I happy sighed as I slipped my arm into the mailbox. Real mail. Someone actually wrote our name with a pen, no automation involved. My friend, Laurie, was thinking of us. And it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if she sealed the invitation with a prayer and a smile.
Our friendship began with five kids between us, and a decade later we’ve added six more. We’ve survived adoptions, births, complete health break downs, surgeries, special needs kids, rough marriage patches, depression, and bouts of laughter and tears that would mystify anyone else. We’ve both said, “You need professional help” and “I can’t believe we survived that.”
As I opened the envelope with her daughter’s graduation announcement, tears stung my eyes and I wondered just how many times I had prayed for her girl. I’m filled with sheer wonder, pride and gratitude to the Lord for the work He has done in helping her raise another child who loves the Lord. Really, truly loves Jesus.
Do you have a friendship like ours; seasoned with time, trials, and God’s faithfulness? Have you found this gift? You, the Mama rocking a new baby, the one whose car reeks because of a sippy cup you can’t find. You, the one who would like to get in the car and leave it all behind because this isn’t what you signed up for. The one who is homeschooling and the one who drives the carpool line. Sweet Mama, whose child is in the office for the second time this week, and the one whose kid is right now planning her valedictorian speech. Is there a woman who has linked arms with you?
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV
As I reflect on how we arrived in this sweet place of friendship, I find four things that I know have helped, and they find their roots in Hebrews 10.
- Look to the Lord first.
When we find a longing inside of ourselves, even for great things like friendship, we need to use it as a cue to run to the Father who will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We must look to the Lord to fulfill the needs inside us or we will ask our friends to fill a role they were never meant to play. Remember, God alone is the one who can promise perfect faithfulness. Then, we pray, “Bring a friend who I can run beside, one who will spur me on as I raise a family for your glory.”
- Be for her.
Loyal friends are hard to find. Simply put- Be that girl. Refuse to talk about her negatively with others. Decide to commit her needs to prayer. When the writer of Hebrews says, “consider how you….” let’s swap in the word pray. “How can I spur, Laurie, on to loving her husband and her family well?” Then, when God brings an idea, do that thing. Earnest prayer for a friend slays the comparison and competition that can well up in a friendship. It won’t be long until a win for her family is a win for you, because you carried them before the Lord.
- Let it develop.
Real relationships take time, coupled with intentionality. For years, Laurie and I had no more time than passing in the halls of church on the rare Sunday that we both had healthy kids. Sometimes friendships are funny texts here and there and other times it is two lawn chairs and a blanket with baby toys on the front lawn. Motherhood and friendship are both full of seasons. One of the ways I’ve added intentionality to my key friendships is to schedule time right in. That may mean it’s time to finally take the step to start a Raising Generations Today Meet Up Group. Open your doors to meaningful conversations and the opportunity for memories to be made. Like Hebrews says, “Don’t forsake meeting together.” We need each other.
For Laurie and me, it has meant meeting every Monday morning for an hour for three years. We pray together for our children, their schools and our community. We love that time, but when one hour is up, we get up and resume our full time jobs as the nurturers in our home. I’m convinced more happens in that one hour than almost any other day in my week because we show up knowing why we are there and that time is sacred.
- Pray together.
Prayer is the super glue of friendships, and the reason why relationships with my Monday morning girlfriends continue to run the distance. We desperately need Jesus to show up in our motherhood, and so we spend time telling Him that together. Sometimes it’s a walk, where we have prayed eyes wide open covering the concerns of the day. Other times, it is only an agreement to pray at a certain time of day for each other, when we can’t find time to get together.
I really believe prayer is the key to extraordinary friendships with women. Carrying each other before the throne of God, and listening to the way she intercedes for my child, marriage, and well-being. There really is nothing more humbling than hearing someone pray fervently for my child, because she loves them. Superglue, I tell ya.
Friendship matters. It takes work and it takes intentionality, but as I look at the invitation in my hand I realize the miracle of it all. I love my friend’s daughter like I love my own. And vice versa. The world knows little of the wonder of friendship like this, and it’s worth every moment we invest to develop it.