0 In Feast/ Friendship/ Series

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

I spent last week with a handful of parents and teachers, plus sixty high school juniors. Our entire crew flew to sunny Florida for a school trip to Disney. Listen, I fully recognize that this is not your run-of-the mill field trip. It is an utter privilege for these teen babies to participate in a week with their buddies at the happiest place on earth and count it as part of their high school experience. I will pray for their youthful souls to ooze gratitude by making all the best decisions for the rest of their privileged high school lives.

If you can’t take a selfie on Big Thunder Mountain then what is even the point.

I’m not absolutely sure how I landed this parent chaperone gig but I’m just going with the flow here. Alongside my chaperone duties, I had opportunities during the week to connect with fellow parents also living in the trenches of raising teenagers… and ride rollercoasters, see parades, eat junk food, and hug Disney characters. It was hard, but I think we have all recovered by now. Besides the difficult Disney duties, I was able to deepen existing friendships and grow brand new ones right from the long wait times of the Magic Kingdom and late night de-briefs of the day. 

We bonded over everything from Mickey ice cream bars and favorite fashion bloggers (and the fact that they are all younger, skinnier, and cuter than we are) to struggles connecting with our kids and the hard lessons we’ve learned as women. I was reminded afresh of the importance of genuine friendship. I CANNOT EVEN imagine walking through life without friendship. Now I don’t mean JUST having friends. But something beyond. 

Thank you Disney photographers for making us magical.

Friendship was God’s idea after all. He created a deep longing in each of us to connect with one another through friendship. God’s design for us always includes purpose. God uses the very relationships he’s created to help us see more clearly significance in our own lives and to bring impact to others and glory to Himself.  

But friendship is not always magical.

You may currently be in a season of friendship transition… from high school to college, single to married, no kids to newborns, full house to empty nester, or a million other changes… all of which can cause a shift in our sphere of friends. You may be enjoying the fruit of genuine friendship, or maybe you are in a desert season where loneliness is the only friend showing up.

I want to have some ongoing conversations on here about friendship. I want us to learn from one another and tackle the important areas of friendship. I want to first set the stage by looking at God’s purpose for friendship. Then, in a continuing series, discuss how we can be a genuine life-giving person to our friends. How to connect and cultivate friendship. Characteristics of a godly friendship. And become fully aware of the enemies of friendship… ones that can suck the very life from God’s good intentions.

We have a lot to talk about!

First, in order to cultivate deep meaningful relationships with the women God brings into our lives, let’s start with three of God’s purposes for friendship.

So, what IS God’s purpose for friendship among his people?

That the world may know

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35

God intended for us to be known by the love we show others. By the way in which we care for and give ourselves to those He created. God has graciously chosen to use you to show His love to the world by the way in which we love others.

Pro Tip: wear a hoodie when riding splash mountain to avoid the friztastic hairdo look.

12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.

I John 4:12

After all, He is the one who first loved us in spite of our shortcomings, sin, and neglect of Him. He has demonstrated how to extend grace and offer forgiveness even when it is unmerited. 

Loving our friends well is often the conduit in which God woos, heals, edifies, and inspires you, me, and others.

That we may become like Him

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:6-8

Friendship is refining. It can be the best of times and the hardest of times. It can be like waiting in a two hour amusement park line with too many people crowding into your personal space, all the while sweating off every stitch of self care you applied that day. Genuine friendship requires patience, endurance, and a love beyond our own capacity. God uses our imperfections and yes, sometimes even sinful acts toward one another, to refine us and create Christ-like character within us. 

Oh yeah, there were students on this trip. This one is my middle man child and my favorite High School Junior!

That we may build one another up

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25

Because God is good and knows we are better not left alone, He gave us this gift. The gift of doing life together.

Friendship found in unexpected places is oftentimes the best. Friendship doesn’t always mean forming a bond with someone else just like us and then basking in our sameness. Many times it’s our differences that bring unity. Linking our lives with those who challenge us, walk a different path than us, and bring something different to the table, yet love us amidst our diversity, is special.

Lovelies, I am coming from a place of hard lessons learned from my own shortcomings and those of others. But I believe the beauty of messy genuine friendship leaves us changed for the better and a part of something greater than ourselves. Come journey with me…


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