“Whoever wants to be my girlfriend, come give me a kiss!” he yelled.
Without hesitation, I ran over and planted a peck right on his mouth.
That day, right there on those yellow monkey bars, it became official. I was Edrick Mosley’s girlfriend.
We were five years old.
Edrick and I had a very simple relationship. We basically just sat together as much as we could, while barely speaking to each other. Despite that major/minor communication problem, we were committed to our relationship and our whole school, teachers included, knew it.
We remained “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” from kindergarten through fifth grade. Our long-term, simple yet perfect relationship was forced to end because he moved away. Plus I wasn’t allowed to talk on the phone to boys yet. The answer to that request wouldn’t come until my sophomore year of college, but we’ll save that story for another day.
Edrick moving away was the first time I’d been separated from a long-time friend.
You see I’ve always had a pretty stable life.
I spent the first 11 years of my life in one house then after a short one-year stint in an apartment, my family moved into the house we have lived in for the past 18 years.
I did move out of state twice but even still I was always coming back home to the same place. This has made me pretty used to stability and when it comes to relationships, I’m especially committed.
Over the course of life I’ve experienced separation from quite a few friends due to different circumstances, but it’s been years since I’ve had to say goodbye to a very close friend. Four and a half years to be exact. That’s when one of my best friends
moved left for an extended vacation to Arizona.
Despite the distance, we’ve still managed to remain close and in regular contact and that is the only reason I’m not super depressed about my current state of life which I’ll now explain.
Here recently I had a
slightly majorly depressing double-header “Close Friend Exodus.” Two very dear friends of mine accepted amazing, job opportunities that seemingly came out of nowhere. They both have awesome stories from beginning to end about how it all happened! God showed out for them for sure, the only problem is they both had to move away!
One left last week to begin her new life in Israel…yes, the nation of Israel! And the other left this week for California.
I was reflecting on everything and realized a lot of parallels between these two friends of mine. I’ll just share a few:
- Both of their names start with A – just thought that was neat
- They are both moving someplace new for the second time – one came to Dallas from Florida, the other from Houston
- They both had going away parties at our house – they were both super fun, inspiring, and encouraging for all of us!
- They were both “first friends” for me – which is a term I just made up
That’s a believable term and description right? Cool, so let me tell you about the two of them and then make my final points.
First Friend #1
Almost 5 years ago, Amanda and I started working at Daystar around the same time. I remember the day she came to interview and spend the day with us. Soon after she was hired, we became fast friends. We even took a trip to Arizona together to visit my bestie that’d
moved gone on an extended vacation there, just a couple years prior.
She was a first friend that I could always count on to be a listening ear, to pray with me, and to just be silly with. We laughed a lot. She is genuine, loyal, honest and authentic and I will never forget all the fun times and adventures we’ve shared.
You know you like your co-worker when you choose to go on trips and spend your weekends with them. Amanda was THAT kind of friend to me.
We quickly became each other’s cheerleaders and sounding boards. If we had an idea or felt unsure about something we were working on, we’d call the other over for their opinion. We also shared a special bond because we eventually ended up co-producing a couple documentaries together. Ironically, both of them were about Israel—the place she now calls home! We were a great team.
First Friend #2
I had decided to stop attending the church I’d known my entire life to attend one about 25 minutes away. It was a very hard decision and an interesting time of transition. You can read more about it in my post, “Me @ 29.”
Basically it took me a while to find my place at the church and there were many Sundays where I felt disconnected and lonely because I barely knew anyone there. Antrenette changed my entire experience.
It all began when she complimented my hair one Sunday. A couple weeks later we found ourselves at an event where we had our first full conversation (which really was us just clowning and laughing the whole time). By the end of the night we knew we had to be friends.
We exchanged numbers and set a date to connect over dinner so we could learn each other’s stories. We met up and I loved her!
“I finally have a friend at church!!” I thought.
This girl is such a genuine and loyal friend. She’ll fight battles on your behalf that you didn’t even know you had!
She is also a connector and since meeting her, I have never walked alone in that church again. She made sure I was brought into the mix and I honestly don’t even know if I can fully explain how much I needed that at the time and how much her simple, consistent acts transformed my mind, attitude, and life. I am forever grateful.
Now that they are both relocating, they will be faced with a lot of the same things I was dealing with then.
I remember those feelings of loneliness, isolation, insecurity, and sadness—feeling out of place and unnoticed.
Because of that experience, I never want anyone in proximity of me to be alone…unless they want to be, I guess. But who wants that? Everybody wants to belong and be accepted in some way right? I think so.
These two girls have shown and taught me how to love a stranger all the way to close friendship. They have taught me consistency and patience and forgiveness. They have taught me acceptance and loyalty. They have shown me true friendship and I’m so thankful.
I’m thankful that God brought us together right when I needed them both. Our friendships have inspired me to be that person to others and they’ve compelled me to go deeper in my existing friendships.
I believe these friendships are exactly what God wants for all of our lives. God is so intentional. He designed and desires for us to have intentional relationships. In fact, there are a lot of scriptures and examples of friendship all throughout the Bible. Here is just a small sample of them:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” –Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.” -Job 2:11
“A friend loves at all times” -Proverbs 17:17
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.” -Romans 12:10
“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.” -1 Samuel 18:1-3
What to Do
Having experienced friends moving away multiple times now, there are a some things I’ve learned, to do. Here are three of them:
1. Remain a Friend
Fortunately I’ve been able to maintain relationships with the majority of my close friends who have moved away. Although we obviously don’t hang and talk as much as we did when we lived in the same city, we still have a close friendship and bond that enables us to pick right up where we left off. We still celebrate each other’s birthdays and new life accomplishments and we’re still close. Don’t think that your friendship is over just because the person is moving. Your friendship is changing, not ending.
2. Invest in Covenant Friendship
Covenant friendship requires great honestly and vulnerability. It’s the type of friendship where grace and forgiveness abound and where personal and character growth happens because you’re spurring each other on to greatness. Choose to go deeper in your friendships. Take risks and share more than you feel comfortable sharing. You’d be surprised at how much you grow personally. And personal growth is not only for the good of you, but also for the good of all of those around you.
3. Welcome Others In
It’s so easy to get comfortable with your set group of friends and leave strangers and new people out of the equation. I think about how
different my life would’ve been if Amanda and Antrenette operated that way. Because of the way they have impacted me, I am motivated to do the same for others and I want to challenge you to do the same. Be open to being a “first friend” to someone that’s in a time of transition and adjustment.
Questions to Consider (Feel free to answer either, neither, or both in the comments!):
Have you ever had a First Friend? If so, how did they help you in a time of change or transition?
Are you currently going through any changes in life (either good or challenging)? If you’re open to sharing, do so in the comments so we can pray for you!
Will you join me in praying for Amanda and Antrenette? They both are pretty much starting from scratch in new places and will need God’s guidance and protection in new ways. Lets pray that they’ll find friends and a community that will help them adjust and be a great support system in their new seasons of life.