Friends, pt.2
I am loving all of your different perspectives. I love that you’re sharing highs and lows, ideas and struggles, and more than anything, yourself. That's a real friend. It helps those of us who may be struggling more than others can rest assured that we’re not alone – we’re not the only one who feels like they have no friends. But of course we’d never tell someone that because then they’d think we're a loser and never want to be our friend. No! That was in junior high. We’re big girls now and we were born to be friends.

I want to tell you how this came up with me and God recently and how I knew He wanted to rearrange some things in my life to fill the lonely place in my heart with friends. As I shared yesterday, my schedule this past year had gotten so full with my kids (school, homework needs, adapting to different stages they are in, etc.), investing more time in my marriage, working at P31 as an Ex Director, radio, speaking… that I had to cut back somewhere.

I prayed about it and felt God’s leading me to cut back on my writing (for a season) and trim back on the amount of time I spent talking on the phone, hanging out with neighbors, and a small group I was in because I needed to be in the P31 office an extra day each week.

I didn’t completely cut out my friendships, of course, but I did find my self having less and less one-on-one time with close friends for heart connects. Looking back, I probably pendulum swung a little too far, but isn’t that easy to do when you are trying to find a new place of balance?

Several weeks ago I found myself checking email repeatedly. I checked it in the morning when I woke up. I made breakfast and checked it again. I had my devotional time and checked it again.

Now, I have a thing about getting white space in my inbox, but this day it was more than just managing my emails. This day my heart was going back for a reason. The fourth time I checked my emails, I felt the Holy Spirit cause me to pause and ask myself, “Why do you keep checking your emails?”

I sat there and let my heart respond honestly. I wasn’t quite if it was me or God answering but my soul intertwined with His spirit whispered: “You keep coming back because your heart longs to connect with a friend.”

I thought about it and realized that in the overwhelming busyness of life for the past several months, I had let my friendships reduce to quick connections via email. Here I was trying to fill a God-created need with a white screen and black alphabet keys. That day I closed my laptop and called one of my closest friends. She happened to be available so I took some time off work to spontaneously meet her at a coffee shop and go for a walk.

Friendships are not easy to come by. Time is limited with lives that are so busy. Yet I know that God created us with this need, and He wants to meet it with Himself and others. But it takes being intentional and evaluating things in our lives like that create a false sense of connection like email, television, and overboard activities. We have to carve out a place in our lives for friendships.

If you are new to my blog today, we started this conversation yesterday, so be sure to scroll down and join in this girl-talk. To make it fun, I am going to do a give-away of something "friend-shippy" like a Starbuck's card, a book and maybe some jewelry later this week. 'Cause girlfriends love to win free stuff! Please post your own thoughts about women's friendships, or today's post.

Simply click the word "comments" below - and be sure to leave your email or come back this week to see if you're the winner and to keep this girl-talk going.


Blogger Lori said...

Hey Renee
Wow!! I love what you have written! I was sitting at my computer this morning trying to get some work done from home while 3 of the kids are at school and one is waiting to go to preschool!! and something drew me to your blog- I def feel that I am "unconnected" at times to friendships with life in general taking over - I do miss it! A good friend of mine was going to visit one of her old college friends recently and of course you popped in my mind and I miss that we have not stay connected - maybe this is perfect timing!!!
Love ya - Lori

Blogger Kelli said...

Hey Renee,
I am fairly new to your blog, and have appreciated your openness concerning girlfriends. I was born and raised in Chicago never moving my whole life and when my husband and I met (on e-harmony) he was in Minnesota. So I made the move knowing it would be tough leaving all my family and friends, but also knowing I was only a 5 hour drive away and I would still be able to frequently go back for long weekends. Well, I barely got moved in and settled (even joined a woman’s small group at the church he was attending) when 4 months later the Lord called us to move down to Oklahoma… where his family is. We have been here 2 years now and I have made some great girlfriends in our small group at church, who I have really connected with, but I have to say that there is nothing like the girls that you grow up with who know you so well, sometimes even better than you know yourself! I have to make it a priority to make those phone calls and write those e-mails now… but I know they are lifetime friends and I appreciate the fact that if life gets a little busy and we don’t communicate for a couple of weeks that we can pick up right where we left off. So, while “new” girlfriends are great…. “old” girlfriends are the best!
Thanks for sharing,

Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

I love this continuing conversation! And what a great remark in your early paragraph - we don't want to share with someone that we feel lonely because then they'll think we're a loser and never want to be our friend!! So junior high! Yep, the way we were imprinted as little girls can haunt us for years!!

