About the Author

Natalie is a writer, speaker and lover of Jesus. Her first book, Heart Sisters: Being the Friend You Want To Have, will be released by Abingdon Press on April 21, 2015.

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  1. Thank you for this! Sadly, I can so relate. The things the mean girls say really do hurt, and it can take years to get over it. Thankfully, God has been putting some wonderful friends in my life.

  2. precious niece of mine, how proud you have made me and our Father God…such grace and wisdom from such a young woman of God 🙂 this is amazingly true, all of it and i should know. at age 63, i realize now how much i hurt other women, but i believe very unintentionally, because i am not a “daily type” of friend. my BFF since 5th grade knows what this means. if we dont talk for 2 weeks, its okay. But when we do talk, oh my, it is so fabulous to “unload” all the stuff of life, the good and the bad and i actually feel “peace” like i long for. hope some of you can identify and so now i try to greet the “younger” sisters at church and especially the mommies with their babies. i DO still remember those days and how i longed to have Godly friends. God has so blessed me now and i keep my eyes wide open for those with the searching hearts. God bless this site and thank you honey for all you do for all the women of God. love you more, in Him, aunt nancysue xoxoxooxooxoxooxxo

    • Thank you, Aunt Nancy! That’s OK – I don’t believe Heart Sisters have to be daily friends. In fact, a true Heart Sister knows that sometimes once a week or every two weeks or even once a month is OK. Seasons of life determine that…I once heard someone describe friendships as either cactus friendships or rosebush friendships. Cactus friendships don’t take a lot of work – they just work. They don’t require a lot of time and effort. Rosebush friendships take a little more work and tending but they can bloom into lovely friendships.

      Thank you for reading and commenting – love you!

  3. Friend, I can so relate. So proud of you! I still remember sitting across from you in our room in Charlotte when you pitched this book. It happened! Love, you, dear heart sister.

  4. I’ve never had many friends. Had to beg 2 girls to be my maid of honor and bridesmaid. Never had the friends that would help you with a bridal shower/baby shower – who would I invite? It’s still that way and I’m 37. I try. I offered my house to the ladies at church for a girls night out and no one showed up – three times now. So I stay nice and safe at home with my family. I’m an introvert, but girls/women have hurt me. My mom never had friends due to the abuse from my dad so I don’t know what’s normal and what’s not normal. I know so many ladies online but do I have anyone to call locally – no. They talk about the new mentoring program at church and I’m left out. They say it’s better I concentrate on grad school. Church is lonely, small group is lonely – I’ve tried reaching out only to be left in the cold.

    • Tracey, I am so, so sorry for your hurt. Is there anyone you feel would be safe to talk to about this at your church? I think if your heart is longing to be a part of the mentoring program, then it should be your choice to decide if your schedule is too busy – not anyone else’s. I would encourage you to pursue that and . . . as hard as it is . . . keep trying. I do understand, Tracey. It took years to build the friendships I have now and there were several lonely years along the way.

      The great news is . . . God sees you. Always. Like Hagar at the well, He is a God who sees. He is a God who knows. And He is a God who cares.

      He tells you you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Loved with an everlasting love. He tells you “You are mine.” He knows you so well He knows how many hairs you have on your head. You are cherished. You are adored. You are His masterpiece.

      You are His beloved daughter.

      Rest in that for a while and know that your honor comes from Him. (Psalm 62 is a great one to read when you’re hurting.)

      Adding you to my prayer journal, Tracey. <3

      • I have tried….and tried….and tried. Add that to a faith shift and I am trying to navigate and I am done. Church leadership does not get it. We fit all the ‘criteria’ as small group participants, small group leaders, always there, volunteer with 3 out 4 Sundays if not 4.

    • Hi Tracey,
      Thank you for sharing…you have a beautiful heart! I understand your discouragement, but Sweet Sister, keep reaching out. Keep praying and see where God leads. There are people out there who are looking for spiritual connection just like you…if you lived nearby (KY), I would extend an invite. 🙂
      This is what makes this place so special…a safe place to encourage and be loved in Christ. God bless.

