Monday, August 17, 2009

The Friends We Keep by Sarah Zacharias Davis

Summary: During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightful–and wounding–women can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need.

The Friends We Keep is Sarah’s thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks:

• Why do we long so for women friends?
• Do we need friends like we need air or food or water?
• What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships?
• Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season?
• How do I foster friendship?
• When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so?

With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous.

Author Bio: Sarah Zacharias Davis is a senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University, having joined the university after working as vice president of marketing and development for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and in strategic marketing for CNN. The daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, Davis is the author of the critically-acclaimed Confessions from an Honest Wife and Transparent: Getting Honest About Who We are and Who We Want to Be. She graduated from Covenant College with a degree in education and lives in Los Angeles, California.

My Thoughts: As someone who has had difficulties with friendships in the past, I began reading this book with the hope of finding answers and encouragement for navigating the sometimes shark infested waters of baring your soul to others. I expected something deep, life changing and convicting. I came away disappointed, but I believe it's simply because my expectations were too high.

What I did find was a book filled with reflections on friendships, specifically the experiences of the author's own life and those who shared with her for this book. Some of these connected with mine, many did not.

This was an odd mix of anecdotes, historical references, cultural examples, and Spirituality. Despite not being quite what I was looking for, I did find several gems sprinkled throughout. Acknowledging that friendship is a risk and forgiveness is difficult, the author adds, " If we are to love as Jesus loved, it is in spite of fear and with all that love demands." In another section she shares her childhood angst over the realization that she could never be God's favorite. I admit it, I could relate to her desire to be someone's favorite person! The discussion of how our friendships can be a mirror, allowing us to see ourselves more clearly, was definite food for thought. And I found myself nodding along at her description of a support group meeting she attended, "a community characterized by such grace", causing her to lament that such was not frequently found in today's churches.

The Friends We Keep is available for $12.99 at Waterbrook Press or your local bookstore.

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