To Find a Friend, Be a Friend

When we first moved to Charlotte, I had no friends. But I did have a little hope that one day I’d find at least one. You see, before we moved from Virginia, my mom mailed me an article she’d seen in the newspaper about some women in Charlotte, NC who were college graduates that decided to be stay-at-home moms and start a ministry to encourage other SAHMs.

My mom didn’t even live in Charlotte. The Sunday newspaper had somehow ended up in her driveway one morning and she found the story in the family section. She knew we were moving here so she cut it out and put a sticky note on the front page that said, “These sound like the kind of friends you need. I hope you find them when you get to Charlotte.”

My heart was especially drawn to one of the women in the article. She and her husband owned a Chick-fil-A and she was expecting a baby in May. I had worked at Chick-fil-A in high school and I was pregnant with our first child due in May. I thought, with these two things in common surely it must be a sign that we could be friends.

I decided that I shouldn’t wait until we got to Charlotte to find this friend. We would be moving there in a few months and we still needed to find an apartment, a pediatrician and a church. So I picked up the phone and called information for the home number of the TerKeurst family.

I still can’t believe I did that. Lysa answered the phone and I blabbered the whole story – I am sure that I even mentioned working at CFA in high school. How pitiful! Surely she thought I was some lunatic! But she didn’t show it. She was so sweet and offered the name of her pediatrician, suggested some areas of Charlotte to consider for apartments and encouraged me to call her when we got to town.

A few weeks after we moved to Charlotte, I called Lysa and she invited me to meet her for lunch at Chick-fil-A. I remember driving down the road and seeing the CFA sign. I got nervous and started praying, “Lord, please let this be someone I can be friends with. I am so lonely staying home with a baby and not knowing anyone in this big city. I need a good friend. Please make me seem like the kind of person she’d want to be friends with.”

I felt so insecure. I had so little to offer to this woman who was part of leading a ministry and probably had a gazillion friends. That day as I prayed for God to give me a friend His Spirit whispered to my heart that instead of praying to have a good friend, He wanted me to pray that I could be a good friend, to her.

As Lysa and I ate chicken nuggets and sipped sweet tea, I remember thinking how fun she was. Her daughter Hope was so cute and our newborns looked like twins. Ashley and Joshua had come into the world only a week apart. They both had lots of brown hair and beautiful big brown eyes. Our cute kids gave us lots to talk about, but I still doubted she’d have any need for a new friend. She seemed to have everything a woman could want. Even so, I was thankful that even if it was just for that day, God had given me the gift of some time with a friend.

After lunch, Lysa invited me to her home for the afternoon. We ended up spending the whole day together, and most of the time I was bent over laughing with pains in my side and tears rolling down my face. She shared some of her funniest motherhood stories, one of which included something about an infection that wouldn’t heal and the need for a heat lamp, which she didn’t own. Instead she used a table lamp and her inner thighs got “lamp-burned” from the intense heat. All the while she was trying to nurse a newborn and appease a very active 1 year old.

By this point I was thinking, maybe I do have something to offer to this poor woman– bless her heart!

That day was the beginning of a life-long friendship. Our babies will be thirteen this May, and God’s plan for our lives to be woven into friendship and ministry is simply amazing. There is so much He has taught me through our friendship. I’ll share more on Friday since I am working at the P31 office all day tomorrow.

I wish I could remember the details of the lamp incident. I think you deserve to know them. (I am sure it will make you laugh so hard you’ll cry too). So visit Lysa on her blog today and be sure to ask her to tell you more. She’s got some fun stories there about Hope who is turning 14 tomorrow!

But before you go, is there anything fun you’d like to know about our friendship? If not leave a comment about how you met one of your good friends. I’d love to hear about it!

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Hey Renee! I was just exploring the archive section of your blog(I’m home sick and my husband is still not home with the kids!)When lo and behold a new post! I just love good stories, and can’t wait to hear the rest! God bless! April

    p.s. The whole Charlotte newspaper ending up in your mom’s driveway…what a God thing! He is so amazing!

  2. Mocha with Linda says:

    Oh how sweet! Can’t wait to hear the rest. But I love that you stopped writing it to go be Mom!! And what fun it would be for Lysa to weigh in on how she remembers it and how she felt too!!

