Today I want to share something that has been on my heart. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a very special event. It was a Hair and Hat party for a friend fighting cancer and going through chemo. Basically, it was a party to celebrate her, shave her head, and gift her with hats and scarves to get her through this season of her life. It was a privilege for me and one of the most special experiences of my life. I was honored and blessed to attend. And I will never forget it.
My friend is amazing. She showed courage, strength, grace, and humbling vulnerability. She shaved her head. Publicly. Most of us may joke about doing that once in a while, when we’re having a bad hair day, but in reality, it’s pretty much unimaginable to us. But instead of a lot of tears and the heavy cloak of depression and self-pity, there was laughter, love and celebration. What made the difference? She chose. See, she knew she couldn’t change what was happening to her, but she could determine how she responded to it. It was going to happen regardless, but she surrounded herself with people who loved her, accepted her and supported her, no matter what. She surrounded herself with her girlfriends.
Girlfriends, relationships, support, connection… These are the things I’ve been mulling over. We need relationships. We were created that way. First and foremost, to have a relationship with Jesus. And our husbands, children and families of course. But we cannot forget how important our girlfriends are. It’s imperative that we nurture our relationships with girlfriends because we need them. And they need us.
Life happens ~ blessings and storms, joys and sorrows, good and bad ~ they happen to all of us. And life is more meaningful, more fulfilling, if we have others to share it with. When we have good, joyous and blessed things happen in our lives, they get even better if we have girlfriends to celebrate them with us. Likewise, they lose some of their luster if we experience them alone. But when the dark times happen; when stress, tragedy, loss, and sorrow happen to us, then we really, really, need our girlfriends.
During the storms of life, when waves of darkness threaten to crash over us and take us out, girlfriends can be the life preservers that keep us tethered to solid ground. They are not the foundation, that is Jesus, but they do play a vital role in keeping us anchored. They hold fast to us, refusing to allow us to sink into despair and hopelessness. They pray for us, encourage us, listen to us, cry with us, and help us to rise up again, and again. And they bring us chocolate!
Our sisters in Christ are there for us, but there are two important things to remember. First, we bear the responsibility of letting them help us. We have to choose to let them in, be vulnerable, cry out for help, and let them know we need them. There’s no doubt they’ll be there silently if they know what our storm is and we haven’t reached out. But how much more powerful is it if we do?
Second, we have to choose our friendships wisely. Not all friendships are equal. Invest your time, energy and affections into those who are reciprocal. Establish relationships with those who will build you up, not tear you down. Be vulnerable only with those who can be trusted with your heart, your life, and your sorrows. Surround yourself with girlfriends who love the Lord, who love you, and who speaks life to you, not death. Be honest with yourself about who your friends are. Sometimes we have to make painful choices to abstain from people who are not good for us, but when we do, God will always replace them with friends of His choosing.
Invest in relationships with your girlfriends. It’s worth it. Life can be tough sometimes, and we need our girlfriends. The Bible says it perfectly, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecc. 4:12)
xoxo ~ Tracy