About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. Very nicely written! This is something that I feel like God placed on my heart a few months ago when I joined two bible study groups. Previously I had kind of secluded myself from relationship with people because I had gone through a few rocky friendships where hearts were broken and left out on the table. But, I really wanted to obey and trust God, so I took the step and it took me a few times before I opened up but I’m so glad that I did because by exposing my heart for others to see, I was able to form bonds with these women on much deeper levels than I ever would have by playing it safe of the surface. We have to recognize that Gods heart breaks for people, and ours should too… And we can’t affect people unless we let them in… Through sharing testimony, tears, all the yucky stuff!

  2. Kristen,
    I wholeheartedly agree. Since we were little the world has told us we need a multitude of friends…for what? So we can appear more popular? In reality, we need what you called “battle buddies”! I feel so fortunate that God has given me some tried and true battle buddies; friends who have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and STILL they love me. One of mine is getting ready to move away and It is going to leave a gaping hole in my heart. Sure, we’ll keep in touch long distance, but we won’t be able to walk and talk and share our daily hearts. God, in His goodness, has begun to raise up another friend who is becoming a battle buddy. If we are aware of His gentle leading and goodness, He does provide what we need. Thanks, Kristen, for a wonderful post this morning!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Good friends moving away (or being the one moving away from good friends) is one of my least favorite things. I’m praying now that in spite of the distance, your hearts stay close, Bev. Love you!

  3. I just absolutely love this. Grateful for you and that you’re one of those All The Things friends for me 🙂 Thanks for being my battle buddy, my beautiful friend. {{hug}}

  4. I have never in my entire life had one good friend. Reading this article made my quite teary as I would so love to have a girlfriend I could talk to, shop with and just trust.

  5. Dear friend “The Baby Mama” I feel for you as the friends I have had through the years are few. Friends have come for a season and then they are gone. At a time when I could really use a friend to share my pain and joys with God shows me that my “true” friend is there for me and he feels it all with me even though I cannot actually see him. “What a friend we have in Jesus!” Thanks for sharing Kristen.

  6. I’ve had seasons of friendships, and seasons of loneliness, where my heart yearned for just one friend. Having those battle buddies, those people I can pour out my heart to—even when it’s insecurity and ugliness I’m working through—gives me that safe place to work through my issues and be pointed back toward Jesus.

    It’s a treasured blessing to have a friend like that. And, it’s one I pray for both my boys.

  7. Kristen, Thank You for this message. I really needed to hear that. I always think that there was something wrong with me. Why can’t I have lots of friends like my older sister? Is it me? Do I stink? Do I not have the right personality? And then I read this and I realize that the few friends I do have makes so much of a difference in my life. They keep me accountable, they refresh my spirit and they are always willing and ready to hold my hands if needed or like you mentioned, tell me what I need to hear truthfully.

    Even when the few friends I have are busy in their lives, I have one true forever friend, our wonderful Savior. The only friend who will never forsake me even when I fail Him daily. Our Lord is AWESOME!!! Thank you reminding me:)

  8. What a beautiful article and one that I can completely identify with. I did have one such friend. She was everything a friend could be…kind, understanding, wise and never too busy. We emailed each day to one another. Through the good and the bad of life we communicated regularly. Humbly, I like to think that I was ‘that kind’ of friend to her, as well. Sadly, three years ago she passed away. She was one of a kind. I have friends through my church activities, but none are like my special, ‘go to’ friend. Maybe some day I’ll be blessed again with that kind of friendship, I don’t know. What I do know is that I am thankful from the bottom of my heart to have had this person’s friendship in my life. God bless you for your writing abilities…your gift that ‘gifts’ us your blessing.

    • Mary, I am so sorry for your loss. What a difficult time that must have been (and still be). You remind me how it’s important to hold onto gratitude through my own losses, and you show me how to keep my hands open for new gifts, not expectations. *Thank you* for that. Hugs to you, Mary.

  9. Thank you for sharing. I have one of those trees in my yard too. Next time I feel like hiding in my turtle shell when I need encouragement through a rocky time I will think of my son in that tree.

  10. I love this and knowing that it is the few, “battle buddies” (great term!) that is all I need. Interestingly, I only find out who those fellow warriors are when I risk enough to share my battle. It’s so much simpler to leave on my mask that all is okay, but letting others know I have need, hurt, dreams allows the Lord to bring a friend alongside me for the journey.

  11. Thank you for sharing a real truth. If you have even ONE good friend with whom you can be totally honest you are blessed in our world today. I have that and I am so blessed. Years ago when I was going through some tough times there was a prayer group that gathered and we shared together and prayed together. I was the licensed lay pastor at the time, but they honored me by being there and listening and praying and allowing me a safe place to vent and never judged me. Just prayed for me. What a blessing those women were as my late husband became sicker and sicker and died.

    • This right here: “If you have even ONE good friend with whom you can be totally honest you are blessed in our world today.”

      Yes and amen.

      Thank you for this, Mary.

  12. My husband and I recently moved to a new community. I’m eyeing the branches here, looking for a battle-buddy that can be an up-close confidante. Meanwhile, I keep in touch with close friends that live elsewhere. Praise God for unlimited long distance phone minutes and the internet, which provide quick and easy connection!

  13. Such a great post. God has been so faithful to provide friends for us in every phase of our lives…and in every place we’ve ever lived. We are once again the “new kids” in town…we’ve been here a couple of years and know lots of “friendly people.” Just haven’t found that one friend yet…

    So, while I wait…and while I sometimes get kind of lonely…I am thankful GOD is always near. And I am determined to reach out and be THAT FRIEND to someone else. Because ya never know who’s “hiding in plain sight!” Right?

    • “And I am determined to reach out and be THAT FRIEND to someone else. Because ya never know who’s “hiding in plain sight!” Right?”

