Why We Were Made to Thrive In the Garden of Friendship

The three musketeers. That’s who we were. Heather, Julie and me. We met in college, though I can’t even remember exactly when or how we became friends. It just seems that we always were.

 

We lived nearby each other in the dorm rooms. We studied together. We ate together. We even ran a small catering business together. The only reason I persisted in running three miles every night around the university campus was to be with them. Together.

 

As friends, we planned our futures. Our weddings. Our babies. We planted dreams about our careers and houses and everything in between that would eventually fill in our life’s landscapes.

 

There was something easy and unforced about our friendship. We fit in a way that it seemed as if they had been in my life forever.

 

Through the years, life has taken us far away from one another. Life has also brought us back close to each other. Yet, no matter where we have landed, our friendship has remained.

 

 

As special as it is, my story of friendship is not unique. Most of us have similar stories about someone —a neighbor, a sister, an aunt, a childhood friend—that has walked with us through our big moments and our broken moments. They have loved us and celebrated us. They have wiped our tears and championed our dreams. They have been our dearest treasures. They have been our friends.

 

Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learned about friendship is that true friendship is a safe, fertile garden for us to thrive.

 

1. True friendship is first and foremost a place of safety.

Safety is that place where you breathe, knowing there is nothing you have to do to earn the friendship. It just is. You trust the friendship is real. There is an authenticity to it. You can touch it and feel it and put your weight on it. It will not fail. Your relationship is as strong as it is sure.

 

My true friends accept me. They believe in me. We want good things for each other. We are the other’s lifelong cheerleaders. Even when one of us falls or feels like quitting, there is always someone there to gently nudge us back to our feet and believe for us when we cannot believe for ourselves.

 

2. True friendship is planted in fertile soil.

The soil of friendship is important. Mutuality, openness, respect and compassion create a rich environment for individuals and relationships to grow. Whether we share about our faith, our families, our struggles or fears, the strength we gather allows the roots of our lives to grow deep and strong.

 

My friends know my story—the good parts and the tortured parts. I don’t have to hide my wounds from them or work to present a perfect picture of myself to them. There is an openness between us when we are together. We respect one another. We know and are known by one another.

 

3. True friendship is a place for us to grow and thrive.

Good friends bring out the best in us. I am my best self when I am in their presence. I am my best self, perhaps because of their presence. We encourage each other to grow.

 

Friendship should never make us weaker. True friendship makes us stronger. I am stronger in my faith. I am stronger in my relationships. I am stronger in my work, because there is collective strength interwoven in the cord that binds us together as one.

 

A friend is more than a therapist or confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God’s forgiveness. A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, “Isn’t that beautiful,” or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don’t have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

My friends are passionate women. They are fiercely dedicated to embracing this journey, trying amazing things, overcoming daunting challenges. Being with them inspires and energizes me to embrace my life with equal passion, commitment, determination, and tenacity.

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

 

Twenty-eight years later, Heather and Julie are still the best friends a girl could ask for. Our friendship is still rich. Still seamless. Still powerful. Still. After all these years.

 

[bctt tweet=”True friendship is a safe, fertile garden for us to thrive.”]

 

In what kind of garden are your friendships planted?

How have your friendships strengthened you on your journey?

Share with me how you have grown as a result of your friendships.

 

I’d love to hear!

 

 

 

 

28 Comments

  1. Abby McDonald

    April 7, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    Lisa, what a beautiful blog you have here. I’m so glad I was your neighbor at #RaRaLinkup. And yes! True friendships bring out the very best in us and make us grow. Moving all around the country actually brought me out of my shell and rely on friendships more. My friends became my family. Some of my closest friends pushed me to do things I never would have done on my own and become a braver soul. Thank you for sharing this today. Lovely post.

    • lisamurray

      April 7, 2015 at 9:27 AM

      Abby,

      Thank you for your encouraging words! Yes, true friendships are family, especially when life moves us in a million directions. Blessings to you!
      Lisa Murray

  2. Great post! It’s so amazing to reconnect with true friends and pick up right where u left off!! There are times I have went through in this life I never would have made it without my friends. I am forever grateful for the unconditional love they showed me when I had no one to turn. I think God loves us through others.

    • lisamurray

      April 7, 2015 at 9:29 AM

      Dana,

      God absolutely loves us through others! Our friendships are His great gift to us to strengthen and encourage us on our journey. Blessings to you this week!
      Lisa Murray

  3. Ellen Chauvin

    April 7, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    What a beautiful story of friendship Lisa! So glad to connect with you today via Life Giving Linkup. Yes, our friendships should be a safe place to thrive! Amen to that! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Christine Duncan

    April 7, 2015 at 3:44 PM

    Friends like that are a precious gift, and now I feel like I should go call a few and remind them how much I love them! Discovered your post with the #RaRaLinkup and I’m so glad!!! Have a fabulous day, Lisa!

