image: header

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ya Gotta Have Friends

I have to just admit it. I’m terrible at friendships. I break dates, don’t listen well, and have a hard time wrapping my arms around someone who is crying. Not because I don’t feel the pain, but because when I’m hurting, I don’t want hugs. Usually. So I want to respect a person’s space. But I’ve come to realize not everyone is like me. And to open my arms from time to time can be a powerful friendship-affirming moment.

I knew God was truly changing me one day when my friend Angie came to visit. Angie’s an I-need-hugs kind of girl, but over the past twenty-five years since we became friends—best friends, really—she’s learned to lower her expectations and just call me when she needs to vent. It removes the pressure from us both. She can’t get a phone hug and I’m not sitting there while she weeps feeling awkward.

So Angie came for lunch and we sat on the deck one beautiful spring day catching up on weeks of passing each other at church with a hug and a hi and the occasional story about her beautiful daughter Torey, who happens to be my God-daughter.

What started out as an easy lunch between two friends, turned into a heart to heart talk and she started to cry.

And here’s how I knew God had started changing me…I moved toward her, wrapped her in my arms and we cried together. I think the action shocked us both. Seriously. But it was such a holy and tender moment, I didn’t want to mess it up by bringing attention to the fact that I’d had a breakthrough.

After all, the moment was about her.

Friendships are precious and Jesus proved it when he surrounded himself with the twelve. They were much more than his servants. They were buddies, friends. Not intimate strangers.

We aren’t meant to do life alone. Friends matter and I’m learning that it can’t be all about me and my needs. I always figured, if you want to be my friend, you have to respect my boundaries. But God is showing me that I have to respect the different personalities He brings into my life as well. Angie loves me. She’s proven that through loyal and undeserved friendship over a quarter century (have I mentioned that she is older than I am?)

I’m grateful for her devotion.

Friends will give their lives for each other. And I know without a doubt Angie would give hers for me.

Only God can knit hearts together. I’m so very thankful for his needle knitting her heart with mine.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tracey - The title of your blog post today really caught my attention! I've been telling myself for the past five years that I didn't need friends. I went through a divorce a few years back that basically left me friendless and I've not been too interested in opening myself up again to anyone. Since the divorce and everything surrounding it happened I've pretty much withdrawn from church and only have contact with people at work (predominantly male environment) and at family gatherings. My sister-in-law has been asking me to join her women's Bible study recently and I've been mulling it over. It scares me to think of going back into that type of setting and having to be open and honest with people who could potentially hurt me. And yet there was something about your post that caused an ache in my heart...a longing for a friendship like the one you have. Like you, I'm not the hugging sort of friend and I can be quite reserved so I'm not the easiest person to get to know. Now I just have to summon up the courage to decide to go to that Bible study...and to post this comment! lol Thanks for sharing through your blog. It's an encouragement to me! Hope you have a beautiful sunny day in your corner of the world! :)

Tracey Bateman said...

Thank you for sharing! I feel your pain. I'm praying for God to bring you the right friend who will hold up your arms and teach you to trust a new relationship.

Join Tracey's mailing list

Site by Eagle Designs