We met when she still wore a thin gold band on her left ring finger. I sat next to her in the only seat available at the crowded table, not realizing from that point on, my life would be better because she was in it.
As we sat in the restaurant surrounded by women who already knew one another, she told me her story. Her husband had broken the vows he’d made on their wedding day, and now she found herself in the middle of an unexpected and unwanted end to their marriage. Life as she knew it was over. She had no children, and her ex-husband now lived in another country.
I was ten years younger, happily married, and in the thick of parenting two little ones. She was a big-city lawyer, while I held no career aspirations. She overflowed with real-world experience, and I came from a sheltered background with very few bumps along the way. We grew up in different countries, but our souls spoke the same language.
She twisted the ring on her finger as she opened to the first page of her story, and even though by outward appearances we had nothing in common, something about her honesty and vulnerability touched me. Her wisdom, her experience, and her refusal to let bitterness blossom drew me in.
Ours was an unlikely friendship.
I sat squarely in the weeds of toddlerhood and breastfeeding — we rarely saw one another without one child or another clinging to me, while I tried to sip tea and chat through the fog of sleep deprivation. Meanwhile, she methodically and consistently walked a path leading her from lawyer to law firm partner to a position as a judge. I sang lullabies while she argued legalities, and yet, despite our differences, we created space for one another and our life callings.
She taught me there is more to becoming a woman than finding meaning through marriage or parenting. Being a woman means developing resilience and wisdom. It means following hard after God in the midst of our deepest suffering. Godly womanhood means standing with the underprivileged, fighting for their rights, and becoming a champion of justice.
My friend taught me that passion comes and goes, but perseverance to pursue what God has called us to is the true mark of greatness in His kingdom.
We lived in the same city for nearly four years, and I now live a continent away. Every few years, we try to meet in one country or another, and catch up on the time we’ve missed. Life is caught in the ocean between us. I miss her. I miss meeting for croissants at the local café and praying together on my white overstuffed sofa. I miss seeing her face after a church service.
I miss watching her life unfold daily into a bold, womanly, wild, God story.
It’s easy to cultivate a closed circle of friendship, filled only with women in the same age and stage as myself. I fall into this trap time and again as life becomes busier and more complex to manage. But, my life is richer for discovering an unexpected kindred spirit. I have so much to learn from her, but I hope to always remember her first life lesson — draw the circle wider. You never know who might be missing.Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
I’ve found this to be true as well, and, even so, it always amazes me when I can sit around a circle with godly women and find points of connection in the most unlikely places. We’re all walking to the same quiet pulse, so it shouldn’t surprise me when I find our steps are in synch, but this has always been one of God’s delightful gifts.
“We’re all walking to the same quiet pulse”–yes! What a lovely image to carry forward:) Thanks for reading, Michelle!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I always thought that my best friends would be like minded individuals, from similar backgrounds, and in the same stage of life. God blessed me with those kind of friends to “do life” with for certain seasons (like my MOPS groups when I was a mother of preschoolers). But, he has given me some very diverse friends – mentors who had walked roads I hadn’t traveled and gave me pointers for my journey. Now, I’m the “older” one it seems and He’s given me younger friends to come alongside and mentor. He’s given me friends from countries and cultures I wouldn’t have ever imagined. Are they all my closest friends? No, but when you draw the circle wider, your life becomes so much richer. Lovely post!
Diverse friendships are the very best, especially when they mentor us in unexpected ways! Thanks, Bev.
I love this story. What a timely challenge. Thank you. Hope you get to see your friend soon.
Thank you! It’s been quite a few years since our last visit, and the ache is still there.
Janie McReynolds says
Thank you Kimberly for this sweet message and encouragement. I love how God gives us such gifts in what I call divine appointments, I too don’t want to miss that. Such a great reminder.
I don’t want to miss them either, Janie!
Danielle Bernock says
Great story and lesson – draw the circle wider.
It’s amazing what we can learn from those who are nothing like us when we share the spirit of Grace.
I’ve read a number of stories recently about unlikely friendships. It’s a beautiful thing.
I have friends in other countries and I love it. It widens my view of the world. It’s so easy to get stuck inside our own little world and perceptions. These friendships are little gifts the Lord gives us and I cherish them.
Thank you for sharing!
I’ve learned so much from my friends in far-flung places–it sounds as if you have too! Such a gift.
Standing on the edge of an inter-state move, I read this like a challenge today. We are moving far away from most things we know and I’ve been feeling a bit puny in the face of it. But I want to be brave. To step forward into the unknown and see what it has to offer me and how I can use my gifts there. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story! Blessings!
(( Liz )) Love and continued prayers, friend.
I know how hard those moves can be, and I trust it will be a rich time of growth for you, Liz. Believing with you.
