The Truth About Friendship Poverty

by | Aug 10, 2012 | Five Minute Friday

When you unplug from the world for two weeks to connect with the ones you pushed into the world and the man who vows to do life with you forever, you wonder if everyone else will forget about you.  Will two weeks of silence with the outside world mean your essence will evaporate into a distant memory for all the others?

The sun still sleeps and I’m lying in bed with my eyes open, thinking about this day, my birthday. We’re in a season of friendship poverty.  The kind that laughs tears, knows what you did yesterday, finishes sentences, reads your sadness without needing words and brings you a latte in the middle of the day.

It’s okay, He told me it would be this way for a while. But I’m preparing for the silence on a day when there should be confetti and noise blowers and cake crumbs laying all over the coffee table.

He asks me the same question I’ve written about all week, the one that echoes over dirty dishes, grocery carts and cut flowers. “What do you want me to do for you . .  on your birthday,” Jesus asks.

I want to know your presence, feel you with me today in a tangible way, I tell him. Because is there a better birthday gift than this?

He answers in phone calls from voices I haven’t heard in months, random conversations with strangers in Ann Taylor Loft and the used bookstore. In text messages about taking walks, emails from distant relatives, and over 100 birthday wishes from friends far away.

And when I end my day couched among gift bags, crumpled tissue paper and the ones that own my heart, I close my eyes and thank Him for the way He connected with me.  Because in friendship poverty comes the realization that He’s the best friend you’ll ever have. He finishes all my sentences.

This post is a bit of an uneditted continuation of posts inspired by the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson posted on Monday and Wednesday.

Linking with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday with the one word prompt: Connect and with Michelle for Graceful Summer.


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  1. Crystal S.

    What a beautiful post. I love your final line “He finishes all my sentences” – Jesus fills us where we need it most, a reminder I needed today! Visiting from the 5 Minute Friday link up 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Crystal, so happy to meet you today. Love God’s timing, the way you found it here. Makes me smile.

  2. Danelle

    He does “finish all our sentences”. I love this. I also love to “connect with the ones you pushed into the world”. . that gave me chills. Just beautiful. And so important that we pull those ones we pushed close, right?
    You always bless me with your words here. Always.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Danelle, it’s always a pleasure to connect with your lovely heart. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Michele-Lyn (@lifesurrendered)

    Oh this is just beautiful and so much my heart. I never heard anyone else converse with God about birthday gifts from Him. I thought I was the only one… This makes me smile big and warms my soul.

    I love you heart 🙂

  4. ro elliott

    shelly…this is just beautiful…If I could write right where I am this would be it…but through this season…He truly has become a friend that sticks closer than a brother…and yes…HE does complete our sentences…completes us. have a wonderful weekend…blessings~

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It’s nice to know I’m in good company Ro. I think we are both walking through a similar season of life and love linking arms with you through it.

  5. Heather Kopp at

    Ah! This is so dang lovely and true. The last line is so great. “He finishes all my sentences.” I love the way you love God and let him love you, friend. And belated Happy Birthday. I am so glad I know you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Right back atcha Heather, feel so blessed to know you too friend. You are such an encouragement to me, thank you. (And thanks for the tweet too.)

  6. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, I’m so glad that He finished your sentences with exclamation points on your birthday!! He didn’t forget you!!! Oh to know His palpable presence as the real present–on our birthday or any other day. This, too, was my prayer when I was away last week on retreat. Oh how He answered: He showered me with heavenly confetti in so many tangible ways. And sadly, a lifelong friendship of mine is ending (or likely has ended). To know that Jesus is my friend, my friend who laid down His life for me, makes me rich beyond belief in the poverty and void my friend left in her wake as she “took leave” of our friendship. Bless you for this reminder of our one, true Friend! ……comfort, care, and compassion beyond measure!

    • Jillie

      Oh Lynn…this is just too much of a God-incidence! For a week now, I too have been floundering in an attempt to save a 40-year friendship with my girlfriend/sister-in-law over something that happened between our daughters! It has been very difficult and my emotions have run the gamut! We need to talk. Write to me my Friend.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        There are only God-incidences, Jillie! We’re leaving soon for our cabin, and I have no Internet there. Will be in touch soon! Sending my dearest love….

    • Redemption's Beauty

      He loves us well doesn’t he Lynn? Glad you felt His powerful presence loving you while away.

  7. Dea

    So thankful for the day you were born, and the day I stumbled onto Redemption’s Beauty and I thought it was “just” a photography blog. 🙂 Oh, but it was so much more than beautiful was sentences inspired by one who seek the One I seek. Sentence after sentence that have blessed me and challenged me. Thank you for giving us you heart here Shelly….you are brave, beautiful, and redeemed—I pray you feel that to your bones today. Happy Birthday my friend. (I’m “circling.”)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      What a blessing your words are to me. Truly a treasured birthday gift, thank you Dea. I find it interesting that you thought my blog was a photo blog at first. I do have a quite a few photographers following me though. Photography is such a huge part of my life, like carrying an extra arm around. I’m grateful I can share it here too.

