Seventeen years ago, I pressed my forehead against my front door window while tears quietly slipped down my cheeks.

I watched my husband pull out of the driveway and head off to another day at work.  I then turned to look at what my day would hold- a crying baby, a messy house, and an overwhelming feeling of dread.  How could this be?

I finally had everything I ever thought would make me happy, fulfilled, significant, and satisfied, yet I was more miserable than I’d ever been.

Finally realizing a great husband, healthy baby, and a comfortable house with a flower bed planted out front all make for very poor gods rattled my soul to the core.

My whole life had been designed around getting these things that would finally fill me up.  When they fell short, I slid to the ground and cried, “God, I can’t do this.  Where do I go from here?  How do I find you?  Help me!”

A few weeks later, my husband called and said there was a woman in his restaurant who wanted to meet me.  I glanced down at my spit covered sweatpants, ran my hands through my greasy hair, and willed my mind to override the desire to pass on meeting her today.

I couldn’t handle the relationships I had in my life, I certainly couldn’t make time for more.  Plus, if I got too close to women who appeared to have their lives together, they’d judge me for the pitiful way mine was falling apart.  No, my role was to give everything I had to my family.

But that was exactly the problem.  I was giving everything I had to my family with nothing to fill me back up- no one to encourage me past the hard spots- and no one to share practical advice because she’d been there, done that.

So, I crammed my diaper bag full and headed out the door.

Over the years, I’ve thought about that pivotal decision to pursue and embrace the necessity of friendships. Not only have they helped me personally, my friendships have been crucial in my roles as wife and mom as well. What I once thought would take away from my family, has proven to add a richness I couldn’t have gotten any other way.

Here are some practical ways friendships can help us:

  • Find a friend who does something well that you wish you could be better at.  It may be cooking, managing paper piles, organizing kid’s rooms, effectively disciplining her kids, or a hundred other things.  Whatever it is, ask her if you could spend time observing how she does what she does so well. Women love to talk about things they do well.
  • Choose a friend with whom you feel comfortable to pray. There is no better gift we can give our family then to be a wife and mom who prays.  Praying with a friend about our families will not only knit our heart closer to the ones we love, but to that friend as well.
  • Pursue a friendship with someone who is one stage behind where you are in life. Offer them practical help in their area of stress and weave in the wisdom you gained as you went through that same stage.

Why not spend some time today praying for the friends you have and the friends you’ve yet to meet.

And sweet sister, if the topic of friendships is a painful one for you, I encourage you to spend some time today reading God’s word and asking Him to help you know what steps to take.  Really ask Him. Pour out your honest feelings, hurts, desires, and dreams.  God loves to answer those friendship prayers in His time and in His way.

Now trust me on this, go ahead and wash your hair, just in case you get a call today like I did all those years ago.

And if you haven’t signed up for the (in)courage (in) real life meetups, you must!  Click here for more info.

By Lysa TerKeurst

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  • Lisa H

    Lysa,
    Thank you for this! Friendships were so hard for me to come by. To trust. They still are but God has provided me with a few deeply rewarding honest, genuine Christ centered friendships the last couple of years. Then he gave me a few more that are in an outer ring that are slowly learning more about me and me about them. Its a long slow process. One that I am grateful I listened to him and moved forward in this area!

    I had to laugh at this statement you made: ‘Now trust me on this, go ahead and wash your hair, just in case you get a call today like I did all those years ago.’

    As I sit here this morning still in my pj’s with no intention of showering or washing my hair. I’ve taken the day off work and after I take the kids to school and attend a meeting at my son’s school at 9am, my plan is to come home and just be quiet today. Yes I may do a few things in the house but I feel a strong need to be quiet with God. I’m off center and I can feel it. So last week I decided I needed a day to myself to sit with Him. I hope I don’t get any strange phone calls because washing my hair just doesn’t seem to be a part of that plan today :)

    lisa

  • http://www.thepaperbagprincesses.blogspot.com Christy

    Great Post Lisa, thank you.

  • Rebecca

    I, too….fell into the trap of thinking…Once I am married, have children and everything I think I want…I’ll be there…in that happy place! I wonder….why did I think that. Was it because I thought others really were happy with or without it? But…it’s beautiful and more beautiful with Him in front of me and friends, good, true friends beside me. Thank you!

  • http://holley.dayspring.com Holley Gerth

    Girl, you and your greasy hair (or not) are a joy to know. So grateful for your friendship!

  • C.J.

