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I think back to those first moments of a new friendship, when my heart flutters like a school girl, for I have the sense that God is intertwining my heart with a kindred spirit friend.

That’s how it was with Ann. We were having coffee together for the first time. She was telling me her story, how she had read T. S. Eliot’s “Hollow Men” in college and didn’t want a hollow life.

I told her I’d read John Donne’s “Death be Not Proud,” and wondered how he could be so unafraid of death.

We smiled at each other, warmth welling up from hearts full of Him.

Then we talked about the topic that was huge in the seventies: feminism. I asked her where she stood as a Christian. She said, “I’m somewhere between Marabel Morgan and Letha Scanzoni.”

I sat there, still grinning, not just because Marabel Morgan and Letha Scanzoni were as far as the east is from the west, but because she, like me, had read them both!  I knew then — this was the beginning of a sweet sweet friendship.

cslewisWe were giddy with excitement, like the characters in Wallace Stegner’s exquisite novel on friendship: Crossing to Safety,  which is based on the actual friendship he and his wife had with another couple.


Larry is watching a friendship develop between his wife and Charity, and describes their exhilaration as akin to the behavior of “twins separated in infancy and now revealed to one another by some birthmark or other perepetia.” I laughed out loud — for that is how we as women can be — friendship means so much to us.

Since I have already told the story of how Sylvia, Ann’s long-time friend, moved to town and of the insecurities I had (because of relational idolatry), I won’t tell it again — though it is in The Friendships of Women. But suffice it to say that Ann, Sylvia, and I have been blessed with thirty-six years of friendship. We get together every year at my cabin. They are my soul sisters. I will love them forever.

Sylvia, Dee, and Ann
Sylvia, Dee, and Ann

 They have been bringing me lovely gifts, some of which I have managed to lose or break, and I have told them just to bring themselves — that is all the gift I need. They have said they would but they keep breaking their word! They have given me permission to show this little video of a time when they presented me with a gift, though Sylvia said, “I wish we weren’t quite so chirpy in it!” (I told them sounding like a chirpy bird was better than sounding like an old crow, which I certainly do.) Yet I show it to demonstrate the great gift of friendship, and “the good,” as Proverbs says, “a friend can do.” The joy on their faces in giving me joy is so precious to me, it is the love of a three fold cord.


 I am aware that some of you may think, How I wish I had this kind of friendship. We can pray for you to find it, but I also want you to see, and will focus on this next week (with a video of Laura-Dancer, Susan, and Chris) how God has given us a gift of friendship right here on this blog! It is amazing to me that we can experience this three-fold cord on the internet, but we are, and we want to not take it for granted but consider how to be wise with it.


 This week we will do Proverbs 17 and 18, and next week 19 and 20. All focusing on friendship. On a personal note, a talk I gave on Idol Lies is scheduled to be played this coming Friday on Focus on the Family and I’d so covet your prayers for that!



Sunday Icebreaker:

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

To prepare your heart, watch this:


Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts, and our cares.
We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

2. As you reflect on the lyrics to the above song, answer:

A. How are our friendships as sisters in Christ different than friendships in the world?

B. What lyric is particularly meaningful to you from “Blest Be The Tie” and why?

3. Read Proverbs 17 in one sitting and comment on any verses that quicken you.

4. What do you think Proverbs 17:9 means and how does it relate to friendship?

In the study we are doing at our church, one remark stood out to me. “When you are with someone, talk about them and not about others.” In endeavoring to do that, it is helping me have more encouraging and uplifting conversations.

Friend loves at all times12296-10032014-Proverbs-17-17-friend-loves-brother-born-adversity-social

5. Keller has an interesting take on the above, though I have always read it differently — so I’ll be interested in your take. I see them as similar statements — that both a true friend and a brother should endeavor not to let you down when you really need them. Keller sees a contrast, that friends will truly love you at all times, but a brother will be there for you, even if he doesn’t particularly enjoy being with you. Thoughts? 

6. Read Proverbs 18 in one sitting and share any verses that quicken you and why.  

7. What principle does Proverbs 18:1-2 teach?

Ellen Davis comments “The price of abandoning community is more than personal loneliness or lack of fulfillment. It is anarchy, personal chaos that eventually and perhaps inevitably becomes open hostility toward others.”

8. Comment on the above

9. Proverbs 18:24 is obviously difficult to translate, for the translations are quite different. Three quite literal translations (ESV, NAS, and Holman) are all similar to the below:


A. What is the danger in having too many “companions” do you think?

B. What do you think it means when it describes a true friend as one “who sticks closer than a brother?”

We are going to look at this proverb in more detail next week, as we discuss the difference between “fair-weather” friends and true friends, and look at our own hearts.

10. Why shouldn’t we be so shocked when a loved one does slip and let us down? What can that also teach us? 


Thursday-Friday Free Keller Sermon on Friendship


12. Share your notes and comments on the above.


13. What is your take-a-way and why?


Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. I’ve only had 2 friendships where I have felt that “bonded” feeling. Both ended up disastrously. I’ve taken away some life experiences and learned some lessons from both, but at this point in my life I can’t see myself ever having a healthy (face to face) female friendship.

    1. Dawn, I’m praying along with Dee that God will surprise you; I’m sorry for the pain you’re enduring now and asking the Lord for that special, healthy friendship for you. I so enjoyed spending time with you in Ashland and wish we lived closer to each other!

      1. ditto to both Dee and Susan! love and hugs to you Dawn!

    2. Dawn – I wanted to chime in with Dee, Susan and Laura this morning….amen to every word they all have shared!  I will be praying too for God’s sweet surprises to be just up the road for you….   :).  

    3. I am praying for you too Dawn, for a face to face friend.

  2. 4. What do you think Proverbs 17:9 means and how does it relate to friendship?   Isn’t this the verse that summarizes what Ham, Shem and Japeth did when their father, Noah, was exhibiting shameful behavior?  Shem and Japeth covered his offense (nakedness) discreetly, keeping his dignity intact, but Ham left him uncovered and went to tell his brothers about it.   He was cursed, while his two brothers were blessed.  I think the parallel to friendship is to look past the faults and offenses of those we love or even those we are just beginning to know,  and see their true dignity.  For example:  Treating someone with kindness and grace even if we’ve just seen/heard something about them that could easily set ablaze a fire of gossip and hurt.  The NIV says ‘whoever repeats the matter’  which I guess means, whoever says it again, dwells on it, tells another….separates good friends.  

