About the Author

Kay’s heart wounds and healing led her to write the Bible study, Joseph – Keeping a Soft Heart in a Hard Place.

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  1. Thank you for this Kay……I’m fighting this with my husband. I need to ask God to help keep my heart soft and free from bitterness. I also experienced this multiple times as a teenager and I have to admit my skills were that of a moody teenage girl. Some of those relationships survived and others did not. Friendship change is tough. Change in any meaningful relationship is hard. Thank you for the reminder of what love is and that the author of love wants to fill those empty, sacred places!

    • Yes, Tracey, love is definitely the answer. But it’s so hard sometimes! I’m pausing to pray for you and your marriage right now. May God’s love so overwhelm you that you feel full and satisfied, even when others do not give any. Thanks for reading…and sharing your sweet comments. 🙂

      • Thank you so much for this reply. Trying to keep my eyes fixed on Him since I’ve struggled with this so deeply for so long. He is writing a cool redemption story in my life. Tough for me to “wait” while He works out the rest. But, He has given me several scriptures telling me to wait on Him. “I will fight for you as you keep silent”. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord”. So He told me twice in that last verse and once in the verse above” and there have been more. I think my direction from Him is clear and I’ve never been one to wait patiently for anything so I’m sure this is God speaking directly to my situation. Thank you for the encouragement and prayers!

    • I’m also working on letting go and not let bitterness form in my heart over my marriage too. Thank you, Kay and Tracey for sharing.

    • Thanks for your comments Michele. You’re right…I had made an idol of my friendship. And it was a tough lesson to learn as God peeled my clinging hands from it. Freedom from the bondage feels so good, but it was hard won.

  2. Thank you for this. I am currently experiencing this with my two others sisters. I had always been closer to one, but a shared interest/career has brought them closer, while I feel I’ve been left out. I need to lean into God more. Thank you!

    • Yes! JK, do lean into God. Learning to love freely and unconditionally is really a lifelong process and lesson, isn’t it? I learned that 1 Thessalonians 5:18 was a scripture worth memorizing, one that helped me realize that God had chosen a different path for me and that it was His best. The coupling of acceptance and gratitude is a “magical” key that helps us move forward with grace and love.

  3. Kay,
    Thank you for sharing so honestly and so bravely. I am experiencing some of the same feelings with my adult daughter. We were always so close, yet lately we’ve had a strained relationship. I hate to categorize people, but she is the prototype of the “Millenial Child”. We wanted to hand her the world, and well, we succeeded. I see this generation as being selfish (can you say selfie??), self-absorbed, ungrateful, spoiled, and unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. I know that sounds harsh, but that is the truth. When I’ve tried to speak the truth in love (and yes sometimes not so lovingly) it has created a divide. I am trying to live out the truth you quoted from Corinthians and praying that God will do a work in my daughter’s heart. I am wondering if any other moms out there are experiencing this same thing?
    Wanting a healthy relationship,
    Bev

    • Ahh, Bev. I have adult kids, too. And the transition into adulthood has indeed been an interesting one…for many of the reasons you’ve listed and more. Like you, I’ve tried to realize that they were raised differently than we were and their environment is so different from the one we had in our twenties. I encourage you to hang in there with your daughter, as I know you are. I believe we can have healthy friendships with our adult kids, but it does require a transition…on our part as well as theirs. I’m pausing now to pray for you and your daughter as you seek that sweet friendship with her. Because I have two adult children, I actually blog about this topic fairly often. I provide few answers, but it’s a good place for conversation. I hope you’ll drop by my website some 🙂

      • Thanks Kay…I will do that. I know this is a season and a transition and that God can bring something even more beautiful from it. I know the world is a much different place than when we grew up and I try to remember that when I try to keep bitterness from creeping in. 1 Peter 3: 8-22 has been speaking to me about what part my heart and actions are to play in all of this. I do believe there are times when God simply needs me to get out of the way so that HE can do the working….both on my daughter and on me.
        Blessings,
        Bev

        • Yes, Bev! That is so wise and true: get out of the way! But so hard. I, too, have tried to just get out of the way more so that God can work. It has helped me to remember that He is really more concerned about them than I am. He loves them so much more than I ever could. And He is willing and able to fight for their souls and minds! We are likeminded, girlfriend!

