Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Other Girlfriends

Pull out your chocolate stash and sit a minute with me as we continue our discussion on friends. 

Today, I want to pose the question:  “Can you have close friends who are part of your congregation?”

This is a tough question and many people express varying opinions.  Most ministry wives will answer a firm “no” to the question.  However, I have a different perspective.  I believe we can have deep friendships with other women in our churches. 

I was raised by a mom who taught me to always find the good in people.  She set the bar high for me in establishing friendships.  Before they went to be with the Lord, my mom and her best girlfriend shared over 50 years of close friendship.  Therefore, I always want to mirror that relationship.

When seeking a safe friend, one of the first things I do is pray.  I ask for the discernment to know when a woman wants to be my friend simply to get firsthand knowledge of church happenings or whether she will be a true, safe friend.  I can tell you that there have been times when I did not follow the Lord’s leading and I have been burned in friendships. 

Once arriving at a new ministry, the second thing I do is watch and listen to the ladies around me.  I see how they treat one another.  I look for those ladies who always are encouraging and supporting to their friends.  I always want someone who is very real and loves to laugh. 

Once I discover those individuals I ask the Lord again if one of those ladies will be my safe friend.  It is really interesting how God works at times.  Sometimes He does lead me to those ladies but there have been times He takes me in a direction to someone I have not discovered yet. 

Interestingly, in recent moments a woman who is very soft spoken, humble and a deeply committed Christian popped onto my radar.  Over lunch one day she shared her story and I realized we had so many things in common.  Our only difference is that she is sometimes shy.  (I was at one time but once I married into the Lee family my shyness flew out the window).  However, I truly believe the Lord is leading us to develop a true friendship.  I really look forward to see how He works out the details.

Over the years, God has provided a true, safe girlfriend in every congregation we have served.  I have one friendship that is still going after 30 plus years.  I think my mom would be proud.  These ladies have listened to my heart, cried with me, celebrated the joys of life, and held my hand in some very difficult times.  They provide the laughter to my soul and sometimes even supply me with my favorite nerve pill-Peanut M & M’s. 

So yes, dear sisters, I firmly believe we can have close, true friends within our churches.  All you have to do is pray and seek the Lord’s leading.

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