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A Friend in Me: How to Be a Safe Haven for Other Women Paperback – June 1, 2015
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As noted on the cover, the book focuses on “How to be a Safe Haven for Other Women.” I expected it to speak primarily to older women on the subject of mentoring younger ones. Although I don’t fit that criterion- I’m the youngest in my church’s women’s ministry- the topic still interested me. I work with youth, especially the girls, so I was hoping some of the principles in this book could be applied to mentoring junior high and high school students, not just adult women. And if this book was a guide for older women to befriend younger ones, I wanted to see if I found the concepts relevant as a younger woman.
In these pages, I discovered so much more than I expected.
Pamela writes with deep sincerity and compassion. She offers gentle guidance, much-needed reminders, and a kind challenge to rethink some attitudes and assumptions. Although this book may have been intended more for women further ahead in life, I gleaned a great deal even as a college age girl. This book isn’t solely about mentoring; it’s really about how to be a true friend to the women around us.
Pam’s insights on being understanding, prayerful, and present are shared with such grace and wisdom. She isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues, but even uncomfortable subjects are handled tastefully. True friendship is messy and awkward, and Pamela is fully aware of that. She doesn’t try to formulize or offer a quick fix. She acknowledges how broken we are, and then helps us see how Jesus calls us to share that brokenness and help one another become whole in Him.
This book presents friendship in a light I never considered. I love people but I’m an introvert through and through. I avoid depending on others, and have long held the mindset that Jesus is the only haven I need. Although He is the ultimate shelter, I neglected to see the refuge that can be found in friendships with other godly women. Reading this encouraged me to pursue deeper relationships, rather than refusing to be vulnerable and staying at a shallow level. My appreciation for the godly women who have invested in me from their experiences was renewed as I went through this book. It even inspired me to find someone to invest in, rather than making excuses and keeping to myself.
Pam also addresses some struggles I’ve faced on my own. Through her words, I felt healing and acceptance. As I turned each page, it was as if she was sitting on my sofa, listening to my heart and helping me to hear God’s. Each story she tells carries the powerful reminder You are not alone. I intend to read over this book again later with a highlighter to mark all the little nuggets of gold.
This would be a wonderful book to read with a friend or a women’s group. Even if you pour a cup of coffee for one, and read it by yourself like I did, you will feel friendship radiating through every word. This book offered me a haven at a time I needed it, and it’s one I’ll return to.
So brew a cup of coffee or tea and settle into your favorite arm chair with A Friend in Me. Whether you’re close to my age, or further ahead in life, I truly believe there is something in this book for every woman. After all, we all need friends in each other.
I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Pub group in exchange for my honest review. This post is part of the blog tour for A Friend in Me. Be sure to check out the main page here for other reviews and more information and resources!
Unfortunately from the second chapter I got a vibe that I just couldn't shake for the rest of the book. The author describes how she was at church one Sunday and could tell something was wrong with a friend, but when she asked about the problem the friend didn't want to say what was going on. So the author told her, "If you can't tell me the truth, we can't be close friends" (page 44). Say what? That is a very emotionally manipulative statement and not the kind of thing that we should be promoting as good communication. Any sign of manipulation is a huge red flag for me, and I wanted to stop reading the book right then and there.
I was also disappointed with the content in the fact that there wasn't much besides common sense in how to form close relationships. Live well ourselves, be forgiving, be vulnerable, don't try to fix people but encourage them where they are. All fellow Christians need encouragement, and as women we can do much to help our sisters in Christ along the way.
There were some quotes that I really thought were good. "As adults, we can't expect others to read our minds, so we must name our grief out loud. This is not a sign of weakness, but of humility" (page 81). I often struggle with speaking my personal pain and inviting others to share it with me. Learning to ask for help when you have a caretaker personality is an ongoing process. I also really liked this thought from page 181: "I believe the more you and I know for ourselves God's loyal love in the depths of ourselves, the more able we will be to model and teach it to others." That is so good!
My very favorite quote came from Chapter Four: "Women who are comforted can comfort others." Let us each seek to look to God for His comfort, embrace those He has placed around us for community, and in turn be bastions of safety and hope for those around us.
I received my copy of the book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.