Not sure about you, but from the time my children were in the nursery at church, I was oooing and ahhhing over and championing every little friendship encounter they had. I was noting how cute they were together and how nice they played. I was forever setting up play dates and encouraging them at the park, church events, and preschool to make new friends. And, I still do it! I arrange times for them to get together with friends and cheer on any mutually positive relationships they form with other kids.
But what about me? I don’t say this in a whiny manner like I resent my kids friendships and I don’t have any. But, somewhere along the way, I forgot that I was a woman who needed friends and just became mom and wife. These relationships are important and I cherish them second to my relationship with Jesus. My husband, Matt, is my best friend and partner in life. My kids are my joy and I consider them beautiful gifts from the Lord. But, friendships are important too.
I recently took a poll on my instagram account about how moms feel about making new friendships. Here are the results:
The results show while we desire to make new friends but some of us feel stuck on how to do it and are not convinced of the value in putting our time into new friendships. So, I would like to submit to you some reasons that I have found why mom friendships are important and how we can work at making them. This isn’t a sure fire formula or anything profound but its something that I am working on improving at and hopefully can be of value to other Moms.
1. Everyone likes to be Chosen!
I recently listened to a sermon by Timothy Keller on Friendship and one thing stood out to me. He said, “A friend is someone who has chosen you.”
See we are born into our families and we birth the sweet little new people that God gives us. We are thrown into life whether it be neighbors, school mates, or coworkers, with whoever is around us. Other than our spouse (who I believe should be our very best friend), we don’t get to pick and choose. But, friendship, that is different, we don’t have to be friends with anyone if we don’t want. This is what makes it such special bond. Doesn’t it feel nice to know that of all the people in the world, someone chose to call you friend? That they like to hang out and laugh with and share life’s ups and downs with you.
What if we flip this around? Who can we chose that might need to feel this kind of love? I think sometimes unawares, we can be a bit selfish about friendships and assume that others should be pursuing and inviting us but maybe we need to make the first move and let ourselves be a little vulnerable. Christ calls us to “love one another with brotherly affection and outdo one another in showing honor” in Romans 12:10. Years ago, I did the “Uninvited” bible study by Lysa Terkeurst and she mentioned something that has stuck with me. I can’t quote word for word but the gist was that if we walk into a social gathering worrying about who will notice or cater to us, then we’ve got our mission all wrong. We should be on the lookout for who we can bless and encourage and become a friend.
2. True Friendship Is Built On Uniqueness.
C.S. Lewis, in his book, “The Four Loves”, says, “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
No one wants to be friends with someone that they have nothing in common with or with whom they are always trying to compromise. Not that you don’t have to compromise and I’m definitely not suggesting that you should find someone exactly like you. But, to Lewis’ point, when you find a friend that you have something really unique in common with, there is unmistakably a quick kinship.
When I moved from Louisiana to Oklahoma in fifth grade to a small school, I was convinced that everyone already had friends and I would always be left out. Turns out the girl who would be my bestie all the way through high school had just moved in from New Zealand.
I find the situation no different as an adult. We moved to Canada 7 years ago and I found two friends pretty quick. The first, a neighbor across the street, had been a missionary to Japan. So, really quick like, we had the fact that we were the only believers on the block, missionary work, and having moved our families to another country in common. Another friend was also an American like myself and had two girls that were the same age as my youngest two.
If you find yourself looking for new friendships, look closely at those you already have the most in common. In order to do this, you have to ask good questions. I read a statistic that said that people in North America talk about themselves 60% of the conversation and it jumps to 80% when we are talking social media. WOW! In a world where everyone is singing with Toby Keith, “I wanna talk about me”, let’s be the women that say, I want to know more about you and your family and your life and your hopes and your interests.
We are reminded in Philippians 2:3-4, with our humble, serving Savior as the example that we are “to put others above ourselves and not only to look out for our own interests but also the interests of others.” We might just find we have more in common that we think, and we might just make a friend!
