The Mission Field in Your Church Building

The Mission Field in Your Church Building

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”
Hebrews 10:24

I love going to church. Growing up as a minister’s kid, church was my life. This joy has stayed with me into adulthood. That being said, I realize this is not the case for everyone. Some people have been so turned off by an experience they have had with a church that they’ve completely turned away from the Lord. Some people are just on the fringe–perhaps they wonder why they even bother coming.

Can you think of anyone you know who might not enjoy church?

It truly breaks my heart to see this, and perhaps it hurts me the most because I know that I’ve been a part of the problem.

Do you view your church as a mission field?

Think about it…we can do all the outreach and evangelism outside the church walls that we want (and should!), but if our church is not welcoming every person who steps through our doors with warm love then we are failing. What good is it to get someone through the door if they never experience Christ’s love within his church? Our church building is a mission field in so many ways, but I’m going to try to stick with one very important way: relationships.

Hebrews 10:24

It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves when we go to church services or activities. Our desire to fellowship with our friends can sometimes cause an unintended, but detrimental effect. Nothing sends the message “You’re not welcome here” like a church full of cliques. Yet this happens, maybe without us even noticing.

Missing the Mission Field

Sometimes, during the distractions of entertaining our personal friendships, we miss those around us, and we miss opportunities to show Christ’s love.

We miss

  • the visitors, the elderly, or the handicapped.
  • the ones who are hurting or who need help.
  • the new members who haven’t made any connections yet or the new Christians who need support and someone to study with.
  • the children and the teens who need to know they are important.

I don’t put this blame on others, as I’m very guilty. I’ve been on BOTH sides of this and it’s very likely that you have too. So what can we do about this?

fellowship

Mission Field, Not Social Club

Let’s change our mentality when we are within the walls of our church building. Let’s view our church as a mission field rather than a social club. “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)

We love visiting with our friends, and we should because Christian friendships are important. Fellowship time is a huge blessing, but we’ve got to open our eyes to those around us and realize that some have no one to fellowship with. Our moments of fellowship at church can’t just be about those with whom we are comfortable; we must reach out so that every person in our church building or at our church activities experience what the body of Christ is all about: love.

I get it, there isn’t much time to talk to our friends, much less other people. Have church friends over on a Tuesday night for dinner. You can even invite someone you don’t know very well! Get together with another church family on Saturday and go to the zoo. Find time to build relationships and enjoy the company of your Christian family! But how about during church gatherings we make it a goal to see the mission field? Maybe we can even get our friends on board with us! 🙂

 

During Visiting Time:

  • Here is what often happens: We say “hi” or smile to those we don’t know and we have conversation with our friends. Let’s reverse that! Start conversations with those you don’t know and give a wave to your friends, or even better, introduce your friends to this person. The moment we walk through our church’s doors we should be on the look out for those who might need our encouragement or friendship.
  • Be a greeter! I’m sure your congregation likes for people to stand by the door and greet people as they come inside. This is so important!

 

During Class:

  • MEET THE VISITORS! This seems like a no-brainer, but in my experience it’s more normal to be ignored when you’re visiting. Would you want to come back to class if it felt like you weren’t even noticed? Seriously–we can visit with our friends later. But if we don’t make the effort to walk across the room and meet a visitor, we might never have an opportunity again. What’s more important?
  • Volunteer to teach or help in a class. The functionality of a church should be a community effort. We should never go to church expecting everything to be done for us. There is always a way to pitch in and help. Talk to the ministry leaders at your church if you don’t know where to start. By doing so you will have the opportunity to see others and show them Christ’s love.