    1. Wanda, I’m glad you reminded us again of Noah and his sons – that was a powerful lesson and made me think I don’t want to be a “Ham”.

  3. 5. Keller sees a contrast, that friends will truly love you at all times, but a brother will be there for you, even if he doesn’t particularly enjoy being with you. Thoughts?   I see it as you do, Dee.  I think both statements are true.  And sometimes, a friend’s loyalty is much greater than a sibling’s.  Friendships develop because people like each other, have common bonds and genuinely care about each other. Sadly, blood and family dynamics don’t always necessitate that kind of a tie.    I don’t know if this has come up yet, as I haven’t read all of the comments.  But what about Proverbs 27:10?   Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.    I took note of this when I was reading through Proverbs this summer.  All 3 of my siblings live within 20 miles of each other and I am the only one ‘far away’. And sometimes that makes me feel lonely.  I’ve never had the option to rely on siblings for day to day emotional disasters,  but most often, I would more likely call a friend anyway.  My friends know my heart. Siblings can be more judgmental.    And for physical disasters, it is definitely better to have a neighbor close by!  Thinking of DEE here and the recent storm, when her friends came running.   Different relationships for different crises.  I do depend on my older brother for spiritual and emotional support at times, but I do not have that relationship with my other two sibs.   

  4. 2a.  How are our friendships as sisters in Christ different from  friendships in the world?
    Ann Voskamp had a powerful entry on her blog this week in which she quotes from Jon Blooom’s book entitled “Things Unseen”.  Wow.  THIS is the heart of the difference in my friendships in Christ and those in the world – things unseen.  A realization that things unseen are the most important of all!  “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  2 Cor 4:18.  How I LOVE that about my dearest friendships in Christ!  We may be chatting about the most ordinary or the most profound – but all is wrapped up in an ETERNAL perspective.  We may be soaring high or crawling on the ground….but always, Christ is there in our conversations.  He is with us.  Earlier in that 2 Cor  passage, Paul says things like “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written….So we do not lose heart….”  .  Truly our bond is the Gospel and through one another, the Spirit helps us to “not lose heart”.  Simply amazing.  

  5. 2B.  What lyric is particularly meaningful to you from “Blessed Be The Tie” and why?  
    I was curious about the circumstances of the song being written and was so blessed by the simple story.  I found that Dr. John Fawcett, the writer, was born into poverty in England, orphaned at 12, and converted to Christ under the preaching of George Whitfield.  He became a pastor and he and his wife (and their growing family) ministered in a Baptist church in a small village called Wainsgate…..where the people were so poor that they were often paid in potatoes and chickens!  An opportunity to perhaps better provide for his family came to him in the form of an invitation to pastor a large church in London.  He accepted the call and they were packed and ready to go……when the tears of his faithful village parishoners melted his heart (and that of his wife).  They unpacked the wagon, let the church in London know he would not be coming….and continued to minister in Wainsgate for 54 years!!  The momentous decision to stay in a place of poverty and serve Christ there is the soil from which this hymn grew!  Sweet.  
    The most meaningful lyric to me is this:  “Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.”  Things unseen.  My sisters in Christ have that same heartbeat!  

    1. Jackie love the history behind this hymn. Thanks for researching and sharing. 

    2. Love the back story.  Lizzy shared a bit earlier, but you included a few more poignant details.  I had never heard it before.  Makes the sweet song even sweeter.  I was envisioning the scene, the tears and the love as I read it.

      1. Wanda – oops!  My apologies to Lizzy for covering ground she had already broken!  That’s what happens when I’m moving too quickly – I was short on time to read earlier entries thoroughly -obviously!!  This morning I’m trying to catch up a bit and do that….oh well…..thanks for pointing out Lizzy’s earlier entry though!  🙂  

        1. They were both good though!  Yours had a few more details.  And for ‘people of our age’,  it’s ALWAYS good to get things twice!  Honestly, the story sunk in more the second time I read it!!!

    3. Thanks, Jackie for sharing about the story behind Blest be the ties and the insight into “things unseen” from Ann Voskamp. I actually read the article, but did not make a connection between what Bloom expanded on and the study on friendship. Deep!

    4. Jackie, 
      Thank you for sharing the story that this song was born out of.    There is such a beauty, strength and deep comfort in this bond.   And for all of us here, if we don’t meet now, there will be such a reunion on that shore in that better country.

      1. Yes, Nila – amen to that!  It may be corny, but I LOVE the old Spiritual song, “This World Is Not My Home” and I thought of it yet again when reading your words!  Such HOPE.  

        1. “This World Is Not My Home” Mom asked that we sing this at her funeral.
          This world is not my homeI’m just a-passing throughMy treasures are laid upSomewhere beyond the blue.The angels beckon meFrom heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at homeIn this world anymore.Oh Lord, you knowI have no friend like youIf heaven’s not my homeThen Lord what will I do.The angels beckon meFrom heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at homeIn this world anymore.I have a loving motherJust up in GlorylandAnd I don’t expect to stopUntil I shake her hand.She’s waiting now for meIn heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at homeIn this world anymore.Oh Lord, you knowI have no friend like youIf heaven’s not my homeThen Lord what will I do.The angels beckon meFrom heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at homeIn this world anymore.Just over in GlorylandWe’ll live eternallyThe saints on every handAre shouting victory.Their songs of sweetest praiseDrift back from heaven’s shoreAnd I can’t feel at homeIn this world anymore.Oh Lord, you knowI have no friend like youIf heaven’s not my homeThen Lord what will I do.The angels beckon meFrom heaven’s open doorAnd I can’t feel at home
          In this world anymore… 

        2. We sang that as an audience song at my dear aunt Carol’s funeral a year ago, as well.  Those opening words run through my mind often, when things just seem so dismal here.  It was interesting for me to read Randy Alcorn’s thoughts when he said,  ‘this world is not my home……yet.’  when he was describing the restoration to perfection of the new heavens and the new earth.   It is impossible to accurately think on how glorious heaven will be!  I guess that’s why the scripture,  ‘eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the mind, all that God has prepared for those who love Him’.   That verse was an amazing comfort to me after my dad died.  A story I will share sometime.  🙂  

        3. Oh my goodness, Chris and Wanda….I’ve reminded my kids for YEARS that I want that song at MY funeral!  🙂  Thanks for the words Chris!   The hope that the song gives us comes out of DEEP suffering indeed.  I think that is where the extra layer of meaning comes for me.  

