Deep friendships are something that most of us long for... But they take work and time and energy and effort.
As moms, it often becomes more difficult to develop friendships because of the needs of our families, but if I ever find myself longing for closer friendships, this is a list of suggestions that I go back to...
Praying they will be an encouragement to you as well--
10 (and many more ways) to grow a friendship:
1.) Be a friend.
If you find yourself feeling lonely, desiring deeper-realer-solider-friendships… (Because we all know how that feels). The best thing you can do is be that friend– deep and real and solid. Don’t wait for friendship to pursue. Be a pursue-er of friendship. Make a call. Plan a dinner. Talk a walk. Write a note. Invite for coffee. Be the friend you are looking for.
2.) Pray and look and listen.
Ask God to give you friends. Pour out your heart and ask Him to fill that space and longing. Look for those already on the path with you. Look for someone who needs a friend. Listen for those who love Him like you do. Watch for where you could give the gift of friendship.
3.) Don’t just think about it. Actually follow through.
Call or write or text or email. Tape the note on a car windshield because God nudged you to do it. Drop off the Popsicles when her children have a stomach bug and you know the night was long. Send the text that asks how a doctor’s appointment went. Offer to share the car ride when you know her week is hectic. Email a quick hello when there’s been a bit of quiet. Stop and pray a prayer when God brings her to mind.
4.) Find a way to regularly connect.
Set up weekly-morning-walks or phone-call-Thursdays during naptime. Plan monthly potluck dinners or go to the cemetery for memorials. Share weekly Costco baskets or treasure trading in the spring. Commit to yearly camping, birthday coffees, nerf gun wars, or Sunday basketball in the church gym. Because it's those Bands of brothers and Star-light-parades that weave friendships into– Family.
5.) Love your friends’ children.
Learn her children. Know them. Love them. Even if it means… Extra kindergarten graduations or preschool Christmas programs, Or researching diseases because they are part of her life. Even if it means… Buying a purple cowgirl hat for her daughter who will love it or capturing a bug because she has a boy-who-just-loves-bugs.
6.) Be in it for the long-haul.
Expect that there will be hurt and disagreement and frustration and misunderstanding. We are all just sinners-saved-by-grace. Give her the grace you give yourself. Trust that God can heal wounds inflicted, That He can forge golden-strength friendship, Friendship that withstands the fire, curing under the pressure, Because friendships are a mess worth making.
7.) Rejoice with. Weep with.
Through the promotions and raises and adoptions and good grades and soccer-victories. Through the depression and diagnosis and death and disabilities and near-divorces. Be willing to dig-into-the-messy. Not fixing, but walking through it all together.
“The Bible assumes that relationships this side of eternity will be messy and (will) require a lot of work. Every painful thing we experience in relationships is meant to remind us of our need for God. You can’t take the gospel seriously and not take your relationships seriously. Conflict with others is one of God’s mysterious, counterintuitive ways of rescuing us from ourselves. The problem with relationships is that they all take place right smack-dab in the middle of something, and that something is the story of redemption.” ~Tripp/Lane
8.) Enjoy the just-for-fun.
There is often great purpose, in those times that don’t feel purposeful. Relationships forged over garage sales and duck eggs hatching. Over silly movies meant for middle-schoolers. Over 80′s Proms and white elephant gifts, girl-weekends-at-the-coast, And left-overs.
9.) Love God together.
Through songs, and hymns and spiritual songs. Through morning prayers while walking circles around the block. Through little children in long-church-bench-lines. Through service, sacrifice, sanctuary and rejoicing in shared– Salvation.
10.) Remember your Ultimate Friend.
Our example, our constant. The one who lived-out putting others before self (Phil 2:4). The one who laid down His life for ours (1 John 3:16). The one who promises to fill the void when there is a hole. The one who will never leave you, nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). The one who shows us how to be a true friend.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ~John 15:3
*In August, I will be following up with a post on how we can help our children grow friendships...