    I understand…but don’t know how to do friendship. I missed out when my kids were growing up (although our youngest is still at home.) I am an introvert so too much time around people gets me in a tangle… but at the same time I would love to have a couple of close friends that I speak to/get together with on a consistent basis. One of the problems I have had in the past is that some folks like to make everything a gripe session and although I think it’s great to pray about problems, rehashing them over and over is not my idea of fun. I don’t even know who I would ask…and I am afraid because of past situations. Prayers anyone? I could use some for this…signed Tired of being lonely.

  • http://popparables.com Keri

    For way too long I struggled to put on my pretty face and act like I loved loved loved every minute of mommyhood like so many others did. Everyone would say, “It’s the hardest job in the world and the best job, with the greatest rewards.” I felt like a failure for feeling as if this really WASN’T my dream job! I am making sacrifices of my “dream job” to care for my children. It’s hard to admit that because so many in Christian communities want to say otherwise. But, it’s the truth. And, while most of my friends don’t share {or at least admit} that they feel the same way, I have chosen to be transparent about it because my “dream job” is what I’m passionate about, what I dream about, and what I look forward to.

    I wanted to add to Lysa’s list to pursue a friendship with someone who is at a completely different stage than you are. My bff and I have never been at the same life stage, but our spiritual bond has been the greatest bond to my weary soul over the years.

  • http://www.jumpingtandem.com Deidra

    Such good words. You always have such good words! Thanks, Lysa!

  • Dena

    Thank you Lysa, I am sitting at my computer with tears streaming down my face because of a painful friendship and struggling with the old lie of I don’t need any friends, they are not worth the pain and heart ache, but God made us relational beings, first with Him, then our families and yes friends, His whole love story to us is about relationships. I’m going to dry my tears, give my hurts to my Heavenly Father and pray for a Godly friend or to to enter my life.

    • http://MaryRsnyder.com Mary

      Lysa — I just ADORE your heart!
      And to all you sweet girls who posted about painful friendships, I SO understand and my heart goes out to each of you. Just know that God cares for you and He will bind up your broken heart! Look to Him!!

  • http://www.creatinghomejournal.com Jamie

    I loved this post! Friendships, especially in the early childhood years, are easy to overlook. Those first “playdates” were more chasing children than having any sort of conversation. Over the years, I have found myself dealing with the struggle of maintaining the home and cultivating friendships. But I think a key for me has been realizing that good frienships aren’t a result of finding someone who can meet my needs, but are born out of serving and loving someone else.

  • Nanci D

    We’ve moved so many times that it has been hard for me to make friends. And, where we have moved to now is not where I want to be so it is even harder to make friends. Plus, we really haven’t found a church that we like either. I have some great friends from many years ago but even with the internet it is hard to stay connected. I won’t be washing my hair today because I won’t have to worry about it. :-)

  • Kim

    Friendships would be great, but all of mine have dissolved! I watched Oprahs Best Friend episode and cried because I dont even have 1 friend! My previous best friend was my (ex) pastors wife and she hurt me, BAD! She lied to me, stole from me and so much more that I don’t know if I want friends! It seems like that happens to me over and over again! I have 2 small children and my own problems. My husband works 12 hours a day, so I really don’t even have any adults to talk to. We haven’t been able to find another church to go to and trust is REALLY hard to come by for me!

  • Jodi Lawrence

    I feel like I’ve been having babies forever & it seems my friendships change just as much as each pregnancy. I don’t like that. I feel like most of my friendship have come & gone & I’m sitting here reading this with tears in my eyes b/c I really don’t have the one friend who I can truly be real with, pray with or learn from. I’m an open-book, very transparent, so maybe most women don’t like that? Either way, I would love for God to reconnect me with one friend or many. :-) Thank you for this post. It encouraged me greatly!

    • amie shearman

      I liked your honest post jodi! How many babies u got? I feel like I’ve been having them forever too. I am a part of a church plant in San Diego. Calvary Chapel San Diego is planting a church in Imperial Beach. My relationships have all changed since we moved in July, I had these visions of becoming best BFF’s w/ the few families that are most deeply involved. Many of them already have their BFF’s. Of course we are here to preach the gospel, love people and see lives changed, still everybody CRAVES friendships. To know and be known right? All my relationships have changed for better and for worse. I feel lost at times. Fearful and alone. Jesus is here and HE hears us when we cry out to him. I hope as we both continue to make HIM our BFF, that we can be open to the friends He wants for us to invite into our lives. prayin 4 u sister

  • http://www.dawnsgoodlife.blogspot.com dawn

    As extroverted and social as I was created to be…I still have to put forth effort to spend time with friends.

