Her Story: The Freedom of True Friendship

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.
Galatians 5:13-15 (MSG)

Senior year of high school
I walked around the corner to see my very best friend surrounded by a bunch of laughing girls. At lunch, they’d been talking about a party one of the girls was having—a party to which everyone except me was invited. Hurt and angry, I wrote a letter about it to my closest friend. That was the letter she was holding up for all of the girls to read.

At the end of that day, after hours sobbing in bathroom stalls, I approached her. “I tried to be nice to you,” she spat at me. Then she confirmed every one of my insecurities and fears—detailing my flaws: I wore the wrong clothes. Listened to the wrong music. Liked the wrong kind of boys. Was in the wrong activities for the wrong reasons (to meet boys). Nobody wanted me around, and she’d tried to be nice to me as long as she could—but she was done. For our entire senior year of high school, these girls with great social influence very pointedly ignored me. I cried a lot.

Recently a friend asked me to share my “freedom story”—how I came to a place of freedom in Christ. Not my conversion story, not my moment of finding God, but what led me to a place of freedom. I was stumped. Not because I’m oh-so-holy, but because, well, I kind of didn’t understand the question.

I mean, I could go on for days about all of my issues, questions, doubts, struggles, and so on. But still, the question had me stumped because to me…

Jesus IS freedom.

I didn’t have to come to a place of understanding or work through deep issues to have this revealed to me.

When I began a true relationship with God as an adult, a huge part of the appeal was the instinctual, immediate understanding that God loved me. ME. Just the way I was. He didn’t care what clothes I wore or whether I was in the right clubs. He didn’t shun me because I was different than others. Instead, He made me in His image—therefore, there is nothing left to be ashamed of. I don’t have to work to try to fit in any longer. I fit because He said so. Because He loves me and called me. I accepted myself. I embraced my quirks and eccentricities—because, finally, I was free to be myself.

When I said yes to Jesus, He said yes to me. And I believed Him. #freedom #jesussetmefree #sayyestogod #wehaveafriendinjesus Click To Tweet

By the time God became real to me, those girls in high school were the farthest thing from my mind. And yet, at times, I still feel that rejection and wonder if my friends are just pretending to like me.

In the years since then, I’ve accepted my part in that situation. Learned how to be genuine with others. Become a better friend. Made better friends—good, deep, true, loyal, genuinely loving friends. My life is good, and that hurt doesn’t have a hold on me any longer.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about how far God has brought me. I once struggled to find, make, and keep friends—but now I’m surrounded on all sides by loving and kind and generous sisters and friends. God placed me in this group of amazing women and stirred our collective desire to found a ministry centered on loving women as we strive to grow ever closer to God.

God turned my devastation into my delight.

Maybe you haven’t found women with whom you can completely let down your guard. Perhaps you feel that no one will ever truly “get” you. The hardest part about this ministry is that we’re working hard to bring people together—but we cannot guarantee anything. We can’t promise you’ll find good, deep, true friends here, nor can we control anyone else’s behavior and words.

But we can share our stories and let you know that it is possible to open yourself up again, to take that risk, even after friends have hurt you. There are others out there—possibly even in our Facebook group—who want the same things you do. These friendships can be exciting and invigorating and such a huge blessing—but here’s the real truth:

Our focus has to be on God first. Because even the best of women and the best of intentions can fall short. But God never will. #friendship #sisterhood Click To Tweet

When He loves you, when He reveals who you are to Him and who He made you to be, you will find freedom like you never imagined—which, in turn, makes you free to love others in a way they never expected.

Yes, it is hard to trust people you don’t know.

But you can always trust in God to be faithful.

Sister, friends may be the desire of your heart, but like all things, it has to begin with Him. Ask Him to fulfill your longings to grow close to Him, because He is more than enough. He promises us new life, and in that abundance, you may find that He answers your prayers through friends He places in your life.

Reflection Questions

Have you forgiven those who have hurt you in the past—and forgiven yourself for whatever part you played in those situations? In prayer, release your anger and resentment and hurt and ask God to forgive you and heal you.

What does “freedom” mean to you? What might it look like to live free in your friendships?

