Heart Friends - God’s Design For Friendships
A calling so isolating, demanding, and trying, motherhood is not for the faint of heart. There are days where we feel defeated and drained and wonder if we have messed up our kids for life! There are nights where we cry in the dark, feeling guilty about the way we treated our children. If it weren’t for the gift of true friends and the ability to connect with other hearts, motherhood might easily suck every ounce of strength from our bodies.
The Lord knew what he was doing when he created our hearts with a deep need for connection. Somewhere in the corners of our soul, there are empty spaces. These deep openings are waiting to be filled with the sweet water of true connection. The connection that comes from finding a dear friend, one who is loyal and trustworthy. The connection found when another mom is willing to sit in your messy living room, hold your hand, wipe your tears, pray over you, tell you your kids will be just fine, and feed you brownies.
I truly believe that the Lord intended friendships to be a gift to our hearts. He could have created us to be isolated beings, only focused on our own needs and his heart, but instead he created us with hearts longing to reach out, care, and experience joy with one another.
So how do we live out friendships in the way he created them? Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we tend to mess things up as human beings. We take what the Lord originally created as pure and beautiful and twist it, reform it, and recreate it into what we think it should be. So naturally, we end up with friendships that break because of jealousy or hurt, that become idols instead of gifts, or that stay surface level with the false protection of our own walls.
As we look into the heart of God and discover his design for friendship through his word, we realize that there is an order to his creation, and an order to the way we ought to prioritize our relationships in order to experience friendship in it’s purest, most beautiful form.
Our Very First Relationship
Imagine for a moment, your eyes open for the first time. Rays of sunlight hit your pupils, causing you to squint and raise your hand to your face. Your senses are overcome with sights, sounds, smells, and feelings. In awe and wonder, you sit and examine your body: feet, arms, hair. All of this is new and foreign to your immature mind. Glancing around at the trees, grass, sky, and water, you suddenly feel very small and unsure of yourself. But then a voice calls from above. A voice that carries with it pleasing winds that activate all of your senses. A voice that embodies love, warmth, peace, and security. You have just met your very first friend.
I imagine this is something near what Adam experienced in the garden with the Lord. Having no other companion, the Lord was Adam’s very first friend. He was his priority, his father, his guide, and his security. The Lord knew that before any other relationship could be established, he must first draw man’s attention to himself. He must establish the relationship that would be the rock and foundation of all others.
As followers of Christ, it is imperative that we understand this truth. If this order gets misaligned, no other relationship will flourish. Without the Lord as the starting point, priority, and source for all other friendships, our relationships easily dry up and become like thorns in our side. God is a jealous God and he wants our full attention. He wants us to prioritize him over all else so that we may live a life recklessly abandoned to his will, unchained by higher priorities.
It is the sacred stone on which all others can build off of.
The second relationship
When you look at the story of creation in Genesis, what’s interesting to me is that God didn’t create both man and woman at the same time. He didn’t form them simultaneously and then command them to be friends. Instead he created man first, establishing his divine connection with him, and then he created someone for his beloved creation, so that he wouldn’t be alone.
Think about this. When God created woman, he was creating her specifically to be a friend to man. While Adam was created as the very first human being, with no other human around to talk to, Eve was created with an instant friend, Adam. There was a need rooted within her at creation to desire a companion. Doesn’t this reign true today?
Look at little girls on a playground and see how to flock to one another and instantly begin to form close bonds. It’s as if their genetic makeup is crying out “I was created for relationship”!
As young women, we did the same! We formed close bonds with other women, sharing life, stories, secrets, recipes, and even that favorite date night dress. Then one day, a handsome man came along and stole our hearts, taking up room in those empty places within us.
Our husbands were designed to be the second most important relationship in our lives.
Single or married, this is for you.
When we enter into a marriage and say our vows, we are aligning ourselves with God’s design for relationships: Him first, our husband next, and all other after.
Here’s the truth, ladies, your husband should be your closest friend. And if that thought angers or disgusts you, please know, I have been there. I needed an honest moment with the Lord where he redefined my view of marriage. We were in a dark place, at the time, and I had abandoned his perfectly designed order for what I thought was best. This is a good check point for yourself. We all need moments of pure honesty and heart searching. Allow the Holy Spirit to come and reveal relationships that might be out of order and bring healing to your marriage.
When we allow a friendship to triumph over the relationship we have with our spouse, we open the door to the enemy’s plan for our marriage. When the door is open, jealousy, pride, unforgiveness, contempt, disrespect, unloving attitudes, dissatisfaction, unfaithfulness, and a whole mess of issues are free to enter.
Whether you’re married now or will be one day in the future, listen to this plea from someone who knows first hand the damages of a marriage out of priority; Guard your marriage by centering it on the Lord and protecting it from relationships out of order.
And now, friend, here is where those sweet women God put in your life belong. Right here in the sweet spot after the Lord and your husband or husband in the future. This is where you will find true fulfillment and joy.
What is it that makes these friends so near and dear? What qualities should a “heart friend” hold? Read more next week!
Or hear the audio version on The Purpose of Motherhood Podcast!