Shelly Henley Kelly ponders the beauty of friendships: a gift from God to remind us we are never alone.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about friendships these days. How they come in so many shapes and sizes. How some grow deep roots in your life and last through the storms and seasons, while others are paper-thin, fleeting, largely dependent on the season of life.
God created us for community, not to walk alone. He gathered the disciples from different walks of life, brought them together, and sent them out in pairs. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
As our lives move through different seasons, through marriage, children, changing jobs, joining church groups, we find ourselves meeting new people and pulled toward each other, bonding over time through shared experiences. Sometimes we can’t explain why we connect with another person. Something about our personalities click, we appreciate their counsel, they make us laugh, and we find ourselves able to go deeper in our conversations.
As women, we crave friendships with other women, seeking them in our daily activities where we spend the majority of our time. As moms we may struggle to make time in finding and cultivating these friendships.
When our activities are focused on God and family, it is here we find our friendships.
Our first priority is developing our friendship with God. Even when we are so busy and can’t do all that we want and wish for, we carve out time in the little spaces to sit with God – in traffic, at lunch, or in between projects and meetings. He is always present with us even when we are not consciously thinking of Him. Our friendship deepens as we learn to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Raising our family often leads to friendships with others as our children allow us to cross paths during school, sports, and other events. Some of my favorite women were found sitting in the ball field stands; however, as our children grow up or change teams, we no longer spend our evenings and long weekends together. We may try to continue the friendships, although other priorities, new practices, work and life, tend to pull our time away and we grow apart. These friendships are dependent on a specific season of our life. “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
To love – agape – a friend is to want only the best for them. To celebrate their accomplishments without envy. To put other’s feelings first. To mourn with them. To seek their presence and spend time with them.
Which came first? Friendships or loving God?
Did we learn to love and follow God and use that knowledge to develop human friendships or did we use our early childhood friendships to help us see and understand our special relationship with God?
Can we know one without the other?
Whichever came first, thank goodness for friendships. They are a real gift from God to remind us that we are never alone, even during seasons of life when the world tilts. Because no matter what happens in your life, there is always one true friendship that will never fade, who will never leave you, never pull away from you. Jesus.
Copyright 2020 Shelly Henley Kelly
Image: Jenn Sterling (2011), Flickr, CC BY ND 2.0
About the Author
Shelly Henley Kelly is a daughter of God, a Martha who strives to be Mary, living in the world, but not of the world, perpetually busy as breadwinner, wife, mother, catechist, and ACTS sister. A published author, Shelly writes about being a working mom and catechist at SoundMindAndSpirit.com and can be heard on various podcasts at SQPN.com.