Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Friendship - a free stitchery....

Friendships do not come easy for me.
I'm a very private person, an introvert who enjoys being alone and having lots of quiet times to centre my thoughts and ponder what really matters in my life.
I don't intentionally stand apart from being social, it's just who I am, and after years of being told that's a bad thing I've come to realise it's a gift, and for me it's 'just right'.
Being amongst a large group can be fun for a little while, but after a few hours I feel myself emptying out rapidly, and craving the soothing space of home with the quiet it offers.

As I've been pondering this over the last year or two, I came to realise that having lots of 'friends' is not something that was common in days gone by. Close friends could be numbered on your fingers, and acquaintances would be the greater number. 
But today the word 'friend' doesn't have that same vital significance as it once did. 

Jesus calls us to 'lay down our lives' for a friend - I wonder at the 400 'friends' my child may have on Facebook and ask myself, "Would that child child lay down their life for every one of those 400 friends?"...No.


True friendships must be nurtured; they need time. Time to build trust, time to dig deep, time to listen - really listen, time to share and be heard, evidence that both your hearts are cheering for the best in the other one's life. 
True friendship takes no offence because whether encouragement or confessing a hurt by or to the other, you know it is founded in love and respect and care, with a desire to be honest and compassionate. 
True friendships forgive.
True friendships lift each other, and never push someone into the ditch.
True friendships are not jealous.
True friendships seek to prosper the spirit of the other person.
True friendships take time to build, and even more time to tend so they bloom and grow over many years - even a lifetime.

At this stage of my life I am content that I have very few 'friends', but admit that at times I have pushed the times of tending those friendships aside because my family comes first and they have needed me (or I have needed them). But, it has been in those very times that I discovered the depth of my true friendships.
You see, in the times when I have nothing left to give them, it is they who give to me...


True friends hold you up.
True friends never expect more than you have to give.
I can count my true friends on my fingers. And they can 'count' on me.

I think the key that unlocked true-friendship-making for me was accepting that if I was stretched already in giving out of myself to the few friends I had, then I could not in good conscience seek out more friendships I'd be unable to invest myself into - no matter what anybody else (or magazine articles) had to say about it.
That truth was life changing. Now I don't feel guilty about the relationships I've allowed to slide into the 'acquaintance' file of my heart. I prayed for those lovely ladies when our relationship ties drifted, and I asked God to bless them with their own handful of true, invested friendships.

Don't be hard on yourself if you've been battling to juggle all your 'friendships' and found yourself failing dismally. Just sit back and pray. Pray for wisdom to know the difference between a friend you would lay down your life for, and an acquaintance you wish well. Then invest in the friendships, and pray blessings on the acquaintances.


Not all friendships are for life. Some are for seasons. 
That's ok. That's by His design. 
Go with that flow, and invest in the ones that fill your life today. Be the best friend you can be, and choose the friends that make you a better person. 

If you suddenly find your own self slipping from friend to acquaintance, don't be offended. Don't be sad. Rejoice that your friend is doing what is best in her heart, mind, and life. Be glad that she is letting go and making the decision to invest in a few friends wisely rather than sink in feelings of failure at not being 'all to all' with everyone.

If you'd like to stitch my new 'Friendship' design you can download it free HERE. May you be blessed as you stitch it. All glory to God! \o/

I chose the NAS Bible translation for the stitchery verse as I think the phrase 'torn apart' is apt for today with so many social media sites and the overwhelming busyness of life being a catalyst for tearing apart relationships - but I love the full NKJ translation below too.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

The Value of a Friend
Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labour.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

hugs
 jenny

44 comments:

Laura said...

Dear Jenny,
I am a new follower of your blog...I just found it today, in fact...and I just love all the items you've created!
This post is so precious...thank you for sharing this.
Sweet blessings,
Laura

Jeanette said...

Gorgeous stitchery. Thanks Jenny. Hugs, xx.

Kim said...

Very wise words! Thank you for stimulating our minds, hearts, and creativity.

Julie said...

Hi Jenny - I too am a new follower to your blog which I discovered only just over a week ago. I truely love all that you write about & create. This post today - for some reason - bought a big lump to my throat as I have struggled to stay "friends" with some who should only really be acquaintances. Thanks so much for your words today & also for sharing the beautiful stitchery which I plan to stitch for a very special true friend for her birthday in April. Hugs, Julie x0x

Larissa said...

