I was talking recently with a friend about our inevitable upcoming move to Boston and friendships and best friends and the like. Truth be told, I’ve always been a best-friend kind of girl. I like to have them, to hold them close. I like to work hard to love my friends well and in general, I just like women. While I’m a massive introvert and need time alone, a coffee date with two or three of my closest tends to bring a good amount of joy to my heart. I had best friends in college, who stayed best friends. I had a best friend in Charlotte, who became my best friend who moved to Seattle when I did. And sure enough, I’ve made some best friends here. That phrase starts to sound silly after a few sentences right? Like a seventh grader asserting her claims and wearing matching bracelets.
Anyhow, my wise friend was telling me that it was really beautiful the way she saw her mother kind of working out her salvation at home. She knew her mother had friends and had accountability, but if it was a bad day – she didn’t rush off to a coffee shop to meet some women, she prayed right there with her children. Which of course got me thinking about my own life and sanctification and the role I allow my family to play in it.
To start the dialogue, I turned to my very best woman friend ever, my sister. I asked her what she thought – because she’s a best friend kind of girl too, and she agreed. It was sort of a novel, fresh idea. Instead of striving to make our husbands chief of our relational worlds – what if they just were? What if on bad days and good days, our kids were allowed to see the work of the Spirit within us and we shared with them the praise of His name when fruit began to grow? She agreed, it was something to think about – and more importantly, if that was the way the Lord led my heart – it would be essential to give Glory a sister so she has a built-in best friend before she meets her husband.
The whole time I was discussing this with my sister, we were skyping so we could see each other’s sweet faces, and my husband was sitting on the couch nearby. When I brought up the topic with him, his response was really beautiful and wise because he pointed out the fact that most of the big issues I mull over in my heart are not taken to him first. He reminded me of a few big things I’ve been praying through and thinking through – and how he’s seen me talk to other women about it and not necessarily ever mention it to him. Even this new idea I’ve been thinking about, I talked to my sister about it first – without really asking his opinion.
What a shame, right? Here I am, with this complex and confusing heart that is kind of desperately wanting to be grown by Jesus and I bypass the one person (and the three little people) who see and feel the effects of it daily. My thoughts, prayers, big ideas, dreams, fears, desires, and convictions tend to stay locked in my head until I have time to package them up neatly and give them to women for consideration or sit down in a quiet space and type them up.
And of course, there is something to be said for protecting your family a little. The last thing that needs to happen is me confessing me body image issues to a two year old or collapsing on the floor in front of Nick to rehash my day when he walks in the door. But what if I gave them my prayers and confessions first? If in the middle of a fit of despair, I sat on the floor and asked the kiddos to pray and read the Word with me, rather than reaching to text a friend? What if I made more of my relationship with these four other amazing people in my family than I did of the handful of women the Lord has blessed me to be friends with? It would be so beautiful if my husband was more than my “best friend” in theory, if his company & council was sought after quantitatively more and not just figuratively more.
So I’m still overwhelmingly thankful for the women God has put in my life. I still want to enjoy them, sharpen them, skype with them, laugh with them and give them all those things in return. I still want to learn how to be a better friend, how to encourage and spur and listen well. But for now, my chief pursuit in the area of relational living will be learning to work out this beautiful salvation at home. With my four best friends.