  6. 5. Keller sees a contrast, that friends will truly love you at all times, but a brother will be there for you, even if he doesn’t particularly enjoy being with you. Thoughts? 
    I don’t know what I think about it yet so I can’t say but it seems like there is a contrast here between a friend who does love you but when the chips are down won’t sacrifice their time to be with you, but a brother will. When you are going through a valley a brother will drop what she is doing-her plans, her comfort etc..to be with you. She will sit shiva with you, literally take on your pain when you are at your worst. 
    I have two face to face sisters like that who did that with me during two rough seasons in my life but I will give one example. Back in 1989 Angie, my sister in law, came immediately when I came home from work and my ex husband, who was an unbeliever, took everything and was gone. I was tender, a new believer of only a few months. I was devastated for Jesus was helping me to Love my husband-but it was too late for him. Angie was discipling me. She came over immediately for my world was shaken! I remember the couch we sat on, me crying and the Love on her face-she felt my pain. She sat with me, listened to me and hugged me as I fell apart. 

    1. Thanks for sharing this deeply painful part of your story.  It helps me see the Redemption and renewal the Lord has given, so clearly, when I see more of what you went through.  

    2. Rebecca thank you for sharing this very difficult time in your life. 

  7. 3.  Read Proverbs 17 and comment on any verses that quicken you.  
    This morning 2 verses stood out to me:  the first is verse 5a…”Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker.”   Wanda has so ably commented on this verse and to her words I would just say “amen”……I’m also wondering and pondering…..what does mocking the poor truly look like?  More to the point, what might it look like in my own life?  Just yesterday the Lord smote my heart deeply after an interaction with a “poor person”…..on the SURFACE I don’t think there was even a hint of mocking.  But in my heart?  Oh my.  I’m SO grateful when the Spirit holds up the mirror and I “see”.  Sad, but grateful.  I am wretched, but I am loved.  He is changing me.  Bless His Name!  🙂  
    The second verse that reverberates is verse 24 :  “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”  More heart work.  More searching the Scriptures and opening my soul to them this day.  Jesus’ words from Matthew 6:19-21 seem apt here: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Like many of us today, my day is bursting at the seams with work, clients, family……the list goes on.  I think of the words of a dear sister many years ago about the horse business (would apply to the dog business too!  😉  ):  her comment was something like this :  “it’s just, well, so very “earthy”…..”  oh yes indeed.  So once more I am asking myself….how can I plunge wholeheartedly into this day on earth, with my “earthy” business….and yet set my face toward wisdom and lay up treasures in heaven???  Prayer….Scripture….uniting my heart with all of yours here as we look at God’s Word together and profit from the insights of one another…..He has graced us with such an abundant life, hasn’t He??  

    1. Yes, Jackie.  An abundant life.  And it’s so great to see the diversity of how He has gifted us and where He has put each of us.  Your ‘earthy’ businesses with horses and dogs, I find so refreshing.  You are there, interacting with lots of people; maybe many who are very different than you in every other way except your unique connections to these animals.  I have no doubt whatsoever, that the Lord has His hand on your business and your interactions.  I love to see devoted and passionate Christians in any and every area of life.  That is how we know that God cannot be removed from our society!!!  Our Living Lord lives in us!

  8. 6. Read Proverbs 18 in one sitting and share any verses that quicken you and why.
    18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions – I see my own heart sometimes as just wanting to let my opinions be heard; spouting-off worldly wisdom doesn’t benefit anyone.
    18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters – is this meaning that my words/mouth can get me into deep trouble? In contrast, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook – again, so much in Proverbs that teaches us to pay attention to our words, the attitudes and motives in our hearts behind our words, the concealed sin that may be driving our words. I sure would like people to feel that my conversation is refreshing, like a bubbling brook; not deep murky waters pulling them down!
    18:8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts – this really speaks a warning to me. Just like the food I choose to eat can be healthy for my body or unhealthy to the point of causing disease, gossip goes into me…whether I am listening to it or the one saying it. It causes corruption of my heart, my character, my soul. It reminds me of how sin is like yeast, working its way throughout the dough. Gossip will work out its destruction on every level of my being.
    18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. Just reading the last proverb about gossip, how can I ever hope to be delivered from sinning with my mouth? This verse tells me to run to the Lord for help.

  9. The name of the Lord is a strong tower the righteous run to it and are safe Proverbs 18:10
    So true so powerful. So meaningful. 