Sadly, in addition to time, I think there are other things that keep women from developing close friendships:
1) insecurity - easier to stay alone than risk rejection, especilaly if it's happened before
2) competitiveness - my "stuff" isn't as nice as theirs (or it's nicer); They're better Christians.
3) jealousy - does she like her more than me? why wasn't I invited to go to lunch with them?
4) clique-ishness - they've known each other for years and I'm the new kid on the block. Or "I've got my friends; she should find her own group."

All of these stem from poor self-worth, and sadly I've seen every one of them in the church. I actually knew a young wife to say regarding church visitors and outreach "I don't have enough time to spend with the friends I do have; I don't need to make any more."

Our identity must be in Christ. Sometimes that's a lifetime progress with two steps forward and one step back. Fortunately He doesn't give up on us.

Blogger Digging for Pearls said...

I am enjoying this discussion of yours on friends. I fall into that same trap sometimes of continually checking your email through the day hoping to hear from a friend. With homeschooling my boys I tend not to be on the phone very much throughout the day, which means I'm not in contact with friends very much. I find myself longing for more at times. I guess it is at those times when I need to crawl into my "Daddy's" lap. Thanks again for sharing on friends this week.

Blogger tiggerdaisy said...

Love the girl talk as I have swung from one extreme to the other myself. Over the past few days though, I've really been examining my relationship with my best friend. Her mother died Sunday of Stage IV lung cancer--my friend's mother met Jesus face to face on the same day she turned 49 years old. In light of this emotional struggle my friend has been facing throughout the past 14 months, I wondered had I really been there for her like I needed to be. With my workload (2 jobs) and a new baby at home, I haven't been able to give my friend the attention that she needed during this time. I've given her what I could with my whole heart, and I have prayed and prayed and prayed for her during the times I could not be with her in person. I know I've given her all I had to give, and I suppose that is really good enough. Sometimes, though, I wish I could have given her more. I especially will try to carve out more time for her now since her mother has passed, as there is now a deep void in my friend's heart.

I hope I wasn't too depressing. I just wanted to share what was on my heart concerning my best friend.

Prayers and Blessings, y'all!

Blogger MrsProverbs31 said...


I hear you. It is hard for me to be intentional. So, thank you for sharing with us your heart. Friends are hard to come by.

Blogger Joyful said...

Dear Renee,
I'm so identifying with your blog posts - not just these two on friends, but you often write the very words my heart has been echoing, but have been too afraid to voice.
I have a large circle of friends - I send out over 100 Christmas cards each how can someone with so many aqaintances feel so alone? My family moved 3 years ago and since that time I have longed for a heart-to-heart friend. I know that God desires to be my Best Friend, and I do have a deep, personal relationship with Him, but I still yearn for a close girlfriend. Your blog yesterday just magnified my need. I, like you, have often found myself checking e-mail hourly, hoping someone will have written to me. E-mail is good, but it eliminates the face-to-face connection that is vital. God made us with a need for connection. There are so many references to "one another" in the Bible. For myself, I just feel right now, that I'm wanting to get past the 'Hi, How are you?' and have a friend to share the real me with - I'm tired of living up to the image they imagine me to be. I wrote in my journal the other day that I feel like one of those actresses who always gets cast for the same role time and time again because I've been neatly packaged in this little box of how others see me, when inside the real me wants to share my hopes and dreams, fears and failures and be accepted without expectation.
God is good and I know He sees me as His child and I also know that in His time, someday He will fulfill this desire of my heart. Waiting with expectation, as someday could be today.
Keep sharing your heart - it touches mine.
Love & prayers,

Blogger Celly B said...

I was reading this morning a book on marriage but found some interesting comments that James Dobson makes on the need for female friendships. I remembered your post from yesterday as I read them and also saw myself in them.

