About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Sweet Like Jasmine, Whispers of Rest, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul at...

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  1. Bonnie how beautiful! “When we open up to friendship, we free our hearts to connect with Christ. We are saying, I see beauty, to the other.” What a beautiful picture I connect with so badly. I have had my share of friendships that are like a flower only for a season and others are a lifetime. As I opened up my heart to friendship then I have found Christ there encouraging me and loving me through those friends. As I sit here I am in tears remembering when some friends left and how God used that time to help me long for such true friends again and how that led me to finding so much more healing and help through counseling and step programs. I love you friend! Your writing has opened up the door of friendship as I read your blog. Thank you for sharing your words and life and heart with us every time you blog!

  2. Thank you for this timely post. I have had all of the types of friendships you’ve described here and my heart has never seemed ok with the differences, changes…the coming and going. But I do believe relationships can be seasonal and I have to be at peace when I realize that is the case for a certain friendship. I am so thankful for a few “evergreen” and “everyday” friendships that have remained.

    Thank you for beautifully sharing insight on the issue of friendships. This really ministered to me this morning.

    • “… relationships can be seasonal…” So many different changes we experience through friendships. Thanks for this encouragement, Jessica.

  3. Bonnie, I am in awe of how the Lord has spoken through your post this morning.

    I am in the middle of the loss of my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one that I thought was a forever friend. In the middle of my heartache, your words have brought me a measure of peace this morning. It helps so much to think of our friendship as a beautiful flower that we watered for 13 years, that brought much joy and beauty, but wasn’t meant to last forever. Sadly, as the flower was wilting, neither of us noticed (or wanted to accept it?) until the very end. The last petals have fallen, and as I pick them up, I am seeing the beauty that was, and thanking the Lord for the good that has come from the whole thing. Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing this insight! I’ll be back. 🙂

    • Oh, Jen. I’m so sorry you’re in the middle of petals shedding heartache. May God continue to breathe beauty and comfort through the memories.

  4. Bonnie, Thank you for such a beautiful view. I lost a precious mentor to the arms of Jesus the other month on top of removing myself from two toxic relationships. The strange thing is that I have a such peace. Your words have given me a freedom to look at the spent flowers and remember the beauty. Memories of my friend and mentor give me hope to find other kindred spirits who will let me be me and I look forward with expectancy to new relationships.

  5. So Beautifully written: in answering your question: Trusting again is hard the last 2 years have been on the road of experiencing the loss of a few the last year rebuilding a few and now for about 3 years starting a couple more. Moving has not helped in this area and i find myself facing it yet again. Bonnie Thanks you for your writing today i found this encouraging may you have a blessed day !

  6. Bonnie, exactly this has been in the top two most painful and difficult things of my last several years. But that was exactly my problem: assuming good friendships were supposed to be forever. I used to get so jealous whenever I heard people say things like, “I’m going to Arizona. So-and-so lives there; we’ve been best friends since we were 14!”
    Another problem I had besides assuming friendships should be forever was that I approached friendships selfishly insteading of thinking, “How can *I* be a blessing to *her*?” Or, “Will she consider a friendship with me a blessing?”
    Tough lessons, but God keeps tenderly teaching. He used a 10-minute conversation with a woman in church (this woman was a counselor by profession) to help me remember (and live out) that friendship should be mutually beneficial.

  7. As a kid I only had one friendship at a time. I had the girl across the street who was a little younger than me, I had the friend whose family we would visit on weekends who was my age (and got better grades), and I had one good classmate friend in 3rd grade.
    But we moved, and the one friend of the family was the only one we’d visit. When she died of cancer at 15, I realized I couldn’t have just one friend. So I jettisoned into popularity because I needed people but I realized friendships weren’t as deep.
    In college I realized I’d have locational friendships: those I drew close to during the term of one class, but without taking class together, we’d not see each other much. Locational friendships are good: they’re someone to talk to on a journey or in a common cause.
    Then there were friendships that grew deep, people I still keep in touch with, folks at who’s house I’d stay or who I’d welcome into my house for a long visit because the extra time is so valuable!
    One time a few years ago I was in the counsellor’s office and I realized my sadness was that I wanted deep friendships like I’d had as a child. It was 25 years since the death of my 15 year old friend, and I was still grieving. It made friendships more valuable to me, and perhaps through the pain has made me a better friend.

