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In March of this year I wrote this about a friend of mine:

My sister – not by blood, but by a bond forged over the years.

Sometimes we are fortunate in that God gives two people a heritage that goes beyond blood, and we can truly call ourselves sisters.

Through thick and thin – good times and bad – I know I can depend on her to be there – for support – for physical assistance – someone who never thought twice to fly all the way from England to be with me when my husband was dying.”

And in the same way, she knows I will be there for her, whatever the situation she may be challenged with. It’s not keeping score.

It’s a friendship freely given.

Friends on Retreat

This last weekend I was honored to share my home with three special women. There was no agenda – no topic – just being there for one another. For three days we simply talked, shared and prayed together. It was a time to retreat from our busy schedules and enjoy unstructured relaxed time.

We have been meeting every year for IMG_0728 IMG_0453 five years.  A one time event has become an annual retreat/get together at my home as distance separates us the rest of the year.

We have formed a bond and kinship that cements a relationship that goes beyond distance, time, and diverse backgrounds.

Friends feed each other. They don’t just share woes and concerns and strategies they have tried in order to alleviate some of the problems they are facing.

They listen and offer validation, but are also able to give compassionate critical comments that can redirect, clarify or offer a change of direction when needed.

Friends feel safe enough to share their vulnerabilities and know they will be respected and honored. There is no one-up-man-ship or what can I take away for me. There is give and take.

There is one relationship that is central to all my others and that is my relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is Friend and Savior who laid down His life for each of us. He is at the core of all my relationships.

If you don’t already know Him, I would encourage you to do so.  You can get acquainted by reading Scripture. He is a breath and invitation away from the most important decision and friendship you will ever make.

Who is on your friend list?

Make a list of all the friends you have and the qualities associated with that friendship.

  • What distinguishes them from just another acquaintance?
  • What qualities are important for you to maintain a relationship over time?
  • Does that friendship go beyond just agreeing about similar things you are passionate about?
  • Do you respect their appraisals and opinions when they differ from yours?
  • Can you receive constructive criticism as a loving concern from a friend who cares?

For me, the most important quality is the ability to share my love of God and pray together.  We can disagree on many things, but it is the Love of God that crosses all barriers.

We often take our friends for granted. Find a way to let your friend know how much you appreciate them for who they are.

Marlene Anderson

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Also in the RELATIONSHIPS series:

Part 1: Relationships: Who Needs Them?

Part 2: Relationships: Where Do We Start?

Part 3: Relationships: Love Them or Hate Them

Part 4: Relationships Book Feature: Tales of Two Sisters

Part 5: Relationships: Oh Those Growing Up Years

Part 6: Relationships: Are You on Top or Bottom of the Heap

Part 7: Relationships: Unspoken Rules

Part 8: Relationships:  Grab Hold – Let Go – and Swing

Part 9: Those Good Times



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