Be the Friend You Want to Have
by Natalie Chambers Snapp
It’s been one of “those” days.
Your son is sick and your to-do list is long. Laundry baskets form three huge boulders in front of the washing machine. You went to bed too late and as a result, you’re now exhausted.
Not to mention, work called and your project deadline has been moved to tomorrow.
The phone rings and a familiar voice of someone who knows how it feels fills the line.
An hour later, she’s at your doorstep with a freshly-brewed latte from the coffee shop down the street.
She’s your Heart Sister and you couldn’t imagine life without her.
According to Harvard University’s popular Nurses’ Study, women without strong networks of friendships pose the same threat to their health as habitually smoking and being medically overweight. They also have higher blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rates.
We don’t just want friends—we need friends.
Yet so many women have been wounded by other women and therefore conclude it would be safer to avoid friendships altogether.
“My husband is enough for me,” one woman once mentioned. However, I saw the glint of doubt overtake her expression as she tried to convince us both.
Years ago, I had been hurt by a few friends and decided to distance myself from other women because my heart just couldn’t take any more hurt. However, I soon found myself lonely, depressed and longing to talk to someone who just understood.
God eventually revealed that my lack of trust was due to fear, and if I allowed fear to win this battle, I would be the casualty.
Ever so slowly, I began to open my heart to the possibility of female friendships. I joined a Mothers of Preschoolers group. I started to attend a Bible study. I went to optional play dates. I stepped out of my comfort zone because I wanted to step in to authentic friendships.
It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, I found myself surrounded by other women who loved me unconditionally with support and encouragement.
At the same time, they loved me too much to allow me to remain stagnant, so I was challenged to become a better disciple of Christ, wife and mother. Proverbs 17:17 says “an iron sharpens iron.” Heart Sisters sharpen us through loving truth and grace.
Admittedly, there have been tense moments as well. Misunderstandings occur in all relationships, but how we handle those misunderstandings preserves the friendship. When both parties have hearts filled with humility and prioritize their relationship over being “right,” conflicts and misunderstandings can actually make the bond between Heart Sisters even stronger.
A Heart Sister will tell you the truth—not just what you want to hear. She’ll invite your children to her home when you have a doctor’s appointment. She’ll listen when you are exasperated, exhausted and extended. And she’ll know all of your faults and love you anyway.
Investing in the development of Heart Sister friendships is worth every second and ounce of energy; for once you have them, you realize they’re one of life’s richest blessings. Heart Sisters are sisters in Christ who love, support and encourage one another without jealousy, comparison and competition.
A true blessing indeed.
Natalie Chambers Snapp is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy and truth of God’s love. She lives in the Midwest with her family where she writes about faith in the everyday mundane. The outpourings of her heart can be found at NatalieSnapp.com in the fleeting moments between being a wife and mother—and, of course, friend.
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