By Krista Sweeney
Sometime the things that hurt the most are the things that we least expect to lose. When loss occurs, we can end up being hurt, angry, and bitter, all while desperately wanting some answers or resolution. Though, when it comes to losing friendships, we may never find any of this. We may feel as though we have to constantly trudge through the murky waters of the sadness, trying to grasp at whatever is in front of us. Yet, loss doesn’t always have to be such a sorrowful thing.
In my own experiences of losing friends, I don’t think I have ever come out the same person. This kind of loss happened frequently for me in the two years that surrounded the end of college. I ended up feeling alone in two separate apartments, with two separate roommates who seemed to have emotionally vacated our once well-loved homes. My closest friendships seemed to crumble before my eyes. Slowly, while the heartache chipped away at me, I found myself before God, begging Him desperately to answer prayers. I asked for Him to make some sense of the heaviness in my heart, and the decomposition of deep and meaningful friendships. I was frantically asking for reasons why, or for God to pinpoint where I went wrong. I never seemed to hear an answer, and never seemed to find resolution. I endlessly pondered why God hadn’t answered me, and then years later, it hit me: I was meant to be faithful.
I tried my hardest to mend things on my own: I asked questions, I carved out time for conversation, I tried to understand, I did purposeless tasks around the apartment, and yet God created silence in order for me to continue to have faith without answers. In the months following each broken relationship, I realized that I had had forgotten what TRUE friendship was founded on. It was here that I found more in the faithfulness of Christ than I had ever received in any girls’ night or weekend trip. I found more comfort in the embrace of my Savior than the hug of a friend.
GOD’S VIEW ON FRIENDSHIP
Even though there was grief, grace remained. All while the hurt occurred, there was some restoration of my faith; although I was sad and heartbroken, I was never truly alone. In these moments, I found the strength in Christ to continue to make the best of each situation. In my darkest and loneliest hours, He still remained quietly by my side. Through the loss of physical friendships, I found the worth of my friendship with Christ, spurring me on to find a more true and more scripturally sound view on friendship.
While finding genuine friendship in Christ, I started to learn a few new things about how we should foster and maintain our earthly relationships. Through the sincere companionship I re-discovered, I slowly began to see what an accurate example of this relationship should look like. So here are a few nuggets of what I learned, showing us how we can nourish and foster godly friendships.
- LOVE: Above all else, there is nothing that can beat love. Jesus instructs us to do so in John 15:12-15: “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”. Here, we see that our love should be found and poured out of the love that Christ has for us, in the greatest sacrifice for mankind.
- BE FAITHFUL: Just as we are faithful to God, be faithful to your friends. Stand beside each other, in good times and in bad, and friends have the chance to become family: “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family” (Proverbs 18:24 – MSG).
- BE HONEST: If we do not surround ourselves with good and godly relationships, how do we expect to grow? Proverbs 27:17 says that “iron sharpens iron”, so stick with those who encourage you in both truth and grace in your walk with God.
My prayer is that in this journey of both loss and discovery, we can all ban together as women of God. In the midst of this crazy world, we can all use more love and sisters to walk through life together. So may we let the love of Christ flow steadily through us and pour out onto each other. Let us give love, and let God’s love reign.