Do you have friends…but wish you had different ones?
Seriously. Maybe you have friends, but none of them are just, you know, like you.
When I was in my late twenties and early thirties I absolutely pined for a close friend around my age. I wanted a gal who would throw diaper bags and snacks for her preschoolers into my mommy van with me. I wanted us to load up our children and drive off to adventures together…like yard sales and children’s museums. I wanted us to nibble on Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets while engrossed in deep conversation, interrupted constantly by the need to pull a child out of the tunnel or wipe wee sticky hands. And I wanted us to steal away from kids, hubbies and hearths every now and then to visit boutique fabric shops or watch chick flicks.
I was looking for a kindred spirit, a sister from another mother. What I wanted was another pea for my pod.
I never found that pea.
I looked for her at church, at a Christian aerobics class, at a sewing seminar, at all the parks in town and even in my neighborhood. I prayed for her. I asked God over and over and over to supply me with a young friend with young children and common interests.
But God’s answer was “no.”
Instead God gave me several older friends for that season of my life. He gave me grandmas for my kids when we were miles away from their own. He gave me women with daughters my age. He gave me mentors with wisdom…and great skills in the kitchen and good recipes and fun dogs and swimming pools and old fashioned toys tucked away in their closets and love and time to spare.
My friends didn’t have names like Kim and Michelle and Laurie, common names among my generation. My friends’ names sounded more like my mother’s: Eunice, Evelyn, Barbara, Frances, Patty, Marillas, Ruth and Beverly.
You see, for that particular season of my life, my husband pastored a church made up almost exclusively of older adults. And even though I developed relationships with young women elsewhere in the community, the women who reached out to me and offered real friendship were precious women of an older generation.
I don’t think I ever went shopping with any of my friends. Nor did we go to movies or fabric stores. We didn’t “do life together,” in sync. We were on different rhythms, from different generations. The seasons of our lives had us on different schedules, pursuing different goals. And for a long time I whined to God because I didn’t have a friend who was more like me.
In fact, I’m sad to say, I didn’t fully appreciate the sweet, beautiful friendships I had with these older women until that season of my life ended. It was only in looking back that I treasured these women as much as they had valued me. They were truly Godsends.
Eventually God did send my husband and me to minister to a church loaded with young families. I had more girlfriends around my age than I knew what to do with. I also found a sister from another mother, one with children and her own mommy van. We loaded up those mommy vans and drove off to fun adventures with our school-aged kids. And we ran together, shopped and sipped soup at the local tea room, too. My pod finally had a second pea!
But I wouldn’t take anything for those sweet years when my dearest friends were not at all the ones I had prayed for. Instead, they were the friends God wisely and lovingly chose for me to have.
So I ask you again, do you have friends, but wish you had different ones?
Maybe you and your friends share more differences than common ground. Maybe they are all working women and you stay home with preschoolers. Maybe they’re all married and you alone are single. Maybe they celebrate different holidays, speak other languages, eat foods that are foreign to you or watch the evening news from a different perspective. Or maybe they’re all piling their preschoolers into a van and heading to the children’s museum and you’re tagging along so you can have a much needed break from your precious, but underfoot retired husband for a day! He, he!Same as is nice...and what we long for. But God knows sometimes different from is what we need. Click To Tweet
Will you open your heart to the fact that your best friends may turn out to be women who are very different from the ideal image you have conjured up in your head? Let’s open the doors to our hearts a little wider and reach out with a kind invitation to another.
You know you really do only have to have one thing in common to begin a friendship. Any one thing will do. And then, on the common ground of that one shared thing, you can freely explore all the differences you both bring to your relationship. And those differences are often what makes your friendship so sweet.Our differences may have us walking separate paths, but godly friendship synchronizes our hearts. Click To Tweet
Do you have a friendship in which your differences outnumber your commonalities? I’d love to hear about it in your comments. Tell me about the riches your different from friends have brought to your life.
My new book When You Find Another is really a conversation about friendship…among friends. It’s a sweet, simple read meant to spark further conversation among you and your pals…at Chick-fil-A, in a park, over Skype or at your kitchen table. You can order a copy for you and more for your friends here. And right now we have gifts with purchase you’ll enjoy!