A Friend Indeed

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” – Eccl. 4:9-10

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There seems to be a disturbing trend happening among young moms these days – at least it seems like it to me!  I have read in several social media groups and seen it in my own circles.  Somehow, we have lost the desire or maybe the compassion to “show ourselves friendly.”

I know that we are busy.  I have three small kids of my own; I homeschool; I freelance; I watch other people’s children; I am in charge of a new ministry at church; I have been dealing with healing in my marriage; I cook; I clean; I have health issues.  The list could go on and on and on!  I am sure that I would get a laundry list of tasks from any mom – whether she works full-time or stays at home with her kids.  The fact is that we moms have been given the responsibility of caring for our families, and that must always come first!

But I am concerned that there are women who are abandoning friendships because they just don’t have time.  I have heard some say that they just can’t give any more of themselves to others because they give all they have to their kids.  And others say they feel selfish taking time to spend with their friends because their children need them.  But I’m going to throw something out there to my fellow moms that may strike a nerve – are you using your children as an excuse to disobey God’s Word?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 emphasizes how important it is for a person to have friends!  How can we guard ourselves against temptation if we don’t have someone there to help us carry our load?  How awful to fall down and not have someone there to help you up!

Jesus Himself said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:12-15).

It seems that Jesus thought having friends and being a friend to others was pretty important!  He doesn’t say “lay down his life for his kids” or “lay down his life for his spouse” (although I am not saying to neglect these relationships, of course!).  So why are we excusing ourselves from the task?

I know the trend in my circle and those around me is to take a meal to someone in need of encouragement, having a baby, suffering a loss, or some other life event.  I think we ladies here in the South can say we have the food ministry covered pretty well!  And I have been so thankful for how it has blessed my family and how I have been able to participate in this way as well.  So please don’t misunderstand me when I say this!

But I think that sometimes we are so busy that we drop off a meal, not realizing that what the person is really hoping for is someone to spend a little time with them.  What if instead of just taking someone a meal, we invite them out for coffee?  What if we committed to meeting another mom even just once a month to encourage one another?  What if we planned a day off from our regular busyness to make time to sit on the couch and chat with a friend?  Are these ideas really that preposterous?

“Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.”  How can we possibly follow this command in Romans 12:10 when we aren’t taking the time to invest in each other’s lives?

Dictionary.com defines “invest” as “to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve something.”  Christ calls us to love one another – the ultimate achievement in any relationship!  But how can we do that on Facebook or Instagram?

Motherhood can be lonely.  We spend all day with thankless, messy, crazy, bickering, delightful, loveable, creative, exhausting sinners.  They need us every moment.  They drain us of our energy and fill our hearts with unfathomable love.  They make our emotions go up and down, so it’s no wonder that at the end of the day we are exhausted and feel as though we have nothing left to give!

But isn’t being a friend about sacrificing ourselves for another?  Isn’t that what Jesus did?

I think that God has put in us the need and desire for relationships on all levels.  We need to mother our children; we need to be the helpmeet to our spouse; and we need to have friends.

Maybe it’s easier to neglect this relationship because it’s the one relationship that isn’t staring at us in the face day-in and day-out, tugging on our shirt sleeves, begging for our attention.  We may not even realize we have been neglecting our friends or that our own encouragement tank is running low!  But we need to pay more attention!  Friends can revive us, support us, and encourage us to start over again tomorrow and to keep on mothering our children and loving our husbands.

So what do you say?  Will you step out and stretch forth your hand of friendship?  We need each other!

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival” – C.S. Lewis

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