  10. 7. What principle does Proverbs 18:1-2 teach?
    The person(s) described in these two verses appears to be one who lives selflishly for themselves; living one’s life like a “closed book”, unwelcoming and unfriendly. A person who says, “My time is MY time”, and lives in isolation from others. He doesn’t seek to understand the truth, or to understand and come to know another person, or to listen; when he speaks, it’s just a monologue of his own opinions. When it says that he “defies all sound judgment”, perhaps this means, in a sense, why would you choose to live this way?  You are not doing what is right and good and what would even benefit and enrich your own life. This is a foolish, fruitless way to live.
    8. Comment on the above.
    This is a really insightful comment by Ellen Davis. The price of abandoning community…we make choice to withdraw, to isolate ourselves; we abandon community. The result is feelings of loneliness and un-fulfillment. Yet she says it is “anarchy” (looked up definition: from a Greek word meaning without a ruler; a state of confusion and wild behavior in which the people of a country are not controlled by rules or laws; absence or denial of any authority). So I would say it is choosing to live in rebellion against God and against the instructions He gives to us for how we should live; ignoring our very design – how we were designed by God for relationship with Him and others. This results in a disordering and breakdown of our mind which Davis says is “personal chaos” and “perhaps becomes open hostility towards others”. WOW. (I feel like I’m studying psychology here:))
    To isolate ouselves is clearly dangerous! In thinking about why the hostility towards others would develop, I’m thinking that a person who abandons community feels badly about themselves and/or may feel that they would be rejected anyway. Perhaps turning the self-hatred outward and blaming others is a way of self-protection? Yet I am reminded of Keller’s little booklet, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, in which he argues that low self-esteem is not the reason for criminal behavior, but it is actually thinking too highly of yourself. So this living in open hostility towards others and isolation may actually be fueled by pride, feeling superior, feeling entitled to being paid attention to and being hyper-focused on what others think of you…I think it was Cyndi who commented on pride and shame or low self-image being opposites on the same coin (I’m grasping to remember here)…but they are related. I think the person described here is angry at God and angry at others and because they have chosen to live against their created design they are coming unglued – but it can all be masked as low self-esteem or fear of rejection. I probably made a hash out of trying to think this out – where is Renee when you need her?!

    1. Susan, I love your ponderings here on the dangers of isolation. I wonder if some of the horrendous killings done recently are the consequence of isolation breeding hatred and causing murder. When you read the back stories of some killings, there is a pattern of hatred showing up in what they read and posted on the Internet. They were living in the unreality of hate-filled biased thinking. As Keller points out, they thought too highly of themselves and despised others. Might living and talking in authentic, honest community have corrected their thinking? Just more ponderings from me.
      And a thought about Renee. I don’t know if much has been posted here, but from our Facebook prayer page I know that Renee has been quite sick. She is having serious kidney issues. I know you are a nurse but I don’t know the details. Her kidney function is quite low and has been for quite some time. She posted yesterday that she had been with family last week, but is suffering from sleepiness due to her illness and/or medication. She needs our prayers. We are all quite concerned. Here is a quote from her from July 29th, that I don’t think she will mind me posting here for you:

      Summary wink emoticon Please pray for wisdom for treatment, discernment to know how/to whom to delegate in order to get stuff off my plate, and primarily that I let the Lord lead in all of this (because of lack of energy and pile-up of commitments, it’s easy for me to move into a task-orientation when my brain & body are functioning rather than a time-with-Him-orientation. (sorry for not editing — have run out of steam/focus again)

      1. It’s good that you brought up Renee’s health here too, Diane, since several of our praying sisters are not on the facebook page.  Yes, it is concerning and we need to keep lifting her up.  

      2. Diane, thank you so much for letting me know about Renee; I had no idea that she was ill. I will be praying for her.

      3. Diane thank you for sharing aboutthe need for prayer for Renee. 

    2. Love that you love the Ellen Davis quote — reminded me too of the person with a broken spirit

  11. 8. Comment on the above.
    When you isolate yourself you get thinking inside your brain too much and might actually need a different perspective because yours gets warped! You may think things are one way when they are totally opposite from your thinking. It’s hard to explain; I haven’t had cable TV for a couple of years and I miss things that others are aware of, usually some sort of fad that arises from secular TV (The one I’m thinking of is that show called Breaking Bad). I know it exists, because people around me talk about it, but I feel out of touch because I don’t really understand what they are talking about. Nor do I care in this instance! That can happen when you are isolated. You don’t see the world clearly anymore. You may seem a bit crazy too.
    whoops! I was supposed to give a biblical reference for my question answer…..how about John wandering in the desert? He became quite hairy and “animal like” as I recall. He was definitely isolated. Didn’t people think he was crazy? Again, I don’t recall after he came back from his adventure of telling people of Jesus’ arrival on the scene the order of events, but he ended up with his head on a platter, right? Better go read that one again….

    1. Laura, I’m sorry but your last paragraph made me smile…love your paraphrase of John’s life!

      1. 🙂

  12. A. What is the danger in having too many “companions” do you think?
    B. What do you think it means when it describes a true friend as one “who sticks closer than a brother?”
    I will answer these together. I think when there are too many friends to attend to, you can’t be a good friend. The NIV says the word “reliable.” When there are just 2 friends then you can be reliable and attentive.

    1. Laura I agree when you have too many companions you cannot be a good friend. I had this discussion with someone close to me. In my area of work I get to meet so many people. I come to care of these people. I like to call them more than just clients but friends although I know I could never be a true friend and would make mself crazy ever attempting to do so. It does not lessen the pain I sometimes feel when I cannot be there for someone who is going thru a very difficult time or if I cannot accept an invitation. I know I have to be pleasing God and not people. But I would never be effective even trying. I also know sometimes the more people you know and have relationship with the more pain you will see. Not sure if anything I said makes any sense???? Even in my prayer life I know if I start carrying any of what I am lifting up it then becomes a burden I am not meant to carry and I become overwhelmed by the needs.  Always needing the Lord to refocus my eyes on Him.

  13. Ellen Davis comments “The price of abandoning community is more than personal loneliness or lack of fulfillment.  It is anarchy, personal chaos that eventually and perhaps inevitably becomes open hostility toward others.”
    8. Comment on the above. I feel I have lived this, several times. I have “abandoned community” through moving so many times and it really does lead to personal chaos. I have experienced a hostility toward others, not aggressively, but there is a certain resignation to being lonely that happens with moving so much. Even when you do find community it takes a l o n g time before you are fully integrated, just in time to move again. I always feel like I am on the outside looking in. Humans just don’t mesh quickly? And so there is this sense of apathy toward others…assuming they will not want to connect quickly or at all. I know that I have been partly to blame as well, but the Lord has been teaching my heart how to BE a better friend to those I encounter but it’s still painful. I do try to connect but am often left with “personal loneliness or lack of fulfillment.” That said, I do occasionally meet one individual who is willing to bypass the 1-2 years of getting to know you and building trust and just engage at a deeper level and it really does calm the storm, give you roots a bit. But they never need you like you need them, because they are already part of a community and I am not. That’s why this blog was a great find, a permanent community that wouldn’t change when I had to change homes… But even here I have been challenged and struggle some. And while blog sisters are heaven sent blessings, sometimes you just need a hug and someone to share your home and know your kids and share your baking…

    1. This is all so poignant and well said, Jill.   My heart aches for you in having to uproot so many times.  I am hoping and will pray again, that you will be encouraged and find that friend to come alongside you, even when you know your time is short.  I deeply admire your perseverance as you parent your children and make your own family unit a consistent, loving safe place for them.  I hope the stretches of feeling lonely will get fewer and farther between.  Wish we could give you a real hug too! 