"I am especially concerned about the mother of small children who chooses to stay at home as a full-time home-maker. If she looks to her husband as a provider of all adult conversation and the satisfier of every emotional need, the marriage can quickly run aground. . . . What can be done, then? . . . I have long recommended that women in this situation seek to supplement what their husbands can give by cultivating meaningful female relationships. . . . This solution of feminine company seems so obvious that one might ask why it is even worthwhile to suggest it. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to implement. A woman must often search for companionship today. We've witnessed a breakdown in relationships between women in recent years. A hundred years ago, wives and mothers did not have to seek female friendship. It was programmed into the culture. . . . There was an automatic support system that surrounded women and made life easier. . . . To the young wives who are reading these words, I urge you not to let this scenario happen to you. Invest some time in your female friends--even though you are busy. Resist the temptation to pull into the walls of your home and wait for your husband to be all things to you. . . . Remember that you are surrounded by many other women with similar feelings. Find them. Care for them. Give to them. And in the process, your own self esteem will rise."

I thought it was enlightening that not only will female friendships enhance you personally, but they will also enhance your marriage. I think I'll go call a friend and invite her over one day this week for a pot of tea while the little ones play!

Blogger Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks for this topic. Even though my post yesterday was meant to be a bit humurous, this really is an area I struggle with.

One particular friend is extremely busy and gets even more busy this time of year. I really hate the end of Jan through March because of it. Sometimes, I feel like I have to see how "small" I can make myself to fit into her life. I hate that. The busier it gets, the more I worry about bothering her and all that. I start sending emails with the subject line labeled NRN (no response necessary) to let her off the hook in responding even though my heart longs for a response.

I approach a lot of people that way, I think. I don't want to be a bother or a burden or anything like that. So, I make myself small and inconspicuous. The problem is that it doesn't fulfill that heart felt, God built longing for a deep connection.

I am so glad you called your friend that day the email box was empty. And isn't it better than an email?

Blogger Mary Lou said...

Thank you for writing about this issue twice...both blessed my heart. We women do need friends so much, they keep us connected. we do need to not let friends take the place of God and run and call them when something happens, but call on Him first and talk it over with Him. Friends keep us connected. the best way to have a friend is to be husband is my best friend, how I long for a female best friend that I can chat with on the phone.One that knows ALL about me and loves me anyway.....God has put me in a place where I really don't have that special female friend. I keep hoping and praying that He will bring someone into my life....someone that will be a "forever" friend...I could go on and on, but I will stop and say thank you for blessing me with what you wrote about this topic and what all the other ladies had to say...God used it in my life....He is moving and changing me and my life...and it's sort scary at the moment....But He's in control, not I...and I am resting in Him...Renee you write so well. God is using you in a big way.

Blogger amy said...

"Here I was trying to fill a God-created need with a white screen and black alphabet keys."

Renee, I cannot tell you how deeply that resonated with me. It's almost you uncovered some huge secret in my life--only I didn't realize I was guilty of it until I read your words. WOW. Thank you for a wonderful, thought-provoking post!
In Him,

Anonymous Margaret said...

Hey there,
I thought I would let everyone know an interesting devotion in relation to friendships was posted on Monday by Rebecca Powell on the Next Generation Living with A Purpose A Radical Revolution ( Great devotion even for our generation.

Blogger MaryLu said...

I too do the email checking thing every so often, (or rather, I sit at the computer and read emails when I'm sure there are other things I could be doing.)
I find myself feeling jealous of the freedom and relationships that others have.
We are in a transition period in our lives, my husband is studying to be a military chaplain, he's away right now at military training, we have changed churches, gotten out of the military temporarily and moved; all in the space of several months. The change is exciting, but I have lost or rather disconnected with friends along the way. I still count them as friends, but contrary to the old saying, absence does not always make the heart grow fonder, sometimes it makes it forgetful.
I look forward to reading and sharing with you here.

Blogger Cheryl H said...

