I grew up in a strong Christian home and community and attended college and grad school in my hometown, so I was surrounded by good Godly friends for the first 25 years or so of my life. However, since we have been in the army, Christian friends aren’t as common. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had friends, but they have largely been with unsaved people or young Christians, which doesn’t always allow for as deep of a relationship. I am grateful to be able to say that every duty station has provided at least one close friendship. Some of those friendships have been built on common perspectives on child-rearing and life in general, but not necessarily in a shared faith: in the death and resurrection of Christ.
My husband recently returned from a military deployment to Afghanistan. Our sixth child was born during the deployment (he did get to come home briefly for the birth—YAY!). I was homeschooling our three oldest. Life was very busy (and still is)! I told him several times while he was gone that I was glad I had so much to keep me busy because I didn’t have time to worry about things I didn’t need to worry about. That being said, it still wasn’t a walk in the park.
But God gave me a special gift while my husband was gone—an iron-sharpening-iron friend. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Honestly, it was the first time in a long while that I had a geographically-close friend who was also a true iron-sharpening-iron friend. We laugh and commiserate about life as wives and moms living the army life. I can confide in her about difficulties without fear of judgment and with true reliance on her prayers and empathy. She points me to the truths of Scripture in an uncondescending way. Her friendship has been sweet and also challenging in the most refreshing way. I’m so thankful for it.
As Christian women, we should strive to be that for other Christian ladies. Having been so recently on the receiving end, I can attest to how edifying and life-giving it is. Life is hard. We can help ease the burdens by being that iron-sharpening friend to others.
Written by Audrey Beth Roland. She and her husband Daniel currently live in Colorado Springs, CO with their six children.