As a child I was shy and insecure, so I didn’t make friends easily. At school I walked with my arms folded and head down, dodging interaction with those I admired, assuming they wouldn’t want to befriend me.
As I entered middle school, the friendships I managed to form proved to be the on-again, off-again type. Girls can be mean, but I wasn't always on the receiving end—I knew how to dish it out!
Then, because my family moved in my eighth-grade and again in my sophomore year, the difficulty in forming and maintaining friendships intensified. After high school, I continued to move regularly.
Since graduating, I’ve lived in seven towns, relocating, on average every five years. For some, this lifestyle hinders connection building. While that was true for me growing up, as I've matured, it's had the opposite effect. I am friendlier and more determined to build friendships. God gifted me with the ability to draw ladies together.
Through moving, He taught me the importance of reaching out and being a friend. When we initiate connection and extend a kind, grace-filled attitude toward others, they’re more apt to reciprocate. Thus, a friendship is formed.
I now live in Florida. When I travel back to the last place I called home, I’m amazed at how easily I re-connect with friends I left behind. It’s refreshing to be loved by these precious ladies.
On one such visit as I flew home, I reflected on the new friendships I’ve forged as well as the friend groups I've belonged to over the years—how attached I get and how challenging it is to leave. It reminded me of the Girl Scout saying:
Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.
My attitude toward moving has changed. I used to be emotionally devastated to leave the comforts of what I knew. I took a don't-look-back approach, choosing not to stay in touch with those left behind. My insecure-self thought I didn't do friendships well and I would be forgotten quickly. But now I pursue new friends, overturning every rock, looking for them like the gems they are, whilst not forsaking the friendships I have already established. I cherish each of my friends—one is silver, the other is gold.
“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family” (Prov. 18:24 MSG).
So, here's to friends!
They fill us up. They cheer us on. They teach us.
They encourage and admonish. They give us strength to face the day.
They laugh with us, and cry with us—sometimes at the same time.
They rejoice in our triumphs and mourn our losses.
They pray for us on good days.
They pray with us when we lose hope and have no words.
They know our strengths and weaknesses, our strong points and flaws, our courage and our fears—and yet love us unconditionally.
They hug us hello and hold our hand when we hurt.
Without friends, our marriages would suffer and our sanity would flee.
Friends are a gift from the Lord. Cultivate and nurture your friendships, old and new. One is silver, the other is gold.
You can Connect with Barb on FB and IG who chose to wear the HOPE shirt because she runs Hopeful Mom, a service for parents. Learn more about it and her upcoming book here.
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