September 26, 2011

A Friend? In Ministry?

How do you have a friend who is also in your church?

Over the six-plus months that we have been writing Sunday Women, you, our readers, keep asking us this question. You send us emails (which we love!) you post comments (which we love, too!) and you meet us in person with the same question about friendship. It has different variations, of course: How do I have a close friend? Can I foster a friendship without slighting others? How do I find a friend?

You know that friendship isn’t all about you. You know that it’s also about giving. But, sometimes, you just want a kindred spirit.

We hear you.

And when my mom and I have a “blog summit” on the phone together (usually on session meeting nights when our husbands have gone off, leaving us to debate between writing for the blog and going to the gym) we keep coming back to your question.

How do you have a friend when you are a Sunday Woman?

How do you share a cup of tea, a burden of your heart, an inside joke? How do you have a friend who will let you admit that your husband snores and who will love you when your angry son doesn’t seem to?

The bloggy lot has fallen to me to post an answer:

I don’t know.

I don’t have a BFF (except my long-suffering husband, who doesn’t really count when it comes to “should I start coloring my hair?”) There is no one particular woman in my life who is shopping buddy, lunch date, and exercise partner.

But. . .

If I step back and take the wide-angle view, I am not lacking. I have Carol, who prays big prayers with and for me (almost) every Tuesday. I have Jessica, who shares with me her lunch hour and her creative personality. I have Carla who helps me wrestle my kids into the pew and worships beside me on Sundays. I have Julia and Kaylee and Emily who catch me up on what the cool young things are into these days, and Mable and Jimmie who remind me that pilgrimage is a long-distance race.

I might be missing out on a special kind of exclusive friendship. (And if anyone has a suggestion, please leave me a comment!) But I can also see the Lord meeting many of my needs: one woman, one smile, one hug at a time.


  1. Your last phrase fits what I am currently trying to welcome hugs from other women. Yesterday, a younger woman asked if she could hug me and I said, "Yes." I always feel awkward hugging someone other than my husband, but I think hugs can be a sign of friendship and affection that minister to others.

  2. I love the pic, too cute.

    I must admit this troubles me too. Every time I make a deep friendship within the church I get deeply hurt. I no longer do it. I make my deep friendships with godly women from other churches...not near our church. (Not that I don't believe there are godly women around here in other churches.) Usually that means my friends are hundreds of miles away, but we keep in touch over facebook or email or telephone. I rarely feel lonely. Maybe I just got used to it.

    I like what you said at the end there about a wide angle view and investing a little at a time in others on a wide spectrum of ppl to choose from. That seems to me to be a big chunk of our ministry anyway. We seem to dance in different circles like a big waltz all the time. You can't make everyone happy, but you can invest in others one lunch or play date at a time.

    And, my hair opinion is ;-D : don't color your hair. Grey is a sign of glory and wisdom. It may look cute to color it, but it is time consuming, hair damaging, fake, and the price of maintenance adds up over time. Maybe the cuteness is worth all the time and money investment to you... its just MHO.

  3. I don't think you're missing out. I have a similar "list." Some of my closest friends are women from cities in which we've lived in the past, who have remained close because of common interests and concerns, not to mention a commitment to staying in touch. But there are also those whom I often see in my daily life. I usually enjoy their company for different reasons, including the fact that some are uniquely gifted to challenge me in my thinking and actions. I'm convinced the Lord knows exactly who we need in our lives all along our journeys, sometimes that may be one particular friend and sometimes, many.

  4. I served in ministry in a church 15 years ago. Looking back, it was the loneliest time of my life, despite the fact that I was surrounded by church members quite frequently. I didn't have any "best" friends though. 15 years later, I no longer go to church with these people. However, some of them have become my newest best friends as a result of the foundation laid years ago. So, I now get the benefits of a best friend, but not the "issues" that came with it while serving them. My love for them is filled with even more joy than ever could have been imagined. God knows the future!

  5. Having only been in one church as a pastor's wife, I had never thought of the possiblity of coming back to these women later with a new dimension to our relationship. Thanks for broadening my horizons on that one.

    Also, thanks for the encouragement to go gray! I know that "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life." (Proverbs 16:31) But when the eighty-year olds in my church are coloring, it's hard to wear a crown at age 32! :)

    1. If you need more encouragement to go gray just look at your mom - stunning!!-Dee

    2. Thanks for the compliment, Dee.

  6. Those 80-somethings aren't fooling anyone except each other and the widowers around them interested in remarrying. Ha ha! You could lead them in freedom from slavery to looking like a youngin.


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