Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. My husband and I heard this quote in a movie years ago and it’s stuck with us ever since. I think about friendship often. I need friends. I need good friends, and so do you.
We were created for relationship. We were not created to be alone. We were created to feel, to communicate, to embrace, to share, and to “do life” with the people around us. We were not created to be loners, to be friendless, to be isolated. Scripture begins and ends with relationship. In the beginning God created the earth, the Spirit hovered over the waters, and when God said, “let there be light.” He was speaking Jesus! (Glory!!! Revelation my husband shared with me about a month ago.) Think about that! Trinity. At the end of this age Jesus will come for His bride, the church, and we will worship the Lord together, for all of eternity.
My husband is my best friend. Eric and I have known each other since we were young teenagers. He knew me back when I wore pink canvas shoes that matched perfectly with my pink and purple shorts, my purple shirt, my hot pink lip stick, and my crimped hair. I knew him before he had any facial hair, when the hair on his head was dyed 3 colors, and he wore saggy pants. When we hooked up we were quite the combo…. Eric knows me better than any one else knows me, and I know him better than anyone else knows him. I share most everything with Eric; struggles, joys, laughter, hurts, fears, accomplishments, insecurities, victories, you name it. He’s safe. I’m safe. We love each other and are committed to each other.
The past couple of weeks have been challenging. I could give you a list of everything that’s gone on, all the good stuff, all of the bad stuff, but I won’t. I’ll just tell you that multiple times I felt like quitting. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, disorganized, taken for granted, hormonal, like a failure…..blah, blah blah….. My house was a mess. By a mess I mean a total mess. I’d never seen my children’s bedrooms so disastrous. I wish I had taken pictures as proof. My bedroom had piles of clothes from our trip to Lake Providence still on my floor waiting to be put away a week after our return. I don’t want to even talk about the toilets or my fridge, or our big white van…yuck…gross…. Kids were more “difficult” than they had been in a long time, and I was behind in getting things ready for a new year of school and dance.
I had those familiar feelings of NOT ENOUGH swarming through my body and my brain. You should just quit homeschooling. You’re not good enough to lead Rez Dance. Make a blog post, are you kidding? You’re no example. What a horrible home-maker you are. You are not doing enough…. you’re not pleasing enough….again, blah, blah, blah…you get the idea. Negative thoughts. Negative self talk. Ugh. Not okay.
Then….I had a melt down. Not pretty. I cried and I screamed. (yes, I screamed) I was not ok….
So…my amazing husband took me with him while he ran errands. He let me cry in privacy of our van. I talked to God. I asked Him for help, and then, I texted a couple of my good friends. Here’s where I get back to friendship. Eric’s my best friend, but sometimes I need more than Eric, I need my girl friends, and Eric needs me to have these friends.
I have some really good friends. They know me well. They know my struggles and my strengths. They rejoice with me when I am blessed, and they cry with me when I’m hurting. They speak truth to me. They pray for me. They don’t share my crud with others. They don’t laugh when I fall. They don’t get offended when I speak truth to them. They are kind. They are fun. They are all different. My friends don’t all have six kids, nor do they all home school. 3 of my closest friends live hundreds of miles away. They are not all 35 years old, and they don’t all share the same movie, music, and clothing preferences. Like me, they’re not perfect, but they long to be like Jesus. One of my best friends I’ve known since I was 5 and a few others have become close friends just in the past couple of years.
When I text or call a friend for prayer, they pray. They speak scripture or words of encouragement to me and I find myself strengthened and my perspective gets back on track. My friends can’t fix me or my problems, but they point me to Jesus, my husband, my family, and my purpose. My life is richer and fuller because of my friends.
God has a lot to say about friendship. Here are several verses from Proverbs.
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
“He who has friends must show himself friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
“He who walks with the wise becomes wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of the enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6
“As iron sharpens iron. So one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Jesus had friends. Those twelve disciples were his friends. Peter, James, and John were his closest friends. If you look at the gospels you’ll find that Jesus had a whole lot of friends and he had different circles of friends.
So what happened when I texted my friends? They prayed for me. They spoke truth to me. They reminded me to reject that “not enough” lie. They spoke scripture to me. They encouraged me. They pointed me to Jesus.
