Friends in Our 40’s: 10 Ways to Move from Hurt to Joy

March 3, 2024

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Hi! I'm Meg! It's great to meet you! Let's unlock the joy to found in everyday life, together! 

Meet Meg

Butterflies migrated from my stomach to my extremities. Whole body tingles triggered my tears as my biggest fear happened …again. 

I lost a friend. 

Best friends don’t just leap into our lives. They are layered into our core. Our people become extensions of our appendages and extend our limitations. They pick up our kids when we’re crushed with work and cramped for time, bring us food before we ask, share the most important and outrageous laughs, listen to our history, and digest the roots of who we are. 

These are the people with open doors we walk through daily. The first ones we text with the big stuff …good and bad. The best kind of friends, the ones I hold dearest to my heart, are the ones who hit their knees in prayer with and for me …and stand shoulder to shoulder with arms in the air to the One and Only God. 

When we lose a friend, a new fear is born …the fear of connecting. So often, we fight that fear by forbidding ourselves to be known that deeply again. But that’s not the answer. We were made for connection. 

I hope the wisdom I gained as I have wallowed through broken friendship to find new connections, will also encourage you. 

  1. Get to know the One who created connection.

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 NLT

Connecting with God helps us build healthy connections in our lives. Learning and listening to the truth He proclaims over our lives helps us put people in their place …after Him. 

Connection is built into the fabric of who we are. Since God is the Author behind every single cell of us, we can assume that connection is His creation, too. It’s something we all do naturally and crave continually. Yet, even the best connections can become awkward and strained. The best of friends can disconnect …for good.

When those people leave, betray, or ghost us …it feels like dying. Because, in a way, a part of us is. We know it …we can feel it slipping away and them sliding out of view. In those seasons, loyalty seems like something people talk a lot about in fairy tales, and forgiveness seems like a weapon more than an expression of Love. But when we know who God is, we can walk through hard seasons and look forward in hope to a time of reconnection. 

2-. Clear your conscience and heal your heart. 

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NLT

I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit, as a child of God who is supposed to be living at peace with everyone. The blank spaces in my heart and life, once filled with love, loyalty, and laughter, are now painfully silent …or entirely gone. Cherished chapters of my life just … disappeared as if they never existed. 

It continues into adulthood and motherhood. Things that have been said to me about my children have almost caused me to pass out. And it hurts so much more when it comes out of the mouth of a friend …especially one who is a believer. My butterflies are making another round right now, just writing about it! 

Forgiveness places God first in our lives, freeing us from the burden of battling the people who hurt us and letting Him defend us instead. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we will forget the hurt or reconcile with every friend. It frees us from the burden of loneliness.

3. Trust God’s truth.  

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purposes for me.” Psalm 57:2 NLT

God is not a God of coincidence but of purpose. Nothing exists by accident. Nor do any of us. Each of us is created with specific care, intimately known by the Father, and given a purpose for our lives that only we can live out. 

The complexity of connecting with people is rooted in our diversity. Personality, background, race, gender, generations, and scars …there are a million things that matter in our lives, driving us to walk in specific directions. The community we connect with is not by chance. Our church home isn’t a coincidence. God placed our children in our care purposefully …yes, we were meant to be the mothers we are. He made sure not one person was identical to another. So when we connect, something miraculous happens. We become a part of each other’s lives. Relationships altar and affect our lives. 

4. Look for the people who are already in your life.

“Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” Proverbs 20:6

To be friends with anyone, we have to be willing to be friends with everyone. Not best friends. And don’t just marry anyone. When we allow God to create different levels of friendship in our lives, we are submitting to His plan and purpose over our own fleshly desires and plans. 

’Friends with Everyone’ is the very first book I wrote, but it was decades in the making …because, well …so was I. (And still am a work in progress!)“Meg wants to be friends with everyone …” soon merged into, “Meg is literally friends with everyone,” and then matured into not being able to go to the grocery store without catching up with the community and encouraging other moms whose toddlers were also laying on the floor in the cereal aisle refusing to budge …or release the box of sugary cereal from their clutches. 

There’s good in everyone, and the joy in life lies in being able to recognize it. In Christ, we are able to see people for who they really are …a child of God, loved by God. Genuine connection begins with our willingness to be led by Jesus, trusting His promise never to leave us alone.

5. Don’t let isolation get a foot in the door.

“Casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Staying home with my kids wasn’t my plan, as I studied Marketing and PR at Ashland University (Go Eagles!). I couldn’t see past the end of my nose, then. All I knew was that I genuinely wanted to be friends with everyone God put in my path. It became my MO when my introverted teammate voiced how much an entire batch of new freshman runners did not thrill her to the core as it did me. So, when God called me to stay home and raise my kids, the isolation set in pretty quickly. And I’m sure my husband can attest to all of the lengthy conversations I needed to have with him as he tried to navigate his work day. Something made me sit down at the computer during naptime one day and start clicking away about something funny one of my daughters did that I feared I would be too tired to remember, and just like that …here I still am. 

