I met Lisa when my husband and I moved here seven years ago.

When we moved to Chicago, my husband left his job as a pastor, but we didn’t leave our faith behind. So before we even chose a place to live, we found a church. We joined our church in its formative stage, when the pastor and his wife, Lisa, had only 3 other people involved in planning and preparation.

Right away, I decided I wanted to befriend the pastor’s wife. After all, I had been where she was: the wife of a pastor just starting out; a young wife. I knew the ups and downs of starting and leading a church.

For some reason, though, our friendship didn’t develop easily. Though we became teammates in leading groups for women in the church and spent time together at her home and mine, we didn’t connect at a deep level.

At one point (that she doesn’t remember) she said “I appreciate you, but I don’t think we’ll ever be close friends.” I was shocked, but not discouraged. I typically bond quickly with friends. And, remember, I had made up my mind that I would be her friend.

So I continued looking for ways to build our friendship. Somewhere along the line, it got easier. Soon after she became pregnant with her first daughter, I was expecting my second. When I visited her in the hospital after her daughter’s birth, the nurses on the floor asked me if I was in labor, too. I remember being in her home in the days after her first daughter’s birth, helping fold laundry and change her newborn’s diapers, waiting for my new daughter to arrive.

Later, we commiserated through another pregnancy. Without even knowing how or when, we became best friends.

My friendship with Lisa is another lesson for me in the need for perseverance. Sometimes, building relationships is easy; sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes, closeness comes quickly. In long term relationships, there are times that require patience, situations that demand persistence. In developing my friendship with Lisa, I needed to rely on the commitment I had made to be a faithful friend to her.

If I had given up during those early months and years, I would have missed out on the support, encouragement, and growth that I have experienced as a result of our friendship.

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.