When she enters the room where our women’s Bible study group meets, she breaks down in tears, her pain and sorrow over a wayward daughter spilling out where she knows she is safe with friends. She is embraced and given freedom to cry without hurry, without judgement; just loved because she is precious to us. We listen, encourage, share a little of our own similar stories, then we pray and talk about the faithfulness of God and how He has all things in hand concerning this situation. Later there is laughter, sweet, reviving laughter to lift our spirits and bond our hearts. Our friend leaves refreshed.
I have known many people in my life, but only a few would I call friends of the heart. Though unique, there is a common tenor in each relationship which sets it apart as a true friendship. They refresh my heart, and I delight in refreshing theirs. True friends renew each other’s spirit and vigor. They encourage and believe in one another, so time spent together is energizing, not draining. A synergy occurs when giving friends share freely of their love and support, spurring one another on to bloom as God intended.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Prov. 11:25 NIV)
The women’s Bible study group I mentioned came about at the prompting of the Holy Spirit when a new friend asked me to start it. I was already meeting for prayer with two other women, so we formed a group of four. Only God could bring such unique personalities and life histories together to create a connection beyond a formal study. We all have a passion for God’s Word, seeking to learn it and live it in our daily lives. Hearing from each other how this is working out is a source of encouragement and faith-building. We share our triumphs and struggles on an intimate heart level rare in this day of social media isolation. Trust, compassion, respect, love; all intertwine to refresh our spirits and make us eager to meet each week. God is refreshing us through the study of His Word and the bonding of our Christ-centered friendships.
Another source of positive friendship for me is the writers group I have been a part of for many years. I would not be writing this post for InScribe today if not for the reviving camaraderie and encouragement of my peers in this group. The isolation required in being a writer can be lonely at times. I am inspired through interacting with fellow writers who have a common goal, who understand the joys and challenges of our calling and who genuinely seek to bring out the best in each other. Some of the friendships made here have spilled over into time spent together outside the group and with each other’s families, where our bond has grown beyond writing into friendship on other levels.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Prov. 27:17)
Jesus is our truest friend, one who sticks closer than a brother and refreshes our spirit as only He can do. He also provides for our need for human connection through those kindred spirits He brings into our lives, who love with a pure heart and speak with grace --- friends of the heart.
Valerie Ronald lives in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. She is a graduate of Vancouver’s Langara College journalism program, and has worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, public speaker and bookstore employee.Valerie finds being a member of the Manitoba Christian Writers Association has honed her writing skills and confidence. She writes devotionals for her home church bulletins and her online blog. Her current book project chronicles how God’s faithfulness saw her through the dark valleys of divorce and cancer. Along with her husband, Valerie enjoys spending time with their blended family and six grandchildren.She is a nature photographer, water colourist, cat lover and Scrabble addict.
More of her devotionals can be read on her blog https://scriptordeus.wordpress.com