More than thirty years ago, I met a young, red-faced girl in tears from the trauma she had just experienced. My heart immediately went out to her as I held her close and wiped her tears. I wasn’t so sure I knew enough to help her through the tough times, but I so looked forward to the good ones! She didn’t know it yet, but I was certain we would eventually become friends.
Many times in our relationship, I would recall the verse in Proverbs that says, “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” I knew in our case that iron on iron sometimes meant sparks flying in all directions. Occasionally, we would both get fit-pitching, foot-stomping mad, or as a friend of ours likes to say, we’d get madder than mashed cats. Since neither of us could stand being angry for very long, one of us would eventually cave, and all would be right with the world again.
I felt it was my job to tell her what to do, and then she’d give me a crash course in human relations. She taught me endurance, humility, patience, and kindness. But, most of all, she showed me how to have a rip-roaring good time. After many years, we grew closer, but it wasn’t time for real friendship quite yet.
Over the years, we laughed and cried. Worked and played. Ran and rested. Praised and mourned. Learned and taught. We’ve shared books, coffee, food, and clothes (some of us sharing more clothes than others). We’ve cooked and cleaned for each other, spent hours on the phone, visited without calling first, and we’ve even seen each other in our pajamas or less. (I know, too much information.)
Through it all, God has blessed me with a daughter who delights in Him and places her whole life in His hands. She trusts Him completely and has been blessed with the desires of her heart. I am proud to call her my friend.
I believe the point of friendship with our children commences when they meet their own red-faced, teary-eyed little ones after the trauma of birth or adoption. I know each of her little ones’ arrivals helped remind me of my mama-love ignited by God the day she was born.
Over the past few weeks, you and I have thought a great deal about the amount of time friendships require, but like my grandmother always said, “You make time for the things that mean the most to you.” I know of no one busier than my daughter Jennifer. No, not one! The way she cares for her husband, house, and friends while home-schooling her four children explodes brain shrapnel out of both of my ears. More than anyone I know, she has the right to claim her busyness as a reason for not staying connected, but she refuses.
Whether you are a parent or not, there are people right under your nose who could benefit, and benefit you, by sharing some time together. I try my best to be there for Jennifer not only because I love her, but also because I know she lovingly does the same for me.
Like all friendships, ours isn’t perfect. It can get messy at times. However, prioritizing friendship helps us develop hearts that more closely resemble the heart of Jesus. He took friendship seriously enough to lay down His life for His friends.
The closer you are to Him, the better all of your relationships become. He’s been there all along just waiting to hear from you. If you are looking for a friend, look to Jesus while it is still called today. And remember, time is short.
“I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (John 15:15b-16a)