Building Lasting Friendships
LOCATION: Galentines At Hock Farm
Processing difficult emotion is a vital element of life. I learned at a very young age to not share with anyone how much pain I was in. My heart was, at most times, in shreds from so much emotional pain, yet I couldn't allow anyone in. I felt like no one would understand or if they heard all I was going through, they would run the other way in disgusted horror.
As we were praying around the dinner table last night with my family, my daughter shared with us that she didn't want a little boy in her class to laugh at her eye. She said, "Mom, I don't want Christian to laugh at me, I will be embarrassed." Isn't that how most of us feel at times? Sitting around a table hiding behind all that we are struggling with, in terror that the person sitting next to us will shame our struggle? I believe the cornerstone of friendship is transparency.
I too sat at the Galentine's meal worried what the girls would think about me being a recovering alcoholic. As the server brought us drinks for all of us to sample, I had to be honest and tell my new friends the struggles in my life when they asked why I wasn't drinking. I could have lied. But where does that get me? Back into shame corner, is where. When I say I'm in recovery, most people's reaction is to be concerned for me. They want to help me to not "fall"- so they hand me water. Or they'll say, "I'm so sorry!" My favorite response has been, "I'm NOT! I'm finally recovering what was lost. I'm not missing a thing!" See, for me, alcohol meant hiding from the true pain I didn't know how to process. Now that God has been so merciful to mend many of my wounds, I don't feel the need to medicate in order to distract from those extremely difficult emotions. I know I am capable of withstanding my pain and coming out the other side grasping the hand of my faithful Jesus, ever-so-tightly. I finally understand some of my deepest wounds were not BECAUSE of me. The shame I felt was piercing. The healing and dignity I feel now, is the road to recovering the belief and knowledge of who I truly am. A beloved daughter of a king. A princess, if you will. Heavens, you call me princess, I turn around, yo! That's where God had me, not at Hello, but at, you're my princess and I will never let you go.
Last night my heart broke for my little girl. Here she was nursing a busted eye and all she could think about was feeling shame and embarrassment because of a hurt that wasn't her fault. I quickly said a prayer in my head so I'd be able to direct her with my words and I told her something that ended up ministering to me as well (thank you, Heavenly Father, for mothering both of us at the same time!). Here's what I responded:
"Maddy love, God gifts us with friends to help us in this life. Tomorrow might be a great opportunity for you to see who might be a great friend to cultivate and develop a deeper friendship with. You can't control anyone laughing or saying an unkind word about your hurt eye. But you can control what you say and think about it and whom you choose as a friend.
God can take any pain you're in and use it for your good when you give it to him. Cry out to him and discover the treasures of the true friendships he brings you. Tomorrow, If you see anyone having compassion towards you, someone being concerned about your eye, that will indicate to you they are a person whom you can build a stronger bond with. Some people don't know how to be compassionate for themselves, so they can't comfort us in a time of need. But others will say things like, "That is so painful." and give you a hug. They might not have words of comfort (For no one aside from God can "fix" our pain) but if they hug you and listen to your hurt, that proves empathy and compassion that is worth more than gold! Let that be a compass to the friends you want to build lastingfriendship with, honey. I love you."
Thank you to my blogging community, you are all actual gems of women who are encouraging me to keep going with this blogging world. I love you already and I am so grateful to have enjoyed a Galentine's with you!
Not everyone can be a lasting and deep friendship, and that's okay. I don't believe we are meant to have millions of deep friends. I believe that we need to cultivate the ones we know are meant for us. Friendship will bloom when you tend to it. It has to be a two way street of mutual love, respect and compassion. Thank you to anyone I call, friend.
I love you so much, have a beautiful week!
Thank you to Hock Farms and to Christina Best Photography