The heart-ache called friendship

I was never very good at friendship. It was hard for me to really find a place where I belonged. I didn't know if it had something to do with just being a female or if the way other women intimidated me would shine across my face like a deer in the headlights. 

But for a little while now, I've known where most of my struggles came from in regards to making and keeping friends. Now, I'm working on it. Or to be more exact, God is working on it.

It's been pretty beautiful to watch God peal away the layers of a life that would often burn with the tears of hardness, confusion, and loneliness. I wish I could give you a few days in my brown biker boots. Just so you could experience the reality of answered prayer in my friendships and relationships with other women. It would knock your socks off (and right out of the boots). But that's not what this post is about so I will save that for another time.

I just want you to see through the lens of my experience with friendships for a moment so you can begin to understand how much they matter and how dearly I hold the ones I'm given now.

I've made some incredible friends in the past few years. Friendships that dance on the line of family. Friends who I've let into every corner of my heart and into the darkest corners of my fears, struggles, and heartaches. I've finally found a way to open up. Which is something I could have never done before. I didn't know how and I would have never let myself.

The cost was far too great.

But with the softening of my heart and the gentle crow bar Jesus likes to use, I've been cracked wide open.

Now don't worry, this is a good thing. This is necessary to ever finding real freedom, to ever embracing real love, and to ever being able to really love others well. But this does leave some serious exposure to the elements. Which is also good, because now I don't have to trust my own feeble attempt at protecting myself but can trust the One who is far more equipped than me.

But what happens when disappointment, betrayal, or even innocent abandonment seeps in through those cracks? What happens now when I am let down? When that friendship does break your heart.

I have to be honest, I am still navigating this. I wish I would write about how I've figured out how to gather up all the pieces and move on. While wishing them well without any of those little heart pinches sneaking in from time to time. But I can't. I haven't figured that part out yet but I have been let down and my heart has been broken, so maybe I can walk with you this time.

We often think that friendships that end from tripping on some sort of "betrayal" land mine would be the most painful and the hardest kind to heal from but I'm finding quite the opposite. The ones that I truly struggle with and can't find consolation from are the ones that just end. The ones that were so deep, you found your heart glided perfectly next to theres, but then just dissolved one day. Those are the one's that cut the deepest. Because I will so often just sit and wonder if I wasn't as valued as I thought I was. That's when it really hurts. To have a reason, to lay some blame at least dissolves most of the questions that link to the conclusion, that it's who I am that isn't enough.

In all this I'm learning a lot. I'm learning just how utterly dependent I am on the bullet-proof friendship of God. I'm learning that when God called Abraham his friend, he was actually talking to me too! I'm learning that God knows me. So there's nothing he can learn about me that will cause him to "unfriend me". He knows it all, even the messy stuff that hasn't happened yet. I'm also learning that Jesus reserved my friendship with God, and that means that there's nothing I can do to mess it up. What a relief. I do have a track history of being quite messy and spilling on things. That's why I only wear black.

The other thing I'm learning through all this is that nothing lasts. That everything in this world has a shelf-life. People leave, friendships end, and life moves on no matter how hard you dig in your boots and pull. But I'm also learning that this doesn't have to be a bad thing. This doesn't have to mean that I fill in all those cracks and board up the windows of my heart again. It means that I can love with all my might. I can open up every fragile and vulnerable part of myself and trust that I will be just fine. I can be heartbroken and I can trust to be healed. Every single time!

I'm still learning how to navigate the "ouch" part of all this but I think that's ok. That's when I find I reach for the couch cuddles with Jesus the most. And those moments are the moments I wouldn't trade for the world. Don't lose heart and don't hide yourself away. There are people who need you and there are people who WANT you. And there's a pretty good chance they will let you down. And it's going to hurt. But there's a God who cares, who comforts, and who will set you back on your feet and will help you move forward better than before.

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