I Prayed for Friendship; God Gave Me Sisterhood

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ~African proverb

A_ClaireD

I have known two types of friendship in my life. The first was the experience I think many women are familiar with: the relationship in which we feel guarded, unable to be our true selves, and unsure of the motives behind a friend’s words. This is the kind of friendship where gossip and competition are as rampant as a flowerbed of weeds in early springtime.

The second is the type of friendship I prayed for a decade ago. I remember the moment well; standing in the shower—where much of my prayer and creative thinking takes place—I cried out to God for authentic relationship. “Please God, give me real friendships where I can truly connect and be seen, where I feel close and valued. Please God, Please God …”

My prayer came as I washed away the mud on my shins from a morning run with two of the women in my life. I was several months into motherhood and feeling disconnected in my new role. I had also recently moved to the suburbs.

During the jog, one of the women had told me in a sympathetic voice that others were talking about how “snobby” I appeared to be. They concluded with shrugging shoulders that it must be my British accent, or perhaps jealousy over the fact that I was the first of all of us to move into a single detached home. Whatever the reason, to my fellow joggers the discussion seemed normal.

My heartbreak was palpable as I realized the girls in my current social circle not only had completely the wrong impression of me, but that each time we connected I felt drained, uncomfortable and disappointed. Wearing masks was not only routine, but the cultural sign of strength within the group.

Those masks were killing me.

These friendships left a knotted feeling in my stomach. The women talked about one another in judgemental ways, and saying what was really on our hearts and minds was too vulnerable and risky.

When I looked back on my life, this kind of friendship had been more prevalent than any other.

In the shower, I realized I would need to disengage from the group if I wanted to avoid feeling continually hurt. I would have to put up boundaries and walk away in the hope that at some point I would find the kinds of friendships I was seeking.

An absence of friendship seemed to be a better choice than friendships that kept breaking my heart.

Gradually, I disconnected from that group of women, and for a brief period of time my only friends were those who lived on the other side of the world.

During this time, as I navigated the lonely day in-day out chores of dirty diapers, breastfeeding and hours at home with only a baby for company, I struggled with the concept that there must be something wrong with me.

As an introvert I have always struggled to step out and connect with people. I prefer a small circle of close friends rather than a larger group of acquaintances. But to garner those close relationships requires some degree of sociability at first.

Was I sabotaging any chance at friendship through my inability to make that first step to simply say “hello?”

Perhaps. Relationships do after all, require the efforts of the two people involved. But if there is one area where I can say God has answered my prayers beyond my wildest dreams it’s in the arena of friendships.

Nowadays one of my greatest joys, strengths and blessings in life is my circle of friends. That circle is also currently the raft keeping my head above water.

I know that when I stood in that shower ten years ago and called out to God for friendship, He looked across the years and saw just how much I would need it in this, my hardest year yet. As I navigate divorce, depression, heartache and the loss of life as I once knew it, it is the words and presence of the friends I call family that give me hope and calms my fears.

These are the friends that help me pack boxes as I prepare to move to a house alone. They are the friends who sit by my side and cry with me. The ones who text me saying, “You can do hard things. You are family. We belong to each other.” The ones who take me out for afternoon tea, “Just because you are loved.”

A decade ago I had no idea friendships like these were even possible. The kind where we laugh together, cry together, show up as our broken selves and know we will be loved exactly as we are. The kind where we can be vulnerable and know this is a safe place.

When I prayed for friendships into my life, God gave me so much more. He gave me Sisterhood.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Claire De Boer
Hi, I’m Claire and though you may only see my words here once a month I’m part of the wonderful sisterhood of women who edit, upload and brainstorm behind the scenes of SheLoves. I was born and raised in England but pretty much see myself as a fully fledged Canadian. I spend just about all of my spare time blogging, editing and creating stories. I’ve also ventured into the world of teaching and mentor students in using writing as a tool for personal growth. My passion is to help others find the value and beauty in their stories and to find healing or self-awareness via journaling, memoir, or just "soul writing", as I like to call it. To learn more about my journey and the work I'm doing visit The Gift of Writing
Claire De Boer
Claire De Boer

Latest posts by Claire De Boer (see all)

Claire De Boer
  • Wow! Just wow.

    How beautiful to read this after tonight’s shift of packing boxes! This makes me all kinds of weepy and grateful.

    • cjdeboer

      Thank you my friend. I am beyond grateful too. xo

  • So thankful that you were courageous enough to make the break from the unhealthy and to trust God for sisterhood. Praying that your journey of faith will encourage others to do the same.

    • cjdeboer

      Thank you Michele! I hope others will do the same too.

  • Helene Burns

    Beautiful…like your heart Claire. So much love…Helen xo

    • cjdeboer

      Thank you Helen! xo

  • Kupa Mutungu

    Thank you for this, Claire. I really value your honesty here and your humility. <= I realize the risk of using this easily caricatured word–especially in a Christian context, and ESPECIALLY as a man talking to a woman. But I can't think of a better word!

    I've always admired how honestly you share the tough things in your life. But even more so, I admire the many dimensions of grace with which you share the good things: definitively, but without self-congratulation; precisely and incisively–but also in a way that is aromatic and that lingers beyond the final period.

    I read this blog post (http://bit.ly/1VY1eKH) last year that defined true humility as embracing who you are and releasing who you are not. You do this so well in your writing–which, of course, is just an extension of who you are. It's something I hope to emulate.

    • cjdeboer

      Kupa, thank you SO much for this thoughtful response. You really need to be writing 😉 Love that piece you linked to as well…

  • sandyhay

    I just shared this with “my sisterhood ” After almost 3 years, I think we’re finally starting to grasp this. Our sisterhood is getting wider…across borders. Thank you Claire. Thank you sheloves.

    • cjdeboer

      It does take a while doesn’t it, Sandy? But so worth pushing through all kinds of fears and vulnerabilities for. I’m glad that you too have found this kind of sisterhood – it’s rare, but I hope growing.

  • Joelle Povolni

    I loved this piece on finding true, intimate, and transparent friendships. I have those friendships although they have been stretched and separated by many miles after two moves in seven years. While friend “phone chats” are great, I’m now searching for genuine “face to face” friends in this new land. So I continue to pray and believe God will be faithful in this area of my life. Thank you for sharing your heart and God’s faithfulness Claire.

  • Wow! I love this so much! I love the way you write with such honesty and humility. Sometimes I read your words and I think to myself, “wow, she just said that” and this is why you’re an amazing friend-you’re authentic! We all NEED a village of people in our corner. whether it’s sisterhood, or brotherhood-who ever makes you feel at HOME. We all need a village of people to love on us! I am so thankful that I have that. Well said my friend!

  • Brittany Smith

    Most Gracious and Eternal Heavenly Father, I pray that you will repair the friendship that I have with my guy friend Jovani and that you will help us to reach out to one another and reconnect and talk to each other soon. I pray that you will change his heart and allow him to reach out to me and be kind to me again. Please do this in your own time and in your own way. I need your help, Father. I won’t give up on you or my friend. We have not spoken in four almost five months, since 1 July 2017, when he stopped talking to me for no reason at all. I miss him and I look forward to seeing/talking to him again one day. I claim my renewed friendship in Jesus Christ blessed name, Amen.