The Merry Go Round of Friends

Monday, November 21, 2011

Welcome to Reap to Sow, where Andrea and I are discussing The Power of a Positive Momby Karol Ladd. Links for the series are posted below. Click to catch up or jump right in! We are happy that you are here.

Reaping from Chapters 13 and 14

Chapter 13, Affirming Friendships, snagged me with the introductory verse: Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:8-10. That verse is written on our kitchen chalkboard as part of our Fall theme, and we talk about it all the time in terms of our children helping each other and being good to their friends. I hadn't thought much about applying it to myself!

But Karol is right, busy moms need to make friendship a priority. When I think about my friends, I realize that friendship is an evolving process, and that it is okay for me to feel like I'm on a bit of a merry-go-round. Let me explain: I live in a town where I did not grow up. I've got childhood friends a few states away, who I mostly communicate with via Facebook. I miss them, but I made deep, satisfying friendships in college. Those girls are scattered all over the Southeast now, and I miss them, too. Luckily, I have some college friends in town, and many of my law school classmates (that is a bonding experience, let me tell you!) live here. We have meaningful, cry-on-my-shoulder friendships, but they take work because we live in different parts of town, our kids go to different schools, and we all go to different churches. We started off living together, studying together, and experiencing huge life changes together. Now, our lives don't easily intersect, but thank goodness for the phone and our mutual efforts to make each other a priority.

It was fun to pull out old yearbooks and albums for this . . .

Me as a high school sophomore on the yearbook staff


After college with BFF, and oh yes, the high school senior picture

So many weddings and so much fun . . .

In between school and current life, Hubby and I lived in two different cities where I had vital work-based friendships. Those friends could answer my questions, laugh at my mistakes, and encourage me when the job was hard. My life was much different then, as we bonded over drinks after work, weekend concerts and shopping. We stay in touch now, but it isn't the same. . .

Then there are my "new" friends: women I've met in the last couple years because our lives easily intersect. We go to church together, our kids attend the same preschool, they live nearby, and I see them at the grocery store. I have found that these women are treasures - just exactly who I need as friends now. They mesh with all the friends I have had (and still have!), even though they may never meet a good chunk of the women I've described above. But as Karol explains, all of these friendships take work. It is sometimes tempting for me to simply cling to my "old" friends, the ones who have known me forever and are only a phone call away. But God has shown me that if I do that exclusively, I am missing out on the woman right next to me at the Christmas pageant, who shares my beliefs, my lifestyle and my zip code. It doesn't lessen the friendships that I've had for years if I exert a little effort and continue to cultivate friendships now.

Chapter 14, Mentor Moms, provides me with more of a challenge. This chapter encourages us to seek out and develop a relationship with a "mentor mom," - a seasoned mother who can provide advice and perspective. This relationship should not take the place of peers, and it is not meant to replace our own mothers, aunts or grandmothers. I don't exactly have this in my life right now. It is just the sort of thing I perceive to be easier if I lived in my hometown. I know that is a mistake, so I have been thinking a lot about this - who can I develop a mentoring relationship with and how do I get there?

Where are you in the friendship cycle? Do you agree that old and new friendships take work and should be a priority? Have you ever enjoyed a mentoring relationship? Tell us about it!

If you are reading along . . . On Friday, I will pick a Power Point from Chapters 13 and 14 to discuss and apply ~ to sow.

We hope you will join us in Friday's comments and provide a link to your blog if you decide to write on these chapters this week. We want to join in your discussion and create a real community here.

Thanks for reaping and sowing with us!

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6 Responses to “The Merry Go Round of Friends”

  1. I liked these chapters too.  I feel lucky to have so many different friendships from so many different stages of life.  My goal this year was to see at least 2 far-away friends but I have not accomplished it!  With young children, it is so hard to find (or take!) the opportunity to see these "old" friends.  I need to be better about that!  

    With the mentor mom, I am lucky that our church has a moms group and we have a mentor mom who comes every meeting.  She always does a devotional and it is amazing.  While she is not my personal mentor mom, it is nice to hear her words of wisdom.  Our last meeting was on sibling rivalry and it was nice to hear her reassure that it does get better!  

  2. The merry-go-round image is beautiful and so aptly describes the friendships I've had - it's fun while it lasts but not everyone gets back on the ride together. I often feel guilty when friendships fall by the wayside, wondering if I didn't work hard enough at it - and sometimes I probably haven't. But I also think God brings people into our lives for a specific season and so I try to pray about whether friendships that seem to be waning are at the end of their season or whether I need to continue breathing life into them.

    I had prayed for several years about having mentor and God answered that prayer about a year ago. There was a specific area where I was looking for a mentor and I ended up meeting with someone at my sister's church. I had prayerfully considered whether there was a woman at my church who could mentor me in this specific area, but kept coming back to the idea of asking my sister for recommendations. It's definitely been a blessing in my life, but I think it's important for each of us to remember that no matter how wonderful our mentors are, they are not God and we need to keep looking to Him first and often for the ultimate say in our lives.

  3. Andrea - I love hearing this about a mentor. It is so hard to know where to look for that, but you are right . . . it all starts and ends with prayer. Thank you for sharing that.

  4. Jayda - What a great goal! I wouldn't have met it either if I'd set it for myself this year, but there is hope for next year :) I like that idea. 

  5. It probably isn't a surprise that I think friendships are of vital importance!  I think they take intention, time, and a whole lot of prayer!

  6. I could write pages responding to your post about friendships. Friendships between women are something to be valued and praised. They definitely take work but the countless blessings you receive from them unfold over your life, never ending. The saddest thing I know about my mom and MIL is that neither have close girlfriends. I truly cannot imagine my life without my girlfriends.