When a Friend Walks Away . . .


There it is again . . . that trigger that sends my mind spiraling. Accordingly, here are my tears, falling into my water bucket. I no longer know the identity of the wetness that soaks my rag and buries the floor in mop water. I scrub and scrub, trying to wash away the mess that has accumulated on old tile. It doesn’t seem to matter; the shine’s not what it used to be. It stays buried beneath old woundings, refusing the work and will of the sponge attached to the effort.

When, God? When will this floor heal?

When, God? When will my heart heal?

I have a festering wound. It’s been with me for awhile, almost two years now. Most days I don’t notice it, but every now and again, the trigger flares up, and the hurt returns. I’m tired of carrying it. I’m tired of feeling it. I just want to let it go and move on. Perhaps there are some of you who feel the same way; you’ve been hurt, and the corresponding ache fills your heart every time you think upon it. You feel isolated from the world that was supposed to understand you and accept you, most days in spite of you. Instead of receiving you, the world has rejected you, or at least the two or three who purported friendship with you only later to deny your existence.

Almost as if you weren’t there.

My hurt has resulted from a post I wrote about a popular, Christian book after it made its debut. I thought my review was fair and gracious. Others thought otherwise. The review has since been removed from my blog, not because I don’t believe in the words I wrote back then but rather, because, I was wounded by the responses I received from others. My skin isn’t thick; my skin is tender, my heart even more so.

Almost immediately after writing that post, my readership declined; not casual readers or those who happened upon me via a Google search, but those I counted as friends. They just walked away with no explanation (one of the reasons behind my growing disdain for social media . . . it’s just too easy to walk away from one another). Oh, they never said this review was the reason for their departure. They didn’t have to. Sometimes a heart just knows; sometimes discernment is easy.

And so, I’ve carried this ache for a long time, and I can no longer pretend it doesn’t hurt. I see those friends out in the social media world when I take my daily stroll in cyberspace. I’ve kept tabs on them, hoping that something would change, that they’d move back into my world. But they haven’t, and it’s time for me to let go of what I thought was friendship and begin to release myself from this obligation to matter to them. They no longer wish to be here, and while this reality hurts me, I no longer wish to cater to this pain.

This isn’t a game to me, friends. What I do here matters to me. You matter to me. I’ve spent nearly five years building relationships with some of you, and I thank you for affording me God’s good grace, even when I’ve not always said what you wanted to hear. I don’t always get it right, but I’m always willing to try, always willing to be honest about my struggles, my failures, and my triumphs.

Shouldn’t we do better at loving one another? Shouldn’t we live grace rather than just talk about it? When we make an investment into the hearts of one another, shouldn’t we stick around for the outcome? Maybe I’m going about this all wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t expect so much from my readership. Maybe then, it wouldn’t hurt so much when someone walks away. Maybe.

Tonight, I’m wondering about it all, and I’m asking God to heal my hurt and to show me how to make my heart a good fit with this forum. Tonight, I needed to say a few things and begin to flesh out how I’m going to move forward in this space. How am I supposed to write heart-words without risking heart-wounds? I don’t think it’s possible.

And so, I’ll scrub a little longer. Stay on my hands and knees and keep at my floor cleaning until something beyond old tile and accumulated mess begins to emerge . . . until I see the shine. God kneels with me. Even when the world walks away and distances itself from me, God sees me. He doesn’t play games with my affection, nor does he play by the rules when it comes to dispensing his love. Instead, he receives my affection and loves me beyond the rules, beyond the limits of what’s reasonable.

He is where the heart begins to heal. He is when the heart begins to heal.

Tonight. Right now. In this moment.

Even so, Lord Jesus, come and shine me up with the generous love and favor that belongs to me as your daughter. I want to keep loving, keep writing my heart, and keep showing up in this place. Heal my wounds and bring discernment to my spirit. Help me to forgive, and help me to move on. Remove the accumulated mess from my heart, and replace it with a fresh cleansing of grace. Thank you for always kneeling to my need and for never leaving my side. Amen. 

