I’d like to think I’m a pretty good friend.
After all, when I was ten years old and transferring to a new school I made sure to buy matching necklaces for my best friend and me. You know the kind — the ones that say BE FRI FOR on the first and ST ENDS EVER on the other. When you click them together, voilà! The fate of your friendship is sealed and the code is decrypted: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. (In my head I added, and ever and ever and ever and ever. What can I say? I’ve always had a bent toward the dramatic side.) I bought the star-shaped kind because she was never much into hearts and I felt like being particularly thoughtful.
I hope you’re not here for a feel-good story because the friendship fell apart, and so did the necklace. It got exceptionally rusty because I refused to take it off for a year. Turns out chlorine isn’t great for cheap jewelry.
I was devastated when we stopped being friends. It wasn’t a Formal Break Up or anything — we didn’t even have a fight. “A changing of seasons,” was how my mom put it. She sat me down and told me we have seasons in life, seasons where certain people are in our lives, and seasons when they’re not.
Suffice it to say, I felt ripped off about the season I was in. I missed her. But when you’re ten years old and the only thing you have in common is Barbies, there’s not a whole lot keeping you together when you change schools. Life moves on. And I guess you have to, too.
My best friend in the whole wide world ended up being the person who was with me all along: my sister. She’s seen me in the good, the bad, and the very, very, very ugly. (Being fourteen is no fun at all.) I firmly believe sisters are built-in companions who are literally not allowed to desert you. It’s fantastic. You’re stuck with them for life! I’m thankful for this sticking.
A little over one year ago, in the midst of my mom’s chemo and my journey in trying to figure out who I am and why I’ve been placed on this Earth, and the rest of the Big Questions I consistently have, I met Sarah. I was instantly nervous. My palms were sweating. She was cool, you know? I sat next to her in church and spilled my iced tea three times. (Three times! I was not cool.) She was a few years older than me, doing fun, amazing, world changing things, like going to school for social work and running non-profit organizations. I was still working on trying not to spill my tea.
We went out for lunch, and she intrigued me. But I was also scared I would ruin everything. I thought: She’s going to think I’m insane. (I’ll let you in on a secret: we’re all a little insane. That’s one of my favorite qualities in a person. A little sprinkle of insanity never hurt anybody. In fact, I think it makes friendships all the more fun.)
Looking back over the year, I see God in every speck of Sarah. He delicately placed her into my fragile, precarious life. I needed her more than I ever knew. She points me to God over and over. Every time I think I’m fine on my own, she points me to God again.
I realized our friendship was the stick-together kind when I sat in her car bawling, feeling like my lungs were going to explode from my body. Sarah didn’t kick me out. Sarah let me cry. Sarah assured my sanity. She even texted me the next day.
Let me tell you, that’s a true friend right there, sister. We’ve road tripped together, walked up and down antique store aisles planning our future babies names, (alright, alright, I admit that was more me than her), and we had desperate conversations about God and His love and His majesty and His wonderful, mad, crazy grace.
God knows our hearts, and He knows our needs — even before we ask them. He knew I needed Sarah, and from what she’s told me, He knew she needed me, too.
Recently, I’ve been wondering if I should give her a friendship necklace. But then I remember where that got me last time, and this season is one I’d like to stay in for awhile.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
We all need friends that continue to point us to God no matter what age we are. I’m a “few” years older than you lol, and I’ve seen many seasons come and go with friendships – especially with moving around the country – but some have remained tried and true through even that. I also think we need friends who are younger than us, and friends (mentors) that are older than we are. Even at 54, I still have a mentor who helps guide me through seasons in life that she has already experienced. God knows just the right people that we need and I am continually amazed at how He makes for our paths to intersect. Thank you for this beautiful reflection on friendship and God’s unchanging love that makes friendship happen.
Thanks for sharing this! Ten years ago I became friends with a young woman who was around the age of my daughter and was in my Tuesday morning Bible study group. We grew to be close friends and I thought of her three small kids like grand kids. She always turned to me for ‘godly advice’ (as she put it) and we prayed a lot about many things, especially her marriage.