    It’s easier to wait until things at home are just how I want them, or til the next project at work is finally complete.

    Then, on top of that, I can get picky with who I want to be friends with.

    I’m learning though. It’s worth it. I need to give to friends and I need to give to friends. And friends are fun and life-giving and laughing and learning is good. Age isn’t important. What we have in common isn’t important. I just need to let God knit my heart with another’s and let her know how much I love that He is.

    Thanks for the reminder, Lysa, to make friendships a priority.

    • http://popparables.com Keri

      Dawn…I do the same thing! I’m constantly overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to get done that I don’t even think about getting together with friends. And, even though I love getting together and spending time, I feel like it takes so much for me to initiate that. It’s something I’ve been working on, because I want my friends to know that I care about them more than I care about my endless to-do list. It also really helps me to have regular meeting times with friends-once a month book club, Bible study, etc. That way I don’t have to put forth a lot of energy to see them-I know it’s coming! :)

  • http://briebarton.blogspot.com brie.

    this resonated with me this morning. as i sit two months into marriage, realising that of course, it isn’t the answer. and remembering to sit at my saviour’s feet. i must remember to connect with my family and girlfriends, i must invest time and energy in creating new friendships. i must be honest though, i am grateful for dry shampoo!

  • Gloria Allender

    After a lifetime of wrapping myself in body armour for protection from anyone and everybody, with the help of a great psychologist, I realize how much I need girlfriends. But it is so difficult to make friends at 55. It seems that everyone already has their girlfriends and they’ve known them all their life. I keep reaching out, knowing that it takes time, trusting God will show me the way. Thank you, Lysa, for speaking up on an important topic.

  • http://alifeinbalance.net Barb @ A Life in Balance

    Great post! It wasn’t until recently that I understood the value of my friendships in my life.

    To C.J., I’m an introvert, too, though as my home circumstances have changed, I feel myself becoming more extroverted outside my home. However, I will never be the center of attention, and that’s okay. True friendships take time and commitment on your part. Think of them as something you invest in. Learn to recognize the people that you’re drawn to. Honestly, there are a lot of women in my life, but only a few who have the ability to hash things out. That’s okay, too. It’s a lot of work being a person of integrity. Just be comfortable with who you are, and you’ll attract the kind of person you’re looking for.

  • http://www.preparingforyou.com PreparingForYou

    My bible study group (incidentally we are doing ‘Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl’) was just discussing how important it is to have friends who are all different ages. Our group has women from 29 to 83 and we all learn so much from each other. It’s important to be open to friendships that may seem unlikely on the surface.

  • Lauren

    Oh my. There are no words. I was homeschooled all the way through high school, went to a small college, and have very few friends. Strong friendships have dissolved because of one reason or another. Divorce, a big move, life in general, being hurt and never telling them so I just closed myself off, etc. I want to learn. How to work through these things. How to be a friend to those older and younger. How to listen and how to share.

  • SKKramer

    I can identify with so many of the above replies. I got married late in life and then we moved away from all close friendships. Had kids and just have never been able to reconnect in a meaningful way with others to establish the kind of friendships that my heart longs for. The good thing is that it’s driven me even closer to the Lord and most days I’m totally satisfied in Him. But there is that needling inside that wants connection with other women. I pray for it, but after 20 years I’m still in the wilderness. I keep hanging on to the Lord knowing that my life is in His hands. Thanks for your blogs. They always speak to me.

  • lisa

    Thank God for some greasy hair days and the fact that He does not care one bit! I will be needing me some of those “friends” soon when we move to the Charlotte, NC area and I know absolutely NOONE! Pray for me, and keep on encouraging us with these “friendly” bits!

  • http://intruthandgrace.wordpress.com Sarah W

    Thank you for this post! Over lunch with my husband I was talking about this exact thing. We moved across the country after we got married 9 months ago and it’s been the hardest thing that has come my way. I left an entourage of friendships and entered into a city knowing no one but my husband. I love him dearly, but he’s not the same as a heart, sister friend. Thank you for encouraging me to continue to pray and be bold with asking possible friends out for coffee.

  • Kisha Vargas

    I really liked this post. I realized in my own life that I have found I don’t have many friends. I can totally relate to every post up here. I sometimes find it very odd that for my age (32) that I don’t have friends like most people. At times it makes me think something is wrong with me. I have prayed and sought God for an answer and I am just taking it one day at a time. It will happen eventually I guess….

