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A friend worth having

Finding a new perspective on friendship

From the Bible

“Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble,  So that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited).” Tit 2:3-5 (AMP)

Relational at heart

We are designed not for isolation but for relation. We, as women especially, have been created with a desire to connect with others in a meaningful way. Our first and foremost human connection is with our husbands and second to that, those select few, those friends with whom we share our heartaches, our hopes, our frustrations, our successes.

In our friends we look for individuals with similar values, moral codes, belief systems and a general desire to move in the same direction in life. Our journeys are as unique as each of us but our friends are often there, at the side of the road, ready to create some respite before we continue onwards. Or so it should be…

The nature of friendship

Friendships are created on the mutual desire to create /  find the best for the other party. These relationships are built on trust, empathy, sympathy and compassion and they should offer honest advice even when it is difficult to share the truth. Unfortunately I believe that:

  1. We have dumbed-down the purpose of friendship. Friendship should offer more than occasional relief or gossip. Our friends should be the ones encouraging us onward in difficult situations.
  2. We have forgotten the true value of friendship. The true value of a friend lies in their ability to offer you an honest word without fear of destroying the relationship. When we can’t see the bigger picture because we get caught up in our own melodrama and perspective, they should be the ones offering us the helicopter view. Even when we don’t want to hear the truth.
  3. We have neglected to nurture and grow the fruits of friendship in our own lives. Paul reminds Titus to teach the women in his church to give good counsel, to be wise and sober, to be kind, chaste and self-controlled. They must be encouraged to submit to their husbands and create homes for their families. And they must train the younger women in the church. We should not only be looking for these qualities in our friends, we should offer them in ourselves!

A friend worth having

Paul encourages Titus to get the older women in the congregation to train and model behaviour to the younger women. I believe that we have a duty as woman after God’s heart, to work at planting the seeds of all the Titus Two women into our own lives. This means that we should:

  1. Look for friends who look to God. Spend time with friends and other women who spend time with God. Learn from them, engage with them and relate with them about the truths the Bible offers. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and counsel on matters of marriage and being a woman after God’s own heart. As women committed to our marriages and children, we need to make sure that we draw our strength from our Heavenly Father who has given us this divine calling. Your friends should be encouraging you in this discipline, not distracting you!
  2. Surround yourself with Titus-Two-women. Identify women in your life, church, workplace or community who work at modelling the qualities listed in Titus two. As a woman after God’s heart, I will need to battle my own selfish nature, stereotypes created by the world as well as the temptation to accept the world’s definition and standard for marriage and parenting. When I am weak or weary, I should be able to look to the wise counsel of my sisters in Christ. My friends (and yours) should be the first to remind me my new identity and calling!
  3. Share values. In our friendships we should see a clear commitment to build strong, healthy relationships based on the what the Bible teaches us. We should be equally committed to honouring, respecting and loving our husbands. Our coffee cup conversations should centre on positively reinforcing the practices needed to nurture our husbands and marriages NOT on criticising or slandering our partners. Gossip should not have any place at our friendship-tables; not when it comes to our marriages or any other relationships or people in our lives.
  4. Be brave enough to demand honesty. An honest friend that offers advice and counsel contrary to what we want to hear should be our heart’s desire. It might be more painful to hear what you wish to ignore, but a true friend is tasked with helping us identify and avoid danger. This includes self-destructive behaviour or thinking, helping us see the good in our husbands when we look to their faults and avoiding other inappropriate friendships and relationships that will be harmful to us.

Be brave enough to expect a friend that offers this and remember that you will have to be willing to offer the same in return.

In closing

Paul offers a list of qualities that makes for excellent friendships and mentors. It underscores the value of female relationships and it should remind us that each of us have a significant role to play if we choose to accept the challenge and responsibility.

It will probably be far easier to find a “friend” who is willing to discuss your husband’s faults than one who will remind you of your duty to honour and respect him above all else. It might even be more tempting to have friends who accept that sitcoms set an acceptable standard for marriage and parenting. The truth is, a true friend will be the source of  hard-to-hear advice, wise counsel, laughter, motivation and a reminder of all that God has called you to be!

Thanks for sharing my Cuppa. I hope you will make time for an extra-special cuppa with an extra-ordinary friend today.

On friendship

On friendship

Everyone of us wants to both have good and great friends and I am sure that you, like me, want to be a great friend. Every friend is a blessing in their own right as they encourage, support, comfort, tolerate and council us. I have been blessed with a variety of friends – some ranging from acquintances through casual & close friends to those special few that are my “soul-sisters”. They are the ones that stick it out in the toughest of circumstances. They are the ones that listen to my heart and probably most importantly, they are the ones that offer honest, sincere advice and comfort.

In our friendships – especially the close, intimate ones – we should make it our priority to be:

  1. Honest. Surely we don’t always WANT to hear the truth but who better to hear it from than a friend that loves you and has your best interests at heart? In a world filled with polite lies, kind untruths and superficial chit-chat I am desperate for soul-sisters who will speak into my life with authority and love.
  2. Available. Crisis can be any number of things for different people. Whatever the need, I want to be available when the call comes through. In times of need we have an exciting and important opportunity to offer council, advice and encouragement to our friends. During times of fighting and anger we can encourage and support their marriages. When there is conflict and frustration we can encourage, comfort and affirm our friends in their role as parents. When faced with difficult decisions, we are called to be the patient ear that listens and guides. I don’t presume to be all-wise and -knowing BUT it is exceptionally important to me that each of recognize and step into our role as a confidante. Each of us can make a difference, if only we would be more willing to step and act with integrity and boldness as Jesus inspires us.
  3. Encouraging. We are each called to relate to our “sisters” in a deep and meaningful way. I don’t know about you but I DESPERATELY want deeper relationships. REAL relationships. I WANT friends who will challenge me to spend time seeking Jesus. I WANT friends who will pray WITH and FOR me. I WANT friends who will gently nudge when I am hestitant to step where God is calling me. I WANT friends who will believe that I can always be greater and better than I already am.

And I WANT to be that friend to some. I want to be more than superficial coffee-house chats. I want to offer more than thin smiles and empty words. I want to promise my best and I want to DELIVER.

There are “friends” who destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NLT)

Thank you, friend, for sharing my cuppa with me today.

Deeper connections - what to say - how to say it - be heard

with author, speaker, & trainer, Nina Roesner

Peaceful Wife

Become Empowered, Healed, and Confident in Christ

With a Cuppa Coffee

Hearty chats for women about this, that and whatnot.