This week has been one of those weeks that I feel like my body is floating in the sky watching my life down on earth and I've been thinking about how extremely thankful I am for the friendships in my life. I know BIG TIME that I have been blessed in that area my entire life. I have a feeling my parents probably prayed for me to have good friendships and their prayers have been answered.
That's one of the #1 things I pray for my children because I know that the friends they choose especially in their youth will drastically have an effect on the choices they make in life and paths they take. I can tell you right now my life would look completely different if I would have made different friends. Somehow God has mercifully given me sweet and Godly friends from childhood until my 40's. And it's something I praise Him for often.
Monday night two of my friends texted and said "hey - let's go to Sonic when the kids are in bed". You know I JUMPED on that! And I felt like I was back in college. We sat and talked until Sonic basically turned out their lights and it was just what I needed. And I thought "Why don't I do this more often?" And then last night I had a group text going with several friends WAY TOO late and we were all laughing so hard we were trying not to wet ourselves and commenting how our husbands were snoring in the same rooms. And then this morning we picked it back up on a serious note of how thankful we are for friends who make us want to know Jesus more AND make us laugh until it hurts. And I was just overwhelmed with how important friendships and having community with others is.
I spoke on this very subject last month at a women's group and I shared a few thoughts on three kinds of relationships we should have as women (outside of our families) and how we can be intentional in maintaining them. I talked about friendships (the easiest of the relationships), Mentor relationships and women outside of our normal circles who we can seek to become friends with.
This is what I shared about friendship.
Friendships are vital. Girls just need friends. Husbands are AMAZING and should be #1 but sometimes there are just things they can't understand (or care about) like your girlfriends can. And the older you get, the harder it is to make friends and maintain them when life is busy. These are things we have to do and try hard at to make and keep those friendships:
- Pray for your friends. Is there anything better you can do than to pray for them? And let them know that God put them on your heart.
- Social media gets a bad rap - but Facebook and Instagram can make it really easy to keep up with your friends and just give them a comment of encouragement. And there is nothing easier (and yet it can make someone's day) than to send a quick text to say hi or to say something funny or to give them a verse you think they might need.
- Serve your friends. Our friends can have needs ranging from sick kids to cancer to lost jobs to sick parents, etc. Don't just say "let me know what I can do". Show up with a meal. Take their kids for the day. Sit with them at the hospital. Mow their yard. Do their laundry. Yes - it's hard to keep up with our OWN lives - but sometimes a little sacrificial gift of our time is worth it.
- Make time to be with them. Our families come first but make a coke date after kids are in bed or meet for dinner or lunch or at the park during the day with kids. Form a Bible Study or book club. Meet friends to run or work out together.
- Be a cheerleader/encourager. It's easy to be jealous of friends or feel like you are competing. But STOP THAT. True friends cheer one another on! Therefore Encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
- Serve WITH your friends. Some of my favorite times have been when my friends and I are working at Bible School together or hanging clothes for hours to get ready for our church's clothing drive or working in AWANA together. Find some work you can do in your community and invite a few friends along. This can be more fun than just meeting for dinner and you are serving a purpose.
- Forgive and restore. Sometimes you need to say "I'm sorry" or choose to forgive a friend that has hurt you and just move on. Storing up anger and bitterness hurts no one but YOU. Like Sweet Brown says "Ain't nobody got time for that"!
How are you intentional with your friendships?