      • We have been at the church for 6 years. I have talked to the pastor’s wife and she could not have cared less. My husband and son love it but my husband could care less about friends. So I just overserve and stay on my pew alone.

        • Tracey, I echo Veronica’s sentiments. Keep. Trying. I know it’s so discouraging sometimes and you wonder if there is something wrong with you but know this: there isn’t. Sometimes God issues us a period of time to be more alone so we can more fully rely on Him. I know you are doing that so I just want to encourage you to keep going. I think so often, I quit before I get to the fruits of my labor. Keep at it, girl. I can tell you have a beautiful heart and someday, some very blessed friends will get to experience the loveliness of who you are. <3 And… if you live in Indiana, I would love to be one of those!

    • Sweet Tracey, I can literally feel your pain. I echo the advice from Natalie and the others here. Can I just be bold and say that if I were in your shoes I would be looking outside of my church for my heart sisters? I have worn a pair of shoes very similar to yours. I had to ask God for a new pair of shoes and to direct me to women that would be edifier’s. Leaving your church is not what I am suggesting although I am not discounting it either. Pray about it, but don’t suffer like this because this is NOT the abundant life he wants for you, his daughter. Praying for you.

    • Tracy,
      So sorry about your hurt. It can be so hard to try and make new friends, especially if you’re an introvert. Praying that Father God will bring a covenant friendship your way soon!
      (((hugs)))

  5. I can relate as well, unfortunately so women are not my best option. So, I keep with those who do not bully me. A safe place to be. Like here.

    • I’m sorry you can relate, Kaz, but then . . . Not sorry because it’s good to know we’re not alone, right? You are not alone in this.

      So thankful you find the (in)courage community to be a safe place. It is a beautiful, healthy soft place to land isn’t it?

      However, there are healthy women out there so my prayer for you is to keep your heart open to safe, in-real-life, authentic relationships. Both online and in-real-life friends are blessings.

      Thank you, Kaz, for reading and commenting. I have added you to my prayer journal!

  6. Thank you Natalie. Very wise and heartfelt. I receive it with grace. I can feel so vulnerable putting myself out there not knowing if I will feel accepted or not. I question my “friend skills” sometimes. I try to remember to be grateful for those friends in my life now, even for those who have come and gone. For it is those that taught me things that made me a better person.

    • Yes, it can be a little scary to be vulnerable sometimes, right? But I believe that vulnerability and humility are the building blocks to safe relationship and I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have space in my life for unsafe relationships. 🙂

      SO…It’s a risk, yes. But is it worth the risk? Absolutely.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, sweet friend. <3

  7. Natalie! I am so sorry for that trauma!!! Boo on “mean girls”!!!

    Praise God that He brought healing and redemption to you. I am grateful that He did if for no other reason that I now have the absolute delight in becoming a Heart Sister with you!!!! I have had some rough friendships but surprisingly I haven’t become jaded and I still seek out community. I think that I just don’t spend time trying to make friendships work that I have discerned won’t be healthy or life-giving. I ask the Lord to bring covenant friends in my life and those are the ones that I focus on.

    I love you sister! May God bless you exceeding and abundantly more than you can ask, think or imagine. ((HUGS))

    • Thank you, sweet friend. It’s so great you weren’t jaded – that’s my prayer for everyone who walks this path but unfortunately, I think you are in the minority on that one. <3 It's a great minority, might I add! So appreciate you and all of your support. You are a beauty – inside and out!

  8. I can totally relate to this. That has been my life story, even as an adult and even in the church. I know I tend to be socially awkward, but I still pray that God will connect me with some godly friends.

    • Keep on praying, Michelle. He will. Heart Sisters don’t care about social awkwardness because we ALL can be socially awkward – we’re human!

      The Heart Sisters book came to be because of some of the stuff I experienced even within the church – so just know you are not alone. Women within the church AND women not in the church are all disabled by the flesh.

      Thank you for trusting us with your heart, Michelle. I’ve added you to my prayer journal!

