“You make me feel inadequate.”
The words were like a knife in my gut. I caught my breath, unsure if I’d heard the phrase through the phone correctly.
“I’ve been praying and God told me that we aren’t good for each other….we shouldn’t be friends anymore.” Her voice was devoid of all its accustomed affection and warmth.
Unsteadily, I’m stammering, “What? What did I do? Marie (name changed), how did I make you feel inadequate? Something I said? Did?”
My heart is pounding and I swallow the lump in my throat, but tears sting.
“This isn’t right…Marie…you can’t just end a friendship, can’t we work this out? This isn’t right!”, I’m awkwardly repeating myself.
What followed was a litany of reasons why she was upset with me…through the pounding in my ears, it was “you didn’t let me put something in Lian’s care package….it’s all about your kids, not mine….you’re manipulative….you posted a meme that offended me….” I felt like she was grasping at straws, searching for something, anything to end the relationship.
I’m verbally stumbling around, trying to defend myself, apologizing for the offensive meme…..not realizing that I’d offended her by posting it, trying to explain myself.
A meme I loved and agreed with, but she thought I was aiming it at her…but she didn’t have a facebook account, so how was I aiming it at her?
In frustration, I raise my hand to my face, feeling it tremble.
“Ok, if that’s how you feel.” I fall silent, resigned. How can I insist she stay friends if she doesn’t want to?
The conversation abruptly ended. I hung up the phone, sat down, and wept. I’d just lost a friend. A dear, Godly friend. A person I loved and respected, that I had laughed with, cried with, prayed with…..I was beyond devastated.
This wasn’t just any friend, Marie was one of my closest friends. Our children had grown up together for years…our daughters were best friends. We would get together for coffee at least once a week and we’d laugh, paint, draw, the kids would play. I so enjoyed her company….a beautiful extrovert, she drew me out of my introverted reverie, her spunky personality and beautiful smile always lifted spirits. She was popular, everyone loved Marie…all were drawn to her charming charisma. Never the popular one, always the nerdy, quiet, artistic one, I was thrilled just to be welcomed into her inner circle.
I vividly remember the years she prayed with me for adoption. She knew my heart and deep passions for children in need of families. A happy history existed, but I helplessly watched those sweet years crumble away into the murky waters of bitterness and misunderstandings.
To be honest, I have wracked my head and heart, trying to figure out where I failed. I would lie awake at night and shed bitter tears on more than one occasion. If a photo popped up on social media of her, sleep would be a stranger to me. I had to unfriend her friends, her family, all people I knew, just so that I could try to put it out of my head…move on, get some sleep.
I was confused, hurt, and in the midst of it all, we were trudging up the uncertain mountain of adoption paperwork and fundraising.
Then, one day, it came to me….the tension, the noticeable withdrawal….It all started that autumn when we started the adoption process. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the problem at the time, but there was a coolness that had started, a drifting away distance. She was no longer available for weekly coffee anymore, too busy. My texts went unanswered…she didn’t call or answer her phone.
“That’s ok!” I attempted to be cheerfully accommodating. She has kids and a busy life, whenever she’s free, it’s ok. I tried to reassure her…but I quietly wondered.
The distance progressed. A few times I tried to get to the bottom of it, fumbling through emotions and words, sensing something was amiss, but unsure of how to fix it only making it worse, I’m sure.
We were matched with Lian around Christmas time and then that phone call happened after one last, strained coffee together in February. It was over.
It has been almost two years since that day. Does the rejection still sting? Absolutely. Deeply.
Did our adoption have something to do with the ending of the friendship? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that the timing was strangely coincidental.
I’m certainly not writing to garner sympathy because I’m pretty sure my experience has been replicated multiple time in the adoption community. If not friends, then family rejection, neighbors…….I’m writing just to encourage us all, as Christians. Even if God is moving your best friend or family member in a direction that you don’t agree with or if you’re feeling inadequate in the shadow of their journey, you must wrestle through those emotions with scripture as guidance.
If one allows untruths to poison the spirit, strangling the friendship, the ripple effects of those actions in severing the close bonds of camaraderie spread fearfully far.
If you are truly a believer, the words “God told me to end this friendship” should never come out of your mouth. Ever. Unless there is serious unrepentant sin in the relationship, God would never send you in that direction. In fact, Proverbs states that “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
What does that mean? God places certain people in our lives to sharpen us, honing our Christian walk, teaching us lessons that we would never learn otherwise. The sharpening process is metal grating against metal…..not pleasant, but oh so valuable when the end result is realized! When the sharpening process is complete, you are both stronger, wiser, more ready to traverse the challenging individual journeys God has laid before you!
Don’t shy away from the sharpening process in your life, my friend.
We are sisters in Christ.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone….If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:15-18
Honestly, my sweet friend, God isn’t going to have a separate area in heaven for the two of us.
“Oh, Marie! Welcome to heaven…I know that you and Cady have had earthly issues, so please go to Heavenly Sector B….and Cady, please make your way to Sector F, the clouds are especially fluffy there”.
No! Your journey with your sisters in Christ starts here and now, regardless of our fleeting irritations, busy lives, or PMS driven impulses!
Let us love and support one another, fleeing from unhealthy thoughts that endlessly strive to divide us. How will the world know we are Christians, except by our love? All of our precious efforts should be focused on unity and reconciliation when matters of the heart are on the chopping block.
Besides, when you’ve stood in a sterile, crib-filled room, your heart filling with tears, the deafening, infant silence signaling the destituteness of this world, somehow these petty things fall away. You want to join hands with those nearest, forging forwards to beat back the relentless dragon of orphanhood.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from First Knight, where King Arthur says, “I take all of you. I cannot love people in slices.”
We have to take the bad with the good and love the person in entirety, unconditionally, without parsing out the easy parts of their journeys or personalities. Some of my most fragrant friendships are the unexpected, uncommon ones where God lovingly plopped us together, making me glean exceptional life lessons.
I’m pleading with you all, as Godly women, to live together in unity, encouraging one another, lifting one another up in prayer, not getting bogged down in divisive pettiness that is the world’s main destructive diet in friendships.
Please, I am begging you, consider eternity. Remember what Christ died for and how He forgave those who nailed Him to the cross. Forgive, as you would like to be forgiven.
If you have a grief against a sister, RUN to them and resolve it, with tears, with humbleness, with hugs over coffee….make it your top priority.
And to Marie, if you ever read this, I love you dearly. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart for anything I said or did to hurt or offend you….and I’m always here, if you ever want to heal.
We are followers of Christ. Let us act accordingly.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world not possibly born until they arrive” ~ Anais Nin