Beautiful stitchery :) ... And just as beautiful words sweetie!! Hugs for you today!! x

Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures said...

Beautiful post. I have a best fried since 3rd grade. We are now 62. Thanks for the beautiful pattern.

dborst said...

Jenny
It is amazing when I read your blog posts how it sounds exactly like myself. You are such an amazing person and I am so greatful I ran across you and your blog. Thank you and God Bless you and your family. Diane.

Victoria said...

That is the Bible verse I read at my cousin's wedding!!!
I really took to heart all the words you said about friends...so true but it was just the right time for me to hear it.

Tammy said...

Today's post really touches my heart. I am like you. I am a person that thoroughly enjoys any moments I get alone. I love the solitude and peace and quiet. Thank you for shareing your beautiful friendship design. Hugs from the USA.

Rhonda Cafe said...

Just the words I needed today.....thank you Jenny, from the bottom of my heart xxx

Rita said...

What a wonder, heartfelt post, Jenny. It truly touch me. I, too, am like you. Thank you for sharing. God Bless!

Meadowcreek said...

What a great post! I also am one of those people who can count her friends on her fingers. At times it has bothered me that I have so few friends and that it is hard for me to make friends, but most of the time I'm really okay with it. I do enjoy being by myself; I guess I just enjoy my own company.

Quilt variations said...

You never cease to amaze me! Again, such a beauty!

Wendy B said...

(((((hugs))))) mwaaaaaah....nothing more needs to be said except.....love you sweety! xoxoxox

Helen said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful post,

LUNA said...

Piękny haft , to prawda co napisałaś , przyjaźń trzeba pielęgnować , pozdrawiam.

Di Schlenk said...

Beautiful Jenny,

Zsóka said...

Köszönöm a lehetőséget. Jó egészséget, ezek között a csodálatos kézimunkák között.
Üdvözlettel: Zsóka

Kate said...

Lovely post and design, Jenny.

celkalee said...

How absolutely timely this post. I share your personality traits and appreciate that I am not alone. I have studied personality for many years, professionally, and comfortably accepted my manner and strengths as well as identified my weaknesses and roadblocks to happiness. At this age I am very comfortable with my inner circle of friends, the subsequent handful of close friends who come and go, season by season and sometimes return, sometimes not. That is OK. I loved your design and understand how your stitching friends provide fullness to life. Thank You.

Lin said...

Thank you Jenny - beautiful words and lovely embroidery. xx

Lida said...

True friendship does not ask but gives is what my mother told me, but I think it must be giving from both sides, not always but if needed and that is why it hurts so much if a friend for many years let you down and those friendships are so few!
Wish you good friends and being your own best frind,
hugs
Lida

vernagrace said...

I always enjoy your writings. We are alike in this way, enjoying our own company and being happily blessed with a few but meaningful friendships. Thank you for this post, it says so much to me.

Hugs,

Sue Smith said...

A truly heartfelt post. Thank you Jenny for sharing. As you say, true friendship is deep and endures the ups and downs of life. The stitchery is beautiful.

suz said...

I completely understand what you are saying. I work full time and work with very lovely people, but I don't socialize with them outside work. I have a small quilting group (5 other ladies) that I see once or twice a month and they are very dear to me and a couple of other long-time, very close friends. However, at the end of the day, I love going home alone. I've had trouble explaining to people that being alone and being lonely are very different. I cherish my time alone and welcome my tme with my good friends.

Megan said...

Thank you Jenny for another beautiful pattern. And your words about friendship are beautiful too. I always look forward to reading your blog.

Mandy Currie said...

Hello Jenny, thank you for a beautiful post. Your blog has become a real joy to read now that you are sharing your faith too. It's very precious and thank you for that. Kind regards Mandy Currie

Carrie P. said...

thank you for this lovely post and for sharing the pattern. Your words ministered to me. This post makes me feel that I am ok to feel the same way you do and some of the others who commented. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Clothesline Club said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on friendship. This last Oct after my mom passed away I truly learned who my true handful of friends are. I will treasure those handful of friends for the rest of my life. Your words hold many truths that we don't always like to say out loud but you said it so nicely. I too love to have my time alone. I work six days a week helping people and when I go home I truly treasure my down time to sew or just sit and relax. Not have a spouse or children and going home to just me doesn't mean that I am lonely, I just like my alone time to recharge my batteries or to finish items that are to be donated. It fills my sole beyond words. God Bless You and thanks again for sharing. I love reading your posts.