It wasn’t just an online community of readers he connected me with, but the other moms in my own small town. The encouragement and laughter we shared over our plight as moms brought us together. In every season, God layers that kind of connection into our lives if only we will obediently follow His lead to it. 

6. Dig into what you have to offer others! 

“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” – Romans 6:20

I knew I was a good writer. Adults, teachers, professors, and leaders confirmed it my whole life. But I never connected with it until I started to connect with God and others through it. Then the light bulb came on, and it began to bring me joy to offer something to the world that brought others closer to Him and each other, too. Shared stories. Empathy. Compassion. Laughter. God’s Word. The best stuff that bonds us. 

God will dig out all of the wonderful things He put in us to connect us to Him and each other; in a story so beautiful, we will both want it to end in a hurry so we can hug Him in heaven already …and also never want to end so we can continue to experience the joy of His creation here on earth—the joy of connection. 

Let me encourage you: the more you reach out to connect, the more joy-filled your life will be. Even though we get hurt so bad it feels like our emotions are being skinned alive on this earth …it’s still worth it. It’s all worth it. It’s more than worth it …it’s joy.

7. Fight the fear of failure.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 

Failure is a part of life on this side of heaven. If you’ve experienced deep connection for any amount of time, count it a blessing! Some of us were meant to move around, and we have lived in different places throughout our lives. When we remain focused on God’s direction for our lives, it prevents comparison from hijacking our peace.

We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God …if we weren’t going to have enemies to pray for on this earth, God would not have specifically prepped, prompted, and instructed us to. We don’t always get along and won’t always like everyone, and they won’t always like us. We can and should forgive. But even when we do, sometimes the hurt remains for a while …or for good. Praying for our enemies guards our hearts from bitterness and unforgiveness, things that hinder connections with Him and others. 

8. Forgive, but don’t be a doormat. 

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:12-13

The childhood squabbles, teenage spats, college roommate debacles, first marriages that failed, early mom friends who grew out of us, friends whose children ended up being our children’s bullies …and they ours …all of the genuine misunderstandings, and abusive behavior – still doesn’t disconnect us from the life we were meant to live. 

Connecting comes with a steep learning curve, and the risks are large. But the payoff is joy. When we follow Christ Jesus, we grow out of our old selves and into the people moving, as our church says, one step closer to God and each other. We change. Our minds change. Friendships change, and sometimes friends change. It doesn’t have to gut us. It guts me to lose a friend, and it takes me a long time to come out of the PTSD of it all. But every single time, God is faithful. He never leaves me alone. And He is faithful to show me all the people who are still there …the ones He placed, on purpose, for right now. Forgiveness frees us from the paralyzation of hurt. 

9. Don’t give up.

“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

Don’t disconnect. When we disconnect from each other, we disconnect from God. Forgive, learn healthy boundaries, and give the mucky middle and the PTSD aftermath of a blowout to God. Give it to God. No, stop talking about it over coffee with the people who are still there. Don’t let it take up space in your mind. God has allocated it to other things right now. Keep going, keep growing. It’s the old distance runner in me. No matter how many injuries I endure, I will ALWAYS try to get back out there. I love it too much. Friends are the same. No matter how many times I get hurt, I will never give up on being friends with everyone God puts in my life. Because I know true joy is a product of connection.

10. Be for each other. 

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing ne” Hebrews 10:24-25

Moms, it starts with the people God has put in your life right now. At the grocery store, your favorite coffee shop, the trail you like to walk, the playground you take your kids to …school pick up and drop off, the dance studio waiting room, or the soccer field on Saturdays. And for the love …church. Get connected. God built it for that. If we ask God to connect us with people at our church …He will. I promise. 

Hold people loosely. Remember, we’re all people. But don’t disconnect. No matter how hurt we are and how tempting it is. We have all had our hearts ripped out. How do I know? It’s life on this earth. Look for the joy in each day. Let God lead you to it …get connected to Him, and the rest will flow naturally. It’s impossible to know Jesus and not love people. He changes the way we see each other. It doesn’t take a Bible scholar or even a regular church attendee to recognize His hand in our lives. Some seasons in life we barely elbow crawl out of. God is still smiling at us. He still delights over us. There is a joy to be unlocked each day. Talk to Him about it, and then take your air pods out and look around. Exchange hurt for joy.

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