What a great discussion! Wish we could all meet for coffee and conversation :) As a busy stay-at-home mom (I work a few hrs./wk from home too), one thing I've found works great is to invite some friends (or people you want to get to know better) over for a playdate. The kids can play, and we can talk about whatever.
I don't know how I feel yet about leaving the house at night to go on a "date" with a female friend. I feel like if I was going to do this, I should probably go on a date with my husband first!! But I'll think through this more. (Renee, would love to hear your advice on this!). A girl's night would probably be fun though. A good break.
Also, my heart went out to the person who posted on the Pt. 1 post about seeing friendships happen around her but not being sought after herself. I think that hits the core of our hearts and wanting to be wanted & loved. I would just say to try to, in God's strength, invite someone (or several people--a group can be less intimidating on all sides) over. Maybe you can start a get-together group through your church, whether it's a mom's group or a scrapbooking group, etc. If you initiate, you'll probably form some good friendships!!

Blogger Jane said...

I'm 1,000 miles from my immediate family. I also in my 20s and single, so my friends are one of the most important things in my life at this time. Whether is getting together for dinner, catching up over a cup of coffee at our favorite Starbucks, calling each other just because, or saving seats for each other in church, we do just about everything together.

However, I have only lived in this area for two years, so even my closest friends are still relatively "new".

My birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and I was very excited when my friend from seminary called asking if she could come down and help celebrate. We are both in ministry and had not seen each other in a year and half. We had an incredible time of catching up, going to the beach, and seeing a movie. There was something about sharing some time with someone that I have history with. Someone that I could say, "Do you remember when we..."

I have several friends like that I have stayed in touch with over the years. Many of them are married and have started families of their own. Their envious of the freedom that I have and I envy the stability and family that they have. Recently I was talking to one of my friends that fits into this category. She was telling me how lucky I was. I reminded her that the grass is always greener on the other side. She has a husband who adores and a precious little boy whose eyes can melt anyone's heart. We're just in different places right now.

While many of you struggle to find time to spend with your girlfriends, that seems to be all that I do. Even as I type, I am waiting for a phone call from a friend so she can fill me in on her evening.

I appreciate this time that God has given, I have to remind myself of that some time. I have a great group of godly friends. They encourage me, they make me laugh, and they put up with me...what more can I ask for at this time?

Blogger April said...

Hey Renee! I just wanted to let you know that you have inspired me and instead of e-mailing my dear friend(also my sister-in-law), we went out to dinner tonight! I soo needed the break and fellowship and had a wonderful evening, my incredible hubby stayed home with the kids and I had some much needed me time. My sis and I shared our hearts and struggles and grew even closer by meeting face to face. It made me think of how many times I have shied away from phone calls and getting together and e-mailed instead. Maybe I was feeling inferior and not as good as some of my friends, or maybe I was struggling and didn't want anyone to hear it in my voice since I'm supposed to have it all together(yeah right!) Thank you for inspiring me to be real, I was tonight and it was so freeing to be totally myself and admit that I had been struggling lately. I've been reading the comments and alot of us women feel the same way, it would be so nice if we could all meet for coffee and be "real" with each other! Thanks for creating a space where we can be our authentic selves and grow and learn from each other! Sincerely,April

Blogger Amy said...

I never thought about the time checking e-mail (repeatedly) as trying to connect with friends...but I do believe you're right. As I've been thinking about it I do think e-mail can be a great way to connect day to day but I need more personal, undistracted time with friends, too. As a stay-at-home mom those times can be hard to come by! There are 3 of us who plan a yearly time away together and that has become something we look forward to and plan for WAY in advance! Last time, some of us stayed up all night just talking. Amazingly we see each other each week at church and various times during the week--but we're always distracted. We returned home tired, but refreshed in an amazing way. Thank you for urging me to think through how to be a better time manager--taking time for friends, too!!!

Anonymous onlinelesley said...

I was reading Kelli's comment and I couldn't agree more with her. For 10 years our family lived in a town which saw the start of our marriage, the birth of our children, the children beginning school.Through church and mothers groups I met a wonderful group of friends and together we went through each of these stages of life. The friendships that grew were strong, supportive and loving and developed a bond that is life long. We even entered the stage of supporting each other through the turbulence of marriage troubles and divorce. Then our family was called away- 1300 miles away. My heart ached for a long time for the company of such good friends again. It takes a long time to develop those relationships. We've now been here for 18months and they are gradually developing but they are definitely not the same. As Kelli said,"old girlfriends are the best". Catching up once a year just doesn't fill that gap and like you Renee, I check for emails constantly. My daily dose of email chit chat is essential in filling that hole when face to face is impossible!

