The Macs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

thoughts on friendship {amanda}

Meet my friend Amanda (pictured on the right). I first met Amanda five years ago when she started teaching third grade at the elementary school I was teaching at. When I was pregnant with Cora she was pregnant with her son Mason. Cora and Mason were less than two weeks apart. Amanda and I hung out in the same circle of friends occasionally, but it wasn't until after Cora went to be with Jesus that our friendship grew. I would describe Amanda as a "giver". She will do anything for you. She always has such a willing heart and she never makes you feel like an inconvenience. After Cora went to be with Jesus, she was a friend who was constantly showing up with a meal, organizing fund raisers for my family, sending me texts to see how my day was, and she was never afraid to talk to me about Cora. Amanda always makes me feel so loved and important. To this day I am not sure why she even wanted to be around me because I was SO sad all the time! I love our friendship because it is one of the sweet blessings the Lord gave me after loosing Cora. She has been a friend who is willing to experience "real" life with me and I know you will love what she has to say about friendship...

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Don’t you remember when friendships were so easy ? You didn’t really even have to think about them. It was as simple of sharing the parts of a “Best Friends” necklace. It seemed that putting our part of that necklace around our neck is all it took to solidify a friendship. Secrets were easy to tell and easy to keep. Topics of discussion were on who’s house would we sleep over at, what games we will play, and who will do each other’s hair first.

But somewhere along the line we experience “real” life. And oh, how we wish friendships were still as easy as placing that necklace around our necks.

Lisa Whelchel’s book Friendship for Grown-ups – What I Missed and Learned along the Way is obviously a book on friendship - finding it, loosing it, learning from it, finding it again, trying to build it and maintain it. It’s a personal story, sometimes VERY personal. And at times that made me feel a bit uncomfortable and unable to connect. But overall, this book really gave me an opportunity to rethink how I approach my friendships. It made me re-evaluate how I am as a friend and how I can be a better friend. It was such an easy read – and for the most part I didn’t want to put it down. I think I would have enjoyed it more had it been more informational than biographical.

What I appreciated most about this book was Lisa’s insights on how important grace plays in our friendships. Lisa shares, quite poignantly, "Isn't that what we all want? To be seen, in all our glory, for better or for worse, the good, the bad, and the ugly and still be embraced.” This is what God has done for us as His children. And I know that this is what I should be displaying in my human relationships as well. Lisa states that “grace is nothing more nor less than the face that love wears when it meets imperfection, weakness, failure and sin.”

So I’m reminded of how truly special those friendships can be in which grace is given and received. We don’t need to pretend to be perfect Christians (there is no such thing), we don’t have to keep all of our frailties and failures inside. Because when people think that we are perfect, without insecurities or faults, connection doesn’t happen. “Vulnerability creates connection faster than almost anything”. I have experienced that first-hand. Some of the strongest and fastest growing friendships for me have been the ones that even through my fears, I was able to become open about my true feelings, my own sins, my own weaknesses. And also have that reciprocated. Because we all know that when we hear that our friends struggle with the same things as we do – everything all of a sudden feels a little bit better – we are not alone. But it is so hard. And I feel like I’m only on the brinks of learning this. And as hard as this has been – to become vulnerable with a friend – I have seen that THESE are the friendships that are the most dear and strong for me. Having safe friendships that allow me to be honest and open without having to be afraid of my “badness” are about grace and love. How truly refreshing to have that friend to go to in which I can be strong and positive one minute and a whiny baby the next; sometimes sure of what I know and what I feel and other times having thoughts and emotions that are all over the place with no point to get to.

I am thankful for this lesson of grace. It is not about trying to fix each other (although I do believe that friends should point each other to God’s truth and desires at the right times). I am reminded that being vulnerable with friends (while being careful that I have chosen safe friends), will grow us closer and will allow us to travel this road, as messy or as clear as it can be sometimes…together.

Whatever part of the journey you are in with your friendships – there are some great lessons that can be taken from Lisa’s book. If nothing else, I don’t think there is any way you can finish the book without feeling truly blessed for the positive and strong friendships you have in your life.

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Thanks for the reminder Amanda! What an amazing gift God's grace is. I am so undeserving of God's grace and yet I often struggle to show grace even to my friends. Is grace given and received in your friendships? Do you feel like you can be vulnerable with your friends?

Would you like to win a copy of Friendship for Grown-ups? Don't forget to leave a comment on Monday's post to enter the giveaway. 


Blogger Shannon said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas on freindship and thanks to your friends for also sharing! I love the comments on grace today. Made me stop and think about a few relationships.....

November 10, 2010 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

Love your thoughts on this...I have plenty of friends, but I don't have a kindred spirit...the one friend that knows you and loves you no matter what. The one friend that will tell you to snap out of it or call to check up on you, pray for you and that you can be yourself around. I've been praying for one for a few years now. I need to trust that the Lord has that friend for me out there. I think an important part of being a good friend is being a good listener too. It's hard to be around people that are constantly talking and never letting you have a say. Something I've learned along the ways anyways.

November 10, 2010 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger McKenzie said...

I know Amanda too and I think you described her perfectly! I went to HS with her, although I was in her younger sister's class! I wouldn't have even called us friends, but since the world of blogging has appeared, I follow her family just like yours and I feel like I have gotten to know her! She is an amazingly strong woman and I admire her so much! The two of you are role models to me when it comes to your relationship with God and your kindness towards others!

November 10, 2010 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Claudia said...

I just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying this. I look forward to come and read a new take on the book and what friendship is about.

Thank you so much for doing this.


November 10, 2010 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Sadie said...

What a beautiful friend. I always enjoy reading your blog. You are a strong, amazing Christian woman!

I too am truly enjoying your posts about friendship!

November 10, 2010 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Beki - TheRustedChain said...

This is so sweet, Jess.

I love seeing Amanda and Kendall up there. You are blessed with such wonderful friends!

I follow Lisa W. on twitter and she's just a beautiful person inside and out. Very inspiring.

November 10, 2010 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Lindsay said...

amanda, great thoughts. thanks for sharing!

November 10, 2010 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE your blog! and I am loving the blog posts on friends and from your do have amazing friends! Amazing reading the comments on Monday how many woman feel the way I do about friendship.


November 10, 2010 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I totally agree about the qualities that God has given to Amanda! OH how I miss being around you girls!! I am thankful I got the years that I did at SC with you all!!

Love love

November 10, 2010 at 9:46 PM  

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