“What we talk about when we talk about _________” is our series for June. Words and language have meaning and provide insight. What is revealed when we reflect on the words we say? Check out the whole series HERE.
Friendship has been redefined for me this year.
Don’t get me wrong, friendship has always been valuable to me. I have realized over the years just how incredibly blessed I have been in that area. Friendships among women can be difficult to find and maintain, but I have more than my fair share. Yet I believe we are created for community, women especially so.
Looking back though, I realize that for years I lived with this idea that friendship is rooted in joy. There’s some truth to that. Some of the best days I have experienced were celebrating marriages, births, educational and career accomplishments.
Celebration comes easily to us. No one has to explain to us how to rejoice when circumstances are good. For most of us, that comes naturally. We know how to buy gifts, send flowers, take pictures, smile.
But what I have learned this past year is that friendship is truly forged when life tests us.
When a friend tells you that her marriage is falling apart. When she loses a child to cancer. When she expresses the pain that comes from raising a child with autism or special needs. When life with work and little kids becomes so overwhelming it threatens to swallow the joy.
It has been those moments that have truly shaped my friendships. The times when I don’t know what to say and I can’t fix it and all I can do is pray and cry and let you borrow my faith for a little while. Or more recently the times when people haven’t known what to say to me, but they showed up anyway. In their beautiful, encouraging, unique, and even practical ways.
If worship is about honoring God, it makes sense that when we honor our friendships, we worship Him in the most beautiful, profound sense.
When we cry or simply sit in silence. When we join in pain and grief without having to fix it. When we answer that middle of the night phone call or take her kids for the day. It’s not just about “being a good friend.” It’s about serving and loving and honoring those who have been created in the very image of our Creator.
Choosing to walk through the valley and the darkness alongside someone else might be scary and vulnerable and painful. Grief and pain are messy and complicated. It can be awkward.
Do it anyway. Because one day you might find yourself needing a hand to hold as you walk through the valley of the shadow. And because sometimes we need our friends to teach us how to worship in the midst of life and heartache.
And because you might just learn something about worshipping the one who created us along the way.
By Amanda Boils
Amanda writes from her beautiful country community in Michigan surrounded by her husband and 2 small sons.