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We were not meant to walk our life of faith alone. Elizabeth Pardi shares tips for maintaining faithful friendships.

We don’t just want mom friends who laugh with us about our kids’ shenanigans and encourage us in our faith. We need them. Friendship is somewhat of an endangered species nowadays, as social media–with its likes and comments–often replaces authentic, unfiltered interactions.

I became painfully aware of my need for faithful friendships six and a half years ago when I moved to a brand new city as a newlywed. Within months, I was pregnant and with no friends to encourage me through a difficult first trimester, I felt immense darkness and loneliness. I prayed hard for companionship with like-minded women and make no mistake, the Lord surely delivered.

But aside from praying to be led to friends who are walking through this life with Christ, here are three simple ways to bring those women into your life:

Show Up

After my first baby was born, I went to daily mass several times a week. Yes, I wanted to be with Jesus but another motivator was meeting other moms who brought their  kids to daily mass. Some of my dearest friendships were formed in the cry rooms of various churches throughout our city.

I realize that with the current pandemic, venturing to mass isn’t as simple as it once was. But parishes are still hosting occasional worship and volunteer events where it’s possible to encounter other faith-filled moms. You can also check social media for meet up opportunities with Catholic moms.

The point is, I spent a lot of time holed up in my house wishing for friends instead of proactively going to the places where I was likely to find them. When you show up places, magic can happen.

Reach Out

I happen to be on the obnoxious end of the extrovert scale, but for those with more introvert tendencies, this is a tough one. I know striking up a conversation with a complete stranger can be as daunting as a fifteen-decade Rosary (or am I the only one who finds that intimidating?), but when you find the right stranger, it happens much more smoothly than you’d expect. Most people are happy to keep a conversation rolling if you launch it with a question as simple as, “Are you a parishioner here?”

I can’t tell you how many cool families we’ve met at church through that effortless inquiry. Some other genuine questions to ask fellow moms are, “Is he/she your only child?” “How old is he/she?” Or just comment on their child’s disposition in a positive way.

Once you’ve chatted a bit, introduce yourself. You can pretty much always count on the other mom to introduce herself back to you. Pre-COVID, I would stick out my hand for a shake, but nowadays when I meet people, I just tell them my name and reply, “Great to meet you!” upon learning theirs.

You can ask her if she ever wants to get together with the kids or if she knows of any local mom groups. Usually, when friendly people realize you’re in search of fellowship, they’re happy to befriend you.

Stay Present

Don’t overcomplicate this one. You don’t need to schedule regular play dates to maintain meaningful friendships. Sometimes, it’s as simple as keeping track of birthdays or due dates, and shooting a friendly text when they roll around. My closest friends and I rarely see each other since having more kids means busier schedules, but we keep in touch throughout the days through text and occasional FaceTime chats. We make or buy each other meals when one of us has a new baby or miscarriage. Our kids write each other letters. There are endless ways to stay present in your friend’s lives in order to keep friendships from fading. When you make the effort to do it for others, you’ll be so touched by the ways they do it for you.

Remember that God does not want us to walk our faith life alone. He longs to connect us to those companions who will help us draw closer to Him. A little effort on our part goes a long way. Trust me.

God longs to connect us to those companions who will help us draw closer to Him. A little effort on our part goes a long way. #catholicmom

Copyright 2020 Elizabeth Pardi
Image: Pixabay (2015)