  8. This is exactly what God has been teaching me this year. I used to guard my heart against friendships because I knew eventually it would end. But after thirty years (exactly), I’m learning to cherish every moment because it won’t last forever.

    • Oh, my goodness. That means HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kristen! 30’s are awesome! 🙂 I savored your post on enjoying friends at Disneyland.

  9. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate the “seasons of friendship”, and realize that God allows our “best” friends to come with us – through seasons, and miles, and years…somehow they can be picked up right where they left off. Anne of Green Gables would say that these are “kindred spirits”, perhaps the best friends we can have!

    When a friendship fades, like those flowers in the vase, it doesn’t mean that it’s over forever…it’s just gone out of season. Perhaps it’s more like a perennial bloom….it’s going dormant for a season. More likely, it’s like an annual that’s laid seed deep in the soil of my heart….waiting for the right conditions to bring it to a new life!

    I’m grateful for my “old” friends…or rather friendships (we get sensitive around 50, don’t we?). They have seen me through children born, raised, and now married off! They have moved me across country and halfway back again and further east still. They have survived difficult marriages, misunderstandings, stepping out of God’s will – and lovingly prayed for on both sides. They have withstood widowhood, and depression and illnesses…over and over. We have walked the same paths, taken different spurs off the main road, and come together again…and some are still apart from me in communication today…. but we’ll meet on this journey again. In my heart of hearts, they are still my “dear friends, sisters in Christ”.

    Thank You Lord, for friendships!!
    Thanks Bonnie, for sharing this!

  10. I have some dear friends moving away. It is not that the flower is dead or gone. It is changed. I pray we all allow that change to make us better. Thanks for sharing this great post about friends. It reminds me that the only unchangeable one is God. 😉

  11. Friendship can be so hard! We’re attending the graduation party for a friend this afternoon. Not long after he and his wife moved here for the seminary down the road, I essentially adopted them as another brother and sister. Our family loves them so much, and it’s breaking my heart that they’ll be moving away in less than a week. But you’re right about treasuring friendships even when they don’t last forever – or don’t last the same way forever. Thanks for this post…

    • Mary, I hope you have a special time celebrating your friend and creating memories in this time of looking back and forward together. May God bring new “family” in the coming season into your life.

  12. for me, Bonnie, it’s the constant letting go as God calls us to new places…the grief of leaving friendships still in full bloom or just beginning to open up and to hold them ever in my heart as friends even though we will soon be far apart, and then to open up myself to new blooming in a new place–risk rejection, let go of expectations, etc….{so thankful that blog friends are different–they won’t change even though I move an ocean away from them:-)}

  13. This caught me by surprise today. I was heading out the door and stopped here first while I finished my coffee. I have been struggling with this very thing lately. I have been retired exactly one year and I know that I now have much more time on my hands than my friends, but I have *never* felt so lonely. Ever.

    I know that the circumstances of my life are part of the equation — living a few extra miles from town, not having the contact with people at work, being caught up in preparing our home to be sold, kids grown and in another location, I’m retired but my friends are not, husband out of town often.

    However! I have realized something today because of your post, Bonnie. It was this remark that stopped me in my tracks:

    “For the longest time, it felt safer to serve others and soldier on
    emotionally alone.”

    I think that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m the leader, usually, the one who gets everyone together, who leads a Bible study, who serves others ….. yet I feel so emotionally alone. That is exactly it. People don’t call me, I call them. And what I’ve been feeling lately is a let-down because nobody is calling me.

    I don’t want to have a pity party over this, and I know that many of my sisters in Christ have difficulties that make this seem so trite. Even so, my heart hurts. I long for a deep, intimate girl-friendship that thrives in good times and in bad. Are we *really* too busy for that? I want to know that there are girlfriends who will sacrifice something to be with me.

    Bonnie, I appreciate your beautiful picture of friendship and the different forms it can take. It has helped me to recognize them in my life, past and present.

    What I DO know is this: in my need for true friendship, God is calling me to rely on Him first. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.

