by Kendra Roehl
“Thank you for coming, it means a lot to me—to us,” Mary whispered in my ear as she hugged me tight, the two of us standing in the church lobby as the baby shower guests chatted over brunch in the next room.
“Oh, friend. I’ll always show up for you and yours. Maddie is positively glowing, and you are going to be an amazing grandmother,” I said, returning her hug with a bear hug of my own, feeling more than a bit wistful at the amount of time that had passed since we’d last been in one another’s presence.
Friends since our early 20s, life had been quietly pulling us in different directions these past few years, with less opportunity to simply be in one another’s presence. Busy kid schedules and the slow tug of different friend groups had stretched our relationship to an extent we hadn’t fully grasped until that bear hug in the church lobby.
Friendship is precious, and our female friendships can be some of the strongest, most encouraging relationships of our lives. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (NIV) We all know that friendship matters. But how can we cherish and protect those relationships in the midst of families, careers, marriages, and sometimes distance?
We’ve got three ways to invest in your friendships, no matter the season of life you find yourself in:
Show up for the things that are important to your friend. What is your friend passionate about? Does she have a dream she is pursuing or a ministry she loves? How can you encourage her in that dream or ministry? It can be as simple as helping her cook, clean, and decorate before a party she is hosting, or donating back-to-school supplies to a local classroom where she volunteers.
Choose to believe the best about your friend—and your friendship—even when life is hard. We all go through challenging seasons in our lives, and knowing that we have friends who will support and love us while also honestly listening and empathizing with us is so valuable. We need friends who see the worst and best in us yet continue to love us no matter what. When you are unsure what is going on with a friend, ask. Let her know you care and are there for her if she needs you.
Pray consistently for your friend—and tell her about it when you do. Even when distance or circumstances separate the two of you and make communication or get-togethers difficult, our prayer life remains valuable. Prayers cost nothing and can require only a minute or two, yet sharing them with a friend can be a great reminder that the challenges our friend faces and successes she celebrates matter to us, too. Our words matter. Sending a friend a quick text or message to let her know that you’re praying for her is a great way to stay connected.
Scripture is clear: we all need the support of those around us. And although friendship takes work and is often imperfectly lived out, when done well, it can be one of the greatest joys of our lives. Today, let’s choose to take one of the three steps listed above and reach out to a friend.
“…A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9 (MSG)
Kristin Demery, Kendra Roehl and Julie Fisk—creators of the website and online community known as The Ruth Experience—are three friends whose lives are intertwined as writers, speakers, wives, moms, and world-changers. They are the authors of several books, including The One Year Daily Acts of Friendship: 365 Days to Finding, Keeping and Loving Your Friends and 100 Daily Acts of Friendship for Girls: A Devotional, and have been featured online at (in)courage, USA Today, Joyful Life Magazine, The Better Mom, MOPS International, and the Huffington Post.