"The Gift of Friendship"

Whether next door or in the next time zone, our friends provide some of our most important relationships. We cherish time spent with them, bemoan time spent apart, and look forward to the next time we can have coffee or rush to greet them as they walk toward our door. And nothing warms our hearts like stories of true friendship.

"The Gift of Friendship: Stories That Celebrate the Beauty of Shared Moments" is a collection of more than fifty short essays on the subject of friendship, written by various Christian women (including Crystal Paine, Liz Curtis Higgs, Tsh Oxenreider, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Lisa-Jo Baker, Jessica Turner, Lysa TerKeurst, and Holley Gerth) and edited by Dawn Camp.

"The Gift of Friendship" is the perfect coffee table or guest room-nightstand book that can be picked up for five minutes here and there, skimming through a few of the brief "chapters", or for a leisurely afternoon, reading and considering the delightful, funny, and poignant words of women describing their own friendships and encouraging others to cherish and cultivate personal friendships as well. Each story was enjoyable and unique, with its own style and tone. Still, I found it interesting that there were underlying themes among the stories, such as the impact of social media on relationships and the heightened importance of face-to-face friendships; the importance of vulnerability and transparency; and not letting fear or pride (e.g., the appearance of our home or ourselves) stop us from spending time with others. All these, and other, messages are apropos reminders and challenges for me in my own life, and, I believe, for women generally.

One of my favorite quotes in the book is from the story, "How One Small Act Can Change Someone's World", by Jennifer Dukes Lee: "[...] you don't have to preach in stadiums or go viral or be a bestseller to radically alter the course of another human being's life" (p. 177). A friendship, as each of the stories in "The Gift of Friendship" highlights, can have life-changing impact and importance, so never take friends for granted, or underestimate how much you friendship to another woman means! As Mother Teresa said, and Dukes Lee quoted in the same story, "Don't look for big things. Just do small things with great love."

Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review.

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