 

During Worship Service:

  • It’s tempting to go straight to our usual spot by our usual people, and it’s OK to do that sometimes! It’s also fun to change it up though. You will get to know new people and you can hear new voices praising Jesus.
  • Help in the nursery or children’s worship. Who doesn’t want to snuggle with a baby? By doing this you have the opportunity to help out and encourage young families. You might even be the first friendly face for visitors, and giving their children loving care shows Christ love so beautifully!
  • Sit with someone who has no one to sit with. Sit by a family or a single parent with young children who might need an extra hand. Sit by a mom who just watched her last child go off to college. Sit with an elderly couple who lives away from all of their family. Sit with a visitor. Sit with someone hurting. Sit with someone who might need your help. Realize that the pew you choose to sit on might very well be a mission opportunity from the Lord!

 

meet someone

 

Find a Way to Show God’s Love

Life is hard…sometimes we don’t feel like we have anything to give. We might feel empty and broken and needing to be filled. Pray that someone will find you, my friend. Reach out to someone. Draw close to Jesus every day of the week.

Is your church family one that radiates God’s love to all who walk through your church building’s doors? I certainly need to work on this more. It’s easy to fall into what’s comfortable. You might be more of an introvert, so this concept might have your knees shaking in anxiety. There are also quiet ways to serve and encourage, like sending cards to those on the prayer list. You don’t have to meet everyone, but try to find someone to invest in and love on. Let’s hold each other accountable and look for opportunities to serve God and bring him glory during our church gatherings. Let’s have Hebrews 10:24 on our hearts always!

“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”

The Mission Field in Your Church Building pinterest

Pouring Out and Giving Back to Your Leaders

Pouring Out and Giving Back to Your Leaders

Sara

Sara

Hello! I am a native So Cal resident. Human Resources by day, but more importantly Mom to a teenage boy who I often refer to as "Man-child".
Sara

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Pray for your leaders. Encourage your leaders. Pour into your leaders. Love your leaders. Sacrifice your time for them. Inconvenience yourself. 

I had the privilege of praying with a few friends this morning in my home. I guess you could say I called an intervention on behalf of someone who has spent about a decade pouring into me, mentoring me, and loving me, even when I could be oh-so-yucky in heart. No more accepting surface answers that would allow this friend to change the subject away from herself. It was time for it to be about her. (It was actually past due, but better late than never.)

I called in two other dear friends of hers who are business owners with full schedules, at the last minute, to drop what they were doing on a Friday morning and just shower her with love and prayer. Was it hard? Did I have to pull their teeth and convince them to make it work in their busy schedules? No. Why? Because of the way this friend has poured out and sacrificed and supported those in her life without reserve. They asked no questions. Literally, not one question other than “what’s your address”; they just said yes and showed up. It was time to give back what we had so graciously been given from our dear and loyal friend. This was our opportunity to take the initiative and help carry her burdens without waiting for her to ask.

Take a second to picture the leaders and people of influence in your life. Let their faces sweep through your memory right now. Call to mind the specific times in your life that you know their support had a major impact on your life. Now, when was the last time they reached out to you for support? Told you they needed someone to lean on? Showed the slightest amount of weakness?  Are those memories harder to recall than the memories of when they were there for you in times of need? These instances are likely few in number.

I sat at a table of leaders yesterday, all women who are leading the charge in some area or another. Strong, competent, capable women. None of them alluding to the slightest ounce of discontentment in conversation or otherwise. My assumption in these situations is that if they appear so put together, there must not be anything too heavy going on in their lives, because otherwise there would be some evidence of it. WRONG! We started off by praying for each other and soon after each lady started sharing what they could use prayer for, my false assumptions were incinerated.

Death in the family, tragic diagnosis in spouse’s health, financial struggles, loneliness, cancer..

This is a small list of what was shared among these women of faith. I was stunned. I could not have imagined the group sitting around this small table was carrying so much pain. Sometimes we have no choice but to press on, so it can appear we are okay, and it can be easy to fly under the radar with our struggles while the pain goes unnoticed. The very true reality is that we cannot walk these trials alone. Leader or not, there is a pouring in that our souls will ache for when we are in a season of suffering. That is why scripture offers us this little tip…

Share each other’s burdens and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

I’ve noticed (this is just my observation) that leaders and people in positions of authority are less likely to reach out. We can try to evaluate why, but I think we have much more important questions to ask ourselves:

Are we willing to be more observant in regard to this?