    • lisamurray

      April 7, 2015 at 5:27 PM

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Christine! Friends are such precious gifts to treasure. Blessings!

  5. Lisa,
    One of God’s greatest gifts to me has been the gift of friendship. He has blessed me with wonderful friends. I have one friend with whom I’ve been friends for 35 years and the fact that we both love Jesus makes our relationship all the more special. A friend sticks closer than a brother.

  6. Ginger Harrington

    April 8, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    Loved this post today. Visiting from Coffee for your Heart. I’m gathering thoughts for some upcoming talks on connecting in lasting friendship, so your title caught my attention. So glad I visited. I really enjoy connecting with new bloggy friends through these gatherings.

    • lisamurray

      April 8, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      Thanks, Ginger, for your kind words! Thanks for stopping by. Blessings to you on your upcoming talks!

  7. Shana Chaplin

    April 8, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    I loved this. I grew up a missionary kid, moving almost every three years. So, the story is not my story. Until marriage I had never had the chance to be planted in a place long enough to develop “life long” friends. However, I did learn much about my Heavenly Father and learning to trust Him as friend. I am so thankful God has allowed me to see life without and with life long friends. My inner circle now means the world to me and they have walked many difficult paths with me. The speak truth to me. They can because they have earned the right through faithful prayer, authenticity and love.

    • lisamurray

      April 9, 2015 at 7:25 AM

      Shana,

      Thank you for sharing your story! I love to hear how God works uniquely in each one of our lives to meet our needs and provide the “friendships” we long for. You are indeed blessed to have such a strong group of inner circle friends to walk with you, and encourage you along your journey! Many blessings to you today! Lisa Murray

  8. Friendship rocks! A year ago, I lost my dearest friend in the world to an unexpected illness. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever faced. Tragically, when she passed, I also shut out everyone else. Just in the past couple of months, I’ve begun to reconnect with other friends, and appreciate those wonderful girls in my life who are such a blessing to me:) Thank you for sharing about the importance of friendship!

    • lisamurray

      April 10, 2015 at 6:25 AM

      Kristine,
      I’m so sad to hear about the loss of your friend, yet I’m glad that you have been able to reconnect with the other friends in your life. Friendships are God’s beautiful treasures to us. We need them in our lives! Blessings to you!
      Lisa

  9. The strength we gather (from friendships) allows the roots of our lives to grow deep and strong. I love those words, Lisa. As evidenced by my blog, anything with a plant/gardening theme especially grabs my attention. Visiting today through #LiveFree Thursday. Thanks for your words of inspiration & encouragement.

    • lisamurray

      April 10, 2015 at 6:29 AM

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Janet! I do believe so much of our lives and relationships have connections with nature. God teaches us, nurtures us, grows us, much like beautiful plants in a garden. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Lisa, this is an incredibly beautiful reminder and representation of what true friendship is. Thank you so vey much so sharing this! Infinite blessings to you, Love!

    #DanceWithJESUSLinkup 😉

  11. This is a wonderful tribute to your friends. I also have life long friends. Sometimes life keeps us busy and apart but we always remain close.

    • lisamurray

      April 11, 2015 at 7:39 AM

      Jenny,

      No matter where life takes us, true friends pick up right where they left off and the closeness remains. Perhaps why friendship is such a treasure! Blessings!

  12. Letetia Mullenix

    April 10, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    I have a few friends that have grown with me through the years, but my oldest friends and I have been ‘best friends” for 17, 13, and 12 years. And they are indeed safe places, where we can be ourselves and be loved and accepted for who we are. Friendships are so important, especially in the body of Christ. Thank you for this encouraging post! Blessings, Letetia

    • lisamurray

      April 11, 2015 at 7:42 AM

      Thank you, Letitia! Sounds like you have a rich garden of friendships! It is a blessing that our friends love us and accept us for who we are. We need safe places like these to grow in. Blessings to you this weekend!

  13. Lisa,
    I loved visiting this blog. How fun! You had me smiling from the first sentence. This is a heart-warming post. Thank you for lighting the love that friends hold. Cheering you from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

    • lisamurray

      April 12, 2015 at 8:31 AM

      Kelly,

      I’m so glad you stopped by today. Thanks for your encouraging words. Blessings to you this week! Love the cheers and love from everyone at #RaRaLinkup!

  14. Traci@tracesoffaith

    April 13, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    I moved around a lot in my 20s and now live far away from my hometown. My favorite part about friendship are the rare times you see each other again, maybe years apart, and things are still natural and memories flow. So thankful God gave us girlfriends.

    • lisamurray

      April 13, 2015 at 11:16 AM

      Amen, Traci! So thankful for those friendships that stay natural and rich and effortless through the years. It is a blessing to be known, accepted, and loved. Have a great week!

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