39 Responses to When a Friend Walks Away . . .

  1. Oh Elaine,
    I know that kind of pain. Years ago, when a precious friend was going through a terrible depression and shutting everyone in her life out, my heart broke over the dis-connect. I tried so hard to be there for her and her family, but she closed herself off. Back then (1988) I imagined writing an article entitled “Death By Rejection.”

    Eventually, our relationship was restored and we have weathered other storms. Though we live on opposite sides of the country now, we remain sisters in the LORD.

    Recounting this encourages my heart because I “lost” another close friend a year ago; and now I’m reminded that with GOD nothing is impossible. HE might restore that relationship too! May my heart stay open and willing.
    Elaine, may HE encourage your heart today as well!

  2. Elaine~

    Good words.
    Great grace.
    Grand blessings.

    Hurts are hard. Reminds me to go out of my way to bless others, even midst conflict that comes in life. I love your open heart, Elaine, and thoughtful words as you dive into tough issues of life.

    God’s amazing faithful and “newness” I pray into the battered corners of your heart.

    Love you, my cyber inspiring kindred spirit.

  3. Your heart is so tender and caring and so therefore so usable by our God. Others can see their hurting spirits here and relate to your feelings and words, and be encouraged to go on. I love this about you.

    I too have lost a couple of cyber friends that REALLY bothered me at first. Unlike you though I don’t know for sure what the reasons were, though I have a really good idea. And like you I see their comments around blogsville and know they are still here, just not with for me. It does hurt. And yet I have just let it go. I refuse to wonder, worry, or grieve over it anymore. I try my best to encourage, support, and show His love to those whom I have come to count as friends here, and when it is rejected or stepped on how can it do anything but hurt? In a small way of course it reminds me of how our God must feel when He is rejected and scorned,

    You have such a ministry here in cyberspace, and such a ministry with your writing that touches so many, I am very sure the enemy will do whatever he can to silence you. I am soo glad you press on and continue to bless others so with your insights and wisdom. You inspire so many.

    HUGS, Debbie

  4. So many of us have experienced this same loss! And the saddest part of all, this type of loss runs rampant in the Christian world.

    I find that you dare not offend another Christian even if you are scripturally sound in discerning a teaching, a philosophy or as with you, a book. The vehemence I read from believers written to another believer is astounding. And, yes, this type of dis-“grace” is let loose freely and anonymously via social media.

    I am sorry you have experienced this and I am sure one day I, too, will read similar words because of something I wrote in my blog.

    Your cyber friend,

    • Not just my cyber friend, Cyndi, my real friend! Thank you for walking this ribboned road with me.

  5. Dear sweet Faith(ful) Elaine….

    My heart aches reading about how your heart aches! I would just love to be able to give you a hug and sit and have a cup of coffee or tea with you and just TALK! I just suspect that we would be able to do that for hours! You have become such a very special friend to me over the past several years that we have been reading each others blogs and corresponding in other ways. I know that we probably have some differences of opinions over some things (I really can’t remember any of them right now but everybody has SOME differences!) but that’s just because we’re each unique individuals.

    I just read yesterday in a Beth Moore Bible study that when we only pick friends that are ”just like us” it’s a lot like ”mirror gazing” or just a form of self-love. I had never thought about it in that way before.

    I pray that God gives your heart comfort.

    Love you so much my friend !!!


    • Powerful words from Beth’s pen and from yours! Thanks for sharing. I never thought about this as well.

  6. Our Blog World is very important to me too. I feel like I’ve made many wonderful friends, including you. On my About page for Heart Choices, I wrote that I encourage other’s opinions even if they disagree with me. But I ask them to be respectful. I want to know why someone feels a certain way even if I don’t agree.

    Maybe some people don’t take these relationships as seriously. But it does hurt when people walk away. I know for me, there are times when my life gets too busy and my computer time decreases. I try to keep up with my special blogging friends as best I can.

