The Grace Challenge: Grace in Your Friendships
Living 40+ years now I have since learned that having female friendships is certainly not an easy thing.
Lack of communication.
Differing of opinions.
I’ve been on the receiving end of all of these, just like I’m sure I’ve done these same things to others. So this brings me to today’s Grace Challenge- grace in your friendships. If you’re new to this series, you can start reading here.
I’ve just gotta say that making friends is hard! When I was around 30 years old I read a book on how to make friends with other women because I was that inept! Women, at the time, scared me because I didn’t know how to relate to them. Now, if you put me in a room filled with men I’d get along with them just fine, but that wasn’t the case for me when it came to women.
Being that I wanted to have female friends, I knew I needed to learn a thing or two about how to make those friendships. (If this is where you’re at today, here’s a simple tip: If you want a friend, be a friend. Just take a step to reach out to another woman. Yes, you are putting yourself at risk, but I believe the risk is worth it. Invite them for coffee. Or if they have littles, plan a date to go to the park and hangout.)
Women are relational, and because of this, we want to connect with other women no matter what age we are.
Recently, I’ve sat down one on one with 5 different women. One was in her 20’s, the other was in her 30’s, another was in her 40’s, one was about to be 50, and the other was about to turn 70. They all had one thing in common. They desired fellowship. That’s a beautiful word as I sit and type it but I know for the Christian woman that fellowship is not easy to come by. As I stated earlier, sometimes we don’t know how to make friends and other times we’ve been wounded, therefore we don’t want to put ourselves out there again. But, fellowship is vital to the Christian! It’s something the disciples continued in after Jesus ascended to heaven.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42
Fellowship is something that we need to seek out and pray for rather than just wait for something to come to us.
For almost 2 years now I’ve been longing for fellowship. Not only did my family move from our home town but we moved to a new church which caused me to feel extremely isolated as a woman. I knew I needed to be proactive in seeking out new friends, so I made a commitment to be involved in Bible study and serve at my new church whenever I could. During these past two years I’ve reached out to women I didn’t know and I also spent time praying for friends. And just now I’m starting to reap the fruit of building friendships.
I’ve learned there are times when a friendship is for a season and other times when there might be disagreements between us just like there was between the Apostle Paul and Barnabas. They didn’t see eye to eye on the matter at hand, therefore, there was a split in their relationship.
Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. Acts 15:35-41
I’ve cried many tears over splits like these. And I can do everything I can to work things out between me and my friend, but sometimes my path isn’t their path. Or they may not be interested in reconciling. Instead of harboring unforgiveness or nursing a grudge, I’ve got to learn to extend grace.
Where are you at today with your friendships? Do you need to extend grace to a woman in your life? Or do you need to take a step of faith to make friends? Will you choose to be a gracious woman? I do hope so!
Join me here next Wednesday for week #8: Grace in Social Media
Prior posts in this series:
Week #1- 7 Truths You Need to Know About God’s Grace
Week #2- Grace in Your Marriage
Week #3- Grace in Your Marriage Bed
Week #4- Grace in Your Mothering
Week #5- Grace in Managing Your Home
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Right there with you on this subject, sweet friend. Can completely relate.
Could you address “Boundaries” in female friendships ? How do I extend grace to a woman that knows better and thinks that my HUSBAND can be there to meet a lot of HER emotional needs, and has behaved very unbecoming towards a very married man, right in front of me, his WIFE. How do I extend grace in this situation ? I would like to tell her to get lost and find her own man.
Hi Jasper, yes, grace is much different than boundaries! We can still establish boundaries (and we should, especially in marriage) but we can still be gracious in how we communicate those boundaries. I would talk with your husband about this woman and your concerns about him not meeting her emotional needs. If this isn’t dealt with, it can possibly turn into an emotional affair on her part. Perhaps graciously confronting her needs to take place. Of course you don’t want to lose a friendship, but I’d choose to lose a friendship any day of the week if that means I’m protecting my marriage. I hope this helps!
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