Growing Friendship

Deborah and her husband, Rob, walked around suitcases and boxes crowding their living room floor. They were days from a trip they had planned for months. The kitchen phone rang, interrupting Deborah’s packing.

“Hello?” she answered.

Deborah listened in dismay as a dear friend, Sarah*, shared about a family crisis that suddenly rose up and overwhelmed her.

“I know you and Rob are supposed to leave this weekend, but can you help?” Sarah pleaded. “Please. I have no one else to ask.”

Deborah didn’t even hesitate to assuage Sarah’s concerns; of course, she and Rob would help. Deborah hung up and began making the necessary calls to reschedule their impending trip.

“You can have 100,000 friends on Facebook, but they aren’t your friends,” Deborah says. “They won’t be there for you when you need them.”

Rob and Deborah Brown have made it their life’s quest to form deep bonds with others—the kinds that are sacrificial and mature.

Inconvenient Truth

Such intentional relationships take effort to form. They require a give and take from both parties and a willingness to be vulnerable and sacrificial. Often, such friendships require us to give up the most valuable asset we have: time.

Deborah Brown recalls a young couple who would frequently stop by to see her and Rob, often coming to drop off their children if the husband and wife needed a break.

“Some people say they have lots of friends, and I say no—those are acquaintances. My definition of friend is someone who will lay down their life for you.”

Give and Take

Kristy moved to my neighborhood a few months after my husband and I moved in. We were the newbies—and we had children around the same age. We got together for occasional playdates and had casual conversations.

I struggled, though, to find a way to take the relationship deeper. I wanted to really get to know Kristy and her family, so I offered to bring them meals when they were sick and brought her flowers when she faced a difficult day. Still, though, the relationship remained superficial.

And then my family got hit with a stomach bug. Kristy called and asked if she could bring us dinner. Out of politeness, I initially refused her offer.

“If you are refusing just to be nice, please don’t,” she said. “I really want to help.”

Kristy’s plea softened my heart and I humbly accepted her offer. My willingness to receive help from Kristy was the step needed to take our relationship to a deeper level. From then on, Kristy and I openly shared about our struggles, concerns, and excitements.

Life Together

The Bible says, “Two are better than one. . . . 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” (Eccl. 4:9–10). At its heart, friendship is about helping one another on this journey of life through obstacles, pitfalls, and soaring joys. Such camaraderie is built through shared conversations, laughs, tears, and time spent together.

*Name changed.

Brittany Conner lives in Jacksonville, Florida, where she spends her free time chasing her 4 young children and writing.

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