Updated: May 5
By Becky Gonzalez
God's Brave Women - Becky's Story
It was my 30th birthday, and I was basking in the glow of my surprise party. Despite how difficult it is to surprise me (yep, I’m one of those people), my family and friends managed to pull it off.
At some point that evening, I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I finally have the friends I’ve been looking for my whole life.” I even shared that out loud to a few friends I was sitting with at the time.
Friends that did life together, through the good and not-so-good times.
Friendships where the other person was in it with you no matter what.
Over the years leading up to that party, I’d experienced my fair share of relational heartache, specifically in the area of friendships. Having friends like the ones I had at that moment was a dream come true. Without even realizing it, I’d made friendship - and the friendships I had at my 30th birthday - the goal.
True friendship became a destination. A place I’d arrive to once I found the right friends, and once I’d learned how to be the right friend. I was devoted to the goal of friendship, some ideal that had turned into an unspoken expectation I carried into every relationship.
"True friendship became a destination. A place I’d arrive to once I found the right friends, and once I’d learned how to be the right friend. I was devoted to the goal of friendship, some ideal that had turned into an unspoken expectation I carried into every relationship."
In the decade following that surprise 30th birthday party, I experienced some pretty drastic shifting of most of those friendships and the place they held in my life. Some left my church, while others moved away to a new city or state. Communication and connection became less frequent. Friendship can grow cold and distant when there’s so much literal distance between you.
But other friendships did more than shift. Some stretched so much they snapped. When I asked a question about a comment made by a particular friend, that put an end to that friendship. Poof! Friendship gone after over a decade of closeness and sisterhood. All because I asked a question she didn’t care for.
Still, others finally showed the true colors of who they really were, tearing me apart in conversations with others when I wasn’t around.
Calls or texts left without response. Continued connection never initiated.
Just about anything that could go wrong in friendship during this season did.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” (ESV)
Friendship has caused me my fair share of wounds over the years. The hurt that visited me in the decade after my 30th birthday added fresh injuries to an area that was already in so much pain.
Deception and rejection.
Miscommunications and misunderstandings.
I’ve interpreted the meaning of that Proverbs verse above in different ways. If there’s one thing we can be sure of, the wounds from a friend are constant. (I mean, if those wounds are happening more often than not, then it might be time to evaluate whether or not the person is actually a friend. But that’s a discussion for another post.)
My friends are far from perfect, and so am I. My friends are going to hurt me, I’m going to hurt them, and it’s going to happen often enough. So yeah, faithful are the wounds of a friend. Friendship means hurt feelings and misunderstandings are part of the package.
But the NIV version of the verse has helped me see it in yet another way: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.”
When my friends hurt me, I can choose to trust it. I can choose to believe the best. I can choose to trust that their intention quite possibly was not to hurt me, remembering that true friends are on my side.
"When my friends hurt me, I can choose to trust it. I can choose to believe the best. I can choose to trust that their intention quite possibly was not to hurt me, remembering that true friends are on my side."
And if their intention was to hurt me, it doesn’t define me, and will not crush me. “We often suffer, but we are never crushed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8 CEV) Faithful friendship means that I can trust the wounds from friends, and view them in light of who God is, and his purposes in my life in and through any given friendship.
"Faithful friendship means that I can trust the wounds from friends, and view them in light of who God is, and his purposes in my life in and through any given friendship."
Because I’ve struggled in the area of friendships for most of my life, I really don’t feel qualified to talk about friendship on any level. Unless I get to talk about how hard, awkward, and scary it is.
Brave isn’t the word I’d use to describe myself in this are