If you knew me well or even just a little bit; you would know the value I place on my women's friendships and cultivating relationships that grow stronger in the Lord and closer to each other through women's times of fellowship and prayer. I never set a goal to do this...but it was necessitated through my own loneliness after moving many times while being a stay at home mom and finding church ministries somewhat lacking in providing an atmosphere where true friendship can flourish.
Over the past five to seven years...I began looking for concrete ways to invest in the women God brought into my life and find deeper levels of living our lives transparent and sharing authentically our real needs, hopes, and dreams.
I believe the process of developing friendships is so important...and for me it has been a lifeline through many difficulties and life stages I have gone through. The women in my groups have echoed this same sentiment back to me...how important our times are together. I could possibly write a short essay on the who's, why's, where's and how if you are looking to develop something more meaningful than the light chatter that occurs when women gather...but I think the most important first is to let God choose your friends. He will and He has for me. The saying goes that we choose our friends...but in my life that hasn't been the case. I ask God to help me have eyes to see the woman who needs a listening ear, a friendly smile, an invitation for coffee...and I take a deep breath, overcome my own timidity,and reach out to them. God has always been faithful to guide me.
And then...after reaching out to one or two...the circle broadens to 3 or 4 and God begins to weave hearts and stories and prayers together and you have a bond of Sisters in Christ! I began inviting a group of 4 women over for Bible study in my home over six years ago, then prayer, sometimes a spontaneous brunch or coffee...and over time it has turned into a Book Club with new members able to join. Our group changes depending on our current needs...but now, if one of us doesn't initiate within two weeks, someone else will. Our time is that important.
One of my favorite ways to spend times with a friend is over coffee at a local shop. We meet, I order the strongest Americano with lots of cream while my friends have Chai tea...and I may have a pastry too...and we just enjoy sharing...it may be our most recent vacation, the way God answered prayer, something exciting happening in our lives, a decision we need to make...but my heart just brims over with gratitude that I have my friends.
I've made wonderful friends over connecting through stamping also...and when I am able to meet a friend I've only known over the Internet...it is so heartwarming. I think friendship has to be one of God's greatest gifts.
I know that God is the one who can choose our friends because He alone knows our futures and who we need to walk this earthly walk with...and He is so faithful to provide others along the way that can call from ahead and encourage me on! He also uses us to encourage the young mothers on or the ones with the rebellious teenager, or ill parent.
And so often, when I've felt the Lord's nudging to befriend someone and pursue them as God would pursue us...I find that I am the one who is blessed in the end.
Whatever gifts you may have, stamping and card making, a favorite other hobby like knitting, cooking, baking, letter writing, or a vacation home getaway you can share with others...reach out and be generous to others with your time, talents, gifts, hospitality and cultivate friendships!
And let's not forget...God gave us a friend in Jesus. One who never leaves our side, who is always steadfast,who is there to pray to while reading and studying His word, the Bible. He loves us, is tender towards us as a Mom is with her own child. He is the greatest friend and the one from whom all other gifts flow!!
Thanks for your visit! Please don't forget to visit our main blog on Mustard Seed Faith Challenges and we hope you will join us for this bi-weekly challenge. Our challenge is based on God's faithfulness to us as believers based on the book of Hosea. This time we are to make a card celebrating friendship or other union like anniversary or wedding! I can't wait to see your entries on the blog at Mustard Seed Faith Challenges!