She loved a cold Frappuccino, chalk painting old furniture and reading by a crackling fire. We both shared a passion for shopping trips, gooey chocolate desserts with ice cream and sunny days at the beach. Georgie, her beloved white Yorkie, was almost like one of her children. Sometimes whiny people drove her crazy, yet she was quick to reach out to anyone who needed help. One of her neighbors was really special, another neighbor—not so much.

We had been friends for years. I knew a lot about her, but not the most important thing.

One conversation totally changed our relationship and consequently, our lives.

While our kids played at the Chick-Fil-A playground one spring day, our conversation turned to faith. I was surprised and a bit uncomfortable—we had never talked about something so personal or touchy-feely before.

She told me about another friend who had taught her to pray. She described her spiritual life and what knowing God meant to her. She was really honest about some of her struggles and what she had learned. In that one conversation, I went from knowing about her to really knowing her, because she shared her faith story and her heart.

She began to mentor me, inviting me to Bible study, talking about new ideas, beliefs and answered prayers. She is the first friend I ever prayed with. Since that day, we’ve felt a sense of belonging to each other—a sense of sisterhood.

We’ve helped each other move several times. We’ve endured boring PTA meetings, turbulent teenagers and an empty nest. We’ve danced at our children’s weddings and cried side by side at funerals of family and friends. When I had surgery, she was there by my bed, quietly holding my hand. During my recovery, she cooked my supper and drove me around.

This is what I’ve learned: friends in God are friends indeed.

Sharing our spiritual life with someone else is the best kind of sharing there is. Nothing will make us feel closer. Nothing will remove barriers and break down past issues better. While we can’t share at that level with everyone, it’s important to share like that with someone—or a few special someones.

I’ve actually shared my faith journey with my closest friends—the things I’ve written here are a compilation of my experiences with friends in God. Here is a picture of a few of them:

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Solomon wrote: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Ecc. 4:9-10).

We were not meant to experience our spiritual lives alone. Don’t discount sharing yours. Someone needs to know about your faith. Someone really needs to share his or hers with you.

The deepest way to truly know a friend is to know about their spiritual life.

Find a special friend and swap faith stories: why you believe, where you struggle and what you are learning. Doing this bonds hearts together with spiritual glue that will hold for years and years. Follow Christ’s example of sharing: “Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” John 15:15 NLT

Every life has a story—know your friend’s spiritual story—it’s the most important thing about a friend.

*Special thanks to my talented friend in God, Claire McKee, who modeled for this photo and graciously shared it!

CONTEST: HOW ABOUT YOU? I want to see pictures of your friends in God! Submit a photo of you and your friend and WIN!

friends in God contest 1

Grand Prize: $100 donated in your name to the Outback America/Huntsville scholarship fund. Submitting your photo will help send a couple or parent/teen to the upcoming Outback weekend 4/29-5/1. By entering the contest, you can actually bless someone in our community in a powerful way.

Honorable Mentions will also be given.

DETAILS: You must be subscribed to my website to enter. Submit photos to hello@maypatterson.com. Contest runs until 4/20/16.

IDEAS: Submit a photo of you and a prayer partner or someone you serve with in ministry or just a friend/relative you have shared your spiritual life with. Suggested categories: crazy, touching, creative, compelling and vintage.