It was a beautiful evening with my friends gathered together to enjoy a ladies’ night of playing with Noonday jewelry and enjoying each other’s company. We laughed and shared funny stories. As the late hour came upon us, several women began to leave, and only a few remained along with a family member and her husband.
It happened before I could even understand what was going on. The husband’s eyes were open, but he wasn’t with us, and his body went limp. His wife managed to hold him up until the rest of us could get to him. And then he woke up with no memory of what had just happened. We had just managed to explain what had happened when he stared into the nothingness again and his body went limp. Realizing that this was more serious than we originally thought, someone ran to make the emergency call. After what felt like hours and watching him disappear a couple more times, we finally got him on the couch and the paramedics arrived to take over.
Leaving his wife by his side, I walked in shock to the other room and the tears started to flow. My husband and friends were instantly there making sure I was okay and helping me get everything packed quickly for us to go to the hospital while a couple of others went in to comfort his wife and help her with the paramedics.
That night, I realized the beauty and the necessity of friendship in my life.
One of my friends met us at the hospital to keep us company, while others helped my husband clean up from the party and one even stayed in case my husband had to go to the hospital. Then over the next several days, they kept checking in on his status. I was so touched by how much they cared and genuinely wanted to make sure he was okay. They didn’t even know him but they didn’t need to.
His wife couldn’t understand why they would all do this and drop everything to be there for our family. Some were up until the early hours of the morning to be there for us. I remember looking at her and saying, “It’s just what we all do for each other. We are like family.”
For years, I prayed for friendships like this. The kind where we would drop everything for each other and do whatever it took to be there in times of need. In my friend group alone, there has been divorce, loss of a husband to cancer, children diagnosed with special needs, loss of jobs, and so much more. Through it all, those suffering are never left to fend for themselves. Meals are made, Starbucks is freely flowing, and shoulders are available for crying, broken spirits. It is beautiful, and I know how blessed I am to have this.
This didn’t come though without work. Friendships like this don’t just happen, but they are possible for you. If you are aching for something deeper, I urge you to reach out and try some of these suggestions:
1. Join a Group of People with Similar Interests
If you are a mom, try a MOPS group or find a playgroup through an online site like meetup.com. Odds are, there will be at least one other person with whom you will connect.
2. Be the Friend You Want Your Friends to Be
Reach out to them through phone calls or encouraging notes in the mail. If they are down, offer to come by with a cup of coffee and let them talk. Ask them to do things with you that you both would enjoy.
3. Be Willing to Be Vulnerable
One of the biggest mistakes I made early on in my days of trying to build friendships is that I wasn’t willing to share my struggles and vulnerabilities. I would listen to theirs and rarely say anything about my own. It created this image for so many of them that I was perfect and didn’t have any problems. Perfect friends are hard to relate to. I have learned to be real with them, and that has created an environment for us to be honest and more open with each other.
4. Sprinkle Fun in with the Serious
While all friendships have times where it is hard to be anything but serious, it is so important to get out and laugh together. Go and enjoy a girls’ night with a pottery class, a movie, shopping, etc.
5. Pray for Your Friend
When you pray for your friend, you create a more intimate connection. You think of them more, invest emotional energy into praying for them, and you are also being honest when you tell them that you will pray for them!
6. Find Out Her Love Language
Some friends feel comforted through a simple hug and time spent with you, while others feel most comforted through a meal made during a rough time. While both are wonderful gestures, you will find the best way to connect with them if you start to pay attention to what makes them smile most and what gets the strongest reaction. Some of us invest so much energy into trying so hard to be a friend, and if we invested our energy wisely, we can keep from overdoing it in ways that may not be as important to our friends.
Friendship is a necessity. Jesus realized the importance of having others around Him and was rarely left alone. Let us follow His lead and build friendships with depth and a love that goes beyond anything we could ever imagine.
Welcome to Ungrind!
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Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
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"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
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