    And btw, Greg and I are going up to the mountains for a few days of peace and quiet. No computer but I’m taking your book with me. 🙂

    Blessings and love,

  7. I know exactly how you feel, Elaine. I really really do both on social media and in person. Losing friends is never easy. God be our comfort.


  8. I don’t think it’s possible to write heart words without risking heart wounds either, Elaine. Am so sorry you’ve experienced this pain. I know what you mean about blogging really meaning something to you — it does to me, too. Bless you as you forgive and move on. Hugs headed your way!

  9. I am so sorry for your pain, Elaine. I only know you via cyberspace but your words are drenched with kindness, love, and gentleness. I have no doubt it is the same in person. 🙂 I remember reading that post you mentioned and above all things, it was gracious. There was nothing at all wrong with that post and you have nothing to be ashamed of there.

    It grieves me that Christians hurt each other in such ways. This should not be so. We need to preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday, to remind ourselves that we are saved by grace alone. Then we are ready to grace others with the same grace and mercy we have been given.

    Remember that you write for an Audience Of One. Jesus was misunderstood and deserted by His friends, so He draws especially close to you when you are sharing in this particular fellowship of His sufferings.

    Keep shining your light and writing your beautiful words. You are a TREASURE!


  10. Hurts my heart to read this. I’ve experienced similar pain and in recent past. One thing I know for sure is that God did not waste it. He used that time to teach me, to toughen me in the right places & of course, to humble me. Big time.

    Hope to talk to you more about this sometime, maybe across a table from one another with coffee & Bibles in hand. You are brave to write this, and I’m praying the Lord will use it to heal you and others too. Love you! For keeps.

  11. “Shouldn’t we do better at loving one another? Shouldn’t we live grace rather than just talk about it? When we make an investment into the hearts of one another, shouldn’t we stick around for the outcome? “

    Yes, yes, and yes! I think that’s why it hurts so much when those “friends” walk away.

    The wounds I’ve tried to let go of (time and again, it seems) have been due to the actions and words of people I trusted the most…different situations, also very hurtful.

    I need to do some scrubbing of my own…thanking God for that “cleansing grace”, and thanking him for YOU, precious friend.

    I love you.

  12. Some old hurts in me rise to meet yours as I read your words here, Elaine. As long as we are in this old flesh, I’m not sure the hurts ever totally go away. (That’s probably bad “theology” but I’m not sure where in the Bible it says otherwise.)

    As for loving each other, the only one I can “control” is myself…and at age 63, I’m still working on “loving”. Loving Lord Jesus so much that He becomes my primary focus & the rest fades compared to Him; loving myself enough to cause the affirmation of others to matter less and less; and loving others enough to make the same “allowances” for them that I would like them to make for me. (Whether they do or not isn’t my “problem”.)

    Does that make sense? Meanwhile, I wait – impatiently most of the time – for Him to complete the work He’s started in me; to soothe and calm the pain and angst I feel when hurts of the past and present come to divert me from my intention to love.

    Life is hard. Kind of wish it was as easy as scrubbing a floor…

    • To move so completely into the shadow of Jesus so that he is all we see? Well, yes, that is the goal. I’m far from being there, but I’m learning. This, too, is the goal. Even with all these words written here, I’m learning, processing, and seeing my pain (and the root of my pain) more clearly. Thank you for joining me on the road, Rebecca.

  13. ” Shouldn’t we live grace rather than just talk about it?”

    Amen and amen! That is the only way…

    You shine brightly, Elaine…in all the words ever read from your pen….

  14. I can understand. The only person left in my blog world is you. Maybe I wrote too much about me instead of Him, maybe my past pushes people away (and it usually does), maybe it shouldn’t matter, sometimes it does. A thought popped into my mind that maybe these blogs I have written are just a legacy meant for our girls…just them. I don’t plan to stop but I rarely have the chance to write anymore or even follow blog friends such as you because I am so overwhelmed and busy with work. When I do sit down, I am usually numb. I understand your words in this post. Sometimes we offend. Sometimes we should. Don’t forget that.

