... the Lord used me to minister to that gal. And I did, but being new to the area I had set all of my hopes and expectations on her to fulfill my loneliness... and that was not God's plan.

A Season

So, remember the "tea party" I had with the gals from my Bible Study table? Well, as the new Bible Study was just about to begin... I contacted the ladies. All excited about what God had for us in the new year together.

One by one the ladies responded.
  • Cannot attend due to class schedule.
  • Cannot attend due to moving.
  • Cannot attend due to new job.
  • Cannot attend due to selling property for finances.
  • Cannot attend due to previous commitment this term to another Bible Study.
  • Cannot attend due to moving.
  • Cannot attend because assisting daughter during difficult financial time.
  • Cannot attend due to move and new baby.
Not one returned.

So, of course, I had to ask the Lord... "Is it me?" And He said... "It's not about you.... It's about them...." God gave me a wonderful season with these gals. Their reasons for not returning were all bona fide.

I returned to my "empty" table this term, and now, the Lord has brought a whole new group of women to the table I lead. I am so excited for my new friendships! Perhaps they are just for a season, too... but I am confident in the fact... "It is so not about me"!

A Lifetime

Let's look back at the best friend I introduced you on the prior post on this topic when I almost became a "betrayer. " When my friend began to pull away from our friendship, I took it personally. I was hurt. I wondered whether I should begin to pull out of the relationship.

I asked myself these questions:
  • Could I live with the offense?
  • Should I address the offense?
  • Is this relationship worth salvaging?
  • Do we have a history together?
When I examined our relationship, over the MANY years we have been together, I knew that this was a "lifetime" relationship (and knew that my friend did, too), and that ultimately, this friend had always been there for me through sickness and in health... but mostly my sickness.

So, at the proper timing, I gently brought up how I was doing... asking how she was doing... and you know what.... IT WASN'T ABOUT ME! I thought she was rejecting me... but she admitted she has a hard time saying "no" to others... and that their needs came before her wants (which included girl time with me!) Now that I know my friend even better, I am able to offer love and support and gentle encouragement that she is allowed to have some girl time... especially if it is with me;)

I know... some of you are sitting there thinking... "Are you kidding me? Who sits around and thinks about this stuff?" Well, me. Just a logical mind trying to learn about how to have healthy, thriving friendships. And you know what? I'm having the time of my life! ...er, even though... IT ISN'T ABOUT ME! LOL


Ladybug Landing said...

One of your best posts yet. I really enjoyed this one and plan to copy it for a couple of other friends. I see that book coming out!

walkalongside said...

ryc: Thanks! My neck is almost normal now and the coughing is greatly subsiding. Still would like to sleep 7-8 hours straight. You caught what I was trying to do with that blog ... put it in people's FYI files and there for those doing a search online.

I'm eager to share with you a crochet book I got in Hawaii ---- for leis, very neat! Maybe we could have some crocheting times together.

yardenxanthe said...

I really wish I could have continued at your table - I enjoyed our table a lot! Glad you have a whole new table of ladies.

You are doing a great job with this series of blogs. I am impressed with the depth you think about these things and also with your willingness to share!

Kentucky Bound said...

Wonderful! Insightful! And as usual, perfect timing. Thanks for the reminder that it's NOT about me!


Beloved MaMa said...

Thank you for your prayers! We appreciate them!
By the way, your friendship series would be a wonderful "retreat" type series for you to teach! Have you ever thought of teaching on it live?!!! You have wonderful things to share!

Kathy said...

This is really good. I've learned a lot from you about the friendships of women. I need all the help I can get in being a better friend to my friends.

Amy Wagner said...

Glad you finally received your goodies!! Sorry it took so long. The Dr. has told me I have pneumonia...so back to bed for me.
Enjoy your paper and ribbon goodies.

elizabeth embracing life said...

Sheri, you share so openly the process of your heart as you learn and grow in your understanding of friendships. Thanks for your insights and glimpses of your heart. I am blessed and encouraged by your words.

Amel's Realm said...

I actually think you hit the nail on the head with this post. I ENJOY it immensely, esp. about the reminder about "It's SO not about me" HE HE HE HE...;-D

Grace said...

Good Stuff! I had a very good friend who was nine or so years older than I am tell me early on in our friendship, that friendships either run about five years or last a lifetime. She was pretty accurate! (And ours was right about five years....)
I'm thankful for the 'lifers' in my life!
Bless You!

cammyk said...

Enjoyed this post. Lovin the paper goodies!