Will we resolve to help them carry their burdens in an appropriate capacity, no matter how big or small the situation calls for?

This can be a little tricky to approach. What do we do when it is time for a shift in the dynamics in a relationship, and the one who normally is pouring out, needs some pouring in? There is no uniform answer or formula. It is going to require us to use discernment, prayer, and put some of that maturity they’ve modeled for us into practice and maybe, for some of us, a little bit of courage.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

The last thing we want to do is create another problem for those who are in need of encouragement. If we are not careful a well-meaning but awkward attempt to help could be just that. Another problem. A safe place to start would be to ask yourself some questions about your ideas before jumping the gun. I would encourage  you to consider the following:

  1. Have you prayed for them yet?
  2. Will this attempt to help preserve their privacy?
  3. Will this attempt to help cause any kind of inconvenience to them?
  4. Have you first acknowledged it is not your job to try and fix whatever the situation is?

What can you do today to help give your leaders the ability to continue to lead with joy and help renew their strength? Ask God to show you how it is that you can be a blessing of encouragement to those who have already prayed the same for you. I promise you, they have.

Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.

Hebrews 13:17

Pouring Out II

An Abiding Friend

An Abiding Friend

Ali R

Hey! While most of my life was spent in Colorado, I am happy to now call Oklahoma my home. I am amazingly blessed to have a supportive and God-fearing husband who is also a terrific dad to our four kiddos (who we had in a 3 year 9 month time frame). I love to drink coffee, sing, hear people’s stories and have dance parties. I am passionate about my relationship with Jesus and desire to share that gift with every person that I meet. My hope is that I can encourage someone today with and through the Word of God and His steadfast love. ::psalm 27:4::

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Love is not affectionate feeling

I’m a People Person

When I say that I love people, I mean that…I LOVE PEOPLE. Just being around new people or in a group setting gets me excited. Does anyone out there feel the same way? There is just something so fun and refreshing about seeing new faces, hearing everyone’s stories, and growing relationships. It’s truly the main reason why I love hosting large parties or get-togethers. I will invite a good chunk of my phone book, for no other reason than I genuinely want to share life with others. Sure, it may increase the budget for the party, but if there is something to celebrate, I want others to share in it with us! Why not, right?

I have always sincerely believed that the more people you surround yourself with, the more encouragement and joy there will be in your life. Truly a “the more, the merrier” mentality.

For over thirty years I have never seen a problem with being wired that way…that is, until lately. As I started to think about planning birthday parties for my kids and summer BBQs and began looking at our list of “friends” to invite, I realized that while they may be on our guest list, we may not be on theirs.

** Now, before you think that this is turning into a big ol’ pity party, I can assure you it’s not. So please don’t give up on me yet! **

Believing Lies Based on Missed Expectations

The truth is, I am a sinful human being and am guilty of reacting in my flesh frequently, so I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t initially feel hurt, betrayed, and bitter at one person’s “oversight” of my feelings. This weird encounter (which truly did nothing more than leave me feeling awkward), completely opened the floodgates of undealt with emotion from over the years. It’s as though I had a flip book of memories and times where I was hurt by a friend flipping rapidly through my mind, taking my thoughts to extremes and probably exaggerating what really happened by 1000%.

Y’all, my mind was out of control. I truly was walking with some nasty lies.  Thankfully, my wonderful mentor (mom), was there to listen to me ramble as I talked myself in circles until the truth punched me in the face: IT WAS MY FAULT.

You heard (or rather, read) that right: The pain I felt was actually my fault. Why? MISSED EXPECTATIONS. Here is the hard truth I had to receive:

Any expectation I placed on another was a setup for relationship failure from the beginning.