    • Vicki, I know many can relate to what you just shared here. Thanks for taking the time to share and encourage. May God bring friendship at just the right time!

  14. I really like this post so much! I often wonder why friendships don’t last forever and really I’ve always thought I wasn’t good enough to keep them alive, or that I did something to make them fall apart. Your perspective really encouraged me and I’m so thankful.

    I’ll be starting a series on Monday on friendship and walked through the road of a specific friendship I have, and how God strengthened it by His grace for such purpose. After putting the series together, now your post has encouraged me to think of those friendships that aren’t alive the way this specific one is, and the freedom that comes in knowing that relationships change but they all have purpose and the changing of them isn’t our fault, necessarily. Thank you again. Such beautiful words of truth you wrote!

    Rich blessings…

      • Thanks, Bonnie! I believe and trust God is having me share this series for such purpose. It is my joy that He would use me in this way. And really, your perspective is really so freeing…I’ll save writing about that more for after this series…

  15. I’ve thought about this very thing, ever since my brother commented to me, “Do you ever think that some people are put in our lives just to be there for a season, and that it’s OK if you’re not close forever?” His question gave me peace about the fact that some friendships, for various reasons, just weren’t what they once were — often not due to anyone’s “fault.” Like many others, I tend to want to grasp, to hold onto things, to perceive them as “Mine” and then myself as having failed if I don’t hold it tightly, successfully, enough. As long as there’s no unforgiven offense that needs forgiveness and restitution, why not accept the fact that God meets our needs for closeness in certain ways for certain seasons … and then asks us to move on? Maybe it’s His way of reminding us not to let anyone take HIS place in our lives.
    Thanks for sharing this so beautifully, Bonnie.

    • It’s great you’ve got a brother who you can share and speak into your life. God is our Forever Friend who reminds us we never fail in His eyes. And then, we can have the grace to open up again. Blessings, Hannah!

  16. Thank you for this article. Over the past two years I have been redefining my understanding and expectation of friendships.

  17. This really resonated with me b/c we are in the military and friendships are always changing and sometimes it is hard to want to try at new friendships in new locations. And as women, we tend to overanalyze everything and this reminded me that we just need to enjoy what God has given us in those that surround us and keep trying.

    • Thanks for sharing your lives in serving our country. I can imagine how difficult it is to start over continually. May God bless you & your family, Meredith!

  18. Gulp.

    You have no idea what this means to me; I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about the “death” of an important friendship, but this is done so much better than I could hope to.

    Wonderful, encouraging words, Bonnie…beautiful.

    • Sweet Robin, your words are always beautiful and encouraging. Warms my heart to know we can share a moment together as you remember your friend. ooxx..

  19. This is a hard lesson to learn, but a necessary one. This question of ‘why aren’t we friends any more?’ used to bother me until I recognised that many friendships last only a moment…however long that ‘moment’ might be. This realization released me to enjoy friends in the here and now without demanding the forever.

    • Angi, I can feel your heart felt words — ” This realization released me to enjoy friends in the here and now without demanding the forever.” Beautifully expressed. Thank you, friend!

  20. Good job Bonnie! … you have really hit a bullseye place of tenderness for every woman who reads this post. I love how God gave you words for your little one just at the moment you needed them. “water keeps them alive, petals fall off and then they’re done being flowers.” I couldn’t help but think how important it is to remember that in the sadness of petals falling, (or friendships ending) seeds also fall to the ground in order for new flowers and friendships to grow. John 12:24-25 ” Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” I don’t always get to see the purpose or blessings that come from suffering, loneliness, betrayal or rejection. But one thing is for sure… if I keep my eyes on my own hurt, I will never see others hurting. If I keep myself OVER busy constantly serving, as to deny myself grieving time, I miss what the H.S. is trying to tell me in the quiet moments of sadness and pain (primarily that He is with me, He loves me, and wants desperately to be my First Love). And worse, when I choose isolation as a false self-defense mechanism it is really a personal invitation (in disguise) for the enemy to come to my pity party. I stop and think how many times I have hurt God’s feelings by choosing other friends instead of Him. When I am the one with hurt feelings by the loss of a friendship, I need to remember His pain.
    (Side note: I’m new to blogging… Can we share links to our own sites here in the comment areas when we have something applicable to the discussion… or is it bad blog etiquette? I need one of you dear new friends to tell me the truth 🙂

    • Patricia,

      In case no one else replies to your question, I think it’s fine to include your site link. In fact, your name at the beginning of your comment is a link. I enjoyed your post there!

