Friendship is important. Our friends hold our hands when life gets messy. they make us laugh. Memories spent together are treasures of a lifetime. When the special people you call friends leave your life for whatever reason, it leaves a hole.
A friend of mine who has been a mother for many years has just recently unexpectedly left my life. We spent mornings caring in the park, spent weekends together trying to recuperate to love our family more, and even got a tattoo to make our friendship official. But life is full of unexpected detours and recently we went somewhere else. Interestingly, despite accepting the need for change, my mind and body still mourn the loss. She visits me in my dreams. I often wonder what would have happened if the path between us had looked just a little different. My prayers for her often include her. Because even though we are apart, I will love her forever.
Sometimes we tend to think that friends can come and go without making us sad, but that’s not true. The place that friends occupy in our lives is very important. It is our source of joy, community, support and love. I need a friend! I am learning to process my own feelings of grief as I move on from the loss of loved ones in my daily life. Here are some ways to find healing when facing the end of a friendship.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
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When a friendship ends, we can face so many mixed feelings. Often this is due to some kind of conflict or lifestyle change. It’s hard to process all the reasons a friendship ended. Give yourself time to admit all the crazy feelings in your head. This does not mean that you should hold on to these feelings. Acknowledging them is one way to deal with them and ultimately let go of any negative emotions you may be struggling with. Find someone you can trust in your life to share how this loss is affecting you and share that burden with others.
If there is a rift between you and your dear friend, pray for healing. If you can’t be in the same space as the other person but you don’t feel any pain, keep praying for them as a way to keep them close and supportive from afar. Pray that God will help you graciously handle the hurt and loss that comes with the situation so that you can move through all future relationships with grace, love and mercy.
3. Live without criticism
Sometimes friendships end because we hurt each other. These wounds can be deep, but God is calling us to live past condemnation. This means that we give up our right to speak out, to justify our wrongdoing, or to take revenge. We must allow God to make things right for us. Trust that He is still working in both your life and life and that He will find a way to teach you through this ordeal. It’s hard not to want to defend yourself when you feel you’ve been wronged, but that’s not our job. It is up to God to take care of our hearts and convict others who have hurt us.
4. Give forgiveness
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Make forgiveness part of your story. Even if distance is essential in friendships to maintain good health, do not allow bitterness to well up in your heart. We can give grace and forgiveness to ourselves and others. It’s our job to let our friends know that we’re not here to hold a grudge. We can move forward in peace, leaving no room for the enemy to plant the seeds of resentment and unforgiveness in our hearts.
5. Embrace boundaries
Forgiveness is important, but boundaries are still healthy. We can forgive, but we still know that we deserve to be treated with respect and love. If you are moving away from a toxic friendship, it is safe to say that you cannot share the same space with that person that you once shared with love and grace. It can be very difficult to build boundaries with people you were once close to, but it can help you process and move on without being pulled back into an unhealthy situation.
6. Take your time
I get most impatient when something in my life feels new and strange. I want to get away from anxiety as soon as possible. I wish I could find the perfect words to improve what feels broken. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that sometimes the right words don’t exist, especially in the immediate aftermath of a loss. Somehow, having a little patience before reacting and sitting with discomfort makes things a little less raw and urgent.
Time gives your mind and body a chance to even out. Time gives us room to search for wisdom when we’re not sure what the right next step should be. You can also offer similar quests and healings to others in your life space. In time, you may have a clearer picture of what your life should be like going forward, and what you need to apologize for in the past. Time is a gift when things are ambiguous.
Ultimately, we need to trust the Lord to work in our lives even when we are not perfectly coping. God lovingly can bring grace that can cover our failures. Keep praying for God to continue to work in your life and that of your former friend. God will never let us finish! God is working and moving even when we cannot see him. We can be so grateful for God’s sovereign hand working for us.
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Amanda Idleman He is a writer who is passionate about encouraging others to live. looks happy. She writes devotionals for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and podcasts, Crosswalk couples Devotional, and the Daily Devotional app. She has published her work on her Her View from Home on her MOPS blog, Crosswalk.com. She recently published her devotional book. Comfort: A 30-Day Devotional Exploring God’s Heart of Love for Mothers. Learn more about Amanda in her article. Facebook page or follow her Instagram.