      Right!

      Marty, a standing ovation to you for this! Because YES, that is something we all can do as we wait. So much love to you.

  14. Since my husband and I went through many trails with churches we walked away from being a member of any church. Although we love the Lord as much as we ever did, I have no battle buddies or close friends anymore. It is a lonely place to be but God sees my heart and we talk about things and work it out through his Word. Sometimes life throws you a good one and it is hard to get back up after being cased aside. Yet, all is good.

    • have been there..walked away from our huge church with over 40 friends and no one called for 3 years now..not really close friends.i have learned the mega difference between friends and acquantances..sadly many don’t come close to real friends. many laugh with us and get to somewhat know us but aren’t the ones who make influences in our lives…hang in there, a real friend maybe just around the corner !! I have had alone time to get closer to my family and my hubby after leaving the church too and in it never lost God but grew closer to him and finding out who I was..he is there and loves you ..don’t be shy to find a new church but don’t worry about the social part, go to worship and to hear the sermon..it feeds the soul..may you be blessed

    • Sandy, I’m so sorry for all the pain you’ve experienced from friends not being very friend-like. I’m thankful that it seems to have brought you closer to Christ rather than turned you away from him.

      Right now, I pray that–as Polly said–a new friend is just around the corner. I pray that you bravely sharing this difficult part of your story here opens doors to new relationships. And that maybe one day, the door that is opened leads you to an imperfect but perfectly real, welcoming, and Jesus-honoring church.

      You are loved here, Sandy, by us and by Him. Wildly so. xo

    • Sandy,

      I’m praying God will raise up a BFF Battle Buddy for you! May He shower you with 1-2 good people who will be there for you and that you can be there for also!

      I have found that small churches are often times the best places to meet people. I have met the most wonderful people at my small church. Also get involved a little with women’s Bible study. Through Bible study I have learned things about people I would never have known.

      Father

      Please bring Sandy a good friend or two. Shower her with people who will befriend her and be there in good and bad times, also help her to be there for them! Help her and her husband find a nice small church with loving people who care deeply for each other!

      AMEN!

  15. great stuff..I have chased after many friends over the years..being ever so caring and lovely to them..letting them be themselves to me but guarding myself after being so hurt by “friends” who never gave a care about me..i do have 2 best friends seemingly funny both named Kathy who have been in my life for 20 years..always happy to hear from me in the good and bad times and always so close as a sister would be…its not in the amount of friends, thats for insecure high school girls not grown women..its about finding just one or two who make your life complete.

  16. This was such a blessing and encouragement; I have four of those friends so am blessed a lot! And I pray I am that kind of friend.
    Thank you for your Blog posts; always real and encouraging!!

  17. Thank you Kristen for sharing this. Many times i think the more people i am surrounded with the more friends i have whom i can really count on but i have learnt thats not the case. Thank u for affirming that i can have few but genuine friends.

  18. Your post made me think of my 2 battle buddies I left behind when I moved from FL to MI last summer. i miss their fellowship and easy friendship. I am thankful for my lifelong best friend though, and she is just a mere 1 hour away now.
    My heart broke for my lifelong friend for years as I was blessed with a special local friend wherever I’ve lived but she has struggled and prayed for even 1 local friend all this time.

  19. Friends hiding in plain sight … makes me think about some other wise words I read recently – that we need to show up BEFORE we’re ready. We all want The True Friend who will love us no matter what, be a soul sister, laugh at our jokes, pray for us, fold laundry with us, whatever. I do, for sure! But none of my friends are quite perfectly perfect. So I look around, scope out possibilities, envy people who appear to have “better” friendships. The thing is, the friends I have are the ones I’ve got. I’m not perfect, they’re not perfect, but we do have each other. What if we just gave it our best shot, and showed up for friendship with the friends we already have, mediocre though they may sometimes seem. I may never find The True Friend. I’ll probably never BE The True Friend. We’re imperfect. But we can love each other anyway, as best we can, and maybe – with God showing the way – we’ll find that what we had was enough all along.

  20. Thank You Kristen

    That is a lovely post. It hit home in so many ways. I am sitting here wanting to get over my grief of losing my baby son and have withdrawn from life.
    I am really sad that you had to lose your baby girl. You are not alone.
    You might not realise it but you are making a difference in peoples life and it made me see i could relate to your words. Thank you for being there. Just when i thoughtI ws the only one. In Jesus Name thank you for making me feel better.God Bless You

  21. Oh, what a gift from God that friend is…and oh, how I wish…ah, but that isn’t my life…
    I have mistakenly thought I had a battle buddy–too. many. times. But after investing time and way too much of my heart, I discovered them to be flower friends–folks who frolic in the beauty of a blooming garden, but who flee at the first sign of frost.
    Thanks you for sharing about this beautiful cultivated friendship–I pray that we would all learn how to be better at giving grace to those God has placed around us!

  22. Kristen,

    How very very true this is! Such sage and timely advice. Ten years ago when I got married I was blessed to meet my husband’s ex in-laws. The mother in law and I got along and still do famously! We can sit and talk about anything! She was there when my mom got sick and was in and out of hospital for 1.5 months. She’s been there when my mom died, when my dad’s been in hospital.

    I have been there for her too! This year when both her parents were in the hospital on the same day I got her and hubby a meal for lunch. I call all the time to check on her and the family. We keep in touch and don’t mind showing our vulnerable sides to each other.

    I don’t know many other people I could do that with! God bless her for that!

  23. What a beautiful post, Kristen. Who can’t relate to the story you shared — and our knee-jerk reaction to want to cover ourselves up! Thank you for your words and your vulnerability. Such a good reminder to reach out . . . even when, especially when, it’s hard. xo