Meet my friend Julie F. (pictured on the far right). I met Julie at church when she moved to Kansas a little over three years ago. Julie just became a new mama. I was pretty excited when her little boy was born. Levi needed some boys to hang out with in the church nursery. Her little man is trying really hard to catch up with Levi in weight…he is a BIG boy too. Julie and I are a part of the same Young Family Sunday School class and mom’s group at church. Unfortunately our paths don’t cross much outside of church, but I always love the times when we get to hang out together. And her husband makes amazing Japanese food. Yum!
Julie is the kind of friend that no matter how close of a relationship you have with her she always makes you feel special. She is an amazing listener. You always feel like what you are talking to her about is important…even if it really isn’t. Julie is also very wise. Whenever she talks, you listen. She makes you think. Julie’s deep love for the Lord is so evident in her relationships and how she interacts with people. Here is what Julie has to say about friendship…
When Jess asked me to read Friendship for Grown-Ups I was a little hesitant. You see, I had just had my first baby six weeks earlier and I felt so overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure I could find the time to read a book and gather my thoughts in any cohesive manner (though I’m not promising this is cohesive). Yet, I was intrigued by the topic of the book. I have not read any books about friendship and it struck a heartstring with a current question I have. Part of the adjustment to my life as a new mom is the balance between the more ‘inward’ focus I both want and need to take on to take care of my family and the strong desire I also have for ‘outward’ focus—in this case for deep, intimate friendships. I am learning the necessary changes I need to make in the way I ‘do’ friendship in this phase of motherhood and decided to read this book for any thoughts the author might have.
Thankfully, Friendship for Grown-Ups is such an easy read! Almost immediately, it drew me in through the way Lisa Whelchel writes. Her voice shines through her words and the way she tells her journey of learning friendship is like a having a conversation over coffee. I enjoyed that. It felt like a friend telling me her struggles while giving advice so I won’t stumble in the same ways she did. In that way, the ‘instructional’ aspects of the book felt less forceful and more like gracious guidance.
One of my favorite parts of the book is that Lisa is adamantly promoting friendship. She affirmed my need to be loved and accepted for who I am and reminded me “it’s okay to be needy”. That’s how God created us. He wants us to be able to be real and intimate with other women. He wants us to love and be loved unconditionally. He wants us to know that we don’t have to “do” the right thing or “be” the right person to earn our closest friends.
This book also reminded me that what I long for in a best friend is what God is for me. He wants me to be intimate with Him, to love Him deeply, and to know I have to do nothing to earn his unconditional love for me. I so desire to have that relationship with God, to be daily desperate for Him and His love, to fully understand His grace. Lisa encourages me with the thought that God places friends in my life to be a good—yet not perfect—picture of His faithful love. She says:
“Friends help us find our way there. I can’t imagine walking into the throne room of grace if I had not been first welcomed into the hearts of grace of my friends. I know that faith is believing in what we can’t see, but I’m grateful that God knows that we sometimes need a little glimpse in order to have a little faith. Friends have been the visible manifestation to me of God’s grace.”
I tend to like ‘the answer’ to what I am struggling with. This book did not give ‘the answer’ to making or maintaining friendships. But, I walk away knowing that I want to continue to intentionally pursue deep, vulnerable friendships where grace and love is both given and taken.
Would you like to win a copy of Friendship for Grown-ups? Don’t forget to leave a comment on Monday’s post to enter the giveaway.