• Dana L. Butler

How I Lost My Best Friend [God Crafts Hope In Secret Places]

Last year, I lost my best friend. I know that sounds dramatic, but this was no joke.  I really did.   We had been best friends from age 20, had “grown up” together.  12 years of history:  Laugh-till-you-cry inside jokes, shared pain, mingled blood, sweat, tears.  It seemed like it was all swirling, unpreventably rushing down the drain.   Becoming nothing but memories that shot my heart through, that made me wince upon every recollection. Huge issues had arisen – issues that profoundly impacted both her heart and mine.  Problems that were much, much bigger than just she and I.   Many of those dear to us were affected.  Relationships that spanned years and years were strained, pulled apart. And my friend and I?  We lived in separate states and experienced the situation so very differently.  We simply could not arrive at perspectives that lined up with each other.   Believe me.  We tried.  Hard. No headway.  Only damaged trust. And since our hearts were so deeply invested in our unique perspectives, we found our friendship caving in around us. I couldn’t believe what was happening.  I was losing my best friend.  Neither of us had ever dreamed this was possible. That anything would ever have the power to tear us apart. I think I was in shock.  In shock, and brokenhearted. I was convinced: our friendship was over.  Probably for good.  I didn’t see, at all, how God could possibly resurrect our relationship, our trust in one another, our “I-can-completely-be-myself-around-you” wide open hearts. “Maybe we can try to talk again in 5 or 10 years.” The thought was my last-ditch effort to hold onto some small degree of hope as our final attempts at open communication failed. And then, there was nothing but silence between us.  The silence cut deep. In March, I found out I was pregnant.  Under normal circumstances, she would have been one of my first phone calls.  The heart-agony of not being able to invite my long-time friend to celebrate with me was acute, even in the midst of my joy.  

Then I miscarried.  Again, couldn’t call her.  Couldn’t process with her.  Couldn’t allow her to mourn with me. Everything reminded me of her.  This song, that picture, this restaurant, that type of car.  Memories were plentiful.  Living in the city where she and I spent so much time together throughout our early and mid 20’s, I couldn’t escape them. And I think part of me didn’t want to. It was the memories that made me feel… that let me know my heart was still alive.  Alive in general, and alive toward her.  They were piercingly painful reminders of how much I loved her.  How our hearts were knit.  How she was a part of who I am.   David and Jonathan.  Our hearts were like that.  And as much as one half of my heart wanted to just “be okay,” to move on with my life and ignore the absence of this “sister of my heart,”  the other half couldn’t. Months passed. Crafting Hope In Secret Places And then, just last week, a totally unexpected series of events led to a brief discussion via private Facebook message. Her communication with me led me to wonder if her heart might be more open toward me than before.  So I decided to nudge what seemed like, maybe, it was an open door. Heart trembling, I said “yes” to hope. I asked if we could talk on the phone.  She said she was nervous.  “But yes, let’s do it.” I was nervous too.  No doubt. And then?  Miracles.  Straight up, blow-your-socks-off miracles. Our kids’ nap time the next day found us talking, crying, laughing, crying some more.  For just under 2 hours.  Hurts explained, apologies offered, forgiveness extended.  We shared many of the “I miss you but can’t call you” moments of heartache from the last number of months, ached with each other over them.   Heart doors were flung wide open, sighs of relief heaved over and over again. And oh, the God stories.  Stories of hearts supernaturally changed and freed by Him.  Perspectives tweaked.  Sudden, miraculous ability to find common ground that had been buried deep, impossible to dig out only months before. I have my friend back.  Sister of my heart.  My “Jonathon and David” best bud.

These last few mornings, I’ve almost had to pinch myself upon waking, as the reality of our restored friendship crashes in on my heart all over again.  It’s real.  It really happened.  Oh Father, thank You. Thank You that Your ways are not my own, Your thoughts are higher than mine, Your plans are greater, and Your love is stronger.   Thank you that You’re a God of restoration, that, to You, friendships centered around Jesus, forged by years and tears and deeply invested hearts, are SO not trivial, not flippantly cast aside. Thank You that You have the power to move mountains – and human hearts – and that You’re fiercely committed to doing so.   Thank you that even when we lose hope, You never do.  That our hope lost is Your opportunity to break in, surprising us with Your beauty and bringing glory to Yourself. Surprising us with His beauty.  Isn’t that what God does in situations like this?  He makes a way where there seems to be no way.  He crafts hope deep in the hidden, secret places, beneath the surface, His hand invisible to our natural eye. All the while, we wonder if He cares about this detail, that loss, that relationship. And then, in His perfect time, He who is HOPE?  He BURSTS forth, back into our view, in all His glory. and the perfect, intricate splendor of His master plan is unveiled in all its beauty. I’m left speechless.  Undone by His tender care for my life, my heart.  For her life, her heart.  And His value for our friendship.  Heart overflowing with gratitude, and cell phone in hand, ready to call my best friend “just because.”   Because now, I can. After those 2 hours on the phone the other day, I updated my Facebook status: “My heart is so full.” And her immediate “mine too!” under my status was the sweetest picture of God’s unexpected, extravagant goodness.  His perfect, beautiful-even-when-unseen crafting of hope in the hidden places of our hearts and lives. Friend, when hope seems to die, may you have courage to believe that He is faithful.  Courage to trust that He is still working, shaping, building, planning, creating.  He never quits.  In the dark days, when you can’t see His hand, may you rest deeply in the truth that Hope will burst forth in His perfect time.  May you find peace in anticipating the unveiling of His secret work that will be so extravagantly, surprisingly perfect for you.  Beyond your wildest dreams.


Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21)


Also –To encourage you if you’re walking through a season of torn relationships, written during the falling-to-pieces of this precious friendship: God’s Invitation in the Midst of the Storm

PS – Stopping back by today to link up with Chasing Blue Skies!

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