The moment I decided what type of friend they should be to me was the moment I became less of a true friend myself. I focused on how they treated me, rather than on their heart and how I should treat them.

A Godly, yet Complicated Friendship

Of course, as with everything, the Holy Spirit oh-so-graciously reminded how I was wrong and pointed me to the Word and the friendship between Jonathan and David. You guys, talk about a complicated relationship. You can read all about it in 1 and 2 Samuel, but this passage about this one selfless act essentially sums up how Jonathan was a true friend, despite all the circumstances and trials that the two faced.

 “… Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself… And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow, and his belt.”

1 Samuel 18:1-4

I love how Beth Moore puts this into perspective…

“Clearly Saul intended for Jonathan to become the second king of Israel (1 Sam 20:30-31), but this son had other plans. In David, Jonathan saw character fit for a king. He was so determined that the throne be occupied by God’s chosen instrument that he offered everything he had…Jonathan sacrificed himself. He removed his royal regalia…and placed it on David.”

 Jonathan literally gave up everything to help encourage and support his friend David in all that God had called him to be. Nowhere does it say that David ever reciprocated that love and sacrificed as Jonathan had, yet Jonathan remained loyal to his friend. Better yet, Jonathan remained loyal to God.

Philippians 2:3-4

You see, it shouldn’t matter how others treat us.

If God has placed on our hearts to love, support, and walk with someone as a friend (Amos 3:3), we need to be faithful to that calling, not only in the good seasons, but also in the hard ones. This isn’t about how they make us feel, but rather about being who God has called each one of us to be and how we are to make others feel.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… encouraging one another…” 

-Hebrews 10:24

Unconditional Friendship

I still love people and will continue to throw huge celebrations. The difference is, when I call someone friend, it holds no expectation of them. It simply acknowledges that regardless of their choices or how they may treat me, I will continue to welcome, love, and encourage them as Christ does me.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

-Romans 15:5-7

So what do you say, friend?

Are you willing to take the road less traveled and pursue a life of obedience to the Lord in seeking out the welfare and accomplishments of others over yourself, even if that means giving while never receiving? To be that selfless, abiding friend like Jonathan, full of love and encouragement so that he/she may pursue who God has called them to be?

An Abiding Friend_ C.S. Lewis Quote

A Call for Unity Among Younger and Older Women in the Church

A Call for Unity Among Younger and Older Women in the Church

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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Discussions over unity in the church are often in regards to denominations, but what about age? Do you feel unified with those in the church who are a different age than you?

The Attitude between Younger and Older Women

It is tempting for those of us who are younger to ignore the words and ways of those who’ve gone before us. We might cast older women off as irrelevant if they don’t see as we do.

“The way they do things are outdated,” we might think.

This attitude can make older women feel like they aren’t respected.

This is not completely the fault of the younger ones. It can be challenging to adapt to new ways, and sometimes change is frowned upon. Sometimes young women really don’t know that they are invited to play a part too, or perhaps the nature of the gatherings are inconvenient for those with children in the home.

This can make the younger women feel like they aren’t respected.

It can go both ways.

This is not how God wanted his daughters to relate to each other. It must make him sad to see this divide that happens so often.

Erasing the Divide between Younger and Older Women

Paul gives us some thoughtful advice in his letter to Titus.

“But you are to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching. Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.” Titus 2:1-4

God’s church is multi generational, and he designed it so that the younger might be encouraged by the older in their faithful living.

As Younger Women…

This means that as young women, we need to embrace the insight that the women who’ve gone before us have to offer. It means that perhaps we step outside of our comfort zone and attend that Ladies Night or bible class- even if we are going to be the youngest one there. We can always bring a friend with us.