  4. Thank you for the reminder to lean on God. I have a weakened relationship with my Mother. We are best friends, but a man has come between us and the family. She is still married to my Dad who has Alzheimer’s and she is caring for him, but she has been with another man and is in a relationship with him. She wants this man to be in all of our lives, but it is too difficult to include him in family events because my Dad is still here with us. We are grieving the loss of the Dad we once knew and are being forced, manipulated and given an ultimatum to either include her other man into our lives or she won’t be in our lives. I pray God helps me to keep my heart soft for my Mother. I can see our relationship slowly changing… I don’t call her daily like I used to and at times don’t really feel the love I used to feel for her. I am hurting… Things have gotten a little better since a social worker explained to her that we all grieve at different levels and that is okay. We are not ready just yet for this other man to be in our lives. When my brother myself and even my Dad were crying in pain she backed off from her all or nothing demands on us with regards to this other man in our lives. Please keep our family in your prayers. My Mother was depressed and her heart was slowly dying on the inside before this man came into her life. I just wish she kept it at a friend level and not a romantic one since she is still married. She claims God sent him to her and I have lovingly told her God didn’t send him since she is still married. Thank you.

    • Amy,
      I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. I know how I felt when my mom started seeing another man and that was 5 years after my dad passed away. It was hard….let alone your mom bringing someone into your lives while your dad is still living. I know Alzheimers is hard – I’ve dealt with it in my family, but that’s where the vows you made before God come into play…In sickness and in health, for better or for worse. Is there someone (a third party) that could lovingly remind your mom of the vows she made?

      Also, just because someone enters our lives, does not necessarily mean that God put them there. Your mom issuing ultimatums is her selfish, sinful nature at work. It comes out in the best of us. I believe all you can do is hold yourself and your actions accountable to God and follow His word on how he tells you to treat your mom. Honor and respect are hard when they are behaving selfishly. Let God take care of you mom’s heart….praying for you all in this very difficult situation. My heart aches for you…
      Blessings,
      Bev

    • Amy, I can certainly understand why this difficult relationship situation would cause you such grief and pain. Not only are you having to handle the changes and losses in your relationship with your father through his Alzheimer’s, but you’re watching your mom’s affections shift at the same time. This has to be hurtful and hard. I’m pausing to pray for you and your family right now. For me, I had to learn to focus on my own heart and responses instead of building up expectations about my friend. Does that make sense? So when I caught myself thinking things like, “she should…” or “she is wrong to…” or “I can’t believe she…” I would try to shift my attitude by focusing on what God was doing in my own heart and life. “Lord, what are you trying to teach me?” or “Lord, I want to love as You love” or “Lord, soften my heart so I can give grace and love instead of judgment and hate.”

      I hurt for you, Amy. But I know that even in this situation, God is working all things together for your good. He is growing you and nurturing your relationship with Him. Cling to Him, Amy, and constantly ask Him to keep your wounded heart soft.

    • Amy,

      I have dealt with dementia of all kinds with both parents. I know how hard it is for one to care for another 24/7. They need a friend also. Praying for God to soften hearts and heal hurts. I pray God will help your mom with her depression and give her the peace of God.

      God wants your mom to stay true to her vows. I understand her wanting/needing a friend. Perhaps she could see a counselor or social worker to help her with the issues she is facing.

      Blessings 🙂

  5. I have been through this many times, so I have to testify to what the Lord has done for me. You are so right not to let bitterness take over because it will not stop at the hurt of this friend. Bitterness is greedy and bleeds into every other relationship too until you are consumed with it. Every time I start to head down that road – feeling left out or lonely, jealous of another person’s friendship, etc. – I pray for the Lord to send me a new friend. Not to replace the relationship that is struggling (I continue to pray through that), but to help in my loneliness and to use me in a different way. I have to say that God has always answered this prayer and I look at some of the best friends I have ever had and know they were His answer to this prayer. Sometimes the friendships are only for a season, but they have always come at just the right time and have accomplished the purposed He designed them to. Just had to testify to that 🙂

    • Yes! MC, that is exactly why I constantly fought the bully of bitterness. I had seen it damage too many lives around me. My constant prayer was to keep a soft heart in this hard place. Indeed, my friendship has changed, and the changes were hard on my heart for some time. But now, because I kept bitterness from taking root, I still have a friendship. I know I wouldn’t have otherwise. Thanks for your wise words!

