Strengthening Friendships in Love

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” -Proverbs 27:17

“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” -Proverbs 27:9

“A friend loves at all times.” -Proverbs 17:17

“The best kind of friendships are fierce lady friendships where you aggressively believe in each other, defend each other, and think the other deserves the world.” -Unknown

 

I have been trying to write this post for a while now, but other priorities have gotten in the way of me being able to sit down, process, and write.

My hope was to get this posted in time for Galentine’s Day, February 13th, but now that day has come and gone.

Although, I am grateful that this post has been delayed because it’s given me the opportunity to put more thought into my writing, and I ended up changing what I was initially blogging about.

It’s funny how that happens.

 

Recently, my church hosted a wonderful Galentine’s Day event where around two-hundred women came together to talk, share, love, and celebrate friendships. We listened to a wonderful talk on how we can better love one another through our understanding of The 5 Love Languages.

If you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, I highly recommend the book. It’s a great read, and it gives wonderful insight on how we best receive love, and how we can better love those around us according their love language.

As I have read The 5 Love Languages in the past, I’ve solely thought about and applied it to the relationship I have with my husband. Surprisingly enough, I never thought of applying it to my friendships.

And with that idea in mind it got me thinking: How can I better love my friends? Am I good friend? Am I showing love to my friends?

 

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, I have been using the Women Living Well online resources to read through the Bible.

Reading through the Bible can be intimidating! But, I really appreciate how Courtney Joseph has broken down her studies by books of the Bible over a certain number of weeks, along with reading a chapter a day. It gives me time to process, reflect, and question what I’ve just read and how it applies to God’s love story.

I’m just finishing up my last week of reading the book of 1 Samuel. Many of us are familiar with the stories within this book: David defeating the giant Goliath, Saul’s unrepentant and jealous heart leading him away from the Lord, and David, a fierce warrior, and a man after God’s heart, who would become the King of Israel.

Within this book of the Bible it is written how David experienced some fierce trials in his life. For many years, he was on the run because his father-in-law, Saul, was trying to kill him. Saul knew David had been anointed as the future King of Israel, and he was so jealous of how much David was loved and adored by the people that his jealousy turned into action. He pursued David for many years in attempts to kill him.

While David was being pursued, his emotional well-being fluctuated, and at times he lost hope. David is continually shown to be a man that seeks the Lord, but in being human, he often struggled with seeing an end to Saul’s tirade, and feared he would never return home to the loved ones he’d left behind.

One of the loved ones that David left behind was his dear friend, and Saul’s son, Jonathan.

Jonathan could not rescue David from his trial, but rather he gave David encouragement. Jonathan strengthened his friend.

 

1 Samuel 23:16-18 reads, “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this. And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.”

 

What an amazing friend!

Jonathan rises to the occasion to come alongside David in the midst of his hardship. He seeks out David, and reminds him who he is, and what the Lord has promised him.

Jonathan wasn’t able to rescue David from Saul’s pursuit of him, but he strengthened his friend. He reminded David that he was with him, even though he couldn’t physically stay with David.

David is not left to face his trial alone.

Because of Jonathan’s faith, he trusts whatever God has in store for his future. . And he chooses to give his friend strength because of the faith that he dearly holds.

 

Friendships are an important investment. I can’t count the number of times friends have encouraged and strengthened me in different circumstances. Gratefulness isn’t a strong enough word to describe how friendships have been essential for me.

And in our crazy and busy world, it’s all too easy to write-off spending time with friends. I can think of a million and one excuses for why I can’t make time for friendships. Isn’t that sad?

It’s wonderful to have “fun events” with friends, but I know my heart craves for a deeper connection. My heart craves to have love poured into it, and I desire to pour love into others’ hearts as well.

As Gary Chapman of The 5 Love Languages would put it, “we need to fill each other’s love tanks”.

 

After reading and recognizing the significance of David and Jonathan’s friendship, it left me asking: How am I strengthening my friends? How am I encouraging? How am I loving? Or am I even strengthening or encouraging my friends at all?

I think there have definitely been times where I’ve failed in being a supportive friend. It’s easy to fall into the trap of not stepping up, not making the effort in a friendship.

There’s a vulnerability in sharing, in giving, and in revealing struggles and fears. There’s the possibility of not being accepted, feeling unloved, or misunderstood.

But in the sharing, giving, and revealing, it brings a new opportunity for growth, encouragement, and strength.  

It opens the door to give love and to be loved. Ultimately reminding us, we are never alone.

 

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” -Colossians 3:12-14

 

Reflection:

  • What is my friend’s love language?
  • How can I show love to my friend through his/her love language?
  • How can I plan my schedule so that I can spend time with my friends?
  • What conversations would I like to have with my friends? What can I share? What would I like to know?
  • How can I strengthen a friend in an inescapable trial?

 

Thank you to my dear friends, Amanda and Krystal for inspiring me to write this post. I’m grateful for our friendship.

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