    Anyway, as Denise said…I am here with you for eternity. You are one of my most favorite writers. Don’t ever stop. I need it!!

    Love you! Pamela

    • Pam . . . I hate to hear this! You know what, we started our friendship before the conference, we continued it with chocolate, and I will never question the love and devotion we share. Like all of the women here, I’d love to “do life” with you on a weekly basis, over coffee, chocolate, and especially over the Word. You rock my world with your faithfulness to our Father and with your love.

  15. I’ve experienced the same thing and have given long, hard thought as to why. Part of me thinks it’s because I also have over 100 original videos I’ve produced for every member of the breast cancer family. My website may be perceived by my other breast cancer bloggers as too “showy,” not just a blog. I’m a writer and filmmaker by trade, so both come naturally for me, and I did it myself. I didn’t hire a team of people to do it for me.

    The only other thing I can think of is that I do nothing to hide my love for God and His Son, and there are many out there who, for that reason alone, have decided not to follow me. On one hand, both suppositions are ok with me, but on the other hand, I’m hurt. I also know that like Christ, there will be many who shun me for my beliefs, and I am sad for them, but I give thanks each day that I’m God’s child. He and His Son are my everything, so in the end, all is well.


    • Keep your faith genuine, Brenda! We need your blog for so many reasons. I love the resources your provide; I love your friendship all the more. I get it when the secular world walks away from our faith; the Gospel is offensive to many. But when sisters and brothers walk away from us because they’d rather not have their names associated with us (because we don’t agree with a particular train of thought), well, that’s just mean, not biblical, and a fake type of Christian community. I’d rather deal with issues head on and talk it out.

      Blessings and peace to you as you move forward in faith, ministry, and all of life. It’s all connected, as are we!

  16. Elaine, I remember when you wrote the first post and then the second post. You were definitely “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Some would wonder would it have been better to have not written at all? To not deal with the pain and the criticism? But what I love about you is that you are in the game and on the field! Being real. Being Elaine. Being Faith.

    And yet these so-called friends that leave us can cut us to the core. It hurts and we want to restore. It hurts and we want to move on. It hurts and we wonder how to move on. Why does our heart stay wounded? I guess it is the risk of putting ourselves out there and being who we are and loving deeply… we risk being hurt deeply, too.

    I pray for you (and for me and for all of us) that God keeps our heart tender and that we press into His love for us… and I thank God that we find one another and that we can soothe one another’s hurts and remember that it is worth it.

    I needed to read this and to write this.

    Love and blessings to you, my dear sister-in-blog.

    “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomi
    ng; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ President Theodore Roosevelt

    • My daddy taught me to enter the fray, to not fear the fray, but to embrace relationship, come what may. We just live out loud, and in doing so, we count on grace. If I’m going to err, let it be on the side of truth . . . even when spoken poorly or without eloquence. Thank you for these words, Sheri. I know you get this one.

  17. I hear ya. You are right, the wound hurts. Rejection is hard to swallow. The beauty of our Savior is He experienced it all, and then some. It doesn’t necessarily stop the pain today, but it reminds us that even if everyone walked away, we are never alone. I love you dear one.

  18. All of you have blessed me tremendously today! As I see your names here, I have a connection with each of your stories (even a small one with some of the newest visitors). This is why this community means so much to me. We’ve walked some miles together, and I always love visiting your blogs and seeing what’s going on in your heart and life. Yes, I write for Jesus, but I also write for you, friends. Otherwise, I’d just keep a journal and not make such an investment here. I once heard a publisher comment that most blogs are a waste of bandwith. I hated his statement then; I hate it now. Apparently, he doesn’t get that there is so much more to it; there’s a community here, and when we walk away from one another, we feel it. I’m not trying to produce any sense of guilt in anyone. I just needed to get this on paper, and then, like Jesus said, “shake the dust from my sandals” and cruise on down this ministry road.


