I was thinking recently how my life is made richer because of friendships. I’m so thankful for the friends I have, friends that I work with, friends that I go to coffee with, friends from church or various places – all enrich my life in some way. They challenge me to learn and grow and they also help me maintain balance in life. We pray together, laugh together and help each other with whatever needs to be done. I’m also thankful for my work out buddies who challenge me to eat healthy and not give up when I’m discouraged with my workout goals. Right now I could use a new workout buddy as my one faithful buddy has moved on to other places. I love getting together with my ‘Take Five’ ladies on Thursdays and my hairdresser is a good friend too. Friends come from many walks of life and many places, but I appreciate and enjoy sharing life with each one.
Friends are important in life, but no matter how close my friends are, they simply can’t be there with me every moment of every day. There have been times when I have found myself alone facing something scary and overwhelming, wondering, “What do I do now?” Have you ever been there? Perhaps you haven’t even been able to reach a family member during one of life’s unexpected, “curve ball” moments. Let me tell you, there is a friends who IS always there; my best friend, Jesus. He never leaves us and He wants to help us. He wants to be our friend forever. He wants to spend time with us.
Can you imagine Jesus’ disciples after His death? For three days, they were hiding out, grief-stricken and without hope. This Jesus, their teacher, friend, miracle worker and so much more was gone. They weren’t even sure where to go from there. How could they continue on with life? How could they go back to life as they had known it? Then the women came and told them this incredible story that Jesus was alive! It seemed completely crazy and unreal. How could that be? Then Jesus, Himself, came and stood among them. He said, “Look it really is me! Look at my hands and my feet. Touch me and see. It really is me!” Jesus was very much alive. He wanted them to know that He was alive and would always be with them. Jesus is still with us today – every single moment of everyday. No, we can’t see Him in the flesh right now, but He is still very much alive and He wants to be our friend. Even when other friends can’t be there, He can be and He is.
It’s easy to allow work, family responsibilities and just plain life to crowd out time spent with friends. It’s also easy to let the craziness of life, crowd out time spent with Jesus. Thankfully, He’s never too busy for me. I don’t even have to stop what I’m doing to talk with Him. (Although, I will admit, it does sometimes help to stop and take a breather.) As for those scary, overwhelming times; those “curve ball”moments, He’s there then too. Not only is He there for those moments, He is just waiting for me to call out to Him. You see, He is the God of the impossible; the God that not even death could conquer. Think about it for a moment, He has made His resurrection power available to us, His friends. Now that is amazing!
My prayer is that we would all renew our commitment to spend time with friends, family and especially our best friend, Jesus.
I know you are there with me and for me every single day, even when no one else can be. Help me walk through each day with a new awareness of your presence. Sometimes I allow life circumstances to derail and discourage me, yet you are the God of the impossible, the giver of life, the One who breathes life into me and gives me what I need moment by moment. I know that Jesus, and yet at times I’ve wondered, “Will you do it for me?” Yes! I know you will. Even when the answer is different from what I expected or hoped for, I know it will be good. I know you can and will do amazing, even impossible things as I look to you. Thank you for being my friend always and forever. Amen
PS Lord, help me as I parent my kids too. You know I want to be there for them, but sometimes I can’t be. I’m so glad that you are there even when I can’t be. Show me how to give them the love and care that they need and yet develop their own autonomy. I want them to learn to be independent and yet to know that they don’t have to do life alone. I want them to know that they can call on me when needed or other family members or friends. Most of all, I want them to know that they are never alone because you are walking with them. Amen
MAKING THE MOST OF FRIENDSHIP
* Be there in the moment. Whether you are talking to God, your child or another friend. Whenever you at all can, focus your attention on the one you are talking with. Our relationships are far more important than any task we need to complete.
* Role play with your child ways to make new friends by introducing themselves or simply greeting another child and asking him/her to play.
* Be thankful for your friends and let them know.
* Encourage your child’s friendships by making a play date with another mom and child. It will be good for both of you.
GROWING YOUR FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS
* God gave you today, give it back to Him. It only takes a few minutes to breathe a prayer as you’re waking up, eating your breakfast or even driving to work. If interrupted by your little ones while praying, include them in your prayer.
* Think of some trigger points during your day that will remind you to talk to God – lunchtime, bedtime, at a stoplight, nap time. When you have little ones, you may not have the luxury of a whole block of time to spend reading your Bible and praying, but you can find moments throughout the day – three 10 minute intervals when added together adds up to a spiritual work out or try six 5 minute spiritual workouts. On those really hectic days, take a moment in the middle of the chaos to simply breathe the name of Jesus inviting Him into that moment with you.
ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH YOUR CHILD THROUGHOUT THE WEEK
SHARE A BIBLE STORY: Jesus Friends See That He Is Alive – John 20:19-28, 21:1-14 Luke 24:36-43
I would like you to help me tell a Bible story today. When I say, “sad” or “afraid” show your sad face. When I say, “happy” show your happy face.
Jesus’ friends were very sad. (Show sad face.) Jesus was not with them. He had died. They were so sad. (Show sad face.) They were hiding (Put hands in front of eyes.) in a house together. They didn’t know what to do because their friend Jesus was not with them any more.
But Jesus was alive! He had come back to life and He wanted His friends to know that He was alive. So Jesus came to the house they were at and came right in where they could see Him. His friends were surprised and happy. (Show happy face.) They were very, very happy! (Show happy face.) Jesus really was alive! (Say, “Yeah!” and clap.)
Jesus is still alive today! (Say, “Yeah!” and clap) Even though we can’t see Him, He is alive and wants to be our forever friend. I’m very happy that Jesus is alive. (Show happy face.) He is a good, good friend. He is with us when we are happy, (Show happy face.) or sad. (Show sad face.) He is with us all the time.
MEMORIZE: Matt. 28:6 ERV (Hold hands open like holding a book.)
Jesus – (Touch fingers of one hand to palm of the other and vice versa.)
Is not here – (Make fists and put together like a tomb.)
He has risen from death. – (Wiggling fingers, raise hands upward.)
Just as He said He would – (Put hands by mouth as you say this part.)
I’m glad that you are alive and that you are with me. I can talk to you everyday. I want you to be my friend forever. I love you. Amen
KNOW: Jesus loves me and is my friend.
TALK ABOUT: Jesus is alive and always with me.
ASK: Who wants to be your forever friend? Jesus wants to be my forever friend.
AND DO: I can talk to Jesus any time and any place.
FUN IDEAS TO DO TOGETHER
* Encourage your child to pray at mealtime, when you tuck him/her into bed at night – any time.
* Throughout the week, stop and remember that Jesus is with you. Remind your child that Jesus is with him/her too. EX: At breakfast – “Hi Jesus, I’m glad you are with me today. This cereal is yummy. Outside – “Jesus, watch me slide down the slide. Are you having fun watching me play?” At bedtime – “Good night Jesus, thank you for being with me today. Thank you for your love. Amen”