Anonymous Patti said...

Good job, Renee...

Loved the thoughts on friendship! It's "funny" this is your topic today as I was actually mulling over a lot of the same information in the past week. We have recently started attending a daughter start up church leaving friends we have known for 30+ years. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone! But God has really laid this on our hearts to help this young struggling church get on its feet. Now to step another step out of my comfort zone and work on making these gals my FRIENDS rather than just a ministry. THANKS for the encouraging words!

Blogger placidlane said...


Thank you for sharing your heart.

I came across your blog last week and marked it in my favorites.
It seemed as though my spirit was needing exactly what you wrote.

Hopefully my life pendulum will come back from the extreme side and find balance.


Blogger Monica said...

Thank you for today's post on friendship. I moved to a new city 10 months ago and asked God to bless me with new Christian friends because I desperately wanted fellowship. He did just that. Like I do quite often, I get so caught up in busyness that I end up neglecting my friendships. I too, find myself checking my email only to find blank space (I was just thinking this yesterday!).
I am a firm believer that God knows who and what we need in our lives right when we need them. I am learning that you can never have enough friends!
Be blessed. I hope some day we will get to be good friends too!

Blogger Joanie Butler said...

Hi Renee!

You have inspired me to call a friend, that I haven't connected with for a while, to see if she is free for lunch one day this week. I don't want her "waiting for that email" just to feel connected to someone.

Blogger a moment of time said...

Thanks for your interesting perspective~ I too find myself checking e-mails frequently, and I really need to see how God may answer my quest. i don't have many close friends, well none at all. I have been so diappointed by "friends" while on a quest to find some good friends. So I just took a break from this quest. I have been more diligent in my devotions and Bible reading. But I think I still long for some good, solid girlfriends. I am probably leary about being hurt again.....who knows! Guess another thing to add to my prayer list!

Blogger Samantha Roberts said...

Hey Renee - thanks for your thoughts and for opening up this discussion! The subject of friendships has been a prominent one in my life for many, many years. After experiencing the hurt of watching some of my closest friendships drift away, I prayed early on in my marriage that God would protect my heart from further hurt by leading me to a place where it would just be me, my husband and Him. Silly me, I got what I asked for. For 5 years we lived in the closest thing to a spiritual desert I've ever known, and God taught me the incredible importance of friendships in life. If He wanted us to do this whole walk on earth alone, we would have each had our own little planet to live on. We need each other, and we need to see, hear and feel Him through each other.

We've been out of the desert for about a year and a half now. I've made some really neat friendships, but I still struggle with being "unconnected" at times like you talked about (old habits can be hard to break). And yes, I am a confessed email junkie - it's amazing how my entire mood can hinge on whose name is in my in-box. Sad, but true.

One day, I look forward to having a "Peter, James and John" in my life - an inner circle just like Jesus (you can ask Wendy Pope about that one). I'm not sure I'm there yet, but I know that God desires us to be in deep fellowship with one another, and He'll bring me those friendships in His time if I let Him.

Anyway, I just wanted to weigh in on the topic with my thoughts. Thanks for letting me share. Some of these women's names have become so familiar to me through blogging that I feel like they are becoming a little circle of friends!

Thanks again,

Blogger Laura said...

Wow! This is a hot topic, huh! It's just like marriage, friendships take time and effort and understanding. If you can find one or two who will stand in the gap for you, you are blessed! But I also believe the Lord wants to bless us with that special friend and if you are struggling, ask Him for help! Great topic. I'm enjoying everyone's comments. Grace to you!!

Anonymous Janel said...

Thanks Renee. I needed to read this posts about friendship so much this week. I am headed on a leadership retreat with the Women of Hope (Hope Community Church - Raleigh) and am sooo excited to connect with some of my good friends this weekend.

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