Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Female Friends

My devotion and blog post yesterday struck a nerve. Lots of gals can relate to my struggles with women's friendships. We all crave them to varying degrees but find them not so easy to come by. Maybe because we're shy, or busy, or competitive, or career-driven, or focused on our families ... or maybe because women around us have been hurtful, ungodly, or won't make room for another gal in the tight-knit group.

The reasons we struggle in friendships are numerous, that's why so many of us can relate. Plus, we watch movies like Steel Magnolias, Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and long for friendships like those. I'm convinced that was the true draw of the oh-so popular Sex in the City series.

Even if we're abstaining from such television fare, we read novels about friendships and they stir our hearts. Like Anne of Green Gables, we want a bosom buddy. Why, oh why, is she so hard to find? An online poll asked if readers had a quality BFF like Anne did, 61% said "no."

Reminds me of Proverbs 31:10, "A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds." (MSG)

I plan to dig through the Bible and write a post to help us find her. But right now I have to head into 5 hours straight of meetings for the She Speaks conference this weekend. Good thing that room will be filled with those sometimes hard to find "worthy women" because 5 hours in one room with 20 women could otherwise be considered cruel and unusual punishment! I'm kidding (sort of).

I don't have all the answers but there were several comments and questions I'd love for us to discuss. Like: When is it necessary to phase out a friendship? How do you do that? Or is that an unchristian thing to do? Let me hear your thoughts on this and I'll chime in with mine tonight when I'm back in my hotel room.


  1. Hi! Thank you for your post today! I thought I was being too cynical when I told a male friend of mine just the other day that women can be very deitful and manipulative toward each other. In watching my daughter grow up, I have realized that this begins at a very young age. She is 11, about to enter 6th grade, not the most popular girl in school, but she has several little girl friends. But oh, how mean they can be sometimes. I thank God that my daughter knows Him and His love. I do have a few girlfriends that I have remained friends with throughout jr high, high school, marriages, children, and such. it is very good to have good friends with which you can find comfort and offer it in return, to have someone to talk to for hours on end without running out of things to talk about. True friends that stick with you even through tough disagreements, are truly a blessing. I have had friends in the past, though, that just couldn't be fully trusted and our talks and time together were strained and eventually became a source of emotional stress. I stayed too long, too. Slowly, I began going more and more to other friends and just became less available to those that brought out the worst in me. I am still open to new friendships with women, but I am very choosey and do so with many prayers. Thanks again for your post - I am sorry to be a rambler, my thoughts are all over the map this morning! I pray that today is a good day for you!

  2. Hi Rachel - Your post resonates such much to my heart. I have several close friends however it has been a long time for me to develop those friendships.

    Unfortunately, I was burned badly in some friendships during my high school and college days. Because of those, I am very protective of anything I share or how close I let someone get to me.

    Being a mom of an almost 13 year old, I can't help but remember those days and how caddy young girls can be towards each other. I am constantly having conversations with my daughter about how her peers treat each other. Atleast she is willing to talk to me about it. Like Heather, my daughter loves God so she doesn't let her peers bother her too much. Girls can be so vicious some times. For some folks around me, they just never grow out of this phase.

    Looking forward to meeting you at SheSpeaks.

    In Him,
    Amy T

  3. AnonymousJuly 29, 2009

    Rachel, you asked about if we think letting go of certain friendships could be ungodly. I would say, not necessarily. I suppose there are times when God places people in our lives for a reason, and sometimes that reason is to give of ourselves and help the other person. But I would also venture to say that there definitely are times when the Lord calls us to relinquish friendships that are pulling us down, especially spiritually. 1st Corinthians 15:33 even says that bad company corrupts good character. Proverbs 22:24-25 also speaks of how making friends with the wrong kind of people can lead to our own downfall; as humans, we do tend to copy wicked behaviors, maybe because it just feels so natural due to our ever-present fallen nature. So, no, I would definitely say that it is not "unchristian" to give up friendships that only serve to pull us away from Christ and the character He has called us to.

    On the other hand, we shouldn't just give up on a friend because she isn't perfect or because she has struggles, even spiritual ones. If we all held to that way of thinking, then none of us would have any friends at all! With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need to be discerning. There is a time for everything, like the writer says in Ecclesiastes 3. There is a time to hold onto a friendship and pour into it all of the love and effort that it takes to keep it strong; and there is also a time to let a friend go.

  4. AnonymousJuly 30, 2009

    Midday Connection on Moody Radio is doing a series with Dee Brestin on the Friendships of Women. You guys can go on their site and click on past programs and listen to the audio archives of the series. It's really good stuff!
    God Bless!

