I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was growing up. I had a few friends that I called best friends, but looking back, our friendship was just silly girl stuff.
My mom wrote me a letter when I graduated from high school. It said, “As I look back in my journals over the years I’m always praying for you to have a friend...I don’t know why the Lord has never answered that prayer the way we think he should.”
I never understood why friendships were so hard for me, either.
My older brother, Nathan, was my friend. My mom would tell us that we were each other’s best friend. I’ve come to realize that this is something a lot of moms tell their children. Either they really believe it’s true, or they think that if they say it enough it will become true.
Nathan and I fought a lot. Probably all the time. Even after he left home, we fought. I don’t really remember why. I think it had something to do with him bossing me around and me not liking it very much so I retaliated. I was good with words, but he was good at making himself scary and coming up with creative threats.
But he was a good big brother. We did have our own share of memories and he was good at including me with his friends (I don’t remember if he ever lacked them).
I went to Guatemala the year after I graduated. I stayed for two months. At the end of the two months, Corrie and Lauren came down and joined me on a mission trip. We flew home together and had a three-hour layover in the Atlanta Airport.
We had planned to shop during the layover, but we sat in a coffee shop and talked instead.
That’s when I realized that my friends didn’t have to be my age or walking through my same season of life. They could be younger; they could be older. They could be in high school; they could be married with kids. They could be part of my family.
Limiting my friendship search to peers had been one of my problems.
At my birthday party when I turned 20, most of the people who came were younger or older than me. Maybe 2 or 3 people were actually close to my age.
The party was a blast.
It wasn’t too long after that that things changed. It wasn’t too long after that that I was able to make friends my age and do stuff with people who were walking on the same path that I was on. That was a blast, too. My 21st birthday party was completely different than my 20th. It was a surprise party that my sisters threw for me with lots of guys and girls my age. I’d met them at church groups and with campus ministries, much the same way that normal people meet their friends.
God wasn’t holding out on me or waiting until I learned some important lesson before He gave me what I wanted. He just had different ideas about what was going to bless me.
He was right.
Friends don’t have to be your peers. And through that season, I made friends with my sisters. They became my best friends. I learned that when all the other friends come and go (and they always do), my sisters would always be around. Any time I spend with them is not wasted. Any memory I make with them is worth it.