I have to admit, I had another crying fit this past weekend. To be honest, it was a pity party and I was out of line, in the flesh, and NOT seeking Jesus. One of my best friends whispered in my ear and said, “Melissa, you’re being a jerk.” “Melissa, you are out of line.” “Melissa you’re speaking whatever foolishness comes to mind and you need to stop.” Hold up. What?!!! The Holy Spirit, one of my best friends (It’s true!) told ME that I’m being a jerk. Oh crud….but you know what, Hebrew 12:5-6 almost immediately came to mind. It says, “My Son(daughter) do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves he chastens and scourges every son He receives.”
I’m loved by my Father God. When my husband, my girl friends, or the Holy Spirit speaks truth to me, I need to listen. They speak truth and correction to me because they love me and they care. I don’t want to stay stuck in my flesh, stuck in my pity party, stuck in my disorganization and overwelmedness(is that a word?). I want to flourish, thrive, and daily be transformed in the image of Christ. I need my circles of friends to do this! I need friends to grow!
Over the past two weeks my house has become cleaner. Bedrooms are organized. Laundry is put away (at least until the next load comes out of the dryer). My fridge is clean. My toilets will be soon:). I said no to some things I needed to say no to and yes to some things that needed a yes. We are getting back into the routine of homeschooling. I apologized to my kids for saying some things I shouldn’t have. I apologized to Eric for being a jerk. Most of all, I apologized to the Lord for thinking foolish thoughts, speaking lies, and for not putting Him first.
Who are your friends? Do you have friends? Do your friends point you to Jesus? Do they encourage you when you are down? Do they love you for who you are. Do they speak truth to you? Are they faithful? Do they support your marriage, your dreams, or your other friendships? Do they pray for you?
What kind of friend are you? Do you gossip? Do you get jealous of what your friends have or do? Do you get offended when they speak truth to you? Do you judge and criticize your friends or do you build them up? Do YOU pray for YOUR friends? Are you faithful? Are you kind? Are you there for them when they need you?
You won’t be close to everyone around you. You won’t share the most intimate details of your life with every friend that you have. You’ll have different circles of friends and each circle is important and valid. But you do need a few close friends. A few “kindred spirits”. A few “bosom buddies”. These are the friends who you are safe to share your heart with. Safe to share your struggles and dreams with. These are the friendships you need to nurture. These are the friends you call or text or get together with when you need some prayer and encouragement. These are your iron sharpens iron friends. Two are better than one friends.
Where is a good place to find friends? Here are a few ideas. I highly recommend church small groups. This can be womens or mens ministry groups, or couples groups. At our church this means dance classes, art classes, and other common interest groups that meet every week. MOPS is a great resource. If you home school, find out if your community has a home school group where families go on field trips together and encourage each other. You might find a good friend in a neighbor. Once a month our family invites a bunch of other great families we know for a great big time of fun and fellowship where mamas can connect and all the different age groups of children can play.
I encourage you to look at your current friendships. Which friendships do you need to grow? Which friendships do you need to lay aside? Be the friend you want your friends to be. If you don’t have those close friends ask God for them. Daily ask Him for good friends. Don’t stop asking until He provides and I promise, He WILL provide! Be on the lookout. He cares about your friendships even more then you do. And don’t forget. God is your friend. Jesus is your friend. The Holy Spirit is your friend. Listen to their voice and let them do their mighty, precious work in you. God loves those whom he disciplines:).
I’ll close this post with my very favorite verse regarding friendship.
“Two are better then one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls, but has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone. Though one may be overpowered. Two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
*Note to parents. Our children’s friends are so influential as to who they become and what their future is like. Help your children pick their friends. Help them pick friends who encourage them in relationship with Jesus. Teach your kids to be good friends. Teach them what qualities to look for in friends. None of their friends will be perfect or act godly all of the time, but as a parent, take note of how your child acts when they’ve spent time with their friends. This will tell you a lot about which of your child’s friendships you should nurture. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to certain friends in your child’s life. You’re their parent for a reason. Part of our job as parents is to protect and train our children for their future. If your children need good friends, pray for those friends and be on the look out for them. Again, God WILL provide. I could make a whole new blog post just on the faithfulness of God to provide friends for us and our children when need them. I’ve cried out to God many times for friends and friends for my kids. He’s come through every time. He will for you too.