  9. A healing process that has taken several years….I am praying for some covenant sisters.

  10. I am thankful for my heart sisters. Sadly, I learned some hard lessons in my later adult years in the church. I got broken and limped away, disillusioned, feeling beat up and sorry for myself. After one to many pity parties, and skipping out on corporate worship for a few months God pulled me up by my mustard seed sized faith and set me on a firm foundation. He gave me a loud, joyful new song that I sang to a few women who had the same vision.They have become my heart sisters. We minister to each other in so many ways and encourage one another and really, really love each other well. It’s been a humbling, but life changing part of my Christian walk that I hope will reflect to younger women in the church when they see us. I am approaching the time in my faith and my actual age where I am proud to look for opportunities to model the Titus 2 woman. Sometimes I do it really well but there are so many other times where I don’t. Thank goodness for sisters who understand GRACE and lavish it on me when I really blow it. There is so much more I could say about this awesome story but God is still writing my chapters and I can’t wait to see what he says in them. And, not to be too cheesy but I am looking forward to the Heart Sisters book, I am sure that it is going to be a part of my new chapters too. Love to you Natalie, you bless me.

    • Thank you so much, Lena. You bless me greatly! As for grace . . . All God’s people said “Amen!” Seriously, grace is a critical component of all healthy relationships. We WILL mess up and we WILL let others down because we, like everyone else, are disabled by the flesh. Grace covers it – and a true heart sister knows the true and real you underneath your missteps. <3 Thanks for reading and commenting, sweet friend!

      • Aaaamen… Aaaaaaaaamen… AAAAAAAAmen.. Amen, Amen… ( Sing it with me.. lol )

        <3

  11. I have tried thru the years to develop friendships with other women but, sadly, all too often the relationship was very one-sided. To be honest, I have stopped trying.

    • Dear Pam, please don’t give up. I feel the same as you and others who have shared on here. Wouldn’t it be good if we all lived near each other and then we could get together:). I have been single all my life and long for a covenant friendship/heart sister, especially now that I’m about to turn 67! I am going to pray AGAIN for a friend/s as I believe God made us for community. Often, even at church, we say hello and smile and inside we wish someone would invite us out for lunch or want to see a movie with us. I guess most Sundays I just go off and have lunch on my own. Maybe that is giving up – but I am not giving up on praying. It’s my birthday in two more Sundays and noone at church will know it’s my birthday. Would anyone here like to send me a card? My address is 11B Diprose Street, Kings Meadows TAS 7249 Australia.
      Pam, I hope as you see that there are lots of us feeling like you it will help a little. I’m sending you hugs and will pray that God will bring some friends of the heart kind 🙂

      • I want to encourage both of you – Pam and Denise. I can tell you there was once I time when I retreated from relationships with women and “gave up” as well. But then . . . I need to be real and say – I was so lonely. I love my husband and all but let’s face it – there’s just some stuff we need our sisters for, right? Keep trying. I know it can take a lot of effort. I know it can take a long time – it took me seven years (at least) to find true and real friendships. But they’re out there and they take time to develop. Praying for both of you so much! (And when I say that, I mean it. <3)

        • Thanks Natalie for your encouragement. I meant to be encouraging Pam but I guess some of my feelings showed too. I’m not giving up though 🙂 I have had really good friends over the years but being back from the mission field overseas now for 7 years and living in a different state makes it hard to find friends, more so as you get older. I think everyone thinks you can cope but it’s just as hard when you’re older. Thank you for also taking the time to say that you really mean it when you said you’d pray. It is so easy to say we’ll pray and then we forget. I believe you will pray and I am grateful.

          • Pam, you WERE being an encouragement – I think so often we are an encouragement to others when we say “Me too.” In fact, CS Lewis said “A friend is born the moment one says “What? You too? I thought I was the only one!”

            I don’t think it gets any easier as we get older – I think relationships can be challenging at any age. You’re not alone in that, either.

            And yes, I will be praying. I try not to ever say that flippantly because it’s an honor to do so. <3 Hugs to you today, Denise!