  5. Hey Rachel!

    It was so nice to meet you tonight and I'm glad we sat next to each other at dinner.

    Women and our friendships is such a relevant topic and I'm so glad you are talking about it.

    I watch the show Desperate Housewives sometimes and many times have been brought to tears--always because of something to do with the raw friendships {among junk, I know but that's another post}.

  6. I believe that friends come and go sometimes according to God's will and sometimes of our own choice (either ours or theirs). I'm thankful for the friends that God has blessed me with, all of them I've known since school so they've been around alot of years. I did have a friend that I've known since elementary that has really tested me over the years and has not spoken to me in a couple of years for a reason that is unknown to me (apparently she didn't think I needed to know what the problem was) but there is still times when she comes upon my heart and I'll say a prayer for her or leave a message for her (even now) letting her know that she was put upon my heart and if she needs me I'm still here and then I let it go. She has never contacted me but I still say prayers for her cuz I know she's dealing with some really rough things right now. But one good thing is I do have some advice for my 9 year old daughter about friendships, I use the example of my friendship with this person quite often to try to help my daughter understand why girls act the way they do.

    Hope your having a wonderful time!
    God bless you

  7. So good to see you this weekend, friend. I'll be scouting for that zebra bag!

  8. Funny, your post made me think of the many times that I've questioned, "You're calling me to women's ministry? But, God, they are women! You know I've never felt like I could relate to them!I struggle with women!" (Don't you know He just laughs and laughs at us!)

    I did make the choice to end a BFF relationship about three years ago. I didn't like who I became when I was around her. I didn't like the feelings in my heart that seemed to stir up and boil over, so I just got real with her one day. She asked what was going on and said she could sense some tension. So, I told her I felt God calling me and pulling me closer to Him. I wanted her to come, too, but instead she chose to distance herself, and I distanced myself even more. when I see her now, it's odd, you know - that "don't know what to say" feeling that glares in us both. I don't regret the decision though. I think it was a knot that had to be cut lose to strengthen the bond with I could grow in His direction. I chose to cut it loose. We both cried, but in my heart, I feel it was best. Since then, God has given me another BFF and other FFs who have the same heart for God. Lost one; gained a ton! Only God can do that!

  9. "Like: When is it necessary to phase out a friendship? How do you do that? Or is that an unchristian thing to do?"

    I don't have an answer for this, but would LOVE to hear if you or anyone had an answer to this. I have a fear of letting go of friends.
    Also if what I feel are "good women friends", but the friendships have faded due to time and/or distant... I always blame myself that I didn't call enough or email enough to stay connected; but then I have yet to receive either from them as well, so that makes me feel like I did something wrong. So not only is hard to find a good female friend it's hard to keep them. And sometimes the ones that hang on are the ones that may be strangling you and yet you can't seem to let go.
    What a tangled web we weave! Thanks for any insight you can give to these matters.

  10. Thank you so much for your post on female friendships. Alot of what is being discussed, such as, how and when to end an unhealthy friendship and how to recognize one as being unhealthy, is really hitting home for me right now. I feel God drawing me into a closer, deeper relationship with Him, and it is definatly what I want, even more than this current friendship that I am in that I know God is wanting me to be free from.
    I guess if I'm honest and get straight to the point of this no-brainer decision, I would have to admitt that I am, first, afraid of hurting my friend's feelings and giving her the wrong impression of a Christian friend and, second, afraid of her discomfort, and admittingly, my own, as we see each other at work every day, after having rejected her as a friend. I know this all sounds a bit dramatic. However, I am pouring out my heart so as to seek godly advice from woman of wisdom.
    I welcome your input.

  11. Hi Rachel, I also read your last post on friendship awhile ago and it really hit home with me. I have been watching my friendship with my best friend literally disintegrate before my eyes. And sadly, I have also watched the friendship with my husband disintegrate before my eyes. I know the enemy is seeking to devour me as I accept opportunities to reach out to others for Christ. The devil knows my relationships are important to me. The two people I have mentioned have become sooooo busy with their careers/jobs that they have little time for anything or anybody else. I have cried many tears over this, I have had many bouts of anger, I have even daydreamed about things that I could do or say to 'snap them out of it'! I know, childish......So lately, I choose to pray about it more and more. God knows what is happening, He knows I hurt, but more importantly, He knows what is going on in their hearts and He will work everything out to HIs perfect plan in His perfect time.
    I try not to worry about the state of my marriage and the fact that I haven't even got my best friend to talk to about it. But I think God is trying to show me, friends and loved ones will let you down, they are human...but God will never let us down! Thank you for addressing this, I believe we truly are in the end times and God is tying up loose ends, but so is the enemy, by attacking our relationships!


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