There’s a time in our lives where we begin to evaluate our friendships. We begin to take an account of our relationships in seeing the truth of what they are. We also in this stage begin to take a self -assessment of who we are when it comes down to extending the bond of friendship. The Friendship Lifeline : A Biblical Guide To Choosing And Maintaining Godly Friendships by Erica Grant is a breath of fresh air on the subject of friendship while being transparent in connection of a riveting delivery in presentation. I enjoyed sitting down with Erica to discuss her book, motherhood journey, and the importance of friendship among women. Erica is a women’s bible study teacher, speaker, and a blogger in addition to being an author. She’s very assertive and precise, yet she’s approachable in warmth. I got a chance to see her on mommy duty with her two precious kiddos, and I admired her gentle way in tending to their needs. My short time spent with Erica Grant gave me a glimpse of why she is such a sought after speaker on women’s issues within ministry.
P.F.M. : What was your inspiration and purpose in authoring The Friendship Lifeline?
E.G. : I was sitting in Bible study one morning when the Lord told me to write a book on friendship. It was a total surprise for me because I was in the middle of healing from a break up with my best friend of 12 years, and I was hurting. That hurt caused me to ask God some serious questions about friendship like what friendship between believers is supposed to look like? Is betrayal inevitable? How do I handle problems within friendships? And what are the warning signs of a relationship gone bad? As the Lord gave me answers, I wrote them down and considered them lifelines. My hope was that other women would learn from these lifelines as well as the experiences written in the book.
P.F.M. : Why is it so important for women to cultivate healthy relationships with other women especially as mothers?
E.G. : Motherhood is one of the most beautiful roles God allows us to fulfill but at times it can be extremely stressful. If we leave that stress unchecked, it has a negative impact on our health. Many collegiate studies have shown that having at least one healthy female friendship can reduce stress, decrease your heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and boost your mood. On the other hand, unhealthy friendships have been found to be just as harmful to a woman’s health as smoking or being overweight. Meeting with a good friend to talk about your life situations helps to ease your burdens. On top of that, she may have the solution to your current problem. As women, we possess such a wealth of knowledge.
P.M.F. : What can women get out of selecting The Friendship Lifeline as a book?
E.G. : We all desire to have at least one friend that will stick with us through thick and thin but often we don’t know how to be that friend or even have the necessary tools to overcome rough patches when they occur in a relationship. The Friendship Lifeline offers biblical, practical advice on how to overcome the top five challenges within female friendships. It also provides insight into how to choose your friends wisely, recognize the warning signs of an unhealthy friendship, and discern whether or not to remain in it. After reading this book, women will have the necessary tools to cultivate lifelong godly friendships.
P.F.M. : Who were your biggest supporters that gave you encouragement in writing your book?
E. G. : There were so many people that encouraged me in this process from family members to friends to complete strangers. It was totally amazing and kept me moving forward. But, my absolute biggest supporter was my husband, Jeff Grant. I am a stay-at-home mom, and when I began the process of writing, my children were 2 and 3 years old. Trying to write with two little ones running around was about as effective as trying to clean the room they were currently playing in. So, I set aside specific times during the week to write which took a lot of cooperation on his part. Without his support, I could not have completed this project.
P.F.M. : What did you take away from the women that you interviewed for the book that you now apply in your friendships and interpersonal relationships?
E. G. : This was one of my favorite parts of the process. Interviewing different women about their friendships made me recognize that it was okay to have standards and not settle for less than what I needed in friendship. These beautiful women came from all different backgrounds, and they each had someone they considered to be their best friend based on their needs. This told me that I didn’t have to take whatever someone decided to dish out if I wanted to have life-long friends. True friendships can survive correction from both sides.
P.F.M. : What are the top 3 things that hinder us in growing productively as Christian women in growing in our friendships?
E.G. : 1. Jealousy. If a person is unrepentant toward it, jealousy is a sure-fire way to kill a friendship because it always seeks to destroy or diminish the person it is directed towards. 2. Competition. Competition prevents you from being productive in friendships because instead of focusing on being a friend, you’re caught up in trying to look better than her. It’s hard to establish relationships with someone who is constantly trying to one up you. 3. Lack of Trust. It is impossible to establish a relationship with someone that you do not trust. Trust has to be the foundation of every friendship, or it will crumble.
P.F.M. : In your personal opinion what are the most important things that are essential to you in maintaining friendships?
E.G. : Forgiveness. It is impossible to maintain friendships if you are unwilling to forgive others. Proverbs 18:19 reads “An offended brother is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.” If you remain in offense toward a friend, it will end the relationship.
P.F.M. : How do you balance motherhood, blogging, and being an author?
E.G.: Honey, I’m still trying to figure it out myself! Right now motherhood takes up the majority of my time and blogging is really taking a hit. However, I still have to be diligent about doing the other things that God has called me to do. So if I know I have a book signing, Bible study, or event coming up, I set aside time in my calendar to prepare for it. I also guard against the mommy guilt syndrome. I spend a lot of time with my family, and I know that I love them. I also know what God has called me to do so I don’t allow the Enemy to tell me that I should be at home with the kids doing “X Y Z” instead of working.
P.F.M. : You have the dream team a son and a daughter. What makes both of their personalities special to you, and how are their personalities different?
E.G. : I love seeing their little personalities at work. It honestly amazes me how completely different they are. My son, Jeffery, is six and he has a heart of gold. He’s very intelligent and exacting. He considers his actions and the consequences of them before ever making a move. If you ask him what his favorite color is, he will tell you turquoise because saying that greenish shade of blue just won’t cut it. He very much likes for things to be in order and right. A bit shy but very loving. My dear Victoria, on the other hand, is my strong-willed social butterfly. From day one she knew what she wanted and how she wanted it (this one never took a bottle…ever). She knows the consequences but is sometimes willing to take it if she feels it’s worth it. She is thoughtful, caring, and ready to lead at any moment with full confidence that others behind her will follow.
P.F.M. : What are your biggest joys in being a mother?
E.G. : My greatest joy comes from watching my babies grow, thrive, and laugh. No other sound is sweeter to me than hearing them laugh.
P.F.M. : What lessons are you teaching your children in establishing and maintaining good friendships?
E.G. : Right now we’re establishing what a friend is and what that looks like. Sometimes they come home from school and say “my friend so and so (that I’ve never heard of before) did such and such” and I stop them and say “you mean your neighbor or classmate. Everyone is not your friend.” They are now 6 and 4, so I explain to them that a friend is someone that you know well and can trust with your life. If they can’t tell me the child’s name, his/her mama’s name, and their likes and dislikes, then the child is a classmate or neighbor but not a friend. We also talk about whether or not certain actions are fitting for a friend. So, when they come home and say “so and so pushed/hit/said something mean” we discuss whether or not a friend would do that and what a friend would do.
P.F.M. Where can we purchase your book, and learn more from your blog?
P.F.M. : Is there anything else you that you would like to add regarding the importance of friendship?
E. G. : Just as we desire to have good friends, we should also seek to be good friends. We should never set standards for others that we are not willing to maintain. As you establish friendships, strive to be the friend that you want others to be to you.
E. G. : Thanks so much for having me.
Watch my full interview with Erica Grant author of the Friendship Lifeline: A Biblical Guide To Choosing And Maintaining Godly Friendships at the Purpose Filled Mommy YouTube Channel!