3. Friends come at just the right time!
Remember the friends I told you I made right after moving to Canada, well, the first friend I still keep in contact with often. We lived on a street with a huge Christmas light display and so even though we’ve moved since then, we go back every year to see the lights together and stop at their house for hot drinks and treats. The other friend, unfortunately, I lost contact with but our bond in that first year of my move was very special. I think that we sometime look at every friendship like it has to be that one that lasts forever.
People have different seasons in life. They move. They go back to work. They have babies. They go through tragedy, sickness, or depression. It’s ok to have friends that are only for a season. Please don’t misunderstand, it’s not ok to abandon friends in times of need or to assume some one pulling away due to problems gives us an excuse to lay low. However, some friends pass through our lives in different places and situations that are better equipped to be what we need at the moment. And, the same for us, sometimes we know that God has made us some one’s friend for such a time as this.
I went through a difficult time of post-partum depression after my third child. I had moved about 30 minutes from where we’d been settled and to a new church. While it wasn’t far, it was not easy with new baby and two toddlers and our current schedule to get back to see old friends often. So, I needed a new one but in my depression, I was not about to reach out. This is when God provided two women in my life who helped me spiritually and emotionally to be able to better handle the situation I was facing. They were true friends to me during a time that I need it most.
Fast forward to shortly after moving to Canada, I met a young woman in my neighborhood who was also suffering post-partum depression and it was also after her third child. God allowed me to be for her what those women had been for me.
What situations or trials has the Lord provided a faithful friend for us in the past? We can begin praying that the Lord who comforted us will allow us to also be a comfort to some other sweet lady facing this same situation. Jesus walked as a man so He could identify with our suffering and He sits at the right hand throne of God making intercession for us. If we can in some small way emulate our Savior by using our sufferings to identify and be a friend for others, we will “so fulfill the law of Christ by bearing one another’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2)
4. If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!
Honestly, having another woman to share comradery with over how much laundry we have to fold, how messy our kids can be, and how much sleep we get can really be fun!! And, having another woman who prays for you, encourages you in scripture, and pushes you to be more in Christ is priceless!
Dr. James Dobson says that having a group of women to help fill our emotional needs outside of the home is “vital to women’s mental health.” And not just our emotional health is proven to be helped by friendships; research proves that having friends relieves stress by releasing oxytocin and seratonin.
Seriously, as moms, we really set the tone for our home. Our words have so much power. We can speak life and encouragement or words of defeat and anger. We can be rested, joyful, hopeful, and fulfilled or we can walk around tired, stressed, and empty.
I’m not saying that friendship turns this ship around, it doesn’t. Only a true, life giving relationship with Jesus can keep those things constant in our lives. But, Jesus did life with 12 men he called friends. He encourages us to love, care for, encourage, and spend time with one another. If we want to live a life like our Savior, we have to show great love by laying down our life for our friends. We have to be the best we can be in Christ and let that spill out into other relationships.
I went back and forth on adding a fifth to this list. I wanted to say that “we get to be like Jesus.” Then, I looked back and realized that it was implied at the end of each and every point. So, just in case I thought I made it clear but didn’t, when we seek to be a friend and build relationships with others based on genuine love and care, we are allowing them to see Jesus in us.
And, just in case you are still worried about putting yourself out there, remember that Jesus befriended Judas knowing full well that he would betray Him in the end. We don’t always know how every friendship will turn out but we can guarantee that when we seek to be the friend that God has called us to be, He will bless us for it.
Scriptures to Encourage You in Friendship
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13
He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.Proverbs @7:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.Proverbs 17:17
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.1Thessalonians 5:11
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.Proverbs 27:9
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.Proverbs 27:6
What have been your experiences as making new friends as a mom? Do you find it easy? Do you just buddy up with the moms of your kids friends? Do you have a tough time connecting with other women? I’d love to hear your feedback. Also, I’d love to pray for you if you need a friend. Leave a comment below.
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