What might happen if we began new friendships on a foundation of grace?
This week I’m doing a fun giveaway. Of course, I’m giving away a copy of The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness.
But we are also giving away a Prayer Journal, where you can begin to talk with the greatest Friend about your forgiveness journey.
How do you enter? We’ll select someone who has commented on this week’s #forgivetolive posts.
Do you belong to a small group at your church or are you a part of a book club or ministry to women? I hope you’ll consider purchasing copies of the The Unburdened Heart and invest in others who desire to living a life that is free from the burden of unforgiveness!
How to Begin a Friendship – funny enough many important friends I’ve had in my life started with less than friendly feelings. But each one of them turned out to be wrong – and by giving them and myself a chance, forgiving my own judgments and forgiving the initial behavior, we were able to find lasting beautiful friendships!
Thank you for these posts and thank you for the opportunity of this give away.
Starting new friendships can sometimes be awkward. What do I say? Do I approach them first? Will they think I’m a dork? I’ve learned in some of my best friendship begin in church. One thing is certain, we all have a passion for Christ and want to serve in the church. It was easy to break the ice and start a conversation with. Those who are not in the church, I do not judge them. I’ll say something like, “cute shoes!” and get the conversation going. Then I actively listen to the person. And usually they will spill their soul to you because they just need someone to listen. I’ve made several friends this way. They appreciated I took the time to give them a compliment and took the time to listen. It was also a great way to ask if I could pray for them. And eventually, a few of them came to visit my church where they met some great folks and a strong support system.
Friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts to a woman. It can be hard to trust, but if God puts those in your life, it will always be for good.
It is easier for me to build friendships and keep friendships now that I have been saved by Christ. The difference between then and now is I am a happy woman and I want the best for everyone in my life that is my friend and I want to make friends with new people. I am not afraid to let them know that I love God.
This reminds me of an experience I had this week. I was in line for lunch and had a short conversation with the woman behind me. Later that afternoon I realized our sons are friends and went back over to her to introduce myself. She looked at me like I was crazy. Our kids are starting college and will be playing football together. It’s a small school so I know we will continue to be at events together. Your posts and comments are the encouragement I needed to continue reaching out to others. Some days this college thing feels like starting kindergarten, even with the third child:)
This is very true. It’s also easier to do with friends than it is with family for some reason.
I tend to agree too. I am alot closer to my friends than I am to my siblings. I find it easier to share with friends rather than family.
Thank you for the information it was a big help.
Of course God is my Bestest Friend as my kids call it.
I really have trouble making friends. The past has been such that I really don’t trust anybody. I am friendly with people, visit and chat but I do not make the effort to make it more than that. I have built a wall so that I am safe with my feelings, and myself. I do have a best friend, God and my husband is my next best friend. I would like to have other friends however something is stopping me from it.
I know it’s something in me and need to work on that. Thank you for this opportunity to share.
Anne, I am having the same issues. The hard time is that I at least had my husband as a second best friend, but due to his dishonestly that I uncovered in our marriage, repeatedly, I don’t have him either. I praise God that I have Jesus in my life and I can turn to him, but my heart cries out for human companionship that is more than superficial. I feel for you. I remember a time when I had girlfriends I could share with and trust. But it seems like so long ago since I closed my heart to close friendships. I will be praying for you as I am for my self.
That wall keeps you safe, but it also keeps you stuck, Anne. I pray that you let Him take down those walls, and that you discover one good friend. Not a person who meets your needs (that’s God’s job) or that wants you to meet hers, but simply a good friend to talk with, hang out with, and love God with.
The Forgive to Live has been wonderful. I have shared what has been received with the group of people at our church who does not have internet or still has a phone line connection to internet and it is so slow it takes forever to open a page on the internet. They are very happy about all I have shared so far and will continue to share with them the rest to come.
I love that Pam. Print it out, pass it out. I love that you are sharing it!
I need to get this my marriage has suffered due to my husband affair he has been lost since returning from Afghanistan he came back a lost man and instead of turning to me he asked for space which I gave him
And he turn to his ex-girlfriend and started a 2 year affair. I recently uncovered this and I am trying to heal and forgive to restore our marriage. I do not believe in divorce how I am struggling with the trust issue now. It is breaking my heart what this has done to my family. I pray that God will heal my heart and restore my marriage to his glory. I need to get the book. Your post have helped me so much during this time. Thank you and God bless you for what you do!!
Oh Father, hear the heart of this hurting woman. Lord, fill the gaps where a marriage has left her hurting. Show her how to respond, what she can do and what only you are capable of. Father, I pray for this husband, that He will seek help for the damage done, not in a person, but in You. Lead them to godly counsel who will equip them with the tools to mend this relationship. Be Luke 4:18 for Robin, and heal her broken heart, in Jesus’ powerful name, amen.
I also had issues with trusting people. I built walls thinking i could protect myself from being hurt by people. I didn’t have many friends and really didn’t want any. However, I did love God and with Him loving me, God began to teach me about ture love, forgiveness, trust, mercy, and grace. In my case, I was putting expectations on people in hopes that they by me being their friend they could somehow fulfill a void in my life. Bottom line, only God can truly fullfil and complete me.I When I learned that I excepted people just the way they were. I began to start my friendship with grace, knowing that I would also one day need that grace offered to me in that friendship.
Suzie , thank you so much for these discussion. I love this blog and your book “The Unburdened Heart” has helped me so much.
Love this Shana!