    LOVE the CFA angle – we went to church with some friends that own the one closest to us, and I’m a regular there!! I love their sweet tea!

  3. Oh, I love good stories – especially ones so orchestrated by God!

  4. Hi Renee…

    Both you and Lysa have been such open and good friends with all of us. Thank you for your willingness to share a slice of your life! What an inspiration to us! Interesting how God orchestrates the twists and turns of our lives.

  5. it is so awesome to read of someone finding a truly God given friend. I have struggled with this over the years since becoming a christian. Finding that one true sister in christ that will encourage mme, sharpen me, lean on me, let me lean on them.
    Share funny and laugh to you cry stories with!! That lamp one is good!!

  6. Heather@Mommymonk says:

    Oh, the lamp incident is frighteningly funny! Thanks for sharing this story. I think most of us can relate to your insecurities and thoughts that this woman doesn’t need another friend. I have often felt that way because it seems I’m making new friends every few years (we keep moving!) and everyone seems to have it all together and already have a gaggle of friends. But when you dig deeper, you realize that we all need both new and old friends. Two of my closest friends were people I was sure had it all together (maybe they thought the same of me?) and if I hadn’t taken the risk of inviting them over, we might never have had that soul connection that we both needed! Going over to Lysa to see if I can get some more details on the lamp burn! 🙂

  7. Digging for Pearls says:

    Renee,
    Thanks for this sweet story! You talked about a lot of insecurities that we face as women.

    Ever since I saw you and Lysa at a distance at She Speaks last year, I was struck with the thought that you both would make good friends with various women that cross your paths. Thank you for your openness and candor. Sure hope we can meet someday.

  8. Mocha with Linda says:

    I could tell when you spoke at our retreat that you would be a fun friend! What a great story!

  9. growinginjasper says:

    Good, faithful friends are hard to find at times, and when I find one I am so thankful.

    Other than my dear husband, my closest friend is one who I knew I had a kidred spirit with the first time I spoke with her, much like you and Lysa. We have been friends now for eleven years, and I treasure her.

    God is so good. It is always fun for me to see how He uses good friends in our lives, and also the different ways He calls on us as friends. Friends are definitely a gift.

  10. Hi Renee..I am new to your blog..ran across it through Lysa’s. I am very glad I did. I haven’t read all your entries on friendships, but when I have time I am going to go back and catch up. From what I did glance at, I think I can relate!
    I was most interested because you said you had lived in VA and your husband had attened VT. We live in VA and are Hokie fans.
    I am looking forward to reading more from you.
    Blessings~Alyce

  11. My heart has been praying for some Godly, fun-loving “soul” friends for quite some time. Everyone seems to be very busy or already have their own “inner” circles. But I continue to pray…

  12. it is so awesome to read of someone finding a truly God given friend. I have struggled with this over the years since becoming a christian. Finding that one true sister in christ that will encourage mme, sharpen me, lean on me, let me lean on them.
    Share funny and laugh to you cry stories with!! That lamp one is good!!

  13. Praise and Coffee says:

    Oh how sweet!
    Nothing like a girlfriend brought by God!!!

    Sue

  14. Renee,
    What a wonderful story! You can definitely tell that your and Lysa’s friendship is God-ordained!

    All of these thoughts about friendship have been in the back of my mind since your first post in this series of friendship. I met one of my dearest friends through teaching. She and I live in different towns but saw each other every day at school. Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, we have lost touch. Today, as I was dropping off books at the library, she came walking across the parking lot. She was in between meetings, and I was on my way to have lunch with my husband, so all we had time for was a quick hug and chat through the car window. I believe, though, that God caused our paths to intervene so that we could reconnect.
    Thank you for posting about such an important aspect of our lives!

  15. MrsProverbs31 says:

    Hi Renee, it seems so easy when I hear how people make friends. I, for one, doesn’t have the touch. As I am doing self-development everyday, I am learning that I have to change my mental picture of myself and my perspectives. Every time I look at people like you or Lysa or even local people, I feel like they are so big and I am so small in my status. I feel very inadequate to be anyone’s friend. So, your initial feelings resonate so well with me.

