Choosing Forgiveness When Your Heart Breaks Due to Friendship Loss
There is a saying many of us have heard that goes like this…
“Some friends are in your life for a season, some for a lifetime.”
If we have the privilege to have a real best friend, we have been given a gift. A true best friend stands next to us in life and loss, highs and lows, and the ugliest, and most beautiful parts of us.
I’ve been blessed in my life to have experienced friendships such as these, connections I’ve never taken for granted and moments shared that have their own room within the chambers of my heart.
I’ve also experienced the loss of friendships, a heartbreak that just doesn’t mirror anything else.
A loss that leaves me wondering if I will ever find that sort of connection again, and one that even makes me question if I even deserve to.
Friendship loss is a whole different animal. It gets a personal seat at your life table and puts a hole in a part of your heart that you just aren’t sure how to fill.
For years, after losing a valuable and impactful friendship, I felt broken and incomplete in the strangest ways. Everything I did and saw made me think of this friend. Pictures would pop into my feed and bring back a wave of emotions I thought I had stuffed away. Memories and mementos sat in boxes in the dustiest part of my closet, waiting for the moment someone new came into my life, and I had the approval to permanently toss out the old. I thought, if I stored away every memory, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much.
But it did. And it hurt for a good while. Wishing, hoping, and praying that God would bring the relationship back and make it whole again. Making efforts to heal what was broken, plead for another try, and pour my heart out into sharing how valuable this friend was in hopes that enough sacred words would woo them back into my world.
Friendship loss hurts.
Because really good friendships are ones where our lives intertwine. Vacations are taken together, kids are raised as one giant family, and talks of growing old together make us laugh until we are rolling on the floor. And, we spend a lot of time thanking God for giving us such a sweet gift of such a soul-filling connection.
True friends can find parts of your heart that some people can never see. They know your deepest aches, secret frustrations, complaints about your husband (OK, we don’t really do that ;)), celebrity crushes, favorite color, your go-to coffee order, and soe of your secret prayers that have only ever been spoken in the presence of Jesus.
When that changes, it feels like our whole world changes.
We ache to find that connection again, and sometimes we do. That hope-filled friendship comes back and shows you what the restoration promises of God look like.
And some of us spend years searching for the thing we lost within a mountain of life experiences, begging to share it again with someone who fills the gap.
While a good friendship leaves an impact on our lives that is unforgettable, the loss of a good friendship can leave heartbreak that is unmatchable.
In the process of losing this valuable connection and grieving what had changed, I had to lean on God more than ever. I didn’t like feeling alone, and I knew the one constant in my life, no matter what, was Him.
I needed God to remind me of who I was, with or without this friend in my life.
I needed him to show me where my most profound connection lay. I was searching for contentment and fulfillment with a person when I just needed to be giving space for connection with Him.
As I pressed into healing, He made me stronger.
God revealed to me areas in which I needed to grow.
Areas in which I retreated in pain.
Triggers and pain points that would spark discontentment or fear.
He showed me that I was afraid of loss.
He showed me that I had to find who I was, in Him, in order to be faithful within my circumstances.
God gave me space to grieve, time to heal, and room in my heart to hope again.
And I was reminded of what I mentioned at the beginning, that, “Some friends are in your life for a season, some for a lifetime.” And for the first time, I was ok with that.
Once I accepted that my once best friend was not forever, I took a deep breath and took it back to the Lord.
I asked Him to help me not just to heal, but to forgive.
It was in that moment, a sweet reprieve with the Lord, where my heart just released it all and allowed Him to fully and completely take that painful part of my life. I prayed, asking the Lord to allow me to walk fully into the freedom that forgiveness had to offer. You see, forgiveness releases the burden that says you don’t have space to walk through this, and it opens your heart to the ability to find hope and restore connection, once again.
I once asked a sweet friend, “How do you know you have forgiven someone?”
She said to me, “When the painful parts of your circumstances with them aren’t consuming your mind.”
I knew in that moment, within that prayer of handing over my dear friendship, that this would be the last moment I would be consumed with mending my broken heart, and the first moment of allowing God to walk me into becoming the best version of myself.
So when that new friend came into my life, I was ready to open my heart once again without the heavy bondage of pain and loss.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
If you have lost a friendship, please remember, don’t rush the healing process. Your loss deserves space and time for grief to find its way to wholeness. It’s okay to feel sad, to miss your companion, to long for another.
And while you heal, God, who is in the business of restoring what has been stolen, will recover in you, parts of yourself, you didn’t know you had lost.
He will walk you through heartbreak into a place of wholeness, growth, and restorative hope that can only be found in Him.
Kristin is a wife, a mom of 4 amazing girls, a writer, a feeler, and a creator of many things. Her story is being forged by God, as He is giving her words to share her story of redemption and restoration through words and art. You can connect with her on her website as well as Instagram.
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