Read an Excerpt
The Gift of True Friendship
By Dannah Gresh
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Chapter One Introductory Chapter One
A Mother's Relationships
Here we are. You and I. How ya been?
If I could take a pulse on your relationships right now, how would you fare? Is the heartbeat of friendship in your life strong and steady?
Or would you have to confess you have a little clogging of the arteries in that department?
Or, worse yet, is there carnage all through your life because relationships have been messy business for you?
I have to confess that there's a little carnage in my trail right now. That's not very common for me. It's beer, a painful year in the relationship department.
Trusts were broken. Accusations pierced my heart. Territory was divided.
Tears continue to fall.
Can you identify? Just over a week ago, I was in bed having some kind of a seventh grade pity party over all this friendship carnage, when the thought actually ran through my head, No one really likes me. (Remember, I fully acknowledge that I was, at the moment, reverting to adolescent angst.) Specifically, I thought, Laura doesn't really like me.
Now, my friend Laura loves me. I know she does. We've walked through some of the ugliest things together, rejoiced at miraculous victories in our lives, prayed our blonde heads off, and laughed equally as hard-usually at just how blonde we can be. I don't know why she happened to be the one who ran through my mind, but she was.
I begged for the Lord to tell my heart truth and to let me sleep. I soon drifted off.
But the next morning He brought me full circle to truth. You see, my friend Laura is deeply connected to the Lord and He spoke to her in real time. When I got to my office, I found a handwritten note from her confirming her love for me. I could not believe it. What are the odds? Well, I've never had a note from Laura in my office before!
I emailed her and confessed how wrecked my heart was feeling.
I kid you not ... twenty minutes later there was a knock on my door. And Laura's sweet face and very pregnant belly were soon filling the door frame.
"I thought maybe you could use a hug," she said sweetly.
My lips quivered and I felt so silly, but I leaned right into her round belly and received the embrace like a little child.
"Let me take you to lunch," she invited.
Oh, how she rescued me that day!
Proverbs 17:17 tells us that "a friend loves at all times." Laura loved me when I wasn't very loveable. She listened to all my hurt and spoke strong rebukes to me because she knows that "wounds from a friend can be trusted" (Proverbs 27:6). I left lunch with homework to do in the relationship department assigned by my truth-filled friend, Laura.
Do you have just one friend like that? If so, you are Blessed! If not, we've got to get you some, girl!
You may have picked up this Secret Keeper Girl kit with the intention of helping your daughter navigate through the murky waters of relationship, but I'm praying that it also helps you to take the pulse of your own relationships. And to bring them into conformity with the heartbeat of our God!
Let's start with Him, shall we?
Just stop for a moment and ask the precious Holy Spirit to make your heart receptive to the scriptural truth and encouragement in the pages ahead. After all, how can we teach our daughters to have healthy relationships if we've not learned how to have them ourselves?
"There is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24 KJV).
His name is Jesus.
Talk to Him.
Chapter Two Introductory Chapter Two
Your Daughter's Relationships
I never really had sleepovers.
We had sleepovers-me and my mom!
I can still remember her perched on the edge of our basement stairs, that multishaded tan shag carpeting beneath her. We girls were all tucked into our sleeping bags in the dark, and the conversations began. Before I knew it, my mom was curled up right next to us answering questions about why boys are so noisy (they apparently just wanted our attention, but we shouldn't give them too much), what to do about the smelly girl in class (she was at our next sleepover), and how to handle the male science teacher who was always touching our legs when we went up to his desk (he never did again after that sleepover). As she talked with us well into the wee hours of the morning, I often found myself wondering if my girlfriends came to spend the night with me or with her. I knew that they loved her.
But I never minded. Not one bit.
I was proud of my mom.
I reveled in her sleepover advice.
Little did I know, she was teaching me the delicate art of relationships.
And, oh, how important that was. A little girl's relationships are critical to her overall development. Little boys like relationships. Little girls NEED them.
Your daughter's friends are becoming increasingly more important to her.
