Faith, Forgiveness, Redemption, Relationships, Uncategorized

A Story About a Friend

June 11, 2013

It’s a summer day right after a rain storm.  My car is cruising down 24, my sunglasses resting on my nose, and music up just a little louder than usual.  There’s excitement in my heart as I’m on my way to the airport to pick up an old friend.  Couldn’t tell you the last time just her and I hung out together.  Years I would say.  She’s not just any friend… she’s a friend worth fighting for.

We met in college.  Both new to the school, both looking to get away from something, and both a little awkward.  I was the short hair, lots of makeup, midriff showing type.  She was the innocent, country, quiet type.  From two different states, two different backgrounds, and both searching for something different.  Without expecting it, we instantly hit it off.  I remember sitting next to her on the first day in chapel wondering why she thought puffy headbands looked cool.  She was probably wondering if I would ever stop talking and why I tried so hard to be cool.  But as the years went on we grew closer and closer together.  We lived together for 6 years and went through every tear and every laughter.  She introduced me to places of stillness, and I most likely was the cause of any rebellion on her part.  😉  As time went on, I fell in love with a boy named Mike.  She stood with me through the ups and downs which lead her to standing beside me when I said “I do”.  We were inseparable.  And then everything changed.

Life moves on.  People move on.  Mike and I moved to Tennessee and she moved to Pennsylvania.  We still kept in touch and made sure to stay apart of each other’s lives as best we could.  I traveled the U.S. while she traveled the world.  Life then took us by surprise and it started to become harder and harder to keep in touch.  We had separate friends and separate lives and before we knew it.. we really didn’t feel like we knew each other at all anymore.  She began confiding in a mutual friend rather than in me.  I would hear about her experiences through other people and I started to grow bitter.  I was basically frustrated at her for not keeping in touch with me the way I felt she ought.  I felt like I just lost one of the closest people to my heart and didn’t know how to process that.  And here is where I was left with a choice.  Do I allow the bitterness and pride to keep me from reaching out?  Or do I fight through the feelings of wanting to blame and just be honest with her?  I went for a couple weeks without doing anything.  To be honest, It kinda felt good to hold something against her.  It kinda felt like I won and she was missing out on my amazingness. 😉 (Ah hem- sarcasm in case you didn’t catch on.)  So I wallowed in the bitterness for a good while until I felt it eating me up inside and the Spirit led me to fight for her.

James 3:14- 18

” But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

I couldn’t allow the bitterness to rot my bones any longer.  So I wrote her an email.  I explained my frustrations, my hurts, and the confusion as to why we ended up in the same room but with no words to say.  I told her that even though my life was different, I still wanted to be someone she could call and confide in.  I apologized for my selfishness and jealousy towards her friendship with other girls, and I asked if there was any way to rebuild what we had lost.  She felt the distance between us too and from then on we fought through the awkwardness and started afresh.  We called each other even when we felt it was forced.  We texted just out of the blue.  We asked a lot of questions and then it all led up to this past weekend where we both felt the walls were all down, the awkwardness had hidden away, and our friendship was refreshing and intimate once again.

Dan Allender was quoted saying this- ” The two things that destroy intimacy the most are when we blame and when we hide.”

I have had a lot of friendships crumble and cease.  Some just because we grew apart and it’s a part of life.   However, there were some that were lost because the root of bitterness and jealousy planted itself in the middle and kept us from not only each other, but from experiencing redemption in the midst of letting our pride fall.  I have had friends wrong me and hurt me and I was too bitter to forgive.  And I, myself, have let my selfishness get in the way of admitting when I was wrong and in need of forgiveness.  Friendships can be hard and bumps along the road will always come.  So when you face that friend in the midst of confrontation do you blame and hide or do you take your eyes off of yourself and let the bitterness take no root in you?  Do you treat them better than you would treat yourself?  Is there a friend that you need to forgive?  Or a friend that you need to make peace with?  Is the Spirit pressing you to be honest and vulnerable with someone even though it’s hard?  Whatever the case, we are all sinful and we all in one way or another will hurt each other.  But if we can see past ourselves and our entitlements- by God’s grace alone we can step forward into a true intimate and life long friendship.  It’s one step closer to understanding our friendship with God and it’s definitely worth fighting for.

You Might Also Like

  • hoping4nash June 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I keep going to the comment box to try to put what I’m feeling into words, and I keep deleting it.

    This speaks all too loudly for me today. I had several close friends in college, two of whom helped me through my darkest time. One friend only responds to texts and phone calls sporadically. The other has not returned any of my emails, messages, or phone calls for a year. I have been thinking about that friend a lot lately, and it breaks my heart to know that I may never be able to speak with him again. I’ve started to grow bitter because I don’t know what I did, and I started feeling that he was selfish. But the truth is, I have no idea what he’s gone through in the last year. Through this post, you’ve encouraged me to pray for him and to still try occasionally to make contact with him.

    I don’t what else I mean to say, but please know that you really got some thoughts to start rumbling around today.

  • Amber V. June 11, 2013 at 10:19 am

    You aren’t the only one who has gone through seasons like this with friends. It’s even tougher when the friend is a sister in Christ…I can echo the same sentiments as @hoping4nash….a friend whose wedding I was in, and who also stood up in my wedding has not reached out to me in over a year. In the course of this year I have been pregnant and had my first child. I received no phone call, or congratulations…not even a facebook post. I often wonder if she doesn’t care, or if she is preoccupied with her own life so much so that she has disconnected. Granted, we live in different states, but the connection is no longer there for whatever reason. Thank you for writing this Kelly, there’s been a bitter root for some time now that I need to take hold of and pluck out of my life! It is time to let forgiveness in where I have not let it grow for so long! PS- I am so happy to read about your renewed relationship with our college friend (I’ve never thought of her as country but I can see how you thought that about her when you met!) I do hope I run into you and your little family one of these days :)

  • Nicole June 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Thank you for writing this. This has been something that I’ve really been struggling with. So I was wondering if I should do what you did. Should I write the person I’ve been struggling with?

