Great Expectations of Friendship {And Why We Don’t Have Them}

by | Apr 26, 2013 | Five Minute Friday

PicMonkey Collage friends-1

We sat this week in our gym clothes and tennis shoes, nine of us talking about friendship and what makes one sweet. And the overriding word that resonated is expectations. Friends don’t have them, we all agreed. We just know and believe and that faith in each other, it roots deep in the intimacy of long lasting friendship.

I sat in my seat, rubbing the ViBella jewelry my best friend just bought me earlier that week, at a retreat where a piece of my heart still resides. She took it back to exchange it before giving it to me, thinking she was being indecisive in her thoughtfulness. But God nudged her to do it.

Because when I opened it, she gave me the same necklace a kindred soul picked for herself and only God knew it came with a message. A confirmation for each of us that yes, He has something in mind for our friendship. He was already speaking to each of us individually, picking us out among the crowds and bringing our random thoughts together, our mouths drawn open in the serendipity. That necklace wasn’t just a random pick, it is a sacred and holy gift. A reminder that God speaks through friendship. The water that makes our lives bloom with vibrant beauty.

I told all nine about the way my friend reminds me continually, with love and honesty, of how God loves me one person at a time. She points out words and phrases, turning seemingly random moments into everyday miracles.  Miracles I sluff off as ordinary kindness and “Oh, she probably says that to everyone.”

And as I listen to the stories from nine in my hometown, peeling back layers of friendship, I get a text from a friend on the other side of the country. We’re known by each other, we shared community before kids, house payments and writing. She’s telling me what the Lord said to her on my behalf as she prays earnestly for me as a writer. It’s something we do for each other daily.

I think about the tears I’ve shed over these past ten years, of loneliness and lack of friendship in my back yard. “Why God, don’t I have friends like this where I grocery shop and garden?”

Then I realize the gift. That heart friendship transcends place and time. He handpicks the beauty and extends his arm holding a vibrant bouquet of unique soul ties. Their color and texture exactly what my heart longs for. The flower of friendship doesn’t just come from the grocery store, each beautiful stem is handpicked near a copse, in a tiny ravine, on the windy shores of the sea at the moment when the light hits the face of God, at just the right time. 

Expectations don’t come with the friends God chooses. And that is what makes them sweet.



I’m joining Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday today on the one word prompt: Friend. I just couldn’t resist after a week of reveling in it.

What have you learned about friendship as it evolves and changes with the seasons of life?


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  1. Kristin Anne Smith

    I understand how you feel….not having these types of friendships in your backyard….praying that God blesses you with continued growth in the friendships that aren’t as “expected”…and possibly opens the door to a new friendship where you are as well!! Blessings!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you, that is so kind.

  2. Linda Stoll

    how very blessed you are, Shelly …

  3. Denise Oldham

    Thanks for sharing your heart.

  4. Debbie Crawford

    The heart friendship transcends time and place. So true and thanking God for those kind of friendships.

  5. Eileen

    “heart friendship transcends place and time.” So true. Always beautiful, Shelly.

  6. Linda Lloyd

    Lovely! True friendship is a treasure.

  7. bethinnc

    What an incredibly sweet post. Aren’t we blessed? I am heading to a retreat with my buddy Angie today. 😉 Thank you for visiting me!

    • Shelly Miller

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Laugh until you cry.

  8. Julie Hulstein

    Beautiful post! God loves us so well through each other when we allow Him to speak to our spirits! I’m so glad that a Vi Bella necklace was part of your “kiss from heaven”!

    • Shelly Miller

      Me too Julie. I love it when there is meaning in what would otherwise be insignificant and mundane.

  9. Nikki

    Oh, may we never get over how He weaves us together and touches us in new ways through each friend…through these kindred souls we agree to let let all expectations go and just watch glory unfold…

    I’ll never get over how He introduced me to you, Shelly. How clear I see Him in you…

    • Shelly Miller

      I feel the same way Nikki. I’m so thankful for you. And I hope we get to meet in real life one day.

  10. Jillie

    I’ve heard it said that “friendships come for a reason, for a season, or for life”. (something like that.) I have experienced all these. Each one has been precious and special in its own way, but of course, the ones that last a lifetime are really the ones we yearn and seek after. I have a friend, who, no matter the miles that separate us, when we come together for a visit, it’s like we were never apart. We giggle and laugh about ‘old times’ and share what’s happening now.

    But my longest-running and deepest friendship is with someone who really knows how to test me. We have had some very rocky times together, but we just keep hanging in there. I would not want to be without her in my life. We’ve walked through the good times and the bad, together. She frustrates me, I frustrate her. It’s a fair exchange. :] What makes it most difficult for me, is that she does not ascribe to Christianity in quite the way most other Christ-followers do. I wish that she and I could ‘go deeper’, but she will not. It has been this way for years! But, on the flip side, God has taught me so much through my friendship with her. Things like unconditional love, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, patience, and letting go. I think I have finally released her to the Lord, waiting on Him to do what He does so well. And I seek to love her just the way she is.

    • Shelly Miller

      I have friends like this too Jillie, both deep believers and ones that are not. I will say that those who share Christ in common are deep and intimate and meaningful in a way that is hard to describe. But I think the main thing you convey here is that God can use anyone to speak into our life, regardless if they walk intimately or not. He is sovereign and that is what counts. So glad to you know you have meaningful friendships.

  11. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, I’m so glad that the Lord has hand-picked you as a beautiful flower of grace to adorn His hand-picked bouquet for me. While I wish we lived closer and I loved finally meeting you face-to-face, your post reminds me that spiritual friendship fragrance does have a way of transcending proximity, because the fragrance of Christ is always shed abroad in our hearts. You bring the sweetness of His love to me in so many ways!

    • Shelly Miller

      The feeling is mutual Lynn, so glad he brought us together.

  12. Kim Hyland

    I love the idea of God handpicking our friends. Your writing helps me see and appreciate anew the gift they are. And the way He interjects His love through divine messages loving us “one friend at a time” . . beautiful!

    • Shelly Miller

      I think the longer I live the more I realize this Kim, I no longer take my heart friendships for granted.

  13. Barbie

    God has hand picked so much beauty in my life. I am so blessed.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m so glad Barbie.

    • Shelly Miller

      Cherish them, yes indeed. I’m doing that too.

  14. Sharon O

    Love your sharing. Love the words of friendship and being real. Wonderful encouragement.

    • Shelly Miller

      So glad to know you were encouraged here Sharon.

  15. Brie E

    Shelly, this was beautiful! I love how you choose to see His grace in your friends.

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