Friends in the Elevator of Life!
Written by Guest Blogger, Dana Crocker
I love this picture as it captures the fun, beauty and uniqueness of friendship. But what I love even more, is that it takes place in an elevator which symbolizes the ups and downs that life brings… My friends in this picture have traversed it all with me. To think that none of them have gotten off on another floor when my life was too messy to hear about, or when things in my life were going “up” and theirs was going “down”, the time and investment I have with each one is so precious and priceless!
Friendship is truly a gift; but let’s be honest, establishing a friendship takes work.
It takes a willingness to be intentional and vulnerable, which can feel so risky! I’ve said this cliche for years to my family, “to have a friend, you have to BE a friend” – and it’s so true.
Being intentional with friends means stepping out of your comfort zone to invite a new relationship into your life. It’s about spending time with your friends. I’ve found each friendship requires a different level of care and each friend meets a different need in my life. Vulnerability enters when you share those things in your life that aren’t polished and pretty, and that’s where it can feel risky. When you open your life and heart to a friend and share those “down” moments or seasons that you are experiencing, and she doesn’t jump off on the next floor, but she stays and rides on the elevator of your life with you, that is when bonding happens.
These friends that you see in this picture didn’t just happen. Some I’ve known for more than 20 years and some for just a few short years. But with each woman I have invested time with and they KNOW me just as I KNOW them. We’ve shared the “ups”; marriages, babies, new homes, promotions…and we’ve shared the “downs” of troubled marriages, struggles with our kids and the passing of parents. None of them have stopped loving me or my family and it’s through sharing life together that we have grown into a deeper relationship of unconditional friendship. We’ve laughed til we’ve cried and we’ve prayed and interceded for each other through each phase.
I know that Jesus created friendship because He surrounded Himself with a wide variety of brothers. Aside from marriage, it is the only relationship where I get to be unique and my friends get to be who THEY are. I love this verse:
“She calls her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her.”
(in Luke 15:9)
And this is the beauty of friendship to live life together; loving one another and rejoicing with one another!
Turning 40 this year has caused me to reflect more on my life and the people God has surrounded me with…Because as an only child, I was fearful that I would grow up lonely and without people who really knew and loved me. So, of course the one thing I always desired was a sister, just one sister! I remember begging and pleading with my parents for just one sister. And though I never received any biological sisters, the Lord has richly blessed my life with these sisters and many others not pictured. Sometimes I am in awe of the Lord’s faithfulness to me. Their friendship is such a gift and has greatly enriched my life. They are all unique in their own way, which is a true testament as to how God has made us all distinct.
And now as a Mom to three young girls I feel a deep desire to teach and show them what friendship looks like.
It’s not easy, because at their young ages making friends and building friendship is new and they lack the tools to know how build strong lasting relationships. Over the past year the Lord laid on my heart that if my girls were struggling with this, then maybe there were many more just like mine who needed some tools to help them learn how to be friends.
Out of that has grown this ministry called One Heart: PDX Friday Friendzy! It’s a time where we gather third – fifth grade girls and talk about how to be a friend, how to love and how to be kind. It’s a crazy good time, but it’s also rich and deep and full of good conversations with these girls. Building the next generation of girls up on the firm foundation of God’s principles for friendship is truly a gift that I am privileged to be a part of.
As adults we will still deal with friendship changes and challenges. Even in the planning stages of Friday Friendzy I had the privilege of practicing what it looks like to work through hard stuff, but I knew we were going to be building and equipping the next generation with advice on how to BE a good friend, and that we’d use all we were still learning to teach this younger generation!
Friendship can feel like risky business, but I assure the reward of being in relationship with others is so worth it. So I encourage you to take that risk and be intentional with your friends, be vulnerable with them and love one another and always be open to whom God may have entered on the elevator of your life…going UP?!
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Dana loves her hubby, Robb, being a momma to three beautiful girls, and her accidental farmer life with too many chickens to count. She fills her days loving Jesus, her family and her friends. Her heart is to raise up the next generation of girls who will know and love Jesus as their best friend and to equip them with the skills needed to pour His love out in their friendships. She is the heart behind Friday Friendzy and serves as an important member of the Joy of It Team.
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