Monday, January 27, 2014

Friendship: it's a choice ~ MOMSNext 1/27/14 Meeting Devotion

Between the dog barking, the kids arguing or running around the house crazy, and my hubby asking everyone to "Be Quiet" from his basement office, my quiet time, that I had envisioned this afternoon to write tonight's MOMSNext devotion, is quickly disappearing. So what does a desperate Mom, wanna be writer, do to resolve the situation? She is logical and locks herself in her room with earphones on and lets the words flow. So here it goes...my attempt to write the devotion within 30 minutes because that is the amount of time I have before I turn into a taxi cab driver for two out of my three kiddo's.

As I typed my introductory paragraph I thought about the irony of what I want to communicate next. My time is so limited to just sit and be still, why would I want to add more responsibilities into my life, like friendship?

The subject of friendship is a vast one. What I want to make you think about tonight is how you can open your heart and allow more friends in your life.

I recently had the opportunity to allow an acquaintance, who I thought had become a friend, introduce me to two of her friends. I opened my heart and invited them into my life, by being friendly, making small talk, re-arranging my time to spend time with them and then, I got their message loud and clear. They did not want anymore friends. They just needed me there for another reason, particularly to help pay the hotel bill.

I won't lie. It stung a little. I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong? Could I have said something differently? I thought we were all getting along. I knew we came from different places but that didn't stop me from reaching out. I can honestly say that I never passed judgment. I kept an open mind and tried to put myself in their shoes. As soon as I understood, that they wanted to carry on without me, I did what I'm really good at...I made new friends! I also met up with one of my high school besties. I was far away from home and wanted to enjoy my adventure.

I think one of the hardest lesson's one can learn in life is that "you cannot please everyone and you can't make everyone like you." Well said, from the very likeable Katie Couric.

But this shouldn't stop you from reaching out to welcoming new friendships into your life. Friendships take time to grow and nurture. So if you already have your circle of friends, why expend the energy to allow someone new in?

Last Friday night, we had our next door neighbors over for dinner. They moved in almost a year ago. It was a long overdue gathering and none of us wanted to say goodbye which resulted in the kids getting to bed late. But it was so worth it! These are neighbors that I prayed to have enter our life, four days prior to them putting a contract on the house next door. It was a simple prayer that went something like this:

"Dear God, please let a nice family move in next door. A family that we will be friends with, and please let them have young kids so that our kids can play together. Amen."

This was a house that our future neighbors did not know we were going to be their next door neighbors. The irony is that we already knew each other before they moved in next door. We were merely acquaintances, turned neighbors, turned friends. I think God purposely brought us together.

When you have friends that enter your life by chance, know in your heart that it is not a random occurrence. Every person you meet is for a reason. I'm thankful for this friendship that will continue to grow over the years with our neighbors and with our children. 

Romans 12:10 "Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another by showing honor."

Being a military brat, I have never met a stranger! I moved quite often and made new friends wherever I went. And I made a point to keep in touch with the friends I left behind. Friendship has been an essential part of my life. I cannot think back on a period of my life when I was not surrounded by good friends, enjoying life, making memories and supporting each other when life threw a curveball. My friends are my family. My deep rooted friendships stem from me being able to connect with others. I appreciate goodness when I see it and I embrace friendships when the door is opened.

As we get older and become more set in our ways, I can see how easy it is to close the door and make the choice to not embark on the journey of making a new friend. Yes, having many friendships in your life can be exhausting but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences. I love to learn from others. I am open to new ways of thinking. The glass is always half full and why not fill it up with friendship?

Tonight, at some point, I invite you to reach out to someone who you have not had a conversation with. Ask them key questions that will give you insight into who they are and their life. Be creative. Be sincere. Don't start with "How are you?" Find a way to connect with someone new. This may be the spark to the beginning of a new friendship!

C.S. Lewis wrote "Is it any pleasure on earth as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?"

Tonight, I am asking you "Is it any pleasure on earth as a circle of Christian friends surrounding you at a MOMSNext meeting?"

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
 
Every person you meet is an opportunity for friendship. What path will you choose?
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