Finding Friendship and Community

Do you have one of those friends that God brought to you from an unexpected place?

I have a lifelong friend who was actually my Sunday school teacher when I was five. As I grew older, I worked for her catering business where together we made delicious food and talked the days away.

When I got married, the ceremony was in her backyard. She catered the wedding reception as a gift to me and my new husband. When the babies came one after another, she brought lunches and much-needed parenting relief.

This same friend helped with laundry, brought food when the kids were sick and watched my older kids while I took our twins to therapy.

But the greatest gift she gave and continues to give is her love.

She has prayed for me for years and continues to give me godly advice, offering hope and encouragement when I need it most. Almost four decades separate us in age, but our hearts are knit together forever.

Seasons of Friendship

But things haven’t always been this way for me.

While God has blessed me with friends like her in different seasons; I have also known loneliness. If you’ve walked through painful loneliness, you’re not the only one.

Maybe you’ve gone through seasons where true friendships seem elusive or impossible to find and cultivate.

Why do some people seem to so effortlessly have friends while others long for the company of someone else?

Time and time again the Lord has shown me that by being open, He can bring us the relationships we need at just the right time.

In high school, my friends were older than me, and when they left for college I found myself alone.

I prayed and asked the Lord for a friend. He showed me someone unexpected who was already a part of my church. We were very different. But in that season she became the precious friend I needed as we walked through our older teen years together.

The early years of marriage were marked by babies, mental health issues, and many emergencies with our son’s health. Bible studies and even church attendance were often not possible and I became isolated and lonely.

Then one day, a woman I admired invited me to join a Mommy Time group. I met for years, once a month, with several other women. We ate together and poured out the burdens of our hearts.

I cried with them as I spoke about the possibility of my son having brain surgery and as we fought to find him appropriate care. These women encouraged me and loved me when I often had very little to give.

When that group ended, I knew without a doubt that it was a necessity to have other women walk life’s journey side by side with me.

Taking the next step

So I took the next step. I invited two women to join me in a small group twice a month to do life together. One of the women had walked that hard and devastating period of my life with me. The other I didn’t know as well, but it was someone I wanted to get to know more.

For almost two years now, we’ve met twice a month and shared our babies and our hurts, the ugly, and the beautiful. We’ve celebrated birthdays together, taken meals to each other, and prayed for each other. We have shared life together.

In Ecclesiastes the Bible says,

[verse reference=”Some Ecclesiastes 4:9-10″]Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.[/verse]

If you find yourself in a lonely season and lacking friendship, I want to invite you to pray about who the Lord might have as a friend for you.

Then take a risk and invite. Invite and invite again.

It’s vulnerable and not everyone will be able to be a friend to you in that season, but don’t give up! Keep praying and asking.

As I’ve opened up my imperfect home and imperfect life in this current season, I’ve found what the Bible says is true, “a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”