Miss Paula said...

What a blessing your words are! I have struggled with this all my life (53)! I did not have an example of being a friend in my mom's relationships as she didn't have friends. I am a lot like you in the introvert way and feel comfortable at home with family! You have given me the freedom to know I don't have to have a boat load of friends!! Thanks for sharing your heart and God's words with me!'

Norma said...

You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for the lovely stitchery, and sharing who you are.

desertskyquilts said...

Thank you for this beautiful stitchery. What you have described as friendship is what I always think of as "best friend," and I've never had more than one at a time. One or two people will always stand out as the soul mates. Magazine publishers don't know me, so I don't put much stock in their advice. LOL A beautiful definition of friendship. You've put it nicely into words.

Sandy said...

I really enjoyed this post. You have a real talent for putting beautiful words together. All of it is so true. If we took even half the advice here we would have more friends enriching our lives.
Thanks
Sandy

Baa. xxx said...

Beautiful - you rock! Arohanui Karen

Judy1522 said...

Thank you for the beautiful stitchery. I am like you I love my alone time and have come to realize that is just the way I am.

Erin said...

Jenny
Though we dont' catch up much these days, do know that I often think of you{{}} really miss those long chats on the phone we had when you were in WA, and though life happens, we get busy we're still friends of the heart{{}}

donnag said...

Dear Precious Friend......and I call you that because you are precious to me. This post is so wonderful and I know it will encourage others. It did me. I am so sorry I am behind a few days....My son just left for Army National Guard Boot Camp and John and I am keeping his and Amanda's baby while mom goes to work....I love it but have to get used to having an infant to care for. Love you~

Lynn - JnL4God said...

Very touching post - Thank you Jenny. And that scripture was in our wedding vows and one I have quoted over the years often. And yes my husband is my very best friend, whom I tell everything thing to can pour my heart out to knowing he will protect it and me with his whole heart he would lay his life down for me and I would do the same for him. Guess this post has given me an prompt to remember who my true friend (s) are how much they mean to me. Thanks for the stitchery. Lynn

Marian said...

Thank you Jenny, What a beautiful block and a true meaning to the scripture.

To some of the commenters who will probably never see this message, at the end of the day, friends, even people are not perfect, if we expect them to not let us down sometimes, then we are expecting to much from them, how does that make us a friend. I have never been someone who has had many friends, the friends I do have are tried and true, and I don't expect them to always be there for me, nor would I hope they expect that of me. While I might try, I can't always do that. Having a friend, means you are a friend yourself. If they let you down, forgive and move on, If you can't forgive, you were never a friend in the first place.

Cindy A. said...

When I was very young, my mom taught me the difference between friends and acquaintances. I don't exactly remember why she felt the need to do that, but I'm sure I was having a young teen crisis with someone at school. As I've grown older, and moved around a lot, I've met lots of folks, enjoyed them and their company, but only keep in touch with one on a semi-regular basis. She lives five hours from me now and was the matron-of-honor at my wedding. My husband is my best friend now. Again, I know lots of folks, but don't go places or do things with any of them on a regular basis. I don't need the entertainment or the social interaction to enjoy life and just being me. I don't bother with those magazines that try to tell me what's wrong with me or how to fix myself. I have the Bible for that. I do read lots of magazines with a creative focus because that's just what I enjoy doing, creating. Be it in my head only or with my hands, I enjoy creating beautiful things, useful things, things that I trust will stand the test of time. You seem to be of a very similar spirit, and I greatly enjoy feasting my eyes on your creations. Would that I had time to stitch every one of them as well...maybe one of these days.

Enjoy your new surroundings, enjoy your family, and enjoy being the unique and special person that the good Lord made you to be. So many of us have been blessed because He did.

Shari said...

Thank you for your eloquence on this subject. I so agree with you.

Country Whispers said...

What a beautiful post. One that hits home with me. I have many friends but a few "true" friends that have been in my life for what seems forever. They are there no matter what and likewise I am there for them. Thanks for the beautiful stitchery too!

Maree: said...

Hello Lovely.
Popped in too see how you are going, time gets away and I don't keep up with blogs like I use too.
Totally Agree and Relate to your post. Not much Designing happening here keeping too myself.
Hope you are keeping well
Take Care xx

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Although we have never met in person, I count you in my handful of treasured and true friends. You are a beautiful person inside and out. xx