What Is a True Friend?

True Friendship Quotes 

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”  William Shakespeare

“A true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes the smile on your face.” Anonymous

“Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.” Jim Morrison

“We all need friends with whom we can speak of our deepest concerns, and who do not fear to speak the truth in love to us.” Margaret Guenther

“When you love, you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.” Ernest Hemingway

“A friend shares the good times and helps out by listening during the bad times.” Molly Oliver

“A true friend encourages us, comforts us, supports us like a big easy chair, offering us a safe refuge from the world.” H. Jackson Brown

“True relationship: Love without condition, talk without intention, listen without judging, give without reason and care without expectation.” Anonymous

“A true friend loves
regardless of the situation…”
Proverbs 17:17 VOICE

We fall short of being true friends in so many ways, don’t we?

It can hurt so deeply when those we thought were “friends” betray, slander, or reject us. But we have to guard our hearts from bitterness or from putting up walls that won’t let anyone in or let any of our love out. It’s hard, isn’t it?

Ultimate Friendship 

There will always be one Totally True Friend. Jesus always has and always will remain faithful and steadfast.  He knows our deepest secrets, and yet He will never betray us.  He loves us without condition. He doesn’t condemn us, even when we have hurt Him. He has paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, and He will never, never, never leave us or forsake us.

“There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me,
in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name—
My Champion, my Friend,
while I’m weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God
as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor.”
Job 16:19-21 The Message
“One who has unreliable friends
soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend
who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24
“I have told you these things so that
you will be filled with My joy.
Yes, your joy will overflow!
This is My commandment:
Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
There is no greater love than to
lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:11-13

“What a Friend”
by Matt Maher

“What A Friend We Have in Jesus”
Sung by Paul Baloche

Faith and Fear Can Co-Exist

“When I am afraid,
I will trust in You.”
Psalm 56:3 HCSB

Feeling crushed by enemies too hard for him, David asked God for His free, rich mercy only He can give.

This same David bravely conquered a lion and a bear and the giant Goliath in his youth. Yet now he admits how afraid he is. The enemies who seek to destroy him are relentless in pursuing him.

He didn’t deny the presence of fear in his heart, but he found courage in trusting God to do what could not be done by human power alone.

“He feared, but that fear
did not fill the whole area of his mind,
for he adds, ‘I will trust in Thee.’
It is possible, then, for fear and faith
to occupy the mind at the same moment.”
Charles Spurgeon

When painful memories get triggered, panic screams through my veins. I want to run and flee, but my feet feel stuck in quicksand that sucks me down and threatens to swallow me up. Fear fills the whole area of my mind, especially when it hits me without warning. It can be hard to think straight and to remember I can trust Jesus’ outstretched hand of rescue.

I have to talk myself through it. Where is this coming from? Why am I feeling this way? Am I in real danger here, or is it a hyper-sensitive reaction triggered from past painful experiences?

Traumatic events can embed themselves in our brains, and our bodies automatically react when these memories are triggered. We may feel helpless to control it, and it sometimes takes time to talk ourselves through what is real in the present moment. Even as we desperately cry out to Jesus, trusting and believing He is the only One who can and will rescue us, our bodies can be shaking with fear and anxiety. We may feel fear, but that does not mean we have no faith.

I have heard some Christians say fear and faith cannot co-exist, and I figured anyone knows better than I do. So I would beat myself up (and still do sometimes) – “If you can’t face this fear or get rid of fear entirely, you must not have faith.” But God is step by step teaching me that fear and faith can co-exist, and we don’t have to feel shame about the fear that still sometimes lingers on in our hearts and minds.

Jesus keeps loving us no matter what. It’s not about the measure of our love for Him. It’s about His perfect love for us! Even when our faith seems nonexistent or is dim. Even when the thunder of fear makes it hard to hear His voice. Even when we struggle with believing He is with us in the storm. We may waver, but His love never does. No matter where we are, He is whispering, “I’m here, Child. I understand your fears. I catch your tears. I will always love you.”

“Praise You In This Storm”
by Casting Crowns

Grieving and Giving Chronic Illness to God Who Cares

I don’t write about it much, but I’ll admit I do get so weary sometimes of chronic illness… Shortness of breath, persistent coughing, tight and sore bronchial airways, aching in my bones, draining energy, brain fog, and recurrent bronchial infections that flare up my sarcoidosis, a multi-system inflammatory disease primarily affecting the lungs.

Through all losses, we need to go through a grieving process, don’t we? Even when we have health limitations. Sure, it helps to look at others we feel have it so much worse, but I’m learning that only leads us to dismiss or minimize our health issues. Then we start to do more what others expect of us than to care for ourselves. We end up draining ourselves.

We need to allow ourselves to believe we have a problem so we can do what will help, not hinder, our well-being. We need to work through any feelings, like anger or depression, that detriment our health. To mourn the things our hearts long to do, but our bodies don’t agree to. To grieve over the pain of others not understanding us. It’s okay not to feel okay.

God invites us to unburden any and every hurt in our hearts, even when we feel upset at Him for not healing us like we want. He desires for us to allow His grace-filled arms to hold us up, His compassion to console us, and His unconditional love to release the pressure we put on ourselves.

No matter what we suffer from, Jesus empathizes with us and cries with us. He has experienced every kind of suffering imaginable, so He understands. Because He suffered for us, we don’t have to be alone in our suffering.

It can be so hard though, right? It’s a process that recycles over and over again. But God is not going to abandon us, even when it feels like it. His character is the very essence of love and faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning.

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!”
Lamentations 3:22-23

I have not posted this to gain any pity. I’m just trying to be real. It’s something I really need work on. I usually have this automatic answer when most people ask me how I am – “I’m fine! How are you?” I try to be strong in front of others, and I end up paying for it. I’m not meaning we should wallow in a puddle of self-pity and expect everyone to sit there with us. We can be honest about how we feel but still, through God’s grace, seek the beauty all around us.

I know there are many who compare their suffering with others’ and feel their suffering isn’t worth mentioning and think they should just be thankful for what they have more than others, myself included. I write this with a prayer that even one reader will feel less alone and will realize Jesus deeply cares and understands. He doesn’t measure one suffering to be worse than another. He waits with open arms and ears to hear each of us pour out every pain of our hearts, minds, and bodies.

“Praise You In This Storm”
by Casting Crowns

 May God give you strength and hope for each day!