  16. Hey Renee, I have a funny story of how I became friends with someone who is very dear to me…. I was 10 and had a little “boyfriend.” He had an older sister who I had only known as an acquaintance, I mean she was 13, that was like, totally out of my league! I had been invited by his family to come home with them after church to celebrate his birthday. Needless to say, I was a little nervous. But his sister kept the conversation going and she really paid attention to me. But what solidified us as best friends forever was the fact that she saved me from some MAJOR embarassment! Her brother had gotten a new Nintendo game(hey, plain ol’ basic nintendo was really hot back then!)and we were watching him play it, when she started showing me some gymnastic moves she had learned. I was showing her how I could do a split, and let’s just politely put it that a certain sound that NO ONE ever wants to be heard, came from my body. I about DIED! She started laughing and saying “Excuse me, I can’t believe I just did that!”And of course her brother was like”Oh, gross!” I was relieved! She had totally saved me! From that moment on we were Best friends, even though she was older and even though things didn’t work out between her brother and I! (Do they ever at that age?!)She and I went through the teenage years and the ups and downs they bring, together. We never had an argument, even when she was struggling in her walk with the Lord, we still remained close and thankfully, she worked things out with God. She moved to Florida about 12 years ago, so sadly we don’t see each other often. I haven’t even spoken to her in a while. I think I’ll give her a call, I have really missed her! She honestly has been the bestest friend I have ever had! God Bless! April

  17. Renee Swope says:

    Wow April! Now that IS a friend!! I definitely think you should give her a call!! How fun that you two became bet buddies way back when. Tell her we all think she is a true BFF!

  18. That story is too funny! I hope Lysa is ok with you sharing that lamp story, Oh my goodness!
    My funny story is about how I met my best friend, my husband Bear. I sat next to him in choir at Boise State University, he sang Bass, I sang alto. He was positively gorgeous! He is 6’4″ black hair with a darling little sperman curl on his forehead, (that is when it’s not in a military haircut, but he had it once, I tell ya!)
    My friend, sitting on the otherside of me leaned over and asked me “what color are his eyes?”
    Eek, I didn’t know, and I wasn’t about to just stare at him and find out! So I said, well he has dark skin and dark, hair they must be brown. She said, “Nope they’re hazel.” I turned and looked at him to confirm his eye color and said, “Hazel!” He, being the ever polite Alabama, southern boy that he is, said, “Nice to meet you Hazel, my name’s Bear!”
    He called me Hazel for about two weeks.

  19. Awesome stories! I met my dear friend Jennifer when we were 8 years old. I had just moved to town. One day at school, she cornered me in the bathroom during recess and started quizzing me and asking all kinds of questions and made me cry. She says she doesn’t remember this story but I can remember exactly what she was wearing! From then on we were good friends. We were close friends during high school and I was often with her on the weekends just to keep her alive. Our lives were very different but I couldn’t give on her. We shared some very difficult days in high shcool. After graduation, I moved away to college and my family moved away from that little town. We lost touch. For years, I worried about her. And then one day, the phone rang and an unmistakable voice on the other end called my name. It was Jennifer! I had moved several times and was living my mother just after my father’s passing. Somehow she had found me. This was pre-googling days, mind you. She spent alot of time talking to information operators. We caught up on lost time and she told me a wonderful story of how God had grabbed her attention and she had been saved. What a great day that was – to reconnect with her. We are still separated by many miles but the internet helps keep us in touch with each other. I love having a friend that I can say I have known for almost 30 years. Jennifer has become a remarkable woman of God. She can still make me cry.

  20. Renee,

    I’m cracking up over Lysa’s heat lamp story. What a riot!

    Just think, you may have come to Charlotte with no friends, but now you have more than you know what to do with. You have so many because you ARE SUCH A GR8 FRIEND!!!!

    I Love You!
    Melissa

  21. Renee,

    I’m cracking up over Lysa’s heat lamp story. What a riot!

    Just think, you may have come to Charlotte with no friends, but now you have more than you know what to do with. You have so many because you ARE SUCH A GR8 FRIEND!!!!

    I Love You!
    Melissa

  22. I just moved to Florida from Minnesota! I know no one as for as friends go. I live in the West palm Beach Area
    and I would love to meet a nice friend that I can go to Church with.

    Jean

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