Hello ladies, today I want to talk with you about the power of friendship:
Remember when you were a kid in your neighborhood or when you attended school for the first time and you decided to make friends with some nice kids who smiled at you or seemed friendly? Or were you the kind of kid who always had friends and you never seemed to know how you found them or dedicated yourself to have fun with them? Making friends, for some of us, was quite easy when we were kids. It often gets a lot more complicated when we are adults because our critical nature, sometimes filters out a lot of people from even making it to our friend finalist list.
But when we were children, we enjoyed our friends. Do you remember the adventures you got into with your friends? Did someone encourage you to steal fruit from a neighbors tree or grapevine? Did you used to play “house” together with your dolls or kick around a soccer ball? Did you spend time at the beach or play games with your neighbor? Or did the two of you hide from your little brother or sister who wanted to tag along on your adventures?
This Sunday, Sra. Sarah Catarino (at Riverside International Church in Cascais, Portugal) gave us a beautiful sermon about the blessings of friendship. She used the friendship of Jonathan and King David as an example. She also touched on why it is important for us to have friends — real friends —in our life. This week I also want to share a message with you reminding us all about our friends and how we need to stay connected with them — even in the midst of this pandemic.
While many of us have been staying at home during quarantine, some of us may be distraught about not being able to meet with and talk to our friends in person. Others may be just fine being alone and may have even pushed away some friends so that they can pursue solo pursuits or spend time with family. But I am reaching out to you this week, asking you to think about your friends, those whom you miss and did not talk to for a while. There is a blessing in friendship and it is not just that you get to gossip and laugh with friends— you can also share your faith, your disappointments and your love.
So, if you have a friend that you have not talked to for a last few months, give them a call. They probably need to hear from you just as much as you need to reach out to them. Friendships are important — and it is not just me who says this — but God. In Proverbs 27:9, it is written that “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” And in 1 Thessalonians 11, we are told to encourage each other and build each other up. It is important to do this, because no one really knows what the other is going through unless they tell you. Sometimes, we keep things to ourselves that we should share with the people who care about us. And sometimes, the things we keep are struggles with fear, depression and anxiety. Your kind words and care could literally pick up their spirits and help turn their focus back on God.
I have a dear friend who I had not talked to in a while. We have maintained our friendship of 20 years — no matter where we are in the world. Whenever I talk with her, it is as if time never passed. We start right where we left off, talking about our children, university school work, married lives, families and personal pursuits. But when I recently talked with her, I found out that she had gotten sick, really sick with a virus that should not be named and she was really ill for the entire month of June. I did not know. I did not know, in part, because I had not been in contact with her. I had assumed that all was well. But I was wrong.
Luckily, my friend is recovering. But she is not 100 percent. Her hair is falling out and she seemed to anticipate some stress in her life trying to finish up her graduate degree and navigate her two young children’s schooling. I feel a great sadness because I missed being there for her. But I have today and today I can reach out to her and continue to check in on how she is doing and to listen and encourage her. We may have friends who are not impacted by illness, but by fear, depression and uncertainty. If that is you, call a friend and talk to them. If you don’t have a friend that you can call, then write me. I will write you back and pray for you. I don’t want any of you to feel alone, afraid and forgotten during this time.
It is important that we reach out to the people we care about because they are important and could use the encouragement and the people we care about should know they are important to us and that we are rooting for them in life and in faith.
So I challenge you ladies, to send an email to three friends or acquaintances you have not talked to in the last three months to check in with them and to offer them a few words of encouragement and love and a reminder that God loves them and that you care about them. Your note would be like honey for their soul.
Have a wonderfully blessed week.