What Are Friends For?

by Cynthia Ruchti

I get by with a little help from my friends. That’s what friends are for. You’ve got a friend. Friendship.

The songs are swirling around me in these post-conference weeks. When a new writer asks, “Where do I start?” my answer is almost always the same. “Attend the best writers’ conference you can afford. You’ll learn more there in a few days than you can imagine. It will be an atmosphere in which you can sense direction for your writing and your life. You’ll get a taste of what it takes to move from idea to publication. And you’ll make friends that will serve as cheerleaders, critics, connections, and comrades on this journey.”

At the recent ACFW conference, I reunited with hundreds whom I consider fellow travelers and cherished friends. Among them was a woman I hadn’t seen for many years. We’d first met at another conference, but our paths hadn’t crossed since then.

Less than a minute into our conversation, we chatted as comfortably and transparently as if we were next door neighbors rather than once-a-decade friends. Before the night was over, she’d blessed me with a kindness that met a heart-need only God knew about. At the gala the next evening, I told her how much her grace-gift meant to me, and how God had used it to prove His Presence in a challenging situation.

It might have seemed to have nothing to do with writing. But it reminded me that God didn’t drop us onto a deserted publishing island. We landed in a populated place. This writing community matters to our success.

Critique partners. Prayer partners. Mentors. Mentees. Instructors. Editors. Endorsers. Influencers. Readers. Agents. Bookstore owners. Librarians. Book club members. Brainstorming partners. Marketing managers. Publicists…

The whole community “grows from (Christ), as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does their part,” Ephesians 4:16 CEB. Yes, that verse specifically refers to the Church. The Christian fiction writing community is a reflection of the church concept. God knew we would need each other in order to be our best selves. We’d need Him. And we’d need those who follow Him to accompany us, help us with course corrections, and demonstrate His grace for the journey.

We get by…with a little help from our friends.

YOUR TURN: When has the kindness of a friend served as a reminder of God’s provision, forgiveness, grace, or kindness?

Cynthia Ruchti is an award-winning author and speaker who tells stories hemmed in hope. Her recent releases include Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices, When the Morning Glory Blooms, and All My Belongings. September say the release of Mornings With Jesus 2015, a devotional collection from Guideposts for which she is one of ten contributors. www.cynthiaruchti.com, http://www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage