Today is our last in a series this month focusing on friendships. We talked about how normal it is to have shifts in your friendships after loss (read it here). Then we dealt with your friend’s perspective–what she’s going through.(read it here). Today, we’ll talk about forgiveness and reconciliation. Oh, how we all want that–no matter how disappointed you and your friend are with each other.
Fear not, for I am with you;
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
“I no longer click with the clique.”
Can you relate?
Years ago I sat with my husband by my side watching my pastor’s wife speak these words in a message she gave before the congregation.
“In my heart I want to hang out with the other ladies,” she said, “but I serve a calling that keeps me away. Sometimes it’s a lonely walk without them.”
I was one of the ladies in a clique she couldn’t spend time with. We’d meet daily with our small children. We shared our hopes and burdens. It was a sweet group. But the pastor’s wife couldn’t join us. She was called into other roles–helping to lead our church’s women’s ministry and working to help provide for her family.
As I watched her describe her loneliness, I only saw strength and confidence and figured that surely it was worth the lonely walk. After all, she was following her call, and the fruits of her obedience were obvious. I couldn’t fully understand her pain from my comfortable position within my group of friends.
Until I too got called away from the clique. Just as the pastor’s wife with her call to be in a compellingly demanding role in life, I was now having to be in a demanding role in life–that of a single mom.
Only I wasn’t drawn in with a gentle calling. No one said, Kit, I want you to answer my call and run the whole household, manage your finances and spiritually lead your home.
Instead, the one who was supposed to run the household and finances and be spiritual leader was whisked into Heaven without warning, leaving me responsible for the family’s future. A purpose, but not one that I took on by choice.
Suddenly, I got what the pastor’s wife was saying. I couldn’t just hang out with them in the same way. I was in crisis, and my friends were still in that place of having the time to fellowship often.
They rode that grief wave with me, but some only rode it for a short while.
My heart ached for our lost easy fellowship. For a time it was like another hole ripped through my heart–first my husband, now my friends. I would ask myself:
Do they love me? Yes, they brought meals, included me where they could, called on me and helped me get my feet back on the ground.
Have they hurt me? Yes, but who hasn’t fallen short in this lifetime? I know I’ve offended others. And don’t I expect forgiveness?
Finally I took a bold step to forgive. I met with God in my backyard with a handful of dandelions, imagining each of these pretty fluff balls contained the many many seeds of uneasy feelings about one of these precious woman in life. I held up the stalk of the flower and thought about that friend. Then, I scattered the little seedlings into the wind, announcing my forgiveness and recognition for her love to the Heavens
With the seeds scattered in the wind, I let the offenses go, welcoming their loving attempts to encourage me.
Today I still meet these woman occasionally for coffee. We’re not as close, but neither am I wounded by bitter thoughts. The result? Friendships that have a chance of lasting a lifetime–even if they won’t be the close friendships I had started with. I can rest assured that I am not alone. Isaiah 41:10.
Lord, can You bring every friendship into your Grace focus? Help each sister forgive her sister and accept that friendships can wax and wane over life’s seasons. Amen.
Kit Hinkle is the Founder and Ministry Lead for A New Season Ministries, Inc., and an author and speaker. She has lived through corporate careers as a chemical engineer and a management consultant, but now finds her finest career as a homeschool mom to teen boys. She loves Pilates and her best friend’s Bosanova Christian yoga-style stretching, and craves more walks through the woods with her chocolate lab. Her dream is to live on the beach–and Charleston is just calling her! She knows what it means to be in a new season. She lost her first marriage to divorce when she was very young and lost her loving husband to a heart attack in 2007. To sit with another who is walking through her tough road and show that woman Christ, brings joy and fulfillment to Kit. It’s such an honor to participate in His kingdom.
If you are interested in having her speak, please contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other articles by this author: www.anewseason.net/author/khinkle
Would you like to read more about forgiveness? Here are some articles you might try:
F is for Forgive by Kit Hinkle
Stop Feeding the Dragon by Kit Hinkle