    2. Yes Jill……”sometimes you just need a hug and someone to share your home and know your kids and share your baking…”
      (any chance you’ll ever move back to northern Wyoming??)

    3. Jill – I doubt you will ever know how many untold “silent” readers here on the blog are reading your words with a heart cry of “amen, sister!”.  Your forthright words about troubles in finding true, “bosom” friends (I think of Anne of Green Gables so often….her longing for a bosom friend…) is very likely shared by oh so many.  Your words here “…I do occasionally meet one individual who is willing to bypass the 1-2 years of getting to know you and building trust and just engage at a deeper level and it really does calm the storm, give you roots a bit.”   spoke volumes to my soul.  Your words made me realize the eternal value of BEING that person.  And being that person means taking risks and likely taking hits too!  I do think we always need to be wise and not “throw our pearls before swine” (not calling potential friends swine here either….probably a horrible example!), but we will need to be more vulnerable and open than may be our custom – or comfortable for us!  🙂  I love that you seem to be already walking in the mold of BEING that friend, regardless.  Yes, it IS painful sometimes….but all along the way our hearts can sing “What A Friend WE Have In Jesus…..”!  
      I’d love to drive down your way sometime in September (my August is booked to the gills!).  We could have a “meet and greet”, as we call them in the dog business!  I know it’s not the same as “a hug and someone to share your home and know your kids and share your baking….”.  Just last night my bosom friend Jestina was a drop in visitor…..it was so very much the real life of what we are looking at in our study this week…..she and I weaving our way through my friendly boarding dogs, visiting outside a bit and my oldest son dropping by and leaning over the rail and Jestina just marveling at how much she loves him when he went on his merry way….and then our conversation taking a turn into things oh so deep in our hearts and with the Lord…..the rain began to fall and we ended up in her car for a whole lot longer……and it is such RICHNESS to have this in the tapestry of my life…..  :).  But I have been “planted” in Maryland a long time now (about 25 years?) and have known Jestina and a couple of other bosom friends nearly that long…..in the early years of our marraige, Casey and I bounced around from state to state a good bit….and I still remember…….one time when my mom was visiting us in Doswell, Virginia(we were living on Meadow Farm – where Secretariat was born!  Now it’s Meadow Event Park) I remember her comment SO clearly ….she very gently said “Jackie, you could maybe put up some curtains….”.  In my defense, the windows were lovely paned windows that overlooked a charming pond!!  Nonetheless, her point was WELL TAKEN and I’ve carried it through my life…..she was oh so quietly reminding me that I needed to plant roots and fully LIVE where God planted me….even if it was for a very brief season!  (I wasn’t a believer yet then….so the “God part” of her sharing I disregarded!).  
      In just such a brief time as I have “known” you on the blog here Jill, I’ve seen you grow and go into deep places with Christ in astonishing ways.  Could it be that in some seasons of life the solitude is what we need to do so?  I don’t know, but I suspect maybe so.  As women I find that we need to be on guard constantly that our theme song not become “What Friends I have Here In Jesus”….rather than simply What a Friend We Have In Jesus!  

    4. thank you, ladies. Wanda, thank you for your prayers, you are such an encourager to me here in this space.
      Nila, I would move back in a heartbeat! 😉 but it is in the Lord’s hands…
      Jackie, yes. indeed, what a friend we have in Jesus. And He has shown me that one of the reasons for uprooting constantly is that I would start to gather my identity from where I was, what I was doing, who I was friends with. This last move was very, very difficult for me but when we finally got here and settled He whispered that I need not feel uprooted, dismantled needing to build again. For I am tree planted by the stream of life, I have my foundation on Christ and nothing less. Yes, there are seasons and I see His purpose in this. I didn’t mean to complain… But really identified with what Ellen Davis said. I pray to find balance – my identity always in Him, invest in friends in other places, and invest in people here where I live…. To guard my heart against the idol of friendship and yet embrace the people that come and allow the loneliness to drive me to Him. I digress, babbling now….
      I would LOVE to meet you and chat face to face. Just let me know! =)

      1. Super!  Can you start looking at your September calendar Jill?  We can private message on FB?  Would LOVE it!  🙂  

  14. 6. Read Proverbs 18 in one sitting and share any verses that quicken you and why.   Once again, too many stand out to share them all.  I will choose one. 
    vs. 4:  The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.  Providentially, I was sitting on my deck reading this morning, and our bird bath/fountain was lyrically bubbling.  I couldn’t help but ponder these words while enjoying the sweet babbling of the waters.  Here’s what came to mind.  I am an avid bird watcher/photographer and have read that the number one way to lure birds to your yard is to have a source of moving (living) water.  More alluring even than food.  A bubbling brook is always flowing, soothing, refreshing and it provides relief and invites the weary to come and drink and/or be cleansed. Of course, this takes me right to Jesus, being the wisdom of God…..but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, CHRIST the power of God and the wisdom of God. (I Cor. 1: 24)  The song, There is a Fountain Filled with Blood reminds us that ‘sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains’.  This wisdom, this fountain, is the back drop from which, we as believers can point others to the living water.  Wise words trickle smoothly and comfortingly, they are ever flowing, but not harsh and overwhelming, they invite, they soothe, the bring relief, satisfy our thirst, they cleanse.   What a beautiful picture of friendship and caring for one another with our words.  Building up and not tearing down.

