While preparing to teach a Bible study recently, I was thinking about the value of friendships. As pastor’s wives, it is often difficult to form meaningful relationships with ladies in our church. The very concept of having a close friend within the church can cause hurt feelings and jealousy.
When we first began ministry, I was of the opinion that it was better if I didn’t get too close to anyone in our church. When I did find a woman I ‘clicked’ with, we quickly became close, spending quite a bit of time together. Before long, though, there was murmuring within the church because we would be spotted together or her car would be parked in front of our house. In an attempt to appease the complainers, I suggested she park her car in the back of our house and that we keep our relationship a bit more discreet. My friend didn’t understand my position and was deeply hurt. As for me, I felt defeated. I had lost the respect of many of the ladies in the church and I lost the only friend I had dared to make.
It was some time before I let myself get close to anyone again. It was a slow process, but I did form a small circle of friends that had common interests and that were involved in similar ministries. When I think about these ladies, I can’t help but value their influence on my life.
For instance, one has the wonderful gift of hospitality. She demonstrated how to be hospitable in many different circumstances. Whether showing hospitality in a hospital waiting room, at a church dinner or for a new mom, she has a way of making everyone comfortable. She changed the way I defined and practice hospitality. Another friend has a very practical way of seeing God in all our circumstances. Whether it’s a beautiful rainbow or a smiling toddler, she helped me see God’s hand in even the smallest details of our lives. There’s another who clearly demonstrates how to speak the truth in love, something I would say is not my natural inclination.
I am thankful for the ladies the Lord has allowed into my life. They have made an impact on me and my ministry. My life is richer because I let down my guard and formed lasting friendships with wonderful, Godly women.