“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)
I just finished reading a great book at the library, Hoodwinked, by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk. If you are a parent and could use some encouragement in this area, I would highly recommend it. It’s packed full of Biblical truths and personal stories, blended together to give meat to chew on during the day as you debunk the myths of motherhood together.
Despite my praise above, this post isn’t specifically about the book itself. It’s about what I realized when reading the last chapter. Karen was talking about how she had a group of women that had forged a friendship together over the past decade or more who met together regularly. While they all shared similar values and morals and all were choosing intentionally to raise their children in Christ following homes, they were just as different in other areas. And that is what I want to talk about today.
God has blessed me with many different types of friendships over the years. As I’ve gotten older, I realize what a huge blessing it is to have amazing friendships. And they are all different. I have deep friendships with women who are older than me and are ahead of me in their journey, giving me timely advice and praying for me and my family as I face challenges they have already walked through. I have friendships with women who have chosen to remain childless and they pour into me a different set of blessings – giving me perspective that I can’t see being in the thick of parenting across the different stages of childhood. I have other friends who have children younger than me that God has brought into my life to pour into them, encouraging, praying for and cheering them on during some of life’s more difficult movements.
More importantly, though, God has showed me through all these friendships and reiterated through the book above the importance of love. We all share the same goal: To raise children who love God and to help them find and fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. The same goal we all have for our marriages and ourselves personally: To love God and to fulfill His purpose for our lives. Thank goodness God made us all different, with different journeys and different purposes to fulfill! Our job isn’t to dissect our friends’ choices or journeys but to walk alongside them – rejoicing in their accomplishments, cheering them up in their disappointments and encouraging them when they feel like giving up because the journey has become too difficult.
So, today, I just want to say thank you to all the friendships God has lavished on me throughout my lifetime. I’m thankful for the women who have encouraged, supported, and joined me on my journey. Some I’ve had the privilege of reconnecting with, some were only around for a season but were such a blessing during that season, some have been with me through many long years and some I’m just now God has connected me with.
Maybe you are reading this, thankful for the many friendships God has graciously given to you. Maybe you don’t feel you have any godly friendships to call your own. I would encourage you to ask God for some – He loves us all the same and will gladly answer that heartfelt prayer to fill your life with people who will encourage you in your relationship with Him and also to build you up in your marriage and while raising children, or the specific path God has placed you on instead.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016