Friendships

Friendships

Enable me to live

so as to deserve a friend

and if I never have one on earth

be Thou my friend,

for in having Thee

I shall have all that is dear

and valuable in friendship.

Amen.

We had dinner with sweet friends the other night. Friendship came up as she shared how full her life is and how easily she says yes to friends, explaining her love for helping and doing life with her people. This young woman is very like my Laura who drove three hours one weekend recently to stay with a friend who just had her first baby. These two are devoted friends. Both of them possess a capacity, a loyalty, a genuine love for the women God has woven into their lives. I so admire and respect them because I am not like them; I am wired differently.

 

When life gets full and overbooked for me, friendships move to the edge of the radar screen as I focus on managing the work, the tasks, and my first relationships: marriage and our family. I’ve learned that though I love many people I can’t juggle many relationships at once.

 

Belonging to one another is a gift of God for it is in relationship, friendship, community, and family that we see more of who God is, an intensely relational Being.

Where are you on the friendship scale? Are you on the too many friends extreme or on the too alone and isolated extreme?

 

This prayer by Susanna Wesley, pastor’s wife and mother to … wait … for … it …19 children … amazing woman … reminds us no matter where we are on the friendship spectrum, Jesus is our source, our model, our teacher in friendship for He is our Friend.

 

Deep friendships aren’t always possible. I have experienced multiple friendless seasons in life, though I was always surrounded by people, acquaintances, women I considered friends. There were years when the daily work of caring for little ones left me with barely enough energy to keep my eyes open in the five minutes that I had to sit down. 

 

There were years, too, when the trials of teens and a rebellious child took every ounce of relational energy, when the hurt felt so deep and personal and exhausting, I had nothing left for any other relationship outside my marriage and even that relationship suffered. 

 

Yet even in those lonely seasons when I had no emotional energy to even meet a friend for coffee, there were those who stood with my husband and me in prayer. And that is a true friendship even though we didn’t have ‘time’ together.  

 

As school begins again there will be fresh opportunities to interact with other adults; the parents of your children’s friends. Some will be new to you as your kids discover new friends this year. Others will be parents you’ve not seen since last spring. 

 

What is God thinking as He sovereignly places your child in a different friend group, as you and two other moms sign up to go on field trips or to be homeroom moms, as you choose seats in the stadium for football or soccer games? Do you believe He is in control?

 

Perhaps none of the women in these places will become a friend to you. However, many parents in your kids’ schools are watching you and your family. Some need to see parents who are for their child but also for the others too. They need to see parents who model respect for authority and who demonstrate healthy marriage and family relationships. Undoubtedly some need to meet Jesus and God wants you to be a person who can be trusted, who demonstrates His love.

 

Another mom you meet dropping your kids off at school may not become your bff. There are lots of levels of friendship. And over time many come and go. Very few girlfriends, I have learned, will last a lifetime.

 

What we long for in friendships, in another person who feels as comfortable as home, can only be found in the One who promised never to leave or turn away. He’s the One who, for ages upon ages, has been called Friend, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.

 

No matter where you go or how lonely your circumstances–even if you should suffer beyond what you can speak–a companion is near. He is Emmanuel, God with us: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He is Jesus.

May you not measure friendship by numbers or by hours but by the steadfastness of the Rock of Ages and then share that friendship with others as you can trust God to use you to show glimpses of Himself to those watching you. And I promise others are watching. Let them see Jesus!

*Taken from The Prayers of Susanna Wesley by W.L. Doughty Copyright 1984 by Zondervan. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com, 3.

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11 thoughts on “Friendships”

  1. Thank you for your encouraging words. I had a dear 20+ year friendship that ended. I felt so lost and terribly hurt but the experience did help me to lean in so much closer to God and to my wonderful husband of 27 years. I had wonderful godly counsel and came to understand that many times God gives us special friendships for a season. God truly is the friend that will never leave us nor forsake us.

  2. Friends are the treasures of the years. Our lives may move quickly and through many stages but maintaining friends is one of the essentials of happiness as we pass through the many doors of our journey here on the earth. Jesus’ life on earth was short but his friendship with his disciples continued after his death as they built the church so we would know Him in our earthly lives and until we pass through the last door on earth. My friends help me to live my life for Christ.

  3. Thank you so much for touching on this topic! I have been burdened with just how to build some friendships! When my kids were around and in school, we were always surrounded by other parents with so much in common. We are attending a large church now which has a ministry to disabled adults. My middle “adult” child has special needs and we were thrilled to find this church!! BUT I have joined 3 different small study groups just to get to know people and yet no connections have grown other than “Hi” on Sunday mornings. I will relax now and let God take the reins. I just needed to be reminded. Thanks again. God is good all the time!

  4. Thank you for this! I’m a recent partial empty nester, as our oldest 20 yo, moved out last June.
    I’ve discovered that there is little talking among adults about those empty nest feelings. Oh the joy for them, and missing them all at once!
    I’ve realized that my friendships were the “last” thing. I believe that is the correct order of things, that yes, my time with Jesus, my husband, and children should come first, but oh how I long for a friend who listens to this mama heart who misses her young man! He’s doing great, working hard, and in love with a young woman that he wishes to be his bride someday, and the feelings are joy for this and also sadness that he’s out of the nest!
    It’s something I don’t think gets talked about much, and even when I tried to talk to my grandma she said “are you going to whine to your aunt and uncle whose child lives out of the country? (Of course not I said)
    It’s sad we can’t express our emotions without being labeled as whining. No matter where they go, we miss them!
    So many thoughts about friendships now as I seek to cherish these last years before our 8th grade girl launches. I do want friendships, and I want to be a good friend, but I want to be a great wife/mom more.
    It’s great to know Jesus never leaves us, and is our friend, throughout our lifetime!

  5. I so appreciate this post Barbara! I’ve had to rely on Jesus for my friendship needs during this season of life. Like you, as I am overwhelmed by being the caregiver for my mother, daughters making disappointing choices and having to work outside the home, building friendships comes last for me. I am lonely though, as my closest friends are out of state and at age 59 I find it difficult – even if I had the time! – to make new friends. I believe Jesus is the author of relationships and am trusting Him with this time in my life.

    1. Thanks for writing. Sorry you are in a lonely season, but grateful you know Jesus is your Friend.
      May this be a sweet time being close to Him.

  6. I love this and so appreciate how you share many of the same feelings that I have had in my parenting journey. Currently, I desire to help my teen navigate relationships. When I talk with my teen, she often feels that I just don’t “like” her friends. I just desire to see her develop friendships that cause her to grow closer to Christ instead of the closer to the world. I lack the wisdom on how to approach this without her feeling that I don’t approve. Would you please consider writing about how to encourage our teens in developing good relationships?
    Thank you for your ministry!

  7. Glenda Fitzgerald

    I am 66 years old & even though three of our children are living their own adult lives, we still have 1 living with us. Our son, Darren is 30 years old and has multiple special needs. He attends a training program for life skills 2 days a week. I can’t tell you how many times friends have asked invited me to join them on those days when Darren is at his training program. I always thank them but, I protect those days like they are the most important days, because they are…to my husband & I. We go out to eat, but groceries, etc. We talk, take rides out in the country, or sit on the porch…together. I have loving friends, but my husband is the first person I spend time with, after God. And it works for us. We have been married 47 years!

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