Redeeming the "In-Between" Times
One thing I’ve learned is that friendships can be greatly strengthened when we are purposeful during the “in-between” times. Life is full and busy for everyone, and it’s not everyday that we have the margin to meet up for coffee or catch up at a playdate.
As a stay-at-home mom of two little ones, most of my day is spent at home caring for my family. While I absolutely love getting together with friends in-person, this isn’t typically something that happens every week. So I’ve learned to creatively cultivate my friendships with little things like mailing a pretty handwritten note of encouragement, texting to friend to tell her how I’m specifically praying for her today, or gifting an iTunes song via email to brighten her day.
Here’s another example: Two of my close “mom friends” and I have an ongoing group text where we share prayer requests and encouragement with one another. We humbly share the areas in which we need accountability or even practical ideas (being patient with our kiddos, teething advice, etc.) and then are very purposeful to come around each other with sharpening biblical truth and specific prayer. Our group text isn’t a place to distract one another with complaining or mindless chatter, but to truly “bear one another’s burdens” in a Christ-honoring way (Gal. 6:2).
Consider the Season You're In
Another part of building meaningful friendships is considering the season of life you are in. For example, my family currently has one car and most days my husband needs to get to work. His workplace is about thirty minutes away — and most of my friends also live thirty minutes away. For this reason, getting together with friends during the week can be a challenge.
However, I’ve learned to be creative here as well! I might not be able to get to my friends for a playdate but they can certainly come to me, if I’m willing to host. My kiddos and I love having friends over for a casual playdate and then sharing a simple lunch that I’ve prepared. Since our friends do the work of driving 30 minutes to get to us, we can certainly provide a simple lunch. The kiddos play, the mommas sip coffee and catch up, and we all enjoy the fellowship.
The same applies to cultivating friendships with single friends or young women I am discipling. I so enjoy meeting at a coffee shop or visiting their home, but in order to care well for my family, I have limited availability for being away from home. That said, I can easily invite them over for a visit during my kiddos’ naptime. Soft music, a glowing candle, mugs for hot drinks, Bibles at the ready … and our humble sofa becomes the perfect place for building one another up in Christ and simply treasuring the gift of friendship.
Take the Initiative
Lastly, I encourage you to reach out and take the initiative. Some of my most significant friendships are the result of another woman reaching out and pursuing a friendship with me — and I am so thankful for their intentionality.
As someone who is pretty shy, extending friendship to someone I don’t know well doesn’t come naturally. I am terrible at small talk and am about as introverted as they come. But ultimately, pursuing friendship with others isn’t about how I will benefit from it. Rather, the goal is that I would consider others as more significant than myself and look to their best interests. (See Philippians 2:3-4.) And in so doing, honor the One who created friendship for His glory and our good.
From Brooke Kinabrew
Several years ago there was a group of gracefully aged women (all of whom were probably in their late 70s) who were chatting about their weekly meetings of “treasure hunting.” Their faces radiant, they shared in pure excitement about the treasure they had unearthed the evening before. With my interest noticeably piqued, they went on to explain to me that every week they would pick a word or a phrase and search the Scriptures together — seeking the treasure that was hidden inside the Word of God. They fondly called it their “treasure hunt.”
This memory will forever be highlighted in my mind. Because of their shining faces, unsurpassed joy, and the sweet bond of friendship they shared together the Lord kindled something within my own heart; a deep desire to have such beautiful friendships like the one I had witnessed in these lovely women. A friendship forged by the Lord; wholeheartedly seeking after Him together.
The verse in Proverbs 27 came to mind, which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (v.17).
“The countenance” here is referring to what is in your soul that shines forth and is reflected on your face. When we seek Christ and behold Him our faces become radiant. (See Psalm 34:5.) There have been countless times where just by being with a dear friend, the Lord has refreshed my heart, filled my cup, given me fresh vision, and realigned my heart. I can’t tell you how many times intentionally building each other up in Christ has been just what my soul needed. These God-given friendships are true treasures.
Friends, be intentional and cultivate friendship with like-minded women. Be the one to initiate — open up your heart and home. When we till the soil and plant the seeds of love, encouragement, and thoughtfulness — friendship will naturally grow.
Here are some practical ways you can cultivate the friendships in your life:
Invest your time. Pour yourself out for the uplifting of others — friendship isn’t one-sided. Rather it is the joining of two hearts, two lives for the beautification, edification, and sharpening of each other. This may look like putting together a “just because” gift basket full of goodies, offering to watch your friend’s children so she can get a few things done, or taking her out at one of your favorite places. It also may look like to sending a handwritten letter full of encouragement or sending a text with a Scripture verse or uplifting quote that has blessed you.
Pray for each other. Be vulnerable and ask for prayer. This doesn’t have to be in person, you can pray over the phone or even through text. My favorite prayer times with friends have been on prayer walks or simply in the middle of daily life in our homes.
Open your home for a time of intentional encouragement and sweet fellowship. Light some candles, have soft music in the background, and have everyone bring a favorite delicacy along with their favorite tea cup or coffee mug. Pick a few verses or a biblical concept and have your own “treasure hunt.” At the end, share prayer requests and pray together.
Don’t just seek out and cultivate friendships with women your age — sow time and friendship into the garden of your soul with women who are in different seasons of life than you are. There is so much wisdom to glean from women who are older and wiser than you and the same is to be said about young women who can bring fresh and vibrant beauty to your soul. Sow into their lives and you will reap a bounty of beauty.
Look for opportunities to celebrate together. Rejoicing in the seasons, delighting in life together, seeking Christ together — in your "everyday ordinary" Christ is shining forth just waiting to be found. We can delight together as we see the fingerprints of the Almighty around us. Shifting each other’s gaze to Christ, our countenances can’t help but be radiant as we are look to Him together.
Friendship is the sweet, Heaven-sent gift and ability to have different perspectives and strengths that are forged together as we travel along this journey of life and faith. Through the ebb and flow of life we are learning together, growing together, and upholding each other. We have the joy and honor to stand alongside and remind each other of His promises, and pray for each other throughout our days. May our hearts deeply desire and cultivate this sisterhood.
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Lauren is the happy wife of her husband, Elijah, and a momma to two precious darlings, Chloe (4) and Elliot (2). Living her lifelong dream as a stay-at-home mom, Lauren resides in charming Windsor, Colorado and, together with her husband, is passionate about extending the light and truth of Christ to others. The Robertson home is one of beautiful simplicity, gracious warmth, and sincere love — all of which are defining characteristics of Lauren’s heart and life that you’ll encounter in the encouragement she shares here upon the pages of this magazine.
Brooke is the adoring wife of six years to her husband, Josh, and a mother to two precious sons, Josiah (4) and David (2). Her passion as a wife, mother, and homemaker is to weave a tapestry of grace that points to Christ in every fiber of their daily lives. In addition to being a stay-at-home mom, she and her husband own a photography business together, Living Reflection Photography, where they seek to capture God-given legacies as they reflect the Master Artist in every frame.