Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

The Precious Gift of Friends Like Family

friends like family

I’m sitting in a quiet house at Steve and Lindsey’s kitchen table. They’ve gone to work and the kids are at school; this is my last morning here. It’s been beautiful.

We are accidental friends. Steve mistakenly found his way somewhere he shouldn’t be online, a private group I was in. When he shared his site, I was drawn to his story because I could relate to so much. We connected and hit it off, and before long we were working together.

And then I made a detour to Birmingham on the way back from Atlanta. Some friends were concerned I’d be murdered, staying at the home of these people I’d never met. But something told me it was right; we had a blast and hit it off. We became Real Life Friends.

A few weeks and tough times, a couple more visits, texts for prayer and laughter and just friendship, and somehow we’re like family. We cook together and it just seems natural. We talk late and laugh hard. Their wiggly kids won’t stay out of my lap, begging for books and pictures of animals from my phone. “Cara doesn’t warm up to people like this,” they say, as she smothers me in snotty snuggles. So worth it.

Friendships can surprise you, like Steve and Lindsey did with me, or they can grow slowly and quietly over time. But there are some I most cherish, lean into and nurture. Last week, I saw Erin, my roommate-turned-best-friend, in town for her sister’s graduation. She carved out a perfect five hours for me, with pancakes and laughter and telling our hearts and hugs that make the world feel right.

Then Meghan’s wedding with the others from my time in Atlanta, a million inside jokes and easy camaraderie born of long hours spent together. Kelsey’s parting embrace, whispered promise of prayer, and a text a few nights later to remind me I’m loved.

The youth pastors who became dearest friends. The family that expects me at Sunday dinner. The high school confidant living the most beautiful redemption. The boss who became a second mother, thousands of miles from home. All these have taught me love and faithfulness and grace, so much grace. They’ve met me in my mess more times than I can count, allowed me the honor of walking along in their own.

Friends that feel like family are cups of comfort and the simplest words: you’re going to be okay Click To Tweet

There’s little so precious as friends like family. When flesh and blood are hundreds and thousands of miles away, you treasure relationships that come like a surprise party or an unexpected note. They become Friendsgiving and Fourth of July, bursting like sparklers dancing in the night. They are cups of comfort and hugs on stormy nights, or the simplest words: you’re going to be okay.”

And the best of these friends, the ones that become refuge, are those who see all the ugly and make you feel safe. They aren’t afraid, don’t look away, don’t ration out grace like a war-time resource. They don’t ask you to perform or smile when you can’t. They don’t ask for perfection or even for good. They ask for you, as real as can be, as much as you can show up.

These are the healing hands. These are the relationships that make you more whole, even in shattered seasons. These weather storms because they know wind dies down and clouds fade and rains eventually cease. These sit by you in dark and stormy nights, holding hope like a lantern that beckons you further. It’s okay. This is the right path. You don’t have to be able to see down it. You will survive, and you will thrive, and you will look back in awe.

These are the healing hands. These are relationships that make you more whole. Click To Tweet

They try to do things for you and you want to resist, but you know it’s because they love you, so you argue a little but resignedly. They make you laugh and share their lives like open books and aren’t afraid or ashamed. And they make you know you don’t have to be afraid, either. They hold open a space at the table for your sweetest dreams and deepest fears.

Friends like family are dispensers of courage. They hold up a mirror of your best when you can’t see it yourself, tell you that your story and process and future all matter. They share where they’ve been to help you along and listen for wisdom you might have, too. They’re a piece of home in this great big world, though they be miles away.

Best of all, they are there. They are there when you need them, there whenever they can be, through text or on coffee dates or over Facebook. They show up in your life and are in it for the long haul, however long that season gets to be. And you get to be there for them, with them, wishing you could fix things but realizing sometimes presence is the greatest thing you can offer. At the end of it all, that’s what you treasure most.

Who are the friends who became family to you? How have they stood with you in tough times? Tell me about it in the comments!

About Sarah

Hi, I'm Sarah. I love coffee, pancakes and street tacos. I'm a learner, a traveler and a creative mess. I've got a thing for redemption and seeing broken people living beautiful lives. That's the story I've lived, and the one I want for you. Let's be friends!

15 Replies

  1. I love this. And we love you. And all those dreams and the broken places, and the ways that you love our family back. And how our kids adore you. And walking into the kitchen to find it covered in your writing and artwork. I’ll cherish that memory for a long time.

    You are loved. Big time. Way big.

    1. <3 Love you guys, too!

  2. Sarah, I always say your writing is beautiful and this is no exception. I am a people treasurer as well. A few in particular, I feel God gave me as roommates and friends years ago because we need to be in each other’s lives even more now. The one who got cancer at 32, has never been married, and needed us to be her support system; the one who I hadn’t talked to in years but frantically messaged on Facebook because I completely corrupted the html for my blog theme and needed it restored; and the ones who pick up clues in my status updates that I need a friend even though I wasn’t trying to leave any. As for online friends, I have many blogger friends I feel that way about. My favorite gifts have always been people.

    1. Oh, Amber, there really is no better gift, is there?!? How sweet to have friends who hear what you aren’t saying. It’s such a beautiful thing. Thank you so much for being a friend and encouragement to me! I appreciate you so much!

  3. Aww friend, I echo what you wrote here. Many of the people you mentioned in this blog plus yourself are the patches that make up my life quilt, covering me, warming me, reminding me, and nurturing me. Thanks for being in my life friend.

    1. Couldn’t be happier to have you in this list, Smashley! We WILL be friends for life!

  4. We are similar in that we have so many people who are kindred spirits! I, too, have a boss-turned-dear friend who is my mentor in so many ways. There are more people in my life than I know how to express gratitude for, and a post like this is a beautiful sliver of all that we’ve been given.

    1. I love that you have so many, too, Bailey! It sure does make life sweet ❤️

  5. Erin

    I don’t know the right words. They don’t exist. You are the family I choose. Love you, your heart, your words, ALL of it. In every season.

    1. Love you too, so so much! I’m grateful to be family you choose ❤️

  6. Jenna

    My Sarah! How I love being part of your family!

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