  12. Oh my goodness! Reading the story of your early years made so sad! I am very thankful that you’ve been able to move past all of that, with God’s help. I was never treated like that, altho I always felt like the outsider because I was ALWAYS the new kid. Our family moved a lot because my dad was in the Air Force. I moved 16 times before I graduated from high school. I really love what you said about heart sisters. I have two sisters and one brother, and I love them very much…but they all live in another state, and we don’t get to see each other very often. I am SO THANKFUL that God has provided some heart-sisters for me in every stage of my life. 🙂

  13. Oh. My. Goodness. I was quite literally teetering on the edge of a panic attack after realizing I had just joined an organization PACKED FULL of all the girls from high school. The ones who were so pretty and so together and cast such disdainful looks. Then this popped up. My heart rate is slowing a bit. Thanks for your words, sister. They are balm tonight.

    • You are quite welcome, Marcy! Just remember: things aren’t always as they seem. My guess is those very women who you think have it all together are actually longing for real and authentic community, too. They are likely just as lonely, if not more, for Heart Sisters as the rest of us are. So proud of your courage to step-out and join an organization where you might possibly meet many Heart Sisters! <3

  14. When I first moved to our small town after living in a very large city, I found that it was hard to make new friends. All the women had known each other forever and weren’t very welcoming. I finally found a church I love and the women couldn’t be more welcoming and wonderful! But going through that really makes me more aware of reaching out to new women I meet because I remember how hard and lonely it was to be the new one. I can’t wait to read your book Natalie!!

    • So thankful you have found your niche, Erin. I had the same experience – I moved from a larger city to a smaller one and found the same thing. But then…I joined MOPS and that’s where I met so many of my Heart Sisters.

      Thank you so much for your support, Erin! It means more than you know. <3

  15. It is not by chance that you have had these experiences. God has used what Satan meant for evil to turn it around and allow you to help others through your healing. You are such an inspiration and encouragement. Thank you for sharing your story.

  16. I was never really bullied by mean girls. More like mean boys. They all seemed to find great pleasure in saying the most hateful things to me as well as to each other loud enough for me to hear. They said things about how I was so ugly that you would have to put a bag over my head to sleep with me. They often insinuated that I was a guy instead of a girl. They said I was a lesbian as well. That hurt so much. To this day in my late 30s when I walk into a room and see a guy notice me I swear they always give me dirty hateful looks and they think I am the ugliest thing they have ever seen. I really don’t fully understand the mean girl persona. Because honestly I thought most of the girls in my school felt sorry for me instead of wanted to hurt me. Which really isn’t much better but they never actively insulted me either. They never bullied me in any way unless they were following the boys lead which was rare.

    • I’m so sorry, Kelly. Boys can be just as mean. Praying you have seen the truth in who you are – fearfully and wonderfully made. Loved with an everlasting love. The beautiful daughter of the King, knit together perfectly in your mother’s womb. That’s the truth of who you are, Kelly. <3

  17. I know what you mean. I was picked on terribly throughout elementary and middle school, and in middle & high school, I had several girlfriends abandon me. Because of this, I spent many years with more guy friends than girl friends (which, looking back, wasn’t completely healthy, either). In my junior year of college, God brought my best friend–and “heart sister”–into my life, and I’m so thankful for her! In the years following, I was able to embrace forgiveness for past hurts, and was able to build even more deep female friendships. 🙂

    • That’s so great, Leslie! Yes, the hard stuff we walk through often becomes a blessing. I’m now blessed with wonderful Heart Sisters but I think all of the “stuff” has prepared my heart to be able to receive these precious relationships. It sounds like you’ve experienced the same. <3

  18. I had forgotten the mean girls from school until i was treated pretty much the same way by the pastor’s wife at the last church i attended. I worked there as secretary for a year and the things she did to me and another lady who was the bookkeeper was shameful. When my family left that church i vowed to never have dealings with church ladies again. I have slowly began, with the Lord’s help to move past and love the ladies in the church.

    • Ah, yes. Christian women are not exempt. We are ALL disabled by the flesh.

      But just as not all non-believing women can be labeled one way, neither can all Christians women. Thankful you have been able to see the truth in that, Judy! <3