Next time you wish you had someone to talk to—to share in a celebration or counsel you in trouble or someone to simply listen—turn all of those feelings towards Jesus. He wants to be part of your life like that. Go to Him. He’s waiting.

 

Prayer

Jesus, You modeled for us perfect friendship—love in spite of betrayal. You chose to view your followers’ failings with generosity and grace. Help me to love like that. Help me to be the kind of friend that my friends long for. Show me how to offer grace and forgiveness freely. To live in a place of love and freedom, with You by my side forevermore. Amen.

11 thoughts on “Her Story: The Freedom of True Friendship

Carla

I have one of those quirky personalities that seems to rappel people. Ok have always longed for a tribe of women to be accepting of my quirks and see beyond to my heart. I’m an extrovert with ADHD, fast mental processing, tendency to say the wrong thing,….I can’t take meds so I have to learn to cope. At 62 you think I would have by now but I’m still not able to keep friends. I’m lonely. I know in my head that God accepts me but having that hole filled in my heart is not my experience. I still long, I still hope. I wish someone would coma alongside and speak truth to me about what I’m not seeing that needs to be surrendered/repented of. Maybe worked on. I just don’t know where to start. Are there mature sisters out there who can relate?
I’m smart, funny (maybe that’s a place to start)external processor who loves a lively conversation about scripture, The
Chosen, or Call The Midwife, or American Idol….just not NOT politics. 😛. (This is beginning to sound like an online dating profile 😄) Many have said that I am intimidating because my personality is big. Now I think I’ve lost the point of this post. 🤷‍♀️

Reply

    Robin

    Carla, I would love to meet you! I know we would hit it off! You sound like a very fun person! Never give up. God has a specific person in mind for you! All in his timing!
    Love, hugs and prayers!

    Reply

    Kelly Stanley

    Carla, thanks for opening up to us here. You sound amazing, and I know God made you who you are…praying for just the right friends to show up in your life!

    Reply

    Jodie

    Carla, I know the struggle of feeling a hole that needs filling. My prayers are lifted for you. The Lord is good to hear our cry and he cares for you. As you wait for that friendship, trust. Trust you are not alone. Trust God to be your joy in the wait. I’d love to sit and share conversation and coffee and I don’t want to talk politics either 😉 Blessings, sister.

    Reply

Robin

Kelly,
Thank you for sharing! I think we have all gone through what you went through at some point in our lives! Thankfully most of us outgrow being judgmental! I am so glad That God is the only one who should judge us! Now if we could all remember that when we look at people!
Love, hugs and prayers!

Reply

    Kelly Stanley

    I know, right? It’s all too easy to overlook our own faults and notice every little one in others. But God is faithful to keep teaching us, patiently and gently, as we walk down that path towards loving others as He would.

    Reply

Gail Merriman

Carla, I’m 63 yrs. old, and I can totally relate to what you are saying about true female friends who you feel completely yourself with. I used to feel the same way you did. But when I faced the fact that it was ME standing in the way of friendships, that the truth was I did not feel worthy of friendship with the women that I admired and wanted to be friends with, that’s when I gave it to God. And He told me He loved me the way I am, and that yes, those wonderful Christian women would also love me for who I am, and give me grace and mercy for all my imperfections.

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    Kelly Stanley

    Gail, I think the world of you and would never have known that about you. You are so loving and accepting—and simply wonderful.

    Reply

      Gail

      You are one of those friends, dear Kelly!

      Reply

Jodie

Kelly O! You always strengthen my faith. Friendships can be hard. I’m grateful for Jesus. I’m grateful for those who are patient with me. This weeks prayer resonated with many hearts, including my own ♥️

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Tara Horsley

God, Has made You who you are: The Lord is very good at hearing each ones of our crys and He cares who you are. As you wait for a few new Sister’s in Christ friendship you are not alone. Trust you got a beautiful and wonderful friendship with your Savior. He is a friend to me. Trust God to be your hot and give you Grace in the wait. God’s faithful is to always to keep teaching us Grace through patiently, and gently as He walks with us, as we walk down the path toward living others like he did and still does. He wants us to love one another and treat people like we would want to be treated.

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