Friends Forever

Brother, sister and best friends.

Friendships come and friendships go. Even the best of friendships rarely last forever. Think back to your best friend from grade school. Are you still friends? A few people have stayed in contact with grade school friends, but many have lost touch with the friends from those younger years. Sometimes we may reconnect with old friends via facebook or other social networking sites. Still very few friendships last a lifetime. We grow up, we change, we move away, get married, change jobs, our interests change and we lose touch. Yet how sweet those friendships are for as long as they last.

Talking about friends, what about your friends? Who are they? How many long time friends do you have? How many new friends? I have found that I don’t have very many long time friends except for family and families are the best friends to have I think. Thanks to social networking however, I did recently rediscover a friend from long ago.  It was fun to reconnect! Whether someone is passing through your life briefly or sticking for the long haul, remember to thank God for them. God gives us friends so that we don’t have to do life alone. We need friends to cheer us on, to pray with us and encourage us. We need friends to help us in our walk with God and yes, to hold us accountable when we make a commitment or need to make a change.

All this talk about friends brings me to a friend that I am very thankful for. This friend is someone who is there for the long haul. He never leaves us not even when the going gets rough or when we mess up. He’s always there for us. He forgives us, gives us grace and strength for every day and He never stops loving us. He has good plans for us and yes, He’s my best friend forever. His name is Jesus. Other friends may be there for a season, but Jesus will always be with us. As the preschoolers at my church like to sing exuberantly, “Jesus is a good, good friend.” Do you need a forever friend? Why not ask him to be your friend? I know he’ll say, “Yes!” if you ask. 

PS – Don’t forget to thank God for your friends this week and especially for Jesus. Oh and one last thing, if you want to make friends then be one – that’s good advice for kids and grown-ups! Guess I better go now and work on being a good friend. Bye! 

PARENT PRAYER:
Jesus,
I’m so glad that you are a good, good friend. You forgive and heal and do miracles in our lives when we come to you. Thank you too, Lord, for giving me friends here on earth. Thank you for friends who stick with me through good times and bad. Thank you for friends who encourage me and walk with me. I want to be a good friend and bring my friends to you because you and you alone can forgive and heal. How often do I get too busy to really be a good friend? Teach me Lord, to stop long enough to love and help my friends. Amen

FOSTERING FRIENDSHIPS WITH YOUR KIDS
* A child’s first friendships are members of his/her family. Be a good friend – as your child interacts with you, smiling, laughing and playing, he/she is learning communication skills that will later enable him/her to make new friends.

* First friendships are formed when babies or young children simply play alongside another child. They may notice one another and be excited to see another little person, but they don’t yet have the skills to initiate interaction.
Still they are learning that it’s fun to have someone with them to share life’s moments.

* Introduce your child to another child in their church or preschool classroom. Better yet, if you’re able to, have a play date and invite another mom and her child over.

* Role play with your child ways to make new friends by introducing themselves.

* Think about and talk about what it means to be a good friend. How are you a good friend? How can you encourage your child to be a good friend? Being a good friend involves listening and thinking of the other person’s wants and needs, sharing and having fun together.

* Covid has redefined making friends for us with all the social distancing intact, but you can still reach out to another child or mom via an e-mail, phone call or your favorite connection site. Physical distancing doesn’t have to be social distancing and even “snail” mail is fun to send and receive.

* Remember everyone at some point or another goes through loneliness. Don’t be afraid to make the first move in saying, “Hi!” to someone, even if you are not sure if they are new in your class or church or not. You may feel like the outsider who has just arrived, but the other person may also feel like the outsider. Just introduce yourself and say, “Hi!”

* Praise your child’s attempts to make friends and be friendly yourself.

Things To Do With Your Child –

SHARE A STORY: John 11 – Lazarus Is Alive
Jesus had some friends named Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Sometimes Jesus ate dinner at their house. (Pretend to eat.) He liked to spend time with them. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were a family. Lazarus was Mary and Martha’s brother.

One day Lazarus got very sick. Mary and Martha sent for Jesus. They wanted Jesus to come and make him well. They knew that Jesus could help him because Jesus is can do anything! But Jesus didn’t go to Mary and Martha’s house right away. When He did get there, Mary and Martha were very sad. Their brother, Lazarus had already died. (Look sad.) Martha said, “Jesus, if only you had been here.”

Then Mary came to meet Jesus. She also said, “Jesus, if only you had been here.”

Jesus was sad too. He really loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Jesus said, “Show me where you have put him.”  They took Jesus to the tomb (the cave) where they had placed Lazarus and they rolled the big rock away from the entrance, (Pretend to push away a big rock.) Jesus prayed and then He called out, “Lazarus, come out!” Just like that Lazarus walked out. He was alive again! He was completely well. (Look surprised.)

Mary and Martha were so happy that their brother was alive again. (Smile and say, “Yeah!”) They were happy that Jesus was their friend. Now they knew that Jesus could do anything! Jesus made Lazarus well because He can do anything and He wanted people to know that God had sent Him to earth to give us life forever. Jesus wants to be your forever friend too, just like He is Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ friend.

PRAYER:
Dear Jesus,
Thank you that you are my forever friend. I know that you can do anything. Help me to love you and remember that you are with me everyday. Amen

MEMORIZE: Acts 10:38 ERV – (Hold hands as thought holding a book)
Jesus went – (Touch finger to palm of one hand and vice versa)
Everywhere – (Spread hands out to the sides.)
Doing good –  (Doing -tap fists together, Good – touch fingers to mouth and bring down to other hand)
For people –   (Point 2 fingers outwards with one hand and then the other rapidly)

KNOW: Jesus is Lazarus friend. He gave Him life.
TALK ABOUT: Jesus is good. He does good things. He’s a good friend.
ASK: Who loves you? Jesus loves me.
AND DO: I can ask Jesus to help me because He can do anything. Thank God and others.

FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK:
* Talk about feelings, sad, happy, surprised, excited, mad, etc. Practice making various funny feeling faces. Check out some books from the library about feelings and remind your child that no matter how he/she is feeling, Jesus wants to be his/her friend and He will help you.

* Turn on some music and do a happy dance with your child – sing and praise God together.

Author: faithstepsandmore

I am a mom of three, grandmother of eight and have worked with young children for over thirty years. I currently write curriculum, speak for women's groups, do chapel for a daycare center and help with teacher/volunteer training at churches. I love what I do. There is nothing better than helping kids take those first steps of faith in a God who loves them more than they can imagine.

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