Let’s face it – relationships aren’t always what they should and could be. Sometimes they’re painful and unpleasant. Other times they’re demanding and draining. Today Lisa shares her own journey in “girlfriendships” and reminds us that friendships, by their very nature, require that we put ourselves out there and sometimes we may get hurt in the process. But God calls us to love – even if it hurts. As you read Lisa’s post, I think you will be able to relate in some way or another with a friendship run-a-muck.
My Journey, by Lisa Shaw:
Girlfriends. Best friends or what I call up-close friends. Terms I’ve heard since my childhood but not one I can honestly say I’ve experienced in a fulfilling way. I know many women whom I love and enjoy spending time with but none that I can call an up-close (in-person) girlfriend. I don’t have sisters. I grew up with 3 brothers. I have 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters all of whom I absolutely adore but no up-close girlfriend. I often wonder if that’s why the LORD chose to use my life to minister to women. I have had a few up-close friendships in my lifetime none of which ended well. I wrote about it in more details for A Martha Heart. You can view it on my Sharing Life with Lisa blog titled: Friendships.
Coming from a childhood of being violated trust in a relationship of any kind was not something that came easily for me. Through many years of journey with the LORD healing came and allowed me to willingly open my heart to others and in doing so there is always vulnerability. Betrayal and feelings of being used rushed in like a Tsunami. The love of Jesus, who is my best friend, has been the saving grace in my life! [John 15:12-14 (NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.] The love Abba Father has granted me through my hubby of over 20 years who is my earthly best-friend, has blessed my heart tremendously but I still longed for the up-close girlfriend.
One-sided friendships are exhausting and painful. Often what I have found is that I enter into a friendship with no expectation other than loving each other in Christ and the other individual quickly views me as some strong, praying machine leaning on me for prayer and Biblical support but never having a mutual flow of encouragement. Make sense? I’m a woman who loves, prays, gives, laughs, cries, hurts and has weaknesses and struggles as everyone does and yes, I’m strong in the LORD but I’m not a machine. I’m a woman. Earlier this year a woman read my blog and wrote an unkind Email to me. She said that I “only love on the white sisters and not the black ones”. I love on any one in the LORD. It’s not about the color it’s about Christ. Earlier in life I was told that I was “too black for the white women and not black enough for the black women hence I had no place”. I’m thankful that I know my place (identity) is in the LORD. That being said, comments like these are unfortunate because I enjoy the fellowship of sisters in Christ and it’s humbling to be used by GOD to encourage them I don’t care what color they are!! Didn’t GOD make the colors we see? Sadly, however, comments can cause me to once again pause in allowing close-up friendships as the Guard Dog watching over my heart goes into protective mode.
I know this is not the warm message that most want to hear. I’m sorry Stephanie but when you asked me to write something a few weeks ago on this subject I told you it may not be pretty. This is the only subject of my life I have not gotten my healed-heart wrapped around: up-close girlfriends. Now, please don’t get my message wrong, I’m not depressed, lonely or looking to be pitied. That’s not my focus in sharing this transparent message. What is the focus for me in this message is to say, not all women are experiencing the fruitfulness of up-close girlfriends and it is not always because one is not showing themselves to be friendly.
It’s painful to express the hurts of your heart to someone who says they are your sister-friend or close friend only to have them dismiss your words and feelings in order to tell you what they want you to pray for them and their family. You feel dismissed, de-valued and in my case, the guard dog of my heart resurfaces yet again.
Girlfriends–Up-close girl-friends– I’m not sure if I’ve given up on it for my life yet but I do love hearing about the laughter and long talks over coffee, the trips together, the raising of kids, the prayers and tears together — being a loving support to one another. I love hearing about it. I’ve experienced it at brief times in my life to find out that being vulnerable can and for some will end in being hurt. Is it worth doing it yet again? Yes. I’m sure it is because God designed us for relationship. Will it hurt yet again? Perhaps. For now, I’m in a season of prayer and healing spending loads of time with the LORD about this area of my life that if I can be totally honest and transparent here and say, I don’t like it. It hurts. It’s a lonely place to be to give love so openly and to be used by GOD for over 15 years to minister to His beautiful daughters but not to have a solid up-close sister-friendship that is full and vibrant and founded in Christ for both she and I.
Some may say, well Lisa, it happens – get over the hurts – move on – God has another friend for you – pray – get into the Word, etc. Ladies, I know and I am and will continue to. We all have the answers to the pain of others don’t we? We know all the “things to do” Biblically to overcome in an area YET truth be told, we don’t really have the answers for one another but I know the One who does – Jesus and so I linger at His precious feet in prayer. Thanks for reading my heart. Please pray for me as I pray for you. Enjoy your up-close girlfriend relationships. Love on each other. Don’t take each other for granted. Don’t take more than you’re willing to give. I often believe that if both are giving then none is without. Support each other in the rough waters. Laugh together in the light tide. Pray and encourage each other in the Word through the seasons you will both experience. Honor the LORD in your friendship as He must be the foundation.
Thanks for letting me pour my heart to you.
Love and blessings,
Lisa Shaw understands what it means to be hindered by past pain, people pleasing and the grip of fear. She also knows the healing, freedom and grace that comes through Christ! By His design she is humbled to be an ordained pastor with her husband Peter using GOD’s gifts she holds dear of helping women to see themselves through God’s eyes, the ministry of prayer, wholeness of marriages and standing for the lives of the unborn. She loves sharing personal stories to help people connect to a “real” person. She believes that “people don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care”. Lisa cares. Her heart continues to be to please the LORD, love on her family and help people to know HIM more!
Have you walked down the painful path of a difficult friendship? Do you carry scars on your heart from those you thought were your friends?