    • agirlikemee June 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Nicole.

      Ya know.. it all depends on what is going on in your friendship. I don’t know the details as to what you guys are struggling with… but if it’s something that you just need to be honest about the way you feel.. than a letter is good. If you would like to be more specific about what it is exactly you guys are struggling with you can always email us and we would love to give you any advice and point you to what the Bible would have to say in order to direct you.

      Kelly and Heather

  • A Worn Girl June 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Amen. I think many, many people have had various struggles with friends…One time for me I made a friend an idol. God took that friend away. And years later I found out why…He did that because He loved me. I was making a fleshly person an ultimate thing.
    Thanks so much, Kelly and Heather for being open. U guys have been such a help. A few months ago I lost (in relationship) a very close friend and it was really hard for me. Actually, I’ve lost a lot of friends…Just trying to find anyone here like that…(and still don’t have many???)

  • Katie June 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Kelly!
    I was wondering… I have this one friend… Well she is my only friend really. We have told each other everything. I have told her about all of the things that have made my life a struggle, and she has helped me through it. Then one time she told me about something her friend was doing that was really wrong. I told her parents because I was afraid that she would accidentaly get involved. She got mad because I told her parents. Now we are not as close as we used to be. I want her to stay my friend so bad, because she is all I’ve got. Now when I hear your husband’s song losing, I feel like the one losing, because I am not being forgiven. She is still mad at me I can tell. Should I confront her about it, or let it go and just try to hold onto our friendship? I am at a loss and I don’t know what to do….

  • Sarah Rebecca June 12, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Hey ladies!

    I have to say that this reminds me of friends I grew up as a child. Here I am now 5 days from turning 19. And most of them are just facebook friends now. We all to be honest have grown apart. I actually don’t blame myself, for when most them started jr. high, they all wanted to wear makeup and “chase” boys. I on the other hand wanted to just read myself away into another world and sketch. Even though we went to the same church, we no longer were in the same circle of friends anymore. At first I felt a bit hurt, that they’d chose friends who had the same new interests as they did over me. But I learned to live with it. I eventually made new friends while keeping the few old ones I still had. Then I moved to another state in my freshman year and now was faced with the challenge to make new friends again. It took me some while but I eventually did. Now here I am with tons of friends and acquaintances. I’m truly overwhelmed of how God has blessed me with so many people to support and encourage me. I still feel sad though that I no longer have that close connection to the friends I had growing up. Sometimes I wish I could change back those years ago to make sure we still stayed close over the years. But there is no going back to what used to be. Though I hope that we can somehow reconnect, even if its in a small way. Thanks for an encouraging word. It gave me hope. And reminded me that restoration and reconciliation is possible. YOU BOTH ARE SUCH AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO ME. May you both be blessed greatly by the Lord for your good work. <3

  • olivia June 13, 2013 at 9:19 am

    this is a bit irrelevant, but I think it would be cool if you guys did one month of video journals, something similar to what mike does for tenth avenue north songs, of course it doesn’t have to be so official like, it would just be cool to see vids of both kelly and heather in front of a camera talking things out with the audience.

    • A Worn Girl June 13, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      I agree.

  • Meaghan June 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

    This is all too true for me. I had a friend that had been apart of my life from 3rd grade. Her family moved in February of 2009, but then my family was fortunate enough to move the same county in June of 2009. We had everything going for us. Then, she stopped talking to me as much. I tried to be her friend, but it became so hard to when I felt like the communication was only flowing one way. So, I began to grow bitter. Then my dad died when I was in 11th grade. I needed someone to talk to. She didn’t come. That sent me over the edge.

    I allowed this bitterness to swallow me whole for 2 years before I decided to set our friendship free. I messaged her, explained how I felt, what was going on, etc. and tried to make amends. She agreed and was glad to have “us” back. About 7 months later we never talk. I message her frequently, but she just doesn’t have the time for it. So, despite how much it hurt, I relieved her of her obligations… I quit responding to her replies because it became apparent that this wasn’t going to work with her.

    Sad, but I learned a lot from it.

    • A Worn Girl June 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      It is sad, but the Lord works through you during times like that. I’m so sorry to hear about your lost friendship and your dad. I know sometimes I just feel like talking to someone…and if there’s no one; waist your time with Christ.

  • JP August 19, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I read this post when you initially posted it. I was going back looking for where I left off (I was out of town and then came back to a hectic work schedule and have not read for 6 weeks or so). I was clicking to find where I left of and I hit this entry. I skimmed through it and realized I had already read it, but then something caught my eye. You quoted, ” The two things that destroy intimacy the most are when we blame and when we hide.”

    That hit me right between the eyes. A friend hurt me on one of the trees, she hurt me pretty bad. I don’t think she realized how bad she hurt me. I’ve been hiding from her and resenting her for what she did. I went back and re-read the entire post, and I felt you were pretty much described the feelings, frustrations, and disappointments I am currently facing. I have been challenged to reach to he and express how she hurt me so we can get passed it. I’m just so hurt I know this will be hard.