Posted on October 15, 2019
Being a kid can feel pretty helpless, but learning how to unlock a conversation with God is like discovering a secret superpower. Suddenly, the people placed around them will mean a little bit more. And turning them outward by teaching them to pray for their friends allows them to experience God’s love.
We can teach our children to pray for their friends using the acronym LET’S PRAY.
L – Love
“A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17)
When children understand how much God loves them, their light begins to shine into the cracks of other’s lives. And the foundation of a good friendship is love. When children are just learning to pray for their friends, keep it simple:
“Dear God, thank you for my friends. Help me to love them like You love me. Amen.”
E – Encourage Forgiveness
“Mom,” my daughter cried from the backseat, “I had a really hard day at school…” and off she went about how someone made her get in trouble and someone else was snotty to her and then someone who was “supposed” to be a friend didn’t really act like one that day.
Friendship can be an emotional battlefield, and learning to forgive quickly is vital. Injustice is a part of existence, and it’s not a new trend or a surprise to God. “In this world you will have trouble,” He promised, but He sent Jesus to show us the perfect example of how to react:
Posted on September 23, 2019
“Back Roads to Belonging,” by Kristen Strong, subtitled, “Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People,” is a wonderfully written work about fellowship, friendship and actively engaging in community. “Don’t berate yourself for not belonging where God never intended for you to belong,” writes Strong. In nineteen chapters broken up into three parts, “Wandering,” “Finding,” and “Inviting,” Strong encourages us to engage in Christ’s idea of community.
“If we’re the new coming to the neighborhood, the newest congregant at our church, or just can’t figure out how to connect with our coworkers,” Strong writes, “we can absolutely be thankful for the goodness of God yet still struggle with our sense of belonging in those places.”
This book was timely for me, as I’m walking through a season of newness in my life. Change challenges us to grow past comfortable faith. The advice and encouragement, and the way Strong ties the truth of Scripture into the pages she writes, will help readers see connecting with community in a fresh and inspiring way. It’s a quick read that grabs attention from the get-go.
Throughout the book Strong tells “traveling companion” stories and shares “belong blessings,” in order to illustrate and cement the overarching message of the book …you belong.
“When we speak the truth of what God says about us and has done for us, whether before others or before our own tired selves, we will not be put to shame.” Kristen Strong, “Back Roads to Belonging.”
I highly recommend this book. Strong is encouraging and relatable, rooted in Scriptural truth and an excellent storyteller.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
Posted on August 22, 2019
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
Friendship is often seen at face value, much like this popular verse. On the surface, a friendship may look peaceful and perfect, promised to go the way it’s supposed to go, without a hitch or hiccup. We need our tribe to support us. This is often where we get it wrong. Friendships falter when we loft them above our relationship with Christ.
The entirety of Proverbs 17:17 reads, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” The definition of adversity is littered with words like “unfavorable, misfortune, clarity, distress, and unfortunate.” Adversity is a circumstance or condition. Proverbs 17:17 is speaking of a life altering, life changing, season. We are promised to many marking moments on earth, and not every friend will be active in every season. When we live life scrambling to find friends to mend the broken and shifting pieces, we fall out of alignment, and it can damage our friendships. Here are four signs of unhealthy friendship.
Posted on May 30, 2019
It’s been two decades since my high school friend passed on to heaven, and I still can’t bring myself to go to a class reunion. Knowing she won’t be there solidifies the fact that lasting female friendships are hard to come by. God has a way of placing people to speak truth into our lives. No one could expose my terrible choices, applaud the successes I was too timid to share, or shake up a Sunday service by clapping and dancing in worship with me like my friend did. For a chronically insecure girl like me, her loss was devastating.
Through the long road of healing, God has graciously bloomed flowers of remarkable friendship. Each God-placed friend has extended the love of Jesus to me when I have needed it most, sometimes unknown even to them. When we seek God with all of our hearts, He blesses us with people to share life with. Here are three friendships that came into my life when I least expected to meet a lifelong friend.
1. The Friend that Tracked Me Down
“Orpah kissed her mother-in law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her” (Ruth 1:14).
She had invited me to FCA, which ignited my faith and led me to officially surrender my life to Christ. Her life reflects her solid faith. Even amid the pressures of college life that all but took me out, she remained steady in her faith. When I became a ghost, she never stopped looking for me. Before social media was a thing, it was possible to disappear for a little bit. That’s exactly what I did as my life unraveled and I destroyed the shattered remnants of my first marriage. I started to pull back and disappear, ashamed and scared that God would never be able to use me, and my past friends would never forgive me. But this friend never gave up trying to find me. Jesus never gives up on us.
Posted on April 25, 2019
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
God’s intention of friendship is love. Friendship should be less about what we get out of it and more about how we can serve God through it. 1 Corinthians 13:13 reminds us that out of “faith, hope, and love… the greatest of these is love.”
Jesus reiterated the importance of love when he reminded His followers to love God first with all their heart and soul (Matthew 22:37) and then love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22:39)
These ten friendships put God first and I believe when we model ours after these examples, we will experience friendship the way God intended us to.