  8. Jillie

    Amen Shelly. I too love your statement about “the ones you pushed into the world”. These are the ones I always celebrate my birthdays with. (I told them that the only compensation I get for growing older…is lots and lots of presents. 😀 ) But praying for my Birthday never entered my mind! Sometimes I get melancholy about the passage of years…when I should’ve been looking to Him. I will do that this Oct. 5th. My darling Millwright’s Birthday is Oct. 4th so we always celebrate together…and my joy has always been focusing on HIS Day rather than my own.
    I KNOW you count yourself blessed to find that so many remembered your Birthday. Once again, the Lord came through for you. You are LOVED by all who read your incredible words every day. And I’m SO BLESSED to have been ‘directed’ to your writings by my friend, Lynn Morrissey. May He fill your heart today with joy and peace…and the ‘knowing’ that you are loved. By Him…and so many others.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Knowing you Jillie, its one of the best gifts I’ve received since I started blogging. Thank you for all your kindness. Love you lots.

  9. justpausenthink

    Yes, I am speechless. This is just beautiful. And pertinent b/c my big 40 is next week. Happy belated birhday to you, Shelly. :o)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, I hope and pray that your 40th is blessed in every way. That you feel His presence with you, loving you for who you are. So glad you stopped by.

  10. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    Oh, I wish I could have baked you a cake or had you to tea to share your day and heart! No matter our age… we do need some extra loving on these days. Although I have one friend who declares she never even remembers her own birthday… hmm…

    Shelly, I understand that “poverty of friendship,” especially as a single in a world of marrieds. I have a few really close friends, but even that can be occasional at times because of all their family commitments or long distance…and though I truly understand that, life is alone a lot. Just the way it is. And it does draw me closer to Him, looking to Him… so that’s good anyway. My birthday this year, a few months ago, was non celebratory mostly… a crazy misunderstanding at the time with my closest friend that caused a hard place but thankfully is now resolved. (An example of how Satan can twist our words sometimes) Some other things with not feeling well. It was pretty low key, just working a temp job all day and coming home. But God blessed me with His heart too… My mom’s birthday was the day before mine and growing up I used to envy the many many cards she got from old friends. (Even now that she’s gone, it seems like a joint birthday to me.) People used to keep in touch more that way then. But now, it’s in the few beautiful friendships and mostly in Him that I know His love for me. You could never be forgotten on this blog… too many love your words and the gift He expresses through them. 🙂 I wonder if we will celebrate “birth days” into heaven? 🙂 Well, rambling here… sorry. But even though the internet is no replacement for in the flesh friends, you have many here who call you friend. 🙂

    • Lynn Morrissey

      Pam, I had wanted to comment to you before, but I couldn’t make the reply work. =] Do you mind to contact me at I also want to empathize with what you said about your dear friend, and I’m so glad that the two of you have reconciled. That’s wonderful! You know, you could have a celebratory birthday in retrospect, or even next year! Celebrate you! I’m sure your friends will join in. I try to celebrate for a month, and when I turned fifty, I had a Butterfly Birthday Party, when I left the boring chrysalis of youth, spread my colorful wings, and flew! And that birthday went on for a year! =] I, too, wish people would send handwritten cards and notes. I’m pretty passionate about this type of communicaiton, and find it’s a relatively easy undertaking if you have all your supplies at your fingertips. And there’s nothing lovelier than sending a “love letter” to Jesus, written in your own hand in your journal to your best friend! Belated birthday blessings to you! ~Lynn

      • lolitavalle

        I am loving this conversation. Just wanted to let you know that I am eavesdropping here, Lynn and Pam.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        How fun that you have eavesdropped. I love reading *your* comments too. You guys always look so happy! I’m sorry that I don’t know your names.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Pam, I’m so thankful for online friendships with people like you. I’m just blessed beyond comprehension. And I agree, people don’t send cards as much as they used to, its becoming a lost art.
      I think this birthday was a life lesson, that the best connection one can have on the celebration of her birth is to feel the presence of her Saviour. I had one of those days where God was present, answering all my prayers, throughout the day. I was giddy with joy. I’ll write about some of it at some point.

  11. Denise

    Amen, amen.

  12. lolitavalle

    We are gonna be here for you, Shelly. I was peering daily on my right rail for signal that you are in already, and in my email.

    Having been unplugged is one way of taking your Sabbatical leave. It is needed and it refreshes and restores.

    This is a good reminder that our best Best Friend should always be Jesus, the one whose promises and love is never fails. The connection must be laid open both ways.

    That was a noble wish and a God-smile all the way.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Love the way hearts can connect no matter the culture, the miles, the circumstance when God is the glue. So thankful for you.

  13. pruningprincesses

    You are back. I had not realized. So nice to “hear” your voice. Thank you for your encouragement. I do know that weights will get heavier as they grow and maybe it is that knowledge that makes the tears which flow know hard. It doesn’t get easier. So thankful God allows the full weight of the sinful world to be felt gradually. I miss my friends who finish my sentence too. This friendship poverty is lasting much longer than I had hoped.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Love your comment: God allows the full weight of the sinful world to be felt gradually. Such truth in that statement. He knows how overwhelmed we get. Praying for you and for me, that he fills the empty places of friendship. So glad to connect with you.

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