When I’ve opened my heart to my older sisters in Christ, I have found welcoming arms, listening ears, mentors, help when I’ve needed it, and best of all, enduring friendship. I’ve also found that these women are usually accepting of new ideas and love to see younger ones get involved. If we are respectful of what their life experiences have taught them, we can learn quite a bit! When you see older women, go and talk to them. Invite them over to your house for coffee or tea. Bring a meal to them when they have had surgery. Offer them some baby gear to borrow when their grand babies are visiting. Listen to them. Pray for them.

As Older Women…

For any older women reading this, I ask that you not give up on us younger women. Seek us out. Ask us about our ideas. Let’s work together to blend our women’s ministry with changing generations. Offer your advice to us in loving and encouraging ways. Smile at us when our toddler is acting up in worship service. If you have it in your heart, offer to watch our kids so that we can go out with our husbands. Babysitting is very expensive these days so most of us aren’t finding alone time for our marriage. Invite us over for coffee or tea. Tell us about the struggles you faced as a young wife and mother, and share how you’ve grown in Christ. Listen to us. Pray for us.

We are All Both Younger and Older

There is always someone younger we can encourage, and there is always someone older whom we can be encouraged by. Let us strive for unity as women in the church. Let us be sisters in Christ, encouraging each other to live godly lives!

May those who don’t know Christ, see Him in our bond with each other, and want to be a part of the family. May we bring glory to God together!

 

 

Maintaining Friendships During Motherhood

Maintaining Friendships During Motherhood

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

Have you ever noticed how we search for common ground when we’re talking to people?  A mother at the park engages you in a conversation about your child because they too have a daredevil.  An elderly gentleman in the grocery store chuckles as you juggle three children and reminisces about his last visit with his grandchildren.  A neighbor strikes up a conversation about the neighborhood park.  We are comfortable with others when we can find something shared.

Making & Maintaining Friendships

Obviously, shared experiences are important to a friendship. I’d even venture to say that shared experiences are a base for which many friendships are built upon. So why is it that we as mothers sometimes struggle to find or maintain friendships? With approximately 85.4 million other mothers in the United States alone, how could it be that maintaining a good solid friendship is so hard?

I’ll break down some of the obvious answers:

  • You’re constantly chasing after smaller, sometimes faster little people.
  • You had time for a shower sometime in the last 4 days, but not much else.
  • You’re trying to make time for the baby’s checkup, your 6 year old’s request for a game of battleship and the fact that your poor middle child still can’t count to 20 properly.
  • You’re taking up a lot of brain space trying to sort out the essential oil wars and the vaccine debate and so many other qualifications that might label you as a “good” mother.
  • You can’t quite remember why you started this list so you’ll put it on the once organized cork board with your 50 other lists.

It becomes apparent that as mothers we have a lot going on!

How much easier is it to log onto Facebook and take a quick cruise through your news feed to see what everyone is up to than it is to actually send a text or make a call?  I’ll tell you one thing that I see; Facebook doesn’t mind interruptions.  Did the baby have a super explosion that requires a full change of clothing, bed sheets and a bath?  Did you spot your son in the backyard tossing a chicken in the air to see if it could fly?  Is your 4 year old yelling “Can someone come wipe me?!?” at the top of her lungs?  Facebook. Doesn’t. Care.  Facebook will wait while you change the baby and start the laundry.  Facebook will wait while you have a heart to heart about treating God’s creatures with respect.  Facebook will wait while you scour a tiny bottom.

You want to know something else I’ve learned through my long journey of struggling to be a good friend?

A good friend doesn’t care.

A good friend will stay on the line and laugh with you as you change and bathe a poo covered baby.

A good friend will agree to a return call when you need to have a heart to heart.

A good friend won’t mind being set on a counter listening to bathroom noises.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man (1)

The Do’s & Don’ts of Maintaining Friendships

One thing we have to stop doing as mothers is we have to stop telling ourselves that we are too busy to do something that is good for us.