I too am struggling with friendship. Mostly because I can’t forgive myself, so I won’t let anyone too close to my heart…lest they too judge and see my unworthiness. I want so much to live a life for GOD, then I bump into people and there goes all my good girl. What hurts the most as I continue to fail. I feel like a phony ..how can I have a belief and love for God and believe that same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in me…once again, I revert back to the anger and sin again… how I want to forgive and live as one who reflects HIM.
Hey Wendy, forgiving yourself isn’t even in scripture. Isn’t that odd? Because we hear it all the time. Scripture leads us instead to the vast depths of mercy God offers us, where He hurls our sins as far as the east is from the west, reframing those sins to see us covered in His grace. That’s a fresh start, a new beginning. Somewhere there is a friend who will see you as you are, and love you for who you are, but it begins with us, seeing ourselves as God sees us. Not perfect, but a work in progress under the hands of a God who molds, shapes, designs His creation. So, sis, REST in His love today. Let the journey begin, and rest again in Him tomorrow. Trust Him. Give those “bumps” to Him and learn from them. Grow daily. But most of all, stop trying to fix yourself, and just love Him and be loved by Him and see where that takes you.
This post sheds light on a current situation . I am working with someone that a few years back did an unkind and hurtful thing to a child I love. I was less than friendly and unforgiving. As time moved on, I saw that she had changed a bit but I still had a tough time getting over it although I became more “cordial” in a polite way! I feel that we may soon be friends which means I have forgiven her but will never forget. It doesn’t pop into my head all the time, but every once in a while…I will continue to pray for both of us as God leads us forward into friendship!
It is so awesome to see people not afraid to share their struggles. Now , I am not hear speaking on behalf of Suzie but want to share something she said that helped me a great deal with forgiving MYSELF. She was speaking at a conference and was talking with a young lady who had the same issue of guilt an not able to forgive herself. Suzie said, ” That’s not your job. We were never asked to forgive ourselves.” “Accepting His forgiveness allows you to live fully in today.”
WOW!!!! Now I got into the Word of God and began to renew my mind daily. God began to remove my guilt as I, through grace accepted His forgiveness. Funny it is sometime easier to forgive others but not ourselves.
Now I would like to tell you Suzie has a blog on this site she posted it on May 28,2013. It is called
Forgiving: I can’t forgive myself. I encourage everyone to read this.
I don’t have many friends that are not superficial. I am nice, but I have a wall with people. I have been hurt by lies and meanness by so many past friends. At one time I at least had my husband as a second best friend, but due to his dishonestly, that I uncovered in our marriage, repeatedly, I don’t have him either. I praise God that I have Jesus in my life and I can turn to him, but my heart cries out for human companionship that can be trusted and deep. I have tried to do studies, word studies in the Bible, and talk to my pastor. But honestly I think I am destine to a life that will no longer have that. I feel like I have work through the forgiveness, but I just don’t know. I feel like I am trying to rebuild everything on sand at times…
I battle with friendships. My hubby has had affairs, and I’m so scared of other woman! I’m scared of getting involved in church, even as a couple. I’m scared that my hubby gets close to other woman…can anyone advise on this! I feel like I need to keep a distance, but at the same time I sense that God wants to use me. It really makes me shake in my boots!
Hey Anon, I can see why this has shaken your confidence. My prayer is that your husband finds God so real in His life that it leads Him to be the man, and husband he should be, and can be. But despite His journey, may your journey be that of strength and confidence in Whose you are. What interests or talents or spiritual giftings do you have? What is a group or church or ministry where you can use those talents to encourage others? Many times our deepest friendships come from serving together, or common interests. Also, is there godly counsel (not just pastoral counsel, but licensed Christian counsel) that is available for you to receive tools to help heal from your husband’s actions, and to move forward?
Hi Suzie, thank you for your reply. Yes we have been for couseling. Godly couseling, I have forgiven, but trust is really hard to rebuild – this is the part I battle with the most. I’m working agressively in finding my confidence in God and not my hubby. If I look back over the past year and a half, God has brought individuals in my life needing encouragement and cousel. I am a qualified Christian Couselor. He has given me great opportunities. I’m just very very weary being around women with my hubby. It’s crazy! I know. But through all of this, this has kept me on my knees, kept me seeking God and has put an immense hunger in my heart for God and his word. I just can’t seem to get enough of God – maybe this is where he wants me.
I have superficial friendships, work friendships and then the most important of all, the spiritual friendships. I feel safest with the spiritual friendships I have, but also they are the most complicated! I tend to gravitate toward women who could be deeper friends at this point in my life.
I have shared lots of times on Suzie’s blog about my struggles with friendship… I think trust may be a big thing, after being hurt many times, it’s hard to just relax in a friendship without fear of rejection. I don’t get it. I really don’t understand what goes awry with my friendships. Right now I have a few pretty good friends that hopefully will continue to grow into stronger relationships. I am focusing my efforts in meditating on God’s love for me and to get more of a fullness in him. Working on my relationship with my husband to strengthen that.. and I am learning I shouldn’t look so much to making others happy… but realize that I am full and complete in Jesus. Everyone seems to have a weak spot and mine is friendships. I am determined to study everything I can and meditate on the word and spend time talking/praying with the Lord until I overcome whatever it is that makes close friendships problematic.
There’s something powerful that you said in this post. You said, “I am meditating on God’s love for me”. That’s key. He is our need-meter. People can’t be, though a good friend, a husband, a child bring joy and fun and laughter and other good things. But my sense of being and security are filled up by Him. Today, Holly, ask God to help you look to Him only for those deepest treasures. I’m so glad you joined this conversation again today!