Long Distance Friendships

Proverbs 18:24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (NIV)

Growing up as a daughter of missionary parents made making friends a challenge. I have never been in one place long enough to make long-lasting friendships, and if I do make friends, they almost always ended right before I had to move again.

It’s funny how God works sometimes. He puts people in our lives for a short season, as if to teach us a particular lesson, and then takes them away just as quickly as He placed them there.

Over the years, I’ve learned how hard it is to find solid friends. It’s one of the biggest challenges I face because I’m never sure how long each friendship is going to last. However, throughout my life, I’ve also learned the treasures that come with friendship: The way we build each other up; carry each other through hard times; talk to each other when we don’t have a clue what to do next; and to be comfortable in each other’s presence, without the pressure to do anything except watch our favorite movies while stuffing our faces with popcorn or other unhealthy foods. Friendship is a bond that makes life worth living, even if they only last for a certain period of time.

In a way, our earthly friendships mimic our relationship with God. Though we should hold Him to more esteem and lean on Him before leaning on our friends, He has still gifted us with the people in our lives who portray Him in an earthly sense. When He can’t hug us or give us a shoulder to cry on, He gives us friends we can do that with. When we need someone to raise us up in godly ways, He gave us parents and friends who are there to encourage us on our walk and help us decide which way to go. In the same way, He is using us to be those things to our friends.

Losing friends is never a fun subject. When our season with them ends, and it comes time to saying goodbye, there is no one way of going about it. The only thing we can do is hope and pray that God will send us someone new who will encourage us to grow and strive to live godly lives.

Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (NIV)

Over a year ago, I said goodbye to the closest friend I’ve ever had. He was my oldest friend and will always be like a brother to me, but, as with most friendships, we were growing apart. He used to foreshadow the time we would separate, but I never imagined that it would come as soon as it did! I think as we continue to age and mature in our walk with God, and learn more about whom He has called us to be, that sometimes we can’t take the next step to becoming that person until we’ve said farewell to those who belong with our old selves.

Saying goodbye was difficult. I didn’t want it to end badly, and I really didn’t want him to think that the reason I was saying goodbye was because of something negative. Honestly, I should’ve seen the signs sooner. I guess I was trying to hold on because he had been my security blanket for seven years! Any time something crazy was going on in my life and I didn’t know how to handle it, he would be the first person I would call, and he was always there to listen and to give me advice. However, over the last year or so, the advice started to fade, and our communication became strained. He was moving on with his life, making new friends, and creating a whole new life for himself, while I was still holding onto the past.

People say that when you reach your 20s, you feel the difference almost right away. Has someone ever asked you how it feels now that you’re a year older? You can’t usually answer yes, can you? Well, even a week before I turned 20, I was starting to feel a difference. A shift was happening that I had no way of controlling it. I had to say goodbye to my childhood before being plunged into adulthood.

God did a lot of work on me in that week. He showed me all these new things and opened my eyes to the unhealthy friendship I was trying to hold onto. If it wasn’t for Him, don’t think I would’ve taken that giant leap forward, into the direction of my destiny. I wouldn’t be writing on this blog; in fact, this website wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t listened to His voice!

The only problem was that I was unable to portray this all to my friend. There are just some things you can’t explain. I hope that he knows that the reason behind our goodbyes was nothing against him. It was just time to grow up and lean on God more than man. I genuinely believe that this is a season where God is preparing me to meet my future husband. He’s forcing me to trust in Him and learn how to make my own decision before allowing me to meet my future hubby. WOW! What an exciting thought! I can’t tell you how psyched I am for the next season in my life! Soon I won’t just be meeting a friend I’ll keep until I move again; but a soulmate, a life partner, who will walk with me on the road that God has laid out before us. Now that is a fantastic foreshadow!

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