The other day I was sharing with my Bible study group about my insensitivity to other people’s feelings and overall lack of social awareness. For example, when one friend asked me about her new short haircut, I looked closely at her and said, “Oh, I’ve had bad hair cuts, too.” After sharing this, my neighbor Elizabeth asked with absolute sincerity and curiosity, “Penny, how do you have so many friends?” I paused for a moment and joked, “Maybe since I am so insensitive that I just don’t realize that they aren’t actually my friends.” While I joked about it, I really started to wonder, “How do I have so many really good friends?”
God has truly blessed me with wonderful friends, who know me, encourage me and bless me. Friends like my neighbor Elizabeth, wonderful college friends, and Kimberly, my best friend from high school. God has blessed me with friends that are much smarter, more stylish, better organized, more creative, compassionate, and better singers. It is truly miraculous that someone as socially inept as I am, with no sense of style, and who discovered that I was lactose intolerant late in life; would be so blessed with such wonderful, gifted beautiful friends.
As I was pondering the miracle of my friends – God brought to mind the prayer my friend’s mom, Beth prayed in 8th grade for her daughter Kimberly to have good friends. Kimberly’s family had just moved to Charlotte and so Beth started praying for her daughter to have good friends, friends that would encourage her and bless her. As Kimberly and I grew to be friends in 9th grade, Beth shared with me that I was an answer to her prayer for Kimberly.
As Beth shared her prayer with me, God used it to begin the process of softening my hard heart. Two years before, I had decided that I could achieve my middle school goals of good grades and friends without God’s help. But instead of the success and happiness that I longed for, I was lonely, had bad grades, didn’t have enough money and had a really bad perm.
On my own, I had failed at all the things that I thought would make people like me and want to be my friend. God used Beth’s prayer to show me that He could give me good friends. As I grew in my friendship with Kimberly in high school, I realized that friendship wasn’t based on who I was because I was not worthy to have such a beautiful, smart, giving friend as Kimberly. I could never reciprocate the trips to the beach or put gas in her car. I realized that it was God who provided friends. When I went to college, I realized that my Father God could answer my heart’s prayer for friends, just as He had answered Beth’s prayer for a friend for her daughter. In the years, since He has abundantly answered my prayer for friends.
While thinking about Elizabeth’s question, I realized my friends are not a reflection of my worthiness, my sense of style, or my achievements; they are a reflection of God’s love for me. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father…”, My friends are a wonderful gift from God, the on-going answer to a Mother’s prayer for her 8th grade daughter to have a good friend. (NIV)
How has God answered your prayer for friends for yourself and for your children?
Penny Noyes, Knowing God
Yes! God definitely answers such prayers, though not always in the way we expect. :0)
I have been tremendously blessed by the flight instructor God provided for my husband after we moved; he has been amazing and such an encouragement. When I asked God for people I could connect with here, He definitely sent me a handful of great ladies but none of them looked anything like what I imagined. I am very blessed by them, however, and fascinated to see what God would have me be learning from them.
I am thrilled how God has provided friends after your move! He is so generous in His kindness! Your comment reminded me of the importance of praying for good friends for our husband too!
I can attest to the fact that friends are God’s love for us. Upon my reintroduction to a faith based spirit filled life, the number of good friends in my life quadrupled! During this time, when He knew I needed it most, he sent me the most faithful women I’ve ever known to guide me. Turns out He sent them many years earlier and I turned away rather than coming closer. I thank Him every day for sending them back to me! Love you Penny for all you do. While you may feel that your other friends have more style, compassion, etc, we describe you as our friend with the power to inspire! Great job!
Amee- Thanks for sharing your heart and being my friend. I can’t wait till I am reading an incourage blog posting from you!
Marisa Gary says
OH MY GOODNESS – This is EXACTLY how I feel – I don’t deserve the amazingly wonderful friends God has graced me with – and that’s why it’s called grace. 🙂
thank you for this!!!!
Yes, I love that God brings together community, answering that prayer for friendship. He knows who we need, and I love the surprise and beauty in it all. Thank you.
This is so true! I too have been blessed with many dear friends over the years. I often describe my sisters-in-Christ as ‘the cherries on top’ of my life-sundae! And I love cherries 🙂 … This article is not only a reminder for me to thank God for my friends more often but to also re-commit my friendships and those for my family to God in prayer. Our family is moving in July, to a new state, many hours away. I have four sons, the oldest two of which are in middle and high school. One of my greatest concerns in moving is that my boys will make good choices in their new friendships. I am beginning TODAY, months in advance, to pray for their new friends! Just as God answered Beth’s prayer for good friends for her daughter Kimberly, I know He will be faithful to answer mine as well! Thanks for such an encouraging AND challenging article. As always, God’s timing is perfect!
Holley Gerth says
“Friends are a reflection of God’s love for me.” Happy sigh. I love that, Penny.
Holley- I liked your quote so much I couldn’t believe you were quoting me! Thanks for pulling out such a great nugget of wisdom- another gift from God.
Beth Williams says
AMEN! God gives us friends in ways we would never expect. I have found a new friend and confidant in my husband’s ex-mother-in-law. We are the best of friends fand can talk about anything.
God knows that people, especially women, need friendships to help share burdens and rejoice in good times!
WOW I couldnt have said it asny better. Love your blog and it really touched me.
Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight says
Ah yes – blessed with friends, better with friends!
What a great post! I realize that friendships are a blessing of the Lord, bu I must admit I’ve never really thought about the fact that they don’t reflect us or our own qualities, but the love of God.
In 2007, both my sister and I moved from Kansas to Virginia after getting married. Our first homes were about 15 minutes apart and although we both had (have) wonderful inlaws nearby, we had no blood family besides each other. This spring my sister, brother in law and nephew moved back to Kansas near the rest of my family. I wasn’t expecting to get real emotional (crazy, I know) but I did. The emotions came like a flash flood. Anyway, the point is that God provides, because a month before they left I began having opportunities to cultivate a friendship with an old friend who lives in the area. You know those friends who just “get you” in every way? That’s what God provided me with in the absence of my sister. He is truely an awesome God!
WOW…could I ever relate to this one, I always have friends, but I have often wondered how many are true friends….but it was truly what you said at the end “While thinking about Elizabeth’s question, I realized my friends are not a reflection of my worthiness, my sense of style, or my achievements; they are a reflection of God’s love for me.” that was so beautiful and so profound and I realized it was so true for me too. Thank you for putting this into words. ~Jessica
Barbara Hauser says
I loved what you wrote about friendship,.. As you know you are one of my friends that comes by way of your Mom ,one of my Most tresured friends. Reading your Blog has made me miss you as my friend too. So I can attest to friendship being passed through the generations. What a Blessing. I will call you soon.
Your Mom friend,
Anne Erikson says
Hi, Penny. Your Mom told me about your blog yesterday, and it is so true. I know you just a little bit, but have found in my life how God brings me wonderful friends and keeps expanding that. Your Mom is an incredible friend of mine. You in person, are so refreshing! Your blog is inspiring, as are you! Friends help open the world up to us in amazing ways, (showing us how everything around us reflects God’s love), increase our faith, give understanding and love. Keep it up, and keep on sharing His love! Thankyou.