    1. …..and after scrolling previous comments, I like how Susan also commented on this verse:  I hadn’t thought too much about the deep waters.  She made a great point.

       I sure would like people to feel that my conversation is refreshing, like a bubbling brook; not deep murky waters pulling them down!

  15. 9. Proverbs 18:24 is obviously difficult to translate, for the translations are quite different.
    A. What is the danger in having too many “companions” do you think?
    Not sure about this one; I did look up this verse in different translations and some seem to say really different things. The Complete Jewish Bible translates: Some “friends” pretend to be friends, but a true friend sticks closer than a brother. Perhaps this is the difference between acquaintance type friends and close friends? Is it possible to have many friendships that are on that deep level of trust and being able to be totally unmasked? As one who doesn’t have many friends, I really don’t know. But I do know women who seem to have several very close friendships. Dee – you’re one of those women I’m thinking about, who has many friends.
    B. What do you think it means when it describes a true friend as “one who sticks closer than a brother?”
    That a true friend, though not a blood relative, will be to you as a true brother or sister. Not that all blood relations are that close, but that is the ideal, that one who is of your own family will remain faithful, loyal, and devoted. They won’t abandon you in hardships and trials, they will love you when you’re being unlovable. Jesus seems to fit the bill of being a true friend!

    1. Oh yes, Susan, “Jesus seems to fit the bill of being a true friend.”

  16. 10. Why shouldn’t we be so shocked when a loved one does slip and let us down? What can that also teach us?
    We shouldn’t be shocked because they are human, meaning they can be weak, fallible, sinful, selfish, fail to keep a promise. If we’re honest, we can be the same. It can teach us not to look to friends or family to be our “saviours”, that only God will never slip and let us down.

    1. Susan, I so agree “It can teach us not to look to friends or family to be our saviors…” I often am tempted to see my husband as my savior but the Lord is so merciful in reminding me (through the Word and my circumstances) often that He is my one and only Savior.

  17. 10. Why shouldn’t we be so shocked when a loved one does slip and let us down? What can that also teach us? 
    I go back to Job here….his wife let him down by telling him to give it up and throw in the towel. He didn’t, but never seemed unforgiving to her for her short-sightedness. 
    We are human. We make mistakes.  Notice the “we” in my statements. I will let others down even if I don’t mean to…it’s inevitable. I need to forgive because I might be the one who does this at some point and would want forgiveness also.

    1. Yes, Laura, I am sure i have let others down and I need to forgive when a loved one slips and lets me down.
      Keller’s sermon reminded me that I must be a good friend to have a good friend. It takes honest sharing and sometimes i am seeking approval rather than sharing on that level. ”
      Faithful are the wounds of a friend….

    2. So true, Laura. Letting others down is inevitable.

  18. 9. Proverbs 18:24 is obviously difficult to translate, for the translations are quite different. A. What is the danger in having too many “companions” do you think?
    Most likely the relationships can be superficial for it is hard to have the time to forge deeper friendships with a lot of friends-you can’t build the trust that is needed to be vulnerable and not all friends are trustworthy and loyal when you are being ugly. 😉 
    B. What do you think it means when it describes a true friend as “one who sticks closer than a brother?”
    Well, I have two pretty loyal brothers but while they would help me in the drop of a hat when calamity strikes, they would become frustrated with me if I am being unreasonable or am blind about something-in other words when my dark heart inside comes out. For example, Angie is one of my few friends that sticks closer than a brother. She will stick with me, talk with me and pray with me while I am being ugly and unreasonable and blind to something that is most likely so obvious to her! She has spoken the truth in love at times and then didn’t speak at all because she knew I wasn’t ready to hear it. She won’t give up on me whereas i know both my brothers would become frustrated with me so I don’t go to them with my ‘ugly’ I go to Angie. 

  19. I am home again and so glad of home!
    I have read through and been blessed by your comments, I left the laundry, mail, shopping and cleaning alone so that I could read 🙂
    I have missed my quiet time so much, I have had precious little solitude over the past week and a half, this quiet morning feels like a gift.

    The trip was not as I imagined or hoped, but I trust that God is at work in the lives of my beloved son and daughter in law and me, even when it doesn’t look the way I hoped for it to. Truth be told, I hate Las Vegas, this visit renewed that feeling, but the truth of God and his mercy may show forth more clearly for them in such a dark place. I will keep praying for them.

    1. oh Chris – in a way I can compare Vegas to the world of the racetrack!  It is a dark, dark place….but oh how some of the believers in Jesus SHINE in that dark place!  Or even my nephew Cliff in prison…..Christ truly shines through him there!  But I remember when you first told us that your son and his wife were moving there… my first thought was something like “oh my….why would anyone move there?”.  Though it be a barren desert (somewhat literally!), I’ll bet the true believers there shine like stars in the night sky!  🙂  We can pray that their lives intersect with those of your beloved.  
      When you say “the trip was not as I had imagined or hoped” I think of the Ann Voskamp entry entitled “The secret to organizing your priorities and perspective when things aren’t what you’d hope”.  She quotes from Jon Bloom’s book entitled Things Unseen and there is much gold in the entire post!  It might be a hopeful balm for your soul.  Just a thought. 

    2. Chris,  I am sorry for the disappointments on the trip.  I was praying for you.  My heart goes out to you with all these changes and losses.  In some ways, I think I can also relate to at least, some of what you felt.  I have prayed prior to an event and gotten my hopes up when I anticipate spending time with my unbelieving kids and rarely do the things I’d hoped for transpire.    Actually, I just got home from a prayer walk, and was praying for many of the adult kids represented here.  But it was one of those unexpected, ‘caught me off guard’ moments when  I walked past an old, public but rather hidden tennis court, that my kids, as middle school students, had first discovered and were SO excited about. It was like ‘the secret garden’ and they couldn’t wait to go there and try it out.  Memories flooded and a lonely sadness came upon me.  I don’t know why certain things just suddenly trigger pain and sadness.  I don’t often pine for the old days, but I do pine for the kind of sweet innocence and having them in fellowship and agreement.  Unexpected tears.  And continued prayers for mine and for all of ours.  I long to be able to spend eternity with all of them.  
      Last week, in my catching up on my Isaiah readings, I read about those ‘who were far from righteousness’  and Isaiah’s prayer that God would ‘bring righteousness near‘.  That is my prayer today.  Some of my kids are far away.  They cannot come running back unless God draws them and His grace and mercy brings righteousness near to them.  

