Over the last few weeks at Hillsong Sisterhood in Australia, as part of ‘Colourful Threads & all that stuff’ which Pastor Bobbie Houston framed for us, we have been learning about ‘The Art of Friendship’ – something we all need, something we are able to give and something we can all keep growing in (I know I can!)
Every time we get together on Thursday mornings and I look around the room, I think of all the wisdom and life experience that is in the women that are part of Sisterhood.
So I asked just two of our great women, at the last minute, to write a letter to women who were just a bit younger than themselves, about what they’ve learned about this journey of friendship so far.
Karalee Fielding, one of our much loved team and a mother of three young ones, wrote a letter to younger women – teenagers and girls in their 20s or maybe those who are new to Australia or to a church – about being patient on this road to real friendships.
Meg Cain, a mother and grandmother and someone who you can just lean on and trust, wrote from the perspective of getting older, and that life is not done but new seasons hold new opportunities.
Meg & Karalee read their letters at the end of Sisterhood and it was just one very lovely moment.
Lots of girls wanted a copy of them, so here they are.
It was written just for YOU.
Donna Crouch xx
Hey lovely girl,
I remember these days you’re living in. I was new once too. Found myself in this big old church without an ounce of history with anyone. Left behind an awesome family, a job I loved, and friendships I didn’t remember a day without. Half of my new friends I met ON my wedding day – but that’s what you get when you fall in love with a boy that lives on exactly the opposite side of the world.
Its funny, isn’t it? The way loneliness, or homesickness, or just that feeling like you don’t quite belong creeps up on you. It’s happened to me in this very room before. Weird to be surrounded by so many people and yet still wonder if you’re the only one that feels this way.
Nothing was wrong in my life. There weren’t major secrets to tell anyone, no big dramas to cry over or hugely important milestones to share. I just wanted to fill those voids – find those everyday friends – The ‘share a coffee, share a laugh,’ kind of friends. I used to wonder if something was wrong with me… I’m friendly, aren’t I? I wonder what they really think about me? I wonder if I’ll ever find my people…
Well you know what, I did. And I have. Over and over again. But I tell you what, it took time. I discovered that loneliness wasn’t a lack of people in my life, it was a lack of intimacy – but intimacy doesn’t happen overnight. Be kind to yourself, lovely girl… the good news is, time is on your side.
And don’t forget to be courageous. I realized I had to stop waiting to be invited to the table and start inviting people to mine. Instead of saving for a pair of shoes, I saved money to make memories. I started traditions and beckoned others to join me. Perhaps I am a slow learner, but I came to understand that this place– the Church – is less of a club, and more of a current. A current that is pushing and pulling us closer to one another, in hopes that we point one another closer to Him. So don’t sit on the side with your toes dipped in, pretty girl… jump in: eyes closed, nose scrunched, hair wet, determined to let the current of just as messy, just as lonely, just as hopeful saints refine you, bump into you and make you better, smoother, more rounded and more able to withstand the rough waters and the smooth seas ahead.
I smile a little every time I read the apostle Paul say, ‘Bear one another’s burdens and in doing so, fulfill the law of Christ.’ Because I imagine my Jesus leaning and saying “Who’s burdens are you bearing, Karalee? And have you told them lately?” And in the same way, ‘Who’s joys are you celebrating?’ Celebrate others well, and watch them do the same for you. Write that text, send that letter, make that phone call and completely waste your words extravagantly for the sake of another.
Twelve years on, and I’m not the new girl anymore. But the fears over friendship still shift and change. These days, places like Vancouver, and Los Angeles, Liverpool and Perth, and a small town on the shores of Florida called St Augustine, hold ransom small pieces of my heart. Friends that mean that world to me, investments of time and secrets and dreams that have moved away or moved on from being a part of daily life. And yet I keep finding that the more I lean in, the more people lean back. The more vulnerable I become, the more I receive the blessing of intimacy in return.
So here’s my prayer for you:
I pray you would find the courage to step out and step in to new relationships. I pray you would have eyes to see the broken hearted all around you, and that if you’re going to struggle, you will struggle HERE. Here amongst a SISTERHOOD ready and waiting to receive all the burdens and all the joys. I pray you would refuse to be distant with a God who came so close, and that intimacy with the greatest Listener, our heavenly Father, would be your portion. His WAY is relationship, and He didn’t create you with the desire for friendship without the intention to fulfill it. And I pray that you would know in the depths of your bones that you are never really alone…
All my love, there is room for you here,
It was a delight to share a coffee and fellowship with you today…. I thoroughly enjoyed our chat as well as the lemon meringue cake.
Yes, we are indeed in a new season of life as we know it – our children no longer need their noses blown or their tears wiped away or their scraped knees kissed better after riding into the rose bushes
BUT it’s an exciting new season – it’s definitely springtime for us.
Every tree and plant start to bud producing fresh growth ready to produce the fruit of its kind that surely must come. We too shall sprout new growth just as our children grow up and find and build new lives of their own.
However our lives are not over or finished yet – we continue to produce sweet and juicy fruit that old and new friends can still feed off and find sustenance and love from the wisdom we have matured in…… we’ve learned a thing or 2 or is that 6 – they must be watered , weeded and tended because what we have experienced is so vital to our own generation and of course to the next.
Everyone needs a mumma in the house – we’re it – sooooo tag – you’re it too.
We will always be trees of righteousness that produce life and life in abundance. Our roots are secure and anchored into His bedrock – let’s do exploits together to bring laughter and love to the young and old. Our friendship will flourish and bloom as we continue to draw others into the race that is set before us.
We continue to be a sweet fragrance in the House
I love you to heaven and back
Your friend Meggie