  6. Thank you for the encouragement. I have recently experienced this type of thing yet neither of us moved away. I am learning to let go. God is changing me and my relationships in positive ways. God is good. I am glad he is teaching me to be a better friend.

    • Bless you, Ellyce. Friendship changes are some of the hardest…because there never was a contract or pledge, but we FELT like there was. Know what I mean? But we have to learn that indeed Jesus is the sweetest friend of all. He will never change or disappoint. And when we give freedom, we give love. God will surely bless your sweet attitude and heart!

    • Thanks, Jamie. Changes in relationship are hard…and quite honestly, a little embarrassing, huh? Or at least it feels that way. But when I began sharing my hurts with other women I discovered that many of us have experienced these unexpected shifts. And it’s okay. It doesn’t mean we are losers. It just means things do indeed change. I’m so glad you stopped by today 🙂

  7. Such a good word for all of us, Kay! I am kind of going through this right now with a dear, dear friend who has gotten so caught up in her daughters’ sports that she has let my friendship go. I’ve tried to reach out to her, but she’s just too busy in this season right now to nurture a friendship with me. I see pictures of her at sporting events with other friends, and it’s hard not to get jealous of the time these women get to spend with my friend, while it feels like she’s completely forgotten me. But I still love her dearly and feel like I should wait patiently until she’s in a better season for friendship.

    So glad you wrote this!

    • Oh thanks for sharing that, Shelly! It happens! It really does. And it leaves us a little breathless, disoriented. But God is so good to teach us valuable and holy lessons from even the most painful shifts, isn’t He? Thank you so much for stopping by today. I continue to pray for you as you write! 🙂

  8. Going through this but with my daughter. I don’t know why. Her father has selfishly turned her against me her brother and the rest of the family. He is pure evil!!!i did such a good job at hiding this from her over the years that she has no idea. Everything was good until she turned 18. And just packed up and left to live with her father. I never in a million years ever thought this would ever happen to me. Or to us. I’m trying to believe that this is Gods plan. It’s very hard Stress fear longing to hug her. What do I do??what can I do??

    • I’m so sorry for your pain. That must really be tough to watch your daughter pull away and shift toward something/someone that is not healthy for her. But I encourage you to cling to 1 Peter 5:7 and cast your anxiety over this situation upon the Lord…give Him the responsibility and don’t try to fix it yourself. He can do it. We just have to give Him time. So you’ll also need to memorize and cling to Psalm 27:14, which says, “Wait for the Lord. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” I truly believe that if you wait for him and resist the urge to speak, act or move, He will work in ways you cannot imagine. I’m pausing right now to pray that God reveals truth to your daughter, that she hears His voice and feels His presence, and that He grants her wisdom beyond her years. And I’m praying for you to be able to wait on His timing. It will be hard. But you can do it. And God will bless and work. Hang in there, mama!

      • Thank you so very much for listening to me and encouraging me to be who I really am, steady and strong. You will never know how much ur quick response and loving words have meant to me. Thanks so very much

  9. Such a beautiful story. Friendships are one of those blessings that if held too tight can be lost needlessly. Thank you for the reminder. So thankful that someday we will have an eternity of shared experiences with all our friends!

  10. Thank you for this “real life” devotion today! As a Child of God, I would hope we would be above such things – but alas! We are still human, with that sinful nature that we were born with! Like others, I had a similar situation in my life. My friend and I were so close for so many years – We are neighbors, went to the same church, our husbands were friends even before we met! She has an older daughter, I have a younger daughter – but our sons are the same age. The boys were friends in the nursery at church and 30 years later are still friends today! They were in each other’s weddings, their wives are friends, their children were born within months of each other, etc. I love her dearly to this day – she is a wonderful, Godly person. When our children were old enough to stay by themselves (my son is several years older than my daughter), we would go on little trips with my friend and her husband. We all had a great time, loved the Lord and many times we would work on projects/missions together. They always invited us over for hot dogs and movie night, we’d go out to eat, visit other churches together, etc. They were a huge part of our lives. Then all of a sudden, they started hanging out with another couple. Nice people, but folks we didn’t know. We were still invited occasionally, but less and less – then we never heard from them! We’d see them out, call them about church or the kids – they’d say we need to get together! But when we’d name a date or time, they were always “busy”. Several times we would be working at church on a project, and my friend’s friend would show up, help for 15 or 20 minutes, then I would look around and they’d be gone! No “see you later” or “we have plans” or “would you like to go?” This happened many times! At first I was really hurt – they were trying to get away from ME? I was one of her good friends! I was fun! I was cool! What was the deal? My husband said, Don’t worry about it! But it really bothered me – and hurt me! This happened more and more – I guess we had been replaced…. 6 years later, I still love that family and think she is a wonderful person – but I still wonder to this day – “What happened?” Even Christians get their feelings hurt and get left behind when others move on. Thanks for the scripture and the encouragement today. Be blessed!

