You win some and you certainly lose some. This statement applies to many things, but particularly to friendship.
In preparation for writing this post, I scrolled through quotes about friendship on my Google search bar, laughing at their incredible accuracy. After reading, I took a few moments to thank God for the friends he has provided for me, the ones who have come, gone and stayed.
I remember being fresh out of college and my heart was brimming with hope for adventure. An internship in Ohio was the new venue and I couldn’t be more excited. Friendships in school remained that I believed, based on the nature of the close-knit relationships, would last for forever. But moving away changed many of those friendships.
I wasn’t prepared to lose friends from college or high school. They were “my people.” We would go through the process of creating a handshake just to confirm that no matter what distance came between us, we would never grow apart. They were my shoulders to cry on, they were the people that made my sides split with pain from all the laughter. How could a measly couple hundred miles take the fortified ties of the friendship bond and break it?
Believe it or not, the loss of those friends changed my life, for the better. The ache revealed the value that I placed on my relationships. Through the process of loss, I saw God’s goodness in giving me certain people to be used for different periods of my life. One thing always stood out to me as people came into my life, left my side or stayed. The status of God never changed. He remained.
Within the past year, my life has gone through a significant amount of change. At this time last year, I was single, living in Ohio and working for a church that I absolutely adored. The staff at the church I served at became mentors, fellow-leaders and friends.
After my one-year commitment ended with the church, I felt the Lord calling me back home to the place I swore I would never return. Leaving my new friends and family in Ohio was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. Going home had its perks, like marrying my best friend and watching my niece and nephews grow up, but the pang of sadness for what I was giving up caused my heart to grieve. But God made it clear that I was going home. So I followed.
Flipping back to the present, you will see that now I am married, working a new job and juggling all of the shifts that come with these adjustments.
It also reminds me that sometimes God gives us certain people to be used for different periods of trials, joys and celebrations in our life.
I realized that my life, my seasons, my work and my passions continually change. And that is okay. Losing friends hurt, but they taught me the significance of friendship, what it was meant for. Friendship influences you. God provided me with friendships that challenged my faith, comforted me with hugs and gifts and confronted sin in my life. All of those friends changed my life for the better. Some friends revealed attitudes and patterns that I was never meant to follow, imitate or continue to grow in. Some remain and faithfully challenge, comfort and confront me.
We all lose friends. I have both lost friends and gained friends from moving and entering into different life stages. All had a purpose. I trust God with those friends that are no longer a part of my life. I thank God for the friends who are presently investing in my life, my marriage and my ministry. I look forward to when God introduces me to future friends who will help shape me.
The view of losing friends is often skewed by bitterness, sorrow or guilt that we didn’t do enough to keep them in our lives or they didn’t care enough to invest in us. But it isn’t the only view that we have to live by. Certain circumstances determine the end of a friendship because of our sin and brokenness, by change and sometimes by time.
But my encouragement is to look past the bitterness, sorrow, guilt or pain to examine if maybe, just maybe, losing those friends changed your life for the better.