This past fall I suffered an unexpected miscarriage at the end of the hardest year I’ve ever walked through. When I got home from the hospital from hemorrhaging, I laid on the couch and watched tv barely able to move since I was exhausted physically and emotionally. Eventually, I fell asleep and then, woke up around 3 am in the exact same spot. In my living room, on the couch, with the tv on. Everyone else had gone to bed and the house was quiet. I felt so alone and started crying. I started to ask God how something else could happen this year. How could we experience another loss, another letdown, another disappointment?
As I sat there processing my pain I remembered back on a phone call I received the day prior. One of my closest friends called me on the phone, expressing her empathy and compassion. She told me she knew how I was currently feeling and how valid all of my emotions were. The anger I was feeling, the sadness, unfairness, grief, etc. She then shared with me how at that moment it may be hard to stand on the truth of the Word but that she knew what I believed and that she would stand for me. She would keep believing for me. She would get deep into the ditches with me and hold me to God’s Word.
I laid there thinking of her words for a while. How I have a friend who believes so much in The Word and who Jesus is, that she is willing to believe it for me during my valley season. If I have a friend who was willing to do that for me, then I needed to believe what I’ve always believed. I needed to look past my current unstable emotions and place my eyes on the stable words of Jesus.
My friend helped lead me there, and that, sweet reader, is a quality of a strong friend.
Our last time together I shared with you the toxic traits that can occur in friendships and how to handle them. This week I want to share with you the traits of a strong friend and how to not only obtain those types of friendships but how to also nurture them. I want you to walk away from reading this either learning or confirming what you should look for in a friend.
Traits Of A Strong Friend
- Steady Foundation– Few things are more emotionally exhausting than walking away from your time with a friend wondering what they’re feeling, what they’re upset with, or unhappy about. Someone with a steady foundation is a clear communicator on their boundaries, expectations, and guidelines. This friend will be honest with you when their feelings are hurt because their heart desires resolution. Their standards in what they bring to the friendship are fair and consistent. You don’t have to wonder if they’re mad at you. You won’t have to get a feel for their emotions that day to know how to handle them. Simply put, you know where you stand with them.
Provers 16:7 says, “When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them.”
- Encouraging– When you have a friend who is strong in their walk in the Lord, a quality that always follows and flows out of them is encouragement. Because they’re solid on their identity, your successes don’t intimidate them. They don’t feel inferior during your winning season, instead, they are your loudest cheerleaders. Encouragement is to not be confused with positivity. Positivity is surface level and not always genuine. Biblical encouragement cannot be fake, always shines a light on the truth, and also coincides with correcting. A strong friend will always encourage you while correcting. A strong friend loves you enough to shine a light on the truth and point you back to the Word.
Proverbs 27:9 says, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”
- Walks With The Wise– A strong friend chooses their friends wisely. They’re careful with who they let near and you often see them surrounding themselves with other strong people. Scripture is clear that evil loves evil and wisdom follows the wise. When a person is around those who are honest, truth-loving, and humbled people, they will be like them. When you have a friend whose friendship circle leads questionable lifestyles, it’s safe to assume they can easily be pulled into that as well.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
- Outwardly Focused– A strong friend can acknowledge the struggles and events that occur in other’s lives even in the midst of their own. They don’t get bogged down and self-centered when they’re in their valley. Scripture calls us to morn and rejoice with others, to be actively engaged in the lives of others. A strong friend will lovingly serve you, honor you, and support you. They’re able to see beyond themselves and don’t control the conversation navigating it back on themselves. This friend feels fulfilled in their role by being there for you.
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
- Refreshes– Your time spent with a friend should feel like an investment. You’re investing your time and energy into a person with the hope that it flourishes into something life-breathing. A strong friend cultivates those types of friendships. When time is spent with a friend who is draining, the effect takes place immediately. Your time is valuable and the friendship you offer is as well. What you give to others should be seen as a gift and taken care of. There is nothing better than walking away from your time with a friend feeling refreshed and closer to Jesus.
Proverbs 27:9 says, “Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.”
To my sweet friend reading this and thinking of one or maybe even a few strong friends you have in your life, please know I am rejoicing with you. What a blessing to have others to share life with. I pray those friendships continue to flourish and nourish you. I also pray for you to continue being a valuable friend to them. Cherish them, serve them, and honor who they are in your life.
To my sweet friend reading this and grieving the loss of previous friends, feeling the loneliness creep in, I’m covering you in praying right now. I pray the hurt and feelings of rejection lose their sting in your heart. I fully believe in divine appointments and I pray for the Lord to direct your steps and join you with other strong women in friendship. I also want to encourage you to not allow the fear of rejection to stop you from taking risks. The only way you can even have the possibility of a friendship is by stepping out in boldness and in faith and trusting God in the aftermath. I pray you walk in that boldness and faith daily.
I went through a season in my life where I was praying for God to bring strong friendships into my life. I was craving connection deeply. During my times in prayer, the Holy Spirit lead me to plenty of scripture on what a biblical friendship is. While reading over these scriptures my heart started to change. I realized if these are the characteristics I’m desiring in a friend, I need to be that way first. I needed to be the first to show compassion and empathy. The first to be the biggest cheerleader, the first to stop the gossip, the first to stop the judgment. I needed to become the friend I was desiring others to be.
I’m thankful for this pruning season in my life because Christ lead me on a journey to be more like Him and on that journey, I met some incredible women who were also on their journey towards Christ. And today, there are many beautiful friendships in my life as a result of that season. And I want the same for you.
Friendships are beautiful, life-breathing, soul-refreshing, and encouraging. It’s an honor to call someone a friend and to be a friend.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer then a brother.”
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