      Vicki

    • Hi Patricia, we’d all love to hear of whatever links or words you have to share. Welcome to the fellowship of blogging sisters! 🙂

  21. Thank you, Bonnie. My two best friends – women who were always there to share the love of Jesus and encourage me in my faith – just moved away this year. I have definitely been asking God if I didn’t water those friendships enough and that’s why I lost them. But I know that your analogy is spot on, and I know just because they’re far away doesn’t mean we can’t share the friendship we had. I know that God also has new friendships coming my way.

    • Hi Kim, I pray God will bring new seeds of friendship to encourage you close by… Thanks for sharing these two wonderful friendships that may be moving but are still close to your heart!

  22. You described these relationships in the most beautiful way. I’ve even felt at times that the Lord lead me to let a friendship “die” and not to cling to it, but really wondered if that is something that the Lord would ever call me to. I feel like the Lord uses these withered relationships to remind me of HIS faithfulness and goodness through ALL seasons. Thank you so much.

  23. Thank you for this. I have friendships with which I have struggled and do find it hard to trust again. But when struggles arise and friendships change or end, it always reminds me of my true and perfect friend Jesus Christ.

  24. I have a favorite CS Lewis quote about the improbability of friendships that is a real favorite, and now you’ve introduced me to another. This is my favorite quote (from The Four Loves): “In reality, a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing. At this feast it is he who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside. Let us not reckon without our Host.” I wrote just a few days ago about a sweet childhood friend who began walking to school with me on my first day of kindergarten. They are such gifts, aren’t they? Even the ones that went by too quickly that we long for and miss. And now, I’m forwarding this to a friend who I think will be encouraged by it.

    • Nancy, these are wonderful words about friendship by C.S. Lewis. Thanks for taking the time to share them here with us! .. (p.s. No worries on proofreading… we’re all just hanging out here with our joe in hand and friendship in our hearts.) 🙂 ooxx

  25. Bonnie – I was re-reading this blog again on friendships. I especially love how you describe the different kinds/types of friendships we can enjoy – as well as the kind of friend we can be to others. I am in a season right now where the Lord is reminding me over and over again that He is my ultimate true friend. It can often times be a lonely place. Don’t we want our best friend friend to be Jesus, “with skin on”?
    Thank you for your words and this encouraging blog. It is one I will keep going back to and “underlining”. 🙂 hugs xo – KC

    • May God continue to lift you up and encourage you. You are a blessing to friends in the past & I’m sure in the future. May friends with “skin on” continue to cross paths on your journey, KC!

  26. I think i’ve learned that some friendships seem like they’ve died but really i just needed to change my expectations of them. it’s ok if i have some relationships that are more sparse and others that are constant. it’s the purity of my heart and theirs when we’re together that matters more than time. it was a good lesson for me…

    • It’s our humanity that craves a friendship abiding presence and it’s poignant and touching what you share here, gitz. Thankful we can grap snapshots of friendship together across the miles on our journey. ooxx, dear friend!

  27. thank you !!! exactly what i needed to hear…at the present time i’ve only wanted to serve, but you’ve helped me open my heart to the possiblity of friendship again. if i could give you a hug i would, xoxox.

  28. I stumbled upon this today and like many other comments mentioned, it was just what I needed to hear. Funny how God does that – He gives you just what you need, when you need it. What an amazing opportunity you have to touch so many women with such encouragement. I, too, was betrayed and have had trouble with trust. It’s frustrating to find a friend who sticks around. Your description shows how God puts people in our life for different reasons when we need them most. Thank you for sharing!

  29. This was very good! I love the way you word the different kinds of friendships. This week has been hard for one of my daughters as she has just had to say goodbye to some amazing friends at her Bible school, I will make sure she reads this!!