Circle of Friends: My Very Own Peter, James, and John
By Wendy Pope

Throughout my life, God has blessed me with just the right friends, with just the right words, and at just the right season of life. I like to say, "When God can't get my attention, He uses someone from my circle of friends to do the job." As iron sharpens iron, so my friends sharpen me (Proverbs 27:17). God has used these precious women to shape me into the woman I am today: a woman who loves Jesus fully and celebrates a wonderful life.

I spent the early years of my life living outside the circle of the "in-crowd," longing to be more than a spectator, wondering why I was never asked to be a member. My heart has always longed to have close, meaningful relationships with other women. Little did I know that the true desire of my heart was for something more than a friend to shop with at the mall's big sale or spend time listening to me complain about my life. God knew what I needed: women in my life who were bold enough to hold me accountable for the truth He was teaching me through His Word, even if it meant stepping on my toes. In His sovereignty, He knew I needed women who would be willing to walk this amazing adventure of faith beside me, keeping me on the narrow road.

I refer to my circle of friends as my "Peter, James and John." When Jesus walked the narrow road on earth, He had 12 disciples, but Peter, James and John shared personal experiences with the Savior to which the other disciples were not privileged (Matthew 17:1, Mark 5:37). Slowly and very intentionally, God has formed a similar inner circle of friends around me.

I have to say, I am surprised by the choices He has made. But then, Jesus chose fishermen to be in His circle and that turned out pretty well, don't you think? He chose women of various ages and seasons of life yet strong in the faith, each uniquely gifted to sharpen my walk with Him. Additionally, each woman has her own struggles and God has equipped me to minister to her.

Being a woman who always wore her feelings inside out, I never thought I would welcome or invite constructive feedback on situations in my life. Little by little God has toughened my skin, while softening my heart to accept the edge of the sword, the sword of His Word. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (NIV)."

When I speak at women's events, I often talk about my "Peter, James and John." Many women come up to me afterwards longing to have their own close circle of friends and I’ve realized how desperate women are to have gal pals. God created women with the longing to be understood, validated, encouraged and loved. These needs are beautifully satisfied in the friendship of women.

If your longing for this type of friendship is as strong as mine was, then ask God for such a circle of friends. Other things you can do while you wait to build up a circle of friends include:

Actively pray

Ask God to help you be the kind of friend you desire to have.

Actively participate

Become involved in a Bible study or other types of special interest small group such as crafts or scrapbooking. If there isn't one around, and time permits, then start one yourself.

Actively Listen

Often God speaks in a whisper, and His whisper may lead you to an unexpected place to discover His answer.

I have learned to trust Him completely to bring and take away friends for certain seasons of life without the pressure of nurturing the friendships beyond my means. He has proven Himself faithful 100% of the time. I am sure He has a "Peter, James and John" waiting for you. They are just a prayer away.



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