I recently spoke at a women’s conference at a church in Albuquerque. My dear friend Meg gave the women’s director my name because they have been close friends for over twenty years.
Women’s friendships are some of the most wonderful and awful experiences in our lifetime! The two women in the picture with me fall into the wonderful category. They made me ponder those REALLY precious relationships I call: kindred friendships.
What Is “Kindred Friendship?”
I used to be an “off the charts” extrovert. I needed people like I needed air to breathe, and I needed close friends to feel alive and secure. My enduring kindred friendships didn’t occur until after we moved to seminary–away from everyone I knew and held dear. Isolated and alone, I was forced to make Jesus my Best Friend. Only then could I understand the true role of an earthly kindred friend.
Kindred Friendships Are Formed Quick and Deep…
1 Samuel 18:1-4 – “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself…And Jonathan made a covenant with David…Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.”
Of the kindred relationships in my life, NONE have required arduous and lengthy effort to establish. Each intimate friendship quickly fills a place in my heart that seems to have been waiting for that friend to fill it.
Kindred Friends Overcome Conflict with Honesty and Compassion…
1 Samuel 20:1-2 – “Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, ‘What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?’ ‘Never!’ Jonathan replied. ‘You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It’s not so!'”
Kindred relationships aren’t free from disagreements. Any two humans will at some point disagree. The common thread in conflict with my heart-friendships is the respect we show for each other–even if we can’t reach an agreement. I trust my friend and believe that her relationship with Jesus is genuine–genuine enough to hear from Him directly without asserting MY will and timing.
Kindred Friendships Are Enduring…
1 Samuel 20:42 – “Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, “The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.”‘ Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.“
My kindred friends are few–but forever. No matter how many miles separate us, no matter how many months pass between emails or phone calls–we remain deeply committed to each other in prayer and emotional support. And we will spend eternity together.
How Do You Find A Kindred Friend?
1 Samuel 23:16 – “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.”
My kindred friendships have been born in the throes of tragedy or forged in the fires of adversity. They are women who have seen me at my weakest, ugliest, and most vulnerable–and strengthened me through godly wisdom and compassion. I believe these friendships are a gift from my Heavenly Father. They can’t be conjured or “worked up.” In fact, they often come as a surprise–with a woman whose personality might be completely opposite of mine. But the friendship happens–or it doesn’t–according to God’s knowledge of our needs.
- If you have kindred friends in your life, contact them and tell them how much you appreciate them and why.
- If you desire this kind of kindred friendship, but have yet to experience it, ask the Lord to provide that person in your life. But remember…kindred friendships are a serious responsibility and a deep commitment.
1 Samuel 20:4 – “Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.'”
- What are other ways a “kindred friendship” is different than our “normal” friendships?