by Lindsey Carlson
I most often call my girlfriends about things related to kids: swallowed nickels, potential concussions, bed-wetting, and carseats. Gone are the days of talking on the phone about the latest current events or the newest novels.
I’ve been changing diapers for eight years. If I open a cabinet in my kitchen, a sippy-cup avalanche would probably take my life. There are goldfish crackers in every crack and crevice of every piece of furniture in my living room. These are the details of my life that zap my energy and keep me from being the riveting friend I once was.
At this point in my life, I can’t regularly catch up over the phone, meet for impromptu lunches, or sit face-to-face and have lengthy, uninterrupted conversations during the day. My little people need me to open their gummy vitamins, read the same book over and over, play board games with half the pieces missing, teach them to tie their shoes, and buy their pull-ups. Even in the middle of it all, it’s easy for me to get lonely.
For mothers, social isolation can be more torturous than watching the same episode of a cartoon for the fourteenth time.
In my single days it seemed easy to invest in meaningful friendships. Now, I’m juggling my relationship with the Lord, my marriage, and my relationships with my kids. Where can I cram in some girl-time?
Most of my friends are as busy as I am, and when they’re not busy, I am. Sometimes after a series of unanswered phone calls, rescheduled play-dates, or the ever-conflicting nap schedules, it seems easier to stop trying.
Developing and maintaining meaningful and lasting friendships takes time, energy, persistence, and commitment– things that I don’t always feel like I can give. Yet through these intentional friendships, God offers me an immense wealth of his grace. In light of all the logistical gymnastics and discouragements, God’s word reminds me that pursuing friendships is a worthy endeavor.
God’s Grace Through Friends
I experience God’s grace through my friends’:
- example of Christlikeness (Phil. 3:17-18)
- compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience (Col. 3:12)
- encouragement and edification to persevere (Gal. 6:9, 2 Cor. 4:16)
- prayers (James 5:16)
- testimonies of God’s faithfulness (1 John 1:2)
- spiritual gifts that bless and serve (Rom. 12:4-8)
- challenge to grow in every way (Eph. 4:15)
- reproof, rebukes, and exhortations (2 Tim. 4:2)
- loving correction (Matt. 18:15)
- forgiveness (Col. 3:13)
I need to be in regular fellowship with godly women who live their lives by and for the gospel. My friends and I remind each other of who Jesus is and who we are. We encourage each other to boast in our weaknesses and rejoice in affliction. Gospel-centered friends turn me away from self-pity and point me to God’s glory.
Let’s Get Together
“And when does all this happen?” you might be wondering. “Between diaper changes and dinner dishes?”
When all of my kids were younger, weekly play-dates were my lifeline. My friends and I took turns hosting and let the kids play together while we chatted. Now my children homeschool and morning play-dates are out, so I depend on evenings after my kids are in bed. I’ll meet a friend for coffee or she’ll come to my house and we have a few hours of kid-free talk time. It is easier to dive into deeper subjects and prayer without interruptions for juice refills or temper tantrums.
A few of my friends have older kids who are on totally different schedules and we keep up almost exclusively through email and texts. Do what works. There is a fine art to crafting a lasting friendship. As you value friendships, you’ll make time for them. Whatever your season of life, ask God to overcome all your obstacles and provide you with a sister in the gospel.
I’ve enjoyed the blessing of having committed friends who have encouraged, corrected, supported, and loved me and my family through the joy and trials of life. Pursuing their fellowship is an important component of my spiritual life.
As mothers, one of the ways we survive and thrive is through the love and admonishment of sweet friends. If you don’t have these types of relationships, ask God to provide you with one. And, look for opportunities to be that friend to someone else. As you make time for gospel-deep relationships, you’ll enjoy one of God’s graces to you in every season of life.
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” (Prov. 27:9).
ABOUT THE WRITER
Lindsey Carlson lives in Houston, Texas with her college sweetheart Kyle. She is the wife of a worship-pastor and mother to four young children. “Normal” days are filled with homeschool, endless dishes, games, books, mis-matched socks, and writing whenever sleeping children permit. Lindsey writes about faith and worship at Worship Rejoices.