      1. Wanda, I so relate to your post, the times of getting your hopes up and then having them dashed, the unexpected things that trigger memories and a lonely sadness…yes, we continue to pray.

    3. Chris, sorry your trip to leave your beloved son and daughter in law in Las Vegas was so hard. Praying that the truth of God and his mercy will shine forth very clearly in that dark place. And praying for you too as you miss them so much. May God comfort you!
      Also praying for you, Wanda, as you pine for your wandering children.

    4. oh Chris, I love when your face shows up! So sorry too for the heavy trip, thankful you are back and feeling that welcome feeling of home. Long ago you told me “remember, God is still writing (her) story”..I am praying that truth can comfort you with your kids. And also this quote you shared with me from Jonathan Edwards:“In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ’s hand, keeping your eye on the mark of the wounds on his hands and side, whence came the blood that cleanses you from sin and hides your nakedness under the skirt of the white shining robe of his righteousness.” You have modeled that for me Chris, that holding on, desperately, to His hand, knowing your helplessness, but trusting His leading you. Praying for peace to cover, and for His mercy to pierce their hearts. 

      1. Lizzy, oh my, love that quote from Jonathan Edwards, definitely a keeper. Tears. We are definitely little, poor, helpless children, taking hold of Christ’s hand, trusting him to hide our nakedness under his shining robe of righteousness.

    5. Chris, I so relate with what you said about your visit with your son and daughter in law as not the way you hoped it to be. That happens with visits to our daughter as well. I often think I would say this and we would do this together but then something gets in the way and my expectations are unmet. Particularly as it relates to spiritual things. I often think maybe I often come with an agenda and it translates to side remarks or non-verbal communication (like Dee said on the broadcast today at FOF) and my daughter picks up on those. Sigh. I am surely a work in progress when it comes to relating to my 24 year old daughter. Yes, like you I will also be praying.

    6. Chris, so glad you’re home safely, and I echo the thoughts of others who have replied to your disappointment in the trip. The seeds that were planted during the trip, and I’m sure some were, though perhaps you didn’t think so…God will help them to grow.

    7. Thank you my sweet friends for your prayers and encouragement, and for your empathy. I don’t feel hopeless, just sad. I do believe God knows what he is doing in them. I was a terribly wayward teen, I know my mom must have been very bewildered at the time but she kept praying for me.
       Joe worked in Vegas 5 years ago. He met is wife Joann there and she followed him to New York and then back to Ohio, they’ve lived with or near us for the past 3+ years, I am glad we’ve had this time with them. I never thought he would come back to Ohio when he left. He hates the cold and most of all having wet feet!
      These last two winters chased them away I think.
      The opportunities and pay for a chef are much greater in Las Vegas than here, the job he had here was really the top of the ladder here in Cleveland.
       Joann’s family is there in Vegas. She has a nephew who is about 6 and there is no male role model for him, Joe will be a good influence on him and a help to all the women. He is handy and smart, it helps me to part with him to see how needed he is there.

      I prayed with Joe when he was about 8 years old, he asked how to confess his sin and trust in Christ. But I left out the piece of the puzzle about Christ as Lord, I didn’t understand that myself at the time

      .Joe and I did have at least one solid conversation on the drive. Tim Kellers points about the Bible challenging all cultures, and that a real God would be that way, like in human relationships being in relationship there are things we must accept about the other person that we would choose to be different if we could. That there are things in the bible that we hate, but those things are different for different people and cultures and we can’t pick and choose what we like and don’t like in the bible, we are not God. 
      So maybe that was all God had for me to accomplish right now? I know sometimes the things we think will have an impact don’t and things we don’t even remember saying are what register, I trust that the Holy Spirit will work His mysteries in them as He has in me. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!

      I feel you all are modeling the friendship we are studying to me today, my heart is full!

      1. Chris ~   Amen to this:    I know sometimes the things we think will have an impact don’t and things we don’t even remember saying are what register, I trust that the Holy Spirit will work His mysteries in them as He has in me. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!

  20. I am wondering if Dee and other one else who knows can tell me more about Ellen Davis. I am intrigued by Dee’s quote this week. I see from a quick web search that she is a professor at Duke University Divinity School (?), but why do you know her? Has she written any books that you recommend? Just curious.

      1. Great, Dee. Thanks for the information on Ellen Davis.

      2. Thanks, Dee. I would have to add her on to my reading list on the FB page. Hah! I now know what to write on my Christmas wish list! (Smile.)

  21. I was glad to hear you, Dee, on Focus on the Family today. I had heard your story,but it was just as touching to hear again the story of your forgiveness to the woman who stole from you and the story of the prodigal sons… Love her repentance and coming to believe in Jesus.
    Such joy to lead one to Jesus and to be so honest.