  19. It’s a strangely fickle community, the blogosphere. Neighbhors move in swiftly – often, I fear – to be/or get a following. Back when my neighbors totaled a sum of 7 (among which you were/are #1), I had to do battle with how I was going to interpret that.

    Here’s what I know: friends hear each other out. We free one another to speak our minds, agree to disagree if/when the need arises, and rejoice in the myriad perspectives that make for wisdom-getting. I, for one, treasure your directness & authenticity.


    • Thank you for the pleasure of your company while out for my afternoon stroll! Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina on a walk with a friend . . . well, having you here in person would be a finer thing! Still thinking how we all might work out a weekend together, maybe next year. We’d better hurry. I’m not getting any younger!

  20. See… the is why I love you Elaine! I value honesty and transparency and you are both. If the only thing we ever write is a guarded and dressed up expression, we are missing the mark. You just keep writing your heart, as God continues to shine your floors… heart and home!


  21. I am here for you Elaine, and I will say a prayer for you in my prayer time tomorrow morning….We can’t please everyone but it does hurt when people disappear from our lives, even if it is in cyberspace. I have met some real friends online and the hurt would be real too if they went away without a trace. Bless you, Lori

  22. I’m new here, brought here to purchase your book. (Beyond Cancer’s Scars for Kindle.) Sounds like you have special friends here. I believe if we aren’t authentic in our writings and hearts we all end up fake. I hope to write with authenticity and truth, not to please man, but to please my Heavenly Father. I hope you continue your journey, too.

    • Pamela . . . Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you’ll stick around in the days to come. You know what? Authenticity is a key to all valuable writing. Some of the best works I’ve read, some of the best songs I’ve heard have issued forth from the heart, from a pure place of raw understanding. I am grateful when I see this in others. Keep writing and working it out! Words are God’s beautiful gift to all of us!

  23. Elaine, You will never make everyone happy, but as long as you write and speak the words God gave you then all will be okay. God is walking with you daily. I don’t write often, however I read every post you make for they are an inspiration to me and sometimes just what I need, so keep on doing what you’re doing for those that need it. Love you,

    Pat Whatley

  24. As someone who struggled to do something radically new (for me) in ministry only to have the very friends I expected would be going batty to help me vanish next to completely, I can so relate. Good thing our God is greater than all the ick such hurtful nonsense leaves behind. ♥

  25. Elaine
    I have always appreciated your honesty and transparency in your blog. I have often left encouraged and challenged but always with something to think about. i hope you keep on just as you always have…writing as the Lord directs your heart

  26. Relationships are Hard!!! Thinking of You and Grateful for the cyber-friendship we have shared – you have taught me ‘much’!!! 🙂

  27. Elaine…
    I hope you don’t think I’m one who left…. not by any means. I rarely blog any more. I’ve moved and even have been homeless much of this year. I have visited and read, but too hard to comment on small devices for me. But you are always in my prayers. In fact, the Lord gave me a dream a few months back where you knocked on my door…came right in and sat down for a cup of coffee with me. It was that short of a dream. my written revelation of it was ‘Faith’. I couldn’t believe you were standing at my door. That you had come to visit me. 🙂 then I realized that I had been asking the Lord for more FAITH…. I smiled when I realized your first name was FAITH. and I wrote…’FAITH’ just walked through my front door!

    So, never feel that I have walked away. My circumstance has not allowed for blogging. True friends live in our hearts. They are there all the time. When there is a time of silence….prayers is there. I pray for all my friends, as I know you do too. You are my friend! I love your heart, your honesty, your faith, your transparency…your chosen words and writing style. You are a treasure in God’s backpack. He carries you all over the world to share His heart…in you.

    Let it go….let God heal it completely. He has so much more for you to accomplish . I bless you with my stamp of approval….you SHINE girl…all the time.

    I think a contemplative breakfast on the beach with Jesus…..will do the trick! 🙂
    just saying…

    patrina ><

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