Friendship has been a touchy subject for me lately. It’s been the source of joy, bouts of tears, and the topic of many prayers. When I saw that it was the topic of Rachel Olsen’s devotional carnival this week, I initially planned to sit this one out.
Then I went to the park.
But first, let me explain why I was going to pass on this topic. I do have two best friends…my husband and my mom. I am married to my best friend, and I’m thankful that in addition to our romance, my husband and I genuinely enjoy being together. After my husband, my mom is the other person in my life that I am closest to, and she is the one I do the “girl things” with, such as shopping, going to lunch, etc. But in regard to having a few girlfriends to hang out with, for girls’ nights and so forth, my life is a something akin to a desert. And for the first few years of my marriage, I wasn’t aware I was wandering and thirsty.
I am the type of girl that has always had one or two close friends, and was blessed with such friendships from grade school through graduate school. Of course, time apart caused some of those relationships to drift away, while physical distance is a hindrance for some of the others, such as the ladies I grew to love in college and grad school. When I have the opportunity to touch base with those ladies now, I am struck not only by my thirst for deep, real friendship, but by my hunger for a friendship that has Christ at its core. My friendships my last few years of school had that, but as I mentioned, those friendships are hindered by distance and busy lives. It wasn’t until I had children that I began to really and regularly long for those close friendships again.
So I find myself crying out, and sometimes even whining to God, pleading with Him to send me some ladies (just one would be great!) who love Jesus, live nearby, and can be a close part of my life on a regular basis. After all, it says in Ecclesiastes 4:10, If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” I certainly have my share of falls, even more so now that I am a mom (teething baby and mouthy two-year-old, anyone?). I need a friend who can help me develop and hold on to who I am outside of the roles of wife, mommy, and daughter, someone I can spend time with to encourage and be encouraged, to grow in my faith with, to just have fun with! And the ladies that are in the area that meet this criteria are either secure in and satisfied with their own small group of girlfriends, are often unavailable due to work schedules, or live so far across town and are such busy moms themselves that the time factor again becomes an issue.
So where does the park come into all this? Well, today, the park threw a big, fat damper on my pity party. I was blessed with the opportunity to meet friends at the park thanks to the fact that they were on vacation from work, and while there, an old friend of mine showed up to meet someone else I knew from high school and am now connected to on Facebook. And I guess when it rains, it pours, because I met another mom who appears thirsty for friendship like I am, and who would like to start meeting each Wednesday at the park.
Granted, it was just one day of interactions and I still struggle with feeling lonely, but God used it as a reminder for me. While my desire for a friend is God-given, my focus on it and the effect it was sometimes having on me was not glorifying to God. And if I’m being honest, I was wearing my pity party hat, and not only was the pity party-hat unflattering, it was falling down in front of my eyes, thereby preventing me from seeing the opportunities for friendship around me.
So I returned home, put the kids down for a nap, and joined in on the carnival fun. And I’m thankful that God not only designs us for friendship, but is faithful to provide those friendships in His perfect timing. He reminded me of that today.