Sixty-seven percent of tween girls-those aged 8-12-say that "having lots of friends" is among the top three factors that give them the most confidence. As your daughter ages, you'll see an increase in talking and a definite increase in social media usage like instant messaging. Don't be surprised if you're nagged because "everyone else" has a cell phone. She was created to communicate, so her relationships are going to be taking a top priority in her life!
Guys may become interesting to her, but she's not ready for relationships yet.
Being in a dating relationship for six months or longer is a significant risk factor for early teen sexual activity. Can you see why it might not be that "cute" for our 8-12 year olds to be boy crazy or have multiple boyfriends while they are still in the fourth grade? If she develops the pattern of "needing" a guy when she is eight or nine, she's going to be in many six-month relationships in her early teen years. That's not wise. Let's help her to slow down the boy-crazy train in her circle of friends.
Her relationship with her daddy-or a father figure-is a literal lifeline.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that "reams of research show that girls who are close to their dads are less likely to be promiscuous, develop eating disorders, drop out of school or commit suicide." A daddy's love keeps her emotionally stable. That could be a great challenge in your daughter's life depending on how and if her daddy is involved in her life. Let me show you how to approach the issue so that you can make the daddy factor-no matter what your situation-good news.
Her relationship with you is still one she treasures.
Seventy-two percent of tween girls feel they can talk to their mom about anything. And they do. Don't miss this, mom. In just a few years (or months), she's going to start to feel a little differently about that. (She may even act as if you've had a lobotomy!) Use this time when her heart is open to prepare her and train her. This is the time to talk about friendships, bogs, and other big issues-while her heart is receptive to your wisdom.
What she learns about relationships now determines how she'll date, marry, and build a family-with a healthy God-directed plan or with a selfish, often self-destructive plan. It'll help her or hinder her in establishing a life purpose. Your discipleship in this area will equip her to be the heartbeat of God on this earth or train her to spread the carnage of broken relationships.
Teach her well, mom.
Let me give you the tools to do it in eight easy-to-plan dates!
Chapter Three Introductory Chapter Three
How to Use Secret Keeper Girl
Since I wrote the original Secret Keeper Girl, my precious Lexi has turned into a beautiful teenager and our family has just welcomed a second daughter, Autumn, whom we adopted from China. Both are fourteen. I welcome times when they are willing to be alone with me and tell me the secrets of their hearts. It doesn't happen enough at this age, and I wished I'd have taken even more time to nestle Lexi in my arms when she was 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. (Even though I rarely stopped squeezing her then!) I so treasure the moments we shared together when she was my little girl!
Each Secret Keeper Girl kit is packaged with tools for you to have some of those kinds of moments with your precious daughter. They are simple guides to plan eight great dates for you and your daughter to spend time together. In this kit, which is all about friendships, we'll explore key relationships and true love. Most dates will be approximately one and a half hours long, excluding your planning and extraneous travel during the date. You may plan dates weekly or just spread them out and do them as you can schedule them into your life. Just don't let them get too far apart. While each date will have a slightly different friendship focus and activity, they will all have the same "sections." Your date from start to finish will include the following:
SKG Prep Talk
The Prep Talk gives you a little challenge of your own and an overview of the date. It's best if you plan to read through this section a minimum of SEVERAL days in advance. That way you can make appointments, purchase supplies, or schedule special guests into the date.
SKG CD 7-10 Minutes
Just pop the compact disc for the corresponding date into your car's player and you'll get the date rolling as you travel to your destination. I'll be there with you to share a story and get your hearts thinking in the right direction.
SKG Diary Girl Gab 15-25 Minutes
This is major girl talk. You and your daughter will have similar pages in your individual books to guide you. These may include reading and discussing Bible verses or completing evaluations or taking inventories. Sometimes SKG Diary Girl Gab comes before the challenge, and sometimes it follows it.
SKG Challenge 30-45 Minutes
This is the real fun! The challenge is what you'll do at your special destination. (Think: sleepover, a shopping spree, and ding-dong ditching the neighbors!) These are either object lessons or simply outright challenge assignments from which you can learn.