Marian Vischer says
You’ve just encouraged me to text my dear friend who I haven’t seen in forever. She’s an older, wiser woman and she’s meant the world to me. Thank you friend for reminding me of what I know but forget. : )
P. S. This is a beautiful post.
P.S. Your friend is lucky to have you:)
Kimberly, what a sweet testament to God’s design for community. The generations need each other. I’m a big fan of the open circle. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I’m still learning how to make it wider, Brenda! Thanks for reading:)
Mark Allman says
We we pick friends in our own image those friendships don’t often challenge us to think differently or to view things in a different light. Sometimes we are unwilling to develop friendships that challenge our status quo and we are worse for that. We avoid friendships with people who do not believe as we do. If we want to influence anyone we have to have a relationship to do so. We grow as we grow our circle.
K Ann Guinn says
Thanks for writing this thoughtful post. I agree that it’s wonderful how God leads us to “unlikely” friendships, and what a blessing they can be in our lives. While most of my close friends are similar to myself, I also have some who are quite different, and boy, is it refreshing! We usually share something deep in our hearts that draws or keeps us together as friends.
Let’s keep widening our circles! We might actually be a blessing to someone else in return.
Refreshing–that’s the perfect word for it!
Tammy M Ross says
Somewhere I read that your circle of friends should always include someone in the stage ahead of you and someone in the stage you have just finished. The person ahead of you will mentor you and give you wisdom from her experience that is not far ahead of yours. The one behind you is for you to offer the same wisdom to.
I love this idea–that’s wisdom speaking!
I met Bev through this blog and about a month ago, I reached out to her desperately needing friends. She wrote back and has done so each day. We live in different states but have connected over foot surgeries that we both have gone through. I found someone who really understands how hard it is to do life on crutches. She has encouraged me with a healthy eating plan and I am now on my way to losing weight and getting healthy. I thank God every day for her friendship. After my surgery I went from being able to walk to having to use crutches or a walker. I live by myself now that my son has married and moved to another state. My independent life has turned in some what of reclusiveness. Just doing every day chores is enough to send me into depression. I am so grateful for the internet that connects me to Godly women who take the time from their busy lives to reach out to someone like me. I never knew how difficult,life is for those with a disability or handicap. I am more sensitive to their needs. Simple things like reaching for an item off the grocery shelf, holding a door, carrying a package, taking the trash can to the road on garbage day. I pray with weight loss, my feet and joints will be better and I can once again walk without the use of crutches or a walker. Until that time though, I will do my best to stay positive and give it my all.
Thank you for this ministry. Thank you Bev for reaching out to this lonely southern girl who just needed a friend to walk through life with.
Bless you Kathleen! I pray today Lord that you would fill Kathleen with hope and the strong sense of your presence with her. Help her on with her health goals and lead godly women to her doorstep! May she be filled with joy in the midst of her challenges, amen.
What a beautiful story of friendship! Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Kathleen. You’re in my prayers today. May we all find or become a Bev!
Julie Garmon says
Exquisite–this post, your writing, and your tender heart!
Julie, you are so kind:) Thank you for the encouragement, but mostly thanks for reading!
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
Sometimes it is just plain hard to make new friends, but if we can get past the awkwardness that comes with trying, we could end up with a beautiful circle of friends, and hopefully a wide circle.
Your words have encouraged me today to work harder at making new friends.
I’m so glad you are encouraged, Kathy! Making friends is “just plain hard”, especially as we grow older–hard, but not impossible!
Hannah Pitner says
How easy it is for us to get inside our own bubble… or worse, to think we are better than others for the life path they have chosen. How beautiful is unlikely friendship and the power of sharing our stories. Love this.
The bubble is a trap, isn’t it? Thanks for reading, Hannah!
Rebecca L Jones says
I guess I have cast a wide net by blogging, I have had readers from many countries, some I don’t even know where they are, but someone must have needed to read my words. I agree, being a woman is not just about marriage and children, but there is a reason He instituted it. A godly husband or wife is a treasure.
The internet has opened up all sorts of new friendships to me too, Rebecca:) It’s been a real gift!
Denise Pass says
Totally agree. Some of the most precious counsel I have received was from Titus women, much older than myself, who took time to invest in me. Treasures.
Amen to kindred spirits, unity despite differences and all of us leaning into our wild God stories relentlessly!
Nancy Ruegg says
The first Sunday we visited a new church (that would become our home church) a young woman joined us in our row. After the service when we began to chat, we discovered it was her first Sunday too. Every Sunday we’d visit a bit and learn more about one another, especially that we had little in common! A. was decades younger than I, newly married, no children yet. She was a pharmacist; I had been a teacher. A. suggested we meet for coffee; we talked for a couple of hours. We’ve continued to meet as her schedule allows, and I thoroughly enjoy her cheerfulness and caring spirit. Who could have guessed that two women of such different backgrounds could become friends? With you I heartily say: “My life is richer for discovering an unexpected kindred spirit. I have so much to learn from her, but I hope to always remember her first life lesson — draw the circle wider. You never know who might be missing.” Beautifully said, Kimberly, and so very true.
Beth Williams says
I agree we need to draw the circle wider. When dating my hubby and I attended his little church. Most of the members were older/elderly. I didn’t think I would like it as there weren’t many people my age. Over the years I have become great friends with most of the members. I am great friends with my hubby’s ex-in-laws. We all have more in common than I thought. I can relate to their maladies as I have taken care of my aging parents. Actually I can help and mentor them through their trials.