Have you ever had times when you felt like you just couldn’t breathe? Stress weighs you down and the “to-do list” becomes the “too-much-to-do list.” Sometimes we just need a friend to come and breathe life into us. And one of the ways they do that is with words.
When I was in my teens, I went scuba diving with some friends. I had no training and probably shouldn’t have been in deep water, but I was a teenager and threw caution to the wind. The guy who took me below the surface of the deep, another teenager I might add, strapped an oxygen tank on his back, a mask on his face, and flippers on his feet. I only had a mask and flippers.
“Where’s my oxygen?” I asked.
“I’ve got it,” he answered as he patted the tank on his back.
So, into the ocean we jumped. He put his arm around my waist as though I were a sack of potatoes and down we went. John drew oxygen from the tank and then passed the breathing apparatus to me. We took turns breathing in the oxygen in what he called “buddy breathing.” It then occurred to me that I was totally dependent on this boy to keep me alive!
Buddy breathing reminds me of the life-giving words of my friends that I’ve experienced through the years. Words that have been like oxygen when I’ve felt like I was drowning.
Solomon wrote, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24 NIV). Life-giving. Soul-nourishing. Buddy-breathing.
He also painted a beautiful portrait of the power of a woman’s words to her friends in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,12 (NIV).
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If they fall down, they can help each other up. But pity those who fall and have no one to help them up… A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
It is often with words that we pick up a friend who’s fallen down.
I’ve noticed through the years that a true friend is one who knows what I need without me even asking. She is someone who will offer to pitch in and help when she sees me growing weary. A true friend never sees the mess in my house, but the love in my eyes. She listens without judging but sets me straight when she sees me straying off course. She never ridicules my children or my husband and encourages me to love them better. A true friend says, “I believe in you, and I’ll be the first to blow the horn at your celebration party!” A true friend passes me the oxygen of an encouraging word when I feel like I’m drowning.
We can embrace a friend with words that warm a chilled soul, words that fill an empty heart, and words that lift her up when she is lying face down in defeat. I’m so glad that friendship was God’s idea, aren’t you? Not only do we need those kinds of friends, but we also need to be that kind of friend.
Heavenly Father, thank You for being a friend who breathes life into my aching soul. I ask that You give me one friend with whom I can be totally honest with and completely loved by. Give me one friend whom I can encourage and who can encourage me. Help me to be a person who not only needs from others but one who gives to others. Help me be a speaker of life. In Jesus’ Name.
Sharon Jaynes has been encouraging women through ministry for over twenty-five years. From the time she met Christ as a teenager, she fell in love with God’s Word and has had a passion to equip women to live fully and free (John 8:32; John 10:10).