Songs are composed, books are written, and social media blows up on the subject of friendship. We share joy, sorrow, and laughter. We exchange secrets, clothes, and good-deals. Recently I read an awesome quote about friends: Friends are God’s way of taking care of us. Oh, how true. God has taken care of me well. He has blessed me with just the right friends, with just the right words, and at just the right season of life.
I spent the early years of my life living outside the circle of the “in-crowd”, longing to be more than a spectator, wondering why I was never asked to be a member. Eventually, the dream of being a part of that circle faded but the longing for sisterhood never died. Then much to my surprise, as a young married woman I found myself surrounded by more friends than I could count on all my fingers and toes. At last, my desire to have women in my life to celebrate the good times, cry with me during the sad times, and encourage me through the hard times was mine to enjoy and embrace. However, as the seasons of our lives changed, I realized that having many friendships was difficult: difficult to stay in touch with physically and difficult to nurture personally.
My heart longed to stay “tight” with my gal pals but demands on my life kept me from being able to do this. In my struggle with balancing family, ministry, and friends God called my attention to His friends, you know them as the 12 disciples. God had his 12 friends and within this 12 He gave special attention to only three: Peter, James, and John. (Matthew 17:1, Mark 5:37) I understood that God was showing me He wanted me to keep my priorities in balance and allow Him to choose my friends. So I “tended to my business” and allowed God to “tend” to His.
As the years have passed my circle has formed. I have to say, the choices He made would not have been mine. But then, He chose fishermen to be in His circle and that turned out pretty good, don’t you think? Recently, He expanded the circle by leading me to an unexpected friendship with a college student. He chose women varied in age and seasons of life yet strong in the faith, uniquely gifted to keep me straight in my walk with the Lord. Each woman has her own individual struggles in which God has uniquely equipped me to minister to her. It is a perfect circle with His presence residing in the middle and His Word binding our hearts together, keeping the circle secure.
When I speak at women’s events, I often talk about my “Peter, James and John.” Women come up to me afterwards longing to have their own “Peter, James, and John.” I have realized how desperate women are to have gal pals. God created women with the longing to be understood, validated, encouraged, and loved. These needs are beautifully satisfied in the friendship of women.
My answer to the women who ask, “How did this happen for you? I want a “Peter, James, and John” of my own.” My answer is always the same, “Pray to.” You see, God knows better who I need in my life than I do. I have learned to trust Him completely to bring and take away friends for certain seasons of life without the pressure of nurturing the friendships beyond my means. He has proven Himself faithful 100% of the time.
While it is important to “pray to” you can also put yourself in position to receive the gift of friendship by becoming involved in activities that invite friendship. Perhaps your church or neighborhood has a Bible Study, Ladies Night Out, or Scrapbooking/Craft parties. If not, maybe you are just the person to get such a time of fellowship together. I am sure He has a “Peter, James, and John” waiting for you. They are just a prayer away. He will be faithful to you 100% of the time.