  22. B. What do you think it means when it describes a true friend as one “who sticks closer than a brother?”
    A brother or a sister is expected to some degree to stick close to us because we are blood –related. It is almost an unwritten rule. although there are many siblings who maybe are at odds with one another, being blood related to somebody can create that obligation to be there for them when the going gets tough. On the other hand, a true friend is not under any obligation. He or she has chosen to be so to me and would often get past the normal closeness I can have with a blood brother or sister. And talking about blood-relation, what a friend we have in Jesus! Even before I became worthy of it, He has called me His friend and He was willing to shed His blood for me that I might enjoy the truest of all friendships!
    10. Why shouldn’t we be so shocked when a loved one does slip and let us down? What can that also teach us? 
    We should not be shocked when a loved one does slip and let us down because they are just but humans like we are. We will fail our loved ones or friends. It teaches us to be forgiving and to give grace to our friends when they fail us. And we hope that they will do the same for us.
    12. Share your notes and comments on the above. Keller’s sermon.
    The characteristics of true friendship:
    It is unique, must be discovered, must be forged and there is power in friendship.
     the 4 building blocks of friendship:
    Constancy, carefulness, candor and counsel.
    13. What is your take-a-way and why?
    Friendship takes time, effort and commitment to be there for the long haul. A true friend lets you in and never lets you down (Jesus is the ultimate true friend).
    I need to look to Jesus to be my ultimate friend (vertical relationship) and He will bring along earthly friends (horizontal relationship) who see the same truth and have  commonality with me. Of the latter, I would say faith in Jesus Christ is the most important. And even though we will fail one another along the way, we can always extend grace to one another knowing  Jesus has extended grace to each one of us.

    1. Bing-I love your response to 10..that this shows us we should show Grace to one another and forgive and hope they do the same for us. 

    2. I love your take away Bing 🙂

    3. Ernema,   
      Thank you for this:   We should not be shocked when a loved one does slip and let us down because they are just but humans like we are.

    4. Bing, your last paragraph – that struck me, too, from Keller’s sermon. I have spent too much time looking for ultimate friends when in fact, none exist, except for Jesus. You said it best, “I need to look to Jesus to be my ultimate friend (vertical relationship) and He will bring along earthly friends (horizontal relationship) who see the same truth and have commonality with me.”

  23. 10. Why shouldn’t we be so shocked when a loved one does slip and let us down? What can that also teach us
    We shouldn’t be shocked because we are all fallible and will let one another down. This teaches us not to put one another in God’s place for we are fallible-He is not. Also I think it isn’t loving to do that to one another. 


    1. Yes, Diane. Happy birthday to you! Lizzy, you beat me to the punch! (Smile). May this day bring some special God-moment times for you.

    2. Thank you for the birthday wishes, ladies. You are early to the punch, Lizzy.

      1. Yes, Diane, happy happy birthday!

      2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIANE!! I hope you enjoyed your day and join everyone here in wishing you special birthday blessings! Love and a big birthday HUG to you!

    3. Thank you, everyone for the birthday wishes given both here and on Facebook.

        1. Thank you, Dee. I had a lovely birthday!

  25. Tim Keller’s message on friendship ~
    He says, “In friendship, you give the gift of emotional connection voluntarily.”     and then, “A friend is unbelievably emotionally sensitive to you.”
    It is a beautiful thing that those of us here on the blog are as emotionally sensitive to each other as we are.  Especially since most of us have never met face to face. Blest be that tie that binds…. the Holy Spirit that mysteriously, amazingly  gives us this tie.   

  26. Yes, Nila, it is a beautiful relationship that we share on the blog. There is so much we learn from each other and the support is a gift. Bless be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.

  27. 12. Keller’s sermon.
    I learned a lot about friendship through this sermon that I didn’t understand before. The old saying, “To have a friend, be a friend”, seems overly simplistic after listening to this message. Keller said, “Friendship requires a foundation, an affinity, a common love that cannot be created; it must be discovered.” This tells me that no matter how much I may try to “be a friend” to someone, I don’t have the power to create an affinity, a common love. The quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson furthers this: “Friendship does not ask, do you love me? so much as, do you see the same truth, are you passionate about the same thing?” Keller goes on to say, “Friends are side-by-side, absorbed in some common interest. What makes a friend is, ‘You, too?! You love that too?!”
    Keller quotes C.S. Lewis, “This is why those pathetic people who simply want friends can never make any. The very condition for having friends is that you would want something else besides friends. If someone asks you, ‘Do you see the same truth?’ and your honest answer is, ‘I really don’t care about that – I just want you to be my friend’, then no friendship can arise. There would be nothing for the friendship to be about. Those who have nothing can share nothing. Those who are going nowhere can have no fellow travelers.” And this is why friendship is something you must discover before it can be forged.
    The above quotes really give me much to ponder. How many times have I gone to a women’s Bible study searching and hoping for friendships to develop? I’m trying to grasp this, but I’m seeing that friendship can’t, or shouldn’t be, my main focus. I can’t go “looking” for a friend. A friend will be “discovered”. And I have to “be about something” – I must have interests, passions, things that I care about and then I may discover someone along the way who cares and is interested in the very same things…and perhaps they will discover me, too. I like Keller’s thoughts at the end about the Lord being the “Master of Ceremonies” – how He is behind putting people together. And perhaps where I must start is being all about Him, and understanding that Jesus is my Ultimate Friend – having my need and longing for love and approval filled by Him instead of looking for a “friend” to fill me up. One thing I do know is that The Master of Ceremonies led me here five years ago and I discovered women here who love the Lord and are interested in Him and love to ponder Him, talk about Him, learn about Him, and grow closer to Him – He is the glue of the fellowship we have here, and I’m thankful to be a part of it.

  28. Susan – I know that this Sunday morning the new week’s post is about to be posted….so I’m not sure if you will see this or not.  Just wanted to say that this is golden and could be part of the introduction to a book on friendship or something!!!  There’s an old popular Country song called “Lookin For Love In All The Wrong Places” – that says it all!  I think we as women SO OFTEN might go to a Bible Study, for instance, looking for friendships with other women more than looking to fall more in love with our friend Jesus.  🙁  And that reminds me in some ways of the whole “pasting on fruit” idea. We are trying to MAKE something happen rather than letting the “Master of Ceremonies” bring it all about in His time, perfectly!  Oh, but easier said than done when the heart is desperately lonely for that rich companionship that we ARE created for……Susan I know that you are one of several women here in our fellowship who have often mentioned experiencing angst about/in face to face friendships – or lack thereof.  Your post was a lovely Sunday morning reminder to pray for you all……

  29. good day

    i have been blessed reading this sight

    i have a question

    i am married happily but have a best best friend that is a male

    people are always thinking other wise of this relationship

    how do i bring clarity to this

    my name is Sharlene Pillay