Friends Who Build You Up Or Tear You Down

She shoved me to the ground and yelled at me, “You told everyone I was adopted!”

I had no clue what she was talking about, but a few minutes later we were sitting outside the principal’s office. Visions of him standing over me with the strap consumed my thoughts, and I was scared silly.

I was in grade four and Valerie, a friend of mine, had been told that I was spreading a rumour about her, which I knew wasn’t true. The principal called us in and chatted with us both about fighting on the playground. He gave us a warning and then sent us to our classrooms.

Eventually, Valerie believed me, and as part of her apology, she invited me to her slumber birthday party along with the popular group of girls in my grade four class. This was my big chance to get in with the girls.

I blew it instead.

The girls started talking about inappropriate things, and when Valerie’s mom came to say good night, I tattled on the group of girls. I was just jealous that they didn’t indeed include me in their group conversation.

I was THAT kid.

It’s been almost forty years since that night, and I have learned a lot about friendship since then. My girlfriends taught me along the way, what it means to have a good friend and how to be one.

Kyna is my oldest friend. She taught me that a real friend sticks by no matter how annoying you are. She also keeps your deepest, darkest secrets all the way to the grave. She forgives you when you are wrong over and over again. She listens to your problems even if she can’t relate. Kyna is a good listener and has heard me till I had unloaded all my burdens.

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Kyna and me

Sue taught me that a friend is delighted when her friend has blessings come into her life. When my book, Beauty from Ashes, was published she was so excited for me and did everything she could to help promote my book. She spent hours planning my book release dinner. We shared the joy together, and our friendship grew even more. Sue keeps me giggling even if I’m having a bad day.

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.  Proverbs 17:17(NLT)

 

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Me and Sue

Lila taught me that friends pray for each other and encourage each other spiritually. She also taught me that a friend helps you to muster the courage needed to face your fears. Lila loves to bring people food when they are sick. The way to an ill person’s heart is through their stomach. When Vance’s dad passed away, Lila and her husband Wendell, came over and helped organize a big meal for our family. This kind gesture brought us comfort during our mourning.

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. Proverbs 12:26 (NLT)

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My daughter Aryanna, and Lila.

Ros taught me that friends are honest and not afraid to speak truth to each other. Ros is honest, sincere and willing to admit she has faults. Ros, also taught me friends are there for you in your greatest joys. She travelled to town from six hours away just to celebrate with me when my book was released, and it meant the world to me.

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 NLT

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Ros and John.

Pauline, my dear friend who lives in God’s glorious kingdom now, taught me that you put your friends and families needs ahead of your own. When she was very ill, she was always checking with me to see how my son  Kyle was doing, since he had also been very sick. Pauline also taught me to have faith in God that surpasses all the doubts surrounding us.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

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Pauline

Janina has taught me that friends help each other, serve each other and say the sweetest things to one another. When she is with me and talks about her other friends, she always says the kindest, gentlest words about them. Janina causes me to trust her. She is also funny and makes me laugh, with her fantastic sense of humour.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 ESV

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Janina and me being silly

Over the years I had to learn what true friendship was. What it meant to treat someone in a way that would honour them and help them to grow spiritually, mentally and physically. These beautiful women have helped me to improve as a friend, mother and wife.

The ladies in our church, Monique, Rachel, Sue, Olivia, Betty, Marlene have also blessed my life with their encouragement, prayers and joy.

Of course my three daughters Charity, Aryanna and Jazmin are also my cherished friends, and I could spend my life being with them. They add so much to my life.

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Charity, Jazmin and Aryanna

I don’t know what your friends are like. You may have a few that are not actually building you up but are tearing you down every chance they get. They are competitive and always seem to be outdoing you or discouraging you from succeeding. When you leave their presence, you feel a heaviness, and your self-esteem seems to go down five notches.

Reflecting on our own treatment of our friends is also important. We are all imperfect people so we will hurt each other in our friendships and we want to be quick to forgive and let go. But if you are continually being cut down, it may be time to say goodbye.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 NIV

My friend Cindy Trudeau passed away many years ago, but before she died, she was here long enough to inspire me to be a real friend. I was thankful for her love and kindness and how she was always happy for me and encouraged me to be a good wife and mother. Cindy never put her friends down and complimented them whenever she had the chance. I loved being with her.

Since then God has blessed my garden of friendship, and it has bloomed and grown, but I had to learn to be a good friend along the way and water the flowers around me.


Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.  Proverbs 22: 24-25

Look around your friendship garden and see the blooms around you. Take time to water and pour some sunshine onto those flowers and then watch them grow to bless you and add colour to your life. If you see weeds that are choking you or the other blossoms maybe it’s time to let them go and introduce them back into the garden later when they are healthier.

Be the friend who blesses, encourages, laughs and cries, builds people up and makes someone feel they are a wonderful flower in your lifeđź’—

Believing and hoping,

Cindy Seatonđź’—

 

 

Author: cindyseaton69

I am the author of Beauty From Ashes: A Mother's Journey from Bitterness to Hope.

7 thoughts

  1. True friends are hard to come by….I have a few and most of them are far far away from me. Even though we are thousand miles away, every time I get together with them, conversations flows naturally, as if we have never been apart for years.
    Now when I’m a mother, I’m trying to teach my daughter the same thing about friendship. Its not easy because at her age, she just wants to be included.

    1. Wendy, so I took so long to reply, your comment went into a pending file, thank you for leaving one! I agree with you it’s hard to teach our kids about healthy relationships especially if they want to be popular.

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