  • http://www.chasingblueskies.net Kristen

    I love, love, love your ideas for practically seeking friendship, Lysa. Several of my own friendships were born from divulging my hard spots and asking gals to “show and tell” how to do these things better. Doing this shows the friend you care about her opinions and the way she does life. That’s a great friendship building foundation!

    And Lysa? You and your gorgeous hair are a gift. Love you!

  • http://wvgurl.wordpress.com Aimee

    Thank you for this! So often I feel exactly all the things you’ve written here. I do try to persue friendships with women who are strong in areas that I want to grow. I’m not sure that I have anything to offer to anyone else.

  • Dorothy

    Making friends is hard when you can’t trust anyone other than yourself Some days even trusting self is difficult.

  • StephanieB

    I need to work on getting outside of myself and inviting friendships into my life more.

  • http://shellyscantrell.com/ Shelly S. Cantrell

    I am “that girl”–the one who is afraid to make those deep, soul connections with other sisters. But, it is because I have been hurt more by women (as opposed to men) in my life.

    Most of my deep, spirit-crushing hurts can be traced back to events where I was hurt by women.

    This is the revelation I had a She Speaks this past summer. As I wondered why I was so afraid to answer the Call of Christ to minister to women, God shed light on this deep and dark place in my soul.

    Lysa, your post gives me hope. I am still healing, still trying to move past this… and today, I needed to hear that I am not the only one who struggles with what women think of me. While I know it might sound crazy, I wasn’t sure that other women felt this way.

    Thank you.

  • Cindy

    I just moved 2000 miles away from home where I left a handful of the best Jesus girlfriends that truly did round my life and gave me support and help when I needed it. I’m trusting He will do the same in my new home but I need to match my trust with more prayer about it. Thanks for the reminder Lysa!

  • Beth Williams

    Lysa,

    You are a wonderful, inspiring teacher & girlfriend to all us girls out there! Thanks for all you do!! Great post!!

    We as women need friends, but also need to be friendly to other women in different stages of life!

  • Becky K!

    Thank you for this post!! It really spoke to me, and so did all the comments. I have felt so alone over the past 6 years of mommy hood, and I thought that is was just me struggling on the friend front. I have began thinking it is just my lot in life not to have a close friend of the heart. But it seems I am not alone and so many other women out there are like me and in the same position as I am. Praying to God for that close friend, and trusting in His time he will bring us together.

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  • amie shearman

    I always regret the days I laid in bed too long and miss my shower window. Or even spend too long in the Word. I can pray in the shower!
    Taking a shower in the mornings always feels like such a treat. I have five children 7 and under. They are schooling w/ me @ home. I really prefer to NOT be in my p.j’s when we gather around the bible most mornings. Some days you can wash your hair and then
    one of your “priority blessings” can barf in it, or wipe banana in it.
    Seems to me like Jesus calls me then to just go w/ it. I don’t always have demonstrate a gracious spirit when my freshly washed hair damaged. I don’t blow dry much. I am california hippee mama. I had to laugh at this article. Thanks for sharing. it’s nice to share too. Bless you!

  • http://www.inspiremebeautifulblog.com Hope Easter

    Friendships are where I struggle at. I have 4 girl friends that I can talk to a whole lot, but we hardly ever get to sit down and chat. I am the only single girl out of the other 3. Sometimes it makes it really hard to relate to relationship problems or kids or anything else.

    I love them dearly, and definitely wouldn’t trade them for the world.(I never want to lose them.) I would just like some friends whom I can talk with daily, and share in the struggles with.

    It’s something I’m really going to have to pray about daily.

    Thank you for this post. :)

  • Natália Nogueira

    Hi Lysa!
    I’m from Brazil (first of all, sorry if it has grammatical errors. I’m taking English classes.)
    I arrived here because of your book “What happens when women walk in faith”. I read the translated version. Actually, I’m still reading the book and it has been helping me so much that I wanted to search the internet about you to learn more about your experience with God.

    This post says exactly I needed. I need friendships.
    I am a young woman who is 23 years old. I’ve always been fun and had some close friends, but after I gave my life to Jesus my thoughts and my way of looking at life has changed. And ended up growing apart from my friends.
    I have two Christian friends. But I feel that I need close friends who besides pray with me, also go to the mall, watch a movie in my house or just sit together to give some good laughs.

    Now I’m going to pray for them. For the friends I had, the friends I have and friends I’ve yet to meet.

    Pray for me.
    God bless you!

  • http://www.redeemingthedays.blogspot.com Elise

    thank you, Lysa.

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