Here's an overview of your dates!
* * *
Date Number One: True Friendship in God's Eyes
Challenge Activity: A slumber party Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 14:1 Key Thought: A Secret Keeper Girl pursues love. Suggested Setting: Your house, a hotel, a cabin, or a tent in the woods
* * *
Date Number Two: Friendship with My Neighbor
Challenge Activity: Commit an act of kindness Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Key Thought: True love overflows with acts of kindness. Suggested Challenge Setting: Anyplace where you can commit an unexpected act of kindness for someone you don't know, such as a county fair, street corner, neighborhood, or city park
* * *
Date Number Three: Friendship with Mean Girlz
Challenge Activity: A shopping spree! Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 Key Thought: True love is patient, even with meat, girlz. Suggested Challenge Setting: A local mall
* * *
Date Number Four: Friendship with My BFF
Challenge Activity: Create a BFF scrapbook! Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:7a Key Thought: Real love doesn't gossip! Suggested Challenge Setting: A favorite place to hang one with your BFF!
* * *
Date Number Five: Friendship with My Parents
Challenge Activity: Interact with God's fuzzy, furry creatures Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:7a Key Thought: True love trusts! Suggested Challenge Setting: A farm, a pet store, or a zoo
* * *
Date Number Six: Friendship with My Siblings
Challenge Activity: Ding-dong ditch someone Key Verse: I Corinthians 13:7h Key Thought: True love hopes. Suggested Challenge Setting: Your kitchen and someone's front door
* * *
Date Number Seven: Friendship with God
Challenge Activity: A quiet encounter with God Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:8-11 Key Thought: True love never fails. Suggested Challenge Setting: Any place of solitude such as a forest, a snowy mountain, the ocean, or even a candlelit bubble bath
* * *
Date Number Eight: Friendship with Boyz
Challenge Activity: A fun-filled night even a guy could like! Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:12,73 Key Thought: True love pursues one relationship like none other her whole life long. Suggested Challenge Setting: A laser tag arena, a paintball field, or a go-cart track
* * *
If money is a big concern, relax! In the few lessons that may be more expensive, I'll offer you tips on how to do it economically. This option may require more time and planning.
Small Group Alternative:
This SKG hit is all about friendship, so it's really fitting to do all of the dates as a small group. Date number one requires you to have up to eight of your daughter's friends and their mothers on hand for the fun. It's a great kick-off to invite them to do all of the dates with you. You'll always have Diary Girl Gab time all done with your daughter, but you'll be teaching her friends how to be true friends as you teach her. The results could be fantastic: no more mean girlz, no more getting left out, no more jealousy! Anyway, you and a few moms can do this together. I'll leave it up to you to decide how to do that. Here are some ideas:
1.) Do all the dates together. Take turns planning and leading. If you do it with a group of eight mother/daughter pairs, you'll only have to invest the time to plan one date. This will make the load lighter and heighten the fun!
2.) DO dates number one and eight together. Just keep tabs on each other in the middle, but use the first and last dates as a kickoff and celebration of your completion.
3.) Do dates number one, four, and eight together. These dates most lend themselves to having friends on hand to talk and have fun. For date number four, you'll be making a scrapbook page of friendship.
If you do the dates with a small group, be sure to get together for lunch now and then to update and encourage one another.
SKG CD 3-4 Minutes
On your way home, just pop the CD back into the player for your special surprise. Recording artists BarlowGirl will share their own secret moments of struggling with relationships including friendships, their parents, and Jooyz!
SKG Driveway Prayer 3-5 Minutes
You'll wrap up each great date with an intimate prayer in your driveway. Don't skip this vital time of growing closer through the power of God's presence. Your book will give you an idea of what you might pray, but feel free to go in whatever direction God leads you for this time.
Well, that's pretty much it. Ready to start planning your first date?
Excerpted from The Gift of True Friendship by Dannah Gresh Copyright © 2008 by Dannah Gresh. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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