A couple years ago that marriage fell apart due to multiple infidelities on her husband’s part. She turned to me once again and I spent a number of days sitting on her couch holding her while she sobbed her heart out. We prayed, read scripture and prayed some more. Then her parents swooped in and moved her and her kids to another town far from here. She and I kept in touch daily and prayed over the phone. I went to see her a couple times as she settled into her new town.
Then one day she asked me for my ‘godly advice’ on a man who was pursuing her. Being she was still married I suggested that she just tell him that he needed to back off. Long story short…he wooed her with the promise of love and happiness. While she still came to me for advice and prayer I could feel her pulling away since I was not telling her what she wanted to hear. Then one day I found that she had ‘unfriended’ me on facebook and she wouldn’t answer my emails, phone calls, letters or private messages. This past December she married this man (her divorce was final in June of last year). I still pray for her and hope that they have a long, happy marriage. But I would be lying if I said that the way she ended our friendship and the reasons she ended it didn’t hurt deeply.
With the help of my precious accountability partner and lots of prayer I have gotten past the hurt. But when I think of this young woman and her precious kids it still makes me sad.
Cindy Larson says
Never doubt the Godly wisdom you shared with her will not be used again by her. I also lost a dear friends 25 year friendship from H.S. when I became a believer, and then a year ago she died suddenly. It hurt deeply to lose her both times, yet I also continued to pray for her & her family. Aliza’s mom is wise about the seasons we go through and the friendships we go through. God is the wisest in giving us such dear friends as we need them. God bless you my dear sister-in-Christ. I am 58 & loving the season I am in!
Beth Williams says
Prayers for you and your friend. May God heal wounded hearts. I thank God you were there for her when she needed you. May God bring you another good friend who will be there for you!
Donna Harrison says
I love this
Aliza, you had me laughing out loud. I love how God gave you your friend Sarah. God has made us interdependent. When we learn to trust another, build friendships with them, God seems to open doors into our hearts that can be opened no other way.
God plopped me into the middle of a group of wonderful women. We are doing life together. I am still in awe that He gave me this group of ladies. We do the ugly parts as well as the parts worth celebrating. I’m learning to trust them and believe that I am a valued part of the group. Not always easy, given some of my past friendships.
Loved your post today. 🙂
Great thoughts about season of life and so true. I love the advice your mom gave you. I can definitely look back on my life and see the different people God placed there for just that season. I have lost touch with some but am grateful for the time we did have together.
Kristine Brown MTY says
So sweet! God is amazing- how he brings just the right friend at just the right time. God has recently brought a wacky group of girls into my life that make me laugh hysterically, at a time when I thought I had lost my ability to laugh. I’m so thankful for them:)
Madeline Osigian says
Thanks! I’m in a friendship “shift” too, and it’s nice to hear your older, wiser perspective. I’m fifteen, so I didn’t need my mom to tell me it is a “changing of seasons.” I’m looking forward to making new friends like your Sarah. 🙂
Cindy LeSieur says
I think I’ve just found my “Sarah” Yolanda is a believer who lives in my complex
I am praying to be that friend to someone.however,I am wary of other women and motives,having been raised in a family who hid their reasons for everything.its hard making real friends when I’m suspiciousof motives .Lord help me become a friend who lo es at all times
the phone. I went to see her a couple times as she settled into her new
Beth Williams says
Prayers that God will help you become the kind of friend you want to be. It can be hard dealing with past issues. May God heal your heart and help you to open up to women.
Renee Swope says
I love everything about this post Aliza!! You have such a gift with words. And I bet you are the best kind of friend to have! Your sister and Sarah are too lucky girls.
Flower Patch Farmgirl says
You’re my kind of lady, lady.
I love this post! It’s hard when seasons of friendship change. Love that you have a “stick-together” friend. That is so precious! I’m an older, fellow tea-spiller, and this post was so encouraging to me this morning! 🙂
Beth Williams says
It is so true that we all go through seasons. I’m in a season of frustration and stress dealing with my aging dad and work. Thankfully God has placed a Godly woman in my life 11 years ago. We talk about everything and pray for each other as we face trials–she is also dealing with aging parents (her mom died Thanksgiving last year). I wouldn’t trade our friendship for anything!
God has also placed a few good friends at work. They pray with me and give me advice. I in turn pray for them and their families.