    • Oh Shirl, thank you so much for sharing your story with me and others here. I needed that. Sometimes when we go through a friendship shift we feel like the only one who’s ever been there. And we feel like such losers. Right? But I have tried to remind myself that her choices were more of a reflection on her, not me. And that’s not to say that my friend made ungodly or unwise choices, but simply that her choices to spend more time and energy on another relationship do not necessarily reflect poorly on me.

      But I agree, it’s a mystery. I often asked myself that question, too. What happened? And honestly, you and I will probably never really know. But I chose to believe that God was at work and regardless of what may have been behind it all, God was moving my life in the direction He knew to be best for me. Friendship changes are tough, no doubt about it. But I know that God uses all things to work together for good in my life…and yours, too, sweet lady. Blessings!

  11. Kay, I’m so sorry for your pain, but I rejoice with you in the journey that took you into a closer place with Christ. “Sorrow lasts for the night but joy cometh in the morning.”

  12. Kay, I am so grateful to the Lord, to you, to every person here who has shared for these gracious words. Your words concerning bitterness and love are full of healing grace for this weary heart that has experienced much change and loss in the last few years. How the Lord carries us , holding us close to his loving heart where we can hear each beat of His love and mercy speaking peace to our souls if but let Him. I have experienced bitterness and jealousy in some of these times and the Lord has been so faithful to uproot them, laying seeds of peace as I grieve and and joy and hope as I move into new places with each person and Him, being open to all that He has. It is hard to not grow weary, but His love brings hope for these relationships if we do not give up, communicate, and, as Bev said in wisdom, let Him do the transforming work He does best as our friend, Savior, and physician. Sometimes it means letting go completely, sometimes being patient as He works on us both, sometimes its having a caring talk, sometimes its being loving even if the other causes us unintentional pain (I have a few friends that are losing their memory and lashing out at times-please pray for them). Remembering that He sees and knows can lift up the heart into His rest 🙂 May we each seek His face and heart as we experience these changes, being still and knowing that He loves each of us as His precious children, pouring out our hearts to Him as we surrender to His loving and bringing the best for each of us as the good, good Father that He is 🙂

  13. Kay, such beautiful words. I have moved a number of times since married and it can be hard when our best friend becomes friends with a new friend who isn’t us. And this is happening again. My friend and I have moved, then moved again. We are even now farther apart. And at first I was a little jealous when she mentioned other women as friends, but as you say, we can’t let bitterness and jealousy come between us. And soon I realized that her and I both needed new friends to take each others place we had held, because we could never go back to living in the same town and having tea together. We were now miles apart and a once a year plane ride kind of together. This I am sure was God’s way of nudging me to accept what was and start focusing on new friends. None of my new friends are quite like her, but I have found some very dear ones who grow and challenge and encourage me in different ways than she did. And now I can’t imagine living without knowing all of them.

    Have fun on your trip and create a lot of memories and remember to laugh a lot.

    • You’re so right Theresa. We do have to let other friends come in and fill the spaces we once filled. It’s natural to fight that at first, I think. That space feels so sacred somehow. But when we remember that we were simply agents of God’s love and provision in each others’ lives…we were not the blesser, just the blessing…we become more willing to scooch over and make room.

      Thanks for commenting. And I full intend to enjoy that sweet visit…for what it is…nothing more and nothing less. ♥

  14. OH MY. This is right where I am in a friendship… praying for God to plant seeds of love. My friend walked away. Praying she will come back to the friendship and while it will be different, it will be better. Amen and Amen! Thank you!

  15. Kay,

    I’m not fond of changes! The winds of change have blown across me for the past three years. Most of these changes I would have gladly run away from. But God is so gracious to walk with me through them. I am actually grateful for that because it has made me draw closer to Him. I was and am blessed to have had friends go with me on that journey. We worked together and now we get together once a month. I don’t know how I’d gotten through that time without God and my special friends!

    Blessings 🙂