  • We DO have 20 minutes for a quick chat with a friend.  Our kids need to learn patience and respect anyway.
  • We DO have 30 seconds to shoot off a “how is your week going” text to a friend.  Do it while the oatmeal is cooking.
  • We DO have time to grab a coffee sometime in the next two weeks.  It’s only $4 and an hour or two.  Daddy, Grandma or a teen from church can handle the munchkins.

Mommas, we have to quit denying ourselves the friendships that can help strengthen us as women and mothers.

  • We have to quit denying old friends of our time.
  • Log off of Facebook and make that call.
  • Make the baby’s appointment and then send a quick text.
  • If nothing else, write down the people you’re thinking of throughout the day and then send an email or a private Facebook message when you finally get around to it at 11:30 at night.

There are never too many times to let someone know you care.

God knows the longings of our hearts.  It doesn’t matter if you’re the type of person who loves to have a huge group of friends or if you prefer a handful of close friends.  God knows.  He has placed these people in your life for a reason.  He wants you to foster a deep and loving connection with other children of God.

 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Do you find that you struggle to keep up with friends since becoming a mother?

How do you keep up a strong bond with friends during the busy seasons of motherhood?

3 Ways to Jump the Hurdle of Loneliness

3 Ways to Jump the Hurdle of Loneliness

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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Loneliness is a hard thing, a depressing thing, and something that we all struggle with from time to time. There seem to be certain lonely seasons in our lives, times when life seems overwhelming, when we feel misunderstood, when we sink lower into our own thoughts, feelings, and sadness. Loneliness can be crippling to the heart and the soul.

But someone much wiser than I told me something this morning: Loneliness is also very much about choice.

And she was right. While it’s true that I can’t control others and how they view me, while it’s true that I can’t magically force others to invite me or include me, I can do something about my loneliness.

What can I do about loneliness?

Well, here are some ideas:

Pray about it

If we pray about our kids, our money, our stress – why not pray for a friend? God says in Philippians 4:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Wouldn’t a friend be included in that everything? Don’t you think the God that knows you, loves you, and molds you also sees and cares for your lonely heart? Tell him your burden and ask for a friend.

Be open to finding the unexpected

Sometimes, when we pray, we have a very specific list of criteria:

Lord, please grant me a friend. I’d like her to be a great cook and invite me over for dinner. I’d like her kids to be the same age as my kids. And I would love for her to be in the same neighborhood as me and the same church. Oh, and that she likes coffee.

It’s not wrong to want those things in a friend – or to find them. But sometimes, God answers our prayers in ways we don’t at first see:

In the mom who’s ten years older than I am, who is sleeping through the night, who remembers those days of newborns and milk and poop, and yet, has sanity because she is past that exhausting stage. She blesses me with her humor and her experience. She teaches me how to be a better mom.

In the single college aged friend who doesn’t yet have kids. Who reminds me of how blessed I am to have found a Christian man to build my life with. Whose passionate, spiritual nature reminds me of how I need to grow and stretch and read and challenge myself. Who inspires me to be a better Christian.

In the older woman, whose kids are out of the house. She is my “mom away from mom.” She is steady, not hormonal, and so real. She doesn’t pretend like she did it all perfectly and talking with her makes me want to grow mature, like she did. It makes growing older look like something precious, beautiful, and Godly.

God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we expect. But He does always give us what we need.

Put yourself out there

The funny thing about feeling sad or lonely or left out – is that a lot of other people also feel that way. All it takes is one person reaching out to make someone else sparkle and brighten.

A text to invite another mom on a playdate.

A Facebook message to ask someone over for coffee.

A blanket invite to your ladies’ Bible study class to come over and watch a movie at your house. (Popcorn’s cheap, right?)

Yes, it’s hard to be the one to reach out, but if everyone has that thought, no one would ever do anything! Perhaps you will be the highlight of someone else’s lonely day. Never underestimate how the Lord can use you.

So today, if you’re lonely, know that you aren’t alone. And I challenge you to do something about it. Do it with me. We might just find that God has something beautiful in store, if we will only act.

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