Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Lifelong Friend?

5 Elements of Lasting Friendships-2

I walked nervously to her front door. Years had passed.

The last time I saw Valerie her son was reading mid-grade fiction. Now he’s learning to fly airplanes.

Where did the time go? Different seasons led our families in different directions.

Friendships can lurch to a sudden stop, but so often friendships slowly drift apart.

When we reconnected with Valerie over dinner, conversation picked up almost where it left off, and so did the laughter.

It got me thinking about the kinds of friends we carry with us through life. The ones we don’t let go of–the ones who won’t let go of us.

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Following Jesus means sticking by our friends throughout the roller-coaster ride of parenting. It means supporting each other in every season of marriage.

As our lives speed up, let’s not let the quality of our friendships diminish. Let’s not let our consumerist culture seep into the fabric of our friendship.

Real community isn’t plastic, and relationships are never disposable.

I grew up before “globalization” became a buzzword, when dial-up was still a thing. Friendship required real, face-to-face interaction, and unfriending someone required more than a keystroke.

When disagreeing we tread lightly because we knew the same people would be on our lives in a year or decade later.

  1. Enduring friendships give each other the benefit of the doubt.

In the last 20 years the friendship landscape has drastically changed. We are slow to ask questions, quick to judge, and we hand out advice in lightning speed.

A quick glance of Facebook proves just how arrogant and condescending our culture has grown. We’ve forgotten how to mind our manners and play nice.

We’ve forgotten the essential ingredients of enduring friendship–tolerance and respect. When did we become so impassioned by our own opinions that we discount everyone else’s?

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I’m just susceptible to the chip on my shoulder as the next. I hate to admit that I’ve caught myself feeling superior to friends and neighbors in the way I parent or teach my kids.

2. Enduring friendships require humility. Let’s face it, no one wants to be friends with a self-righteous know-it-all.

I know this one from experience. Thankfully, I had friends that forgave me. That’s what lasting friendships take, isn’t it?

3. Lasting friendship requires forgiveness.

Recently I’ve heard my friends bemoan our “multi-level marketing culture,” the  kind of transactional friendship that makes us all cringe.

Folks, let’s stop being like this. Let’s stop giving to get. That’s creepy. Instead seek to give, build up, and encourage. 

Enduring friendships weather life’s seasons with grace and acceptance. Time slips away, but let’s not let our friends.

Be the friend that reaches out. Host a dinner party and catch up with old friends that have drifted. Bridge the gap time creates.

I’m so glad my friend Valerie reached out to me. The day I stepped onto her front porch with a salad in hand, conversation and friendship resumed as if it had never stopped.

And for her son who has grown taller than me. I’ll cheer for him when he makes it into the Air Force Academy. Hopefully I’ll be there to hug his parents that he gets married.

Ultimately that’s what lifelong friendship is all about, marking the major events.

4. Lifelong friendship bears witness to life’s milestones. It acknowledges life’s big and small accomplishments. It’s a hundred tiny gestures compounded over time.

Don’t underestimate the small gesture of friendship. It’s in these small acts of love that a greater love story unfolds, a story grace, love, and acceptance.

Lasting friendships echo a greater love. They reveal to us the One who is Love.

“A friend loves at all times,” Proverbs 17:17.

**I’d love to hear from YOU! Do you have lifelong friends> What are some of secrets of lasting friendship that you’ve experienced?

 

How to Speak God’s Love Language

For Beginners

This week I hosted a live Facebook event, and the idea really scared me at first, but I’m trying to face my fears.

If you tuned in, thanks. I’m making these chats a weekly thing because I need community, and I know so many people in my life who need it too.

I’ve prayed for community. For years and I’ve been scared of letting myself be known. I think as women, we can intimidate each other and for years I battled an inferiority complex.

Growing up, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t insecure.

The devil wants to keep us insecure. He wants to keep us intimidated of each other, and He wants to keep us isolated.

The enemy has a target on your back. You’re so much easier to take down when you’re not encouraged and built up in community.

I want you to know that there’s a seat for you here. Each Friday we’ll gather at noon on Facebook Live.

God has answered my prayer for community in all of you! If you’re also looking for a place to connect, join me every Friday at noon for Faith Fridays to encourage and enrich one another.

We’ll talk about identity in Christ, faith, overcoming insecurity, joy. We’ll talk about grace and more grace and how to stop living a defeated life. You probably have topics you want to tackle, so bring them.

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Back to today’s topic. What is God’s love language? Is it quality time or words of affirmation?

We can be really good at spending time with Jesus and not be following Him. It’s possible to spend our days singing praise affirmations to God, but not obey Him.

You can know everything there is to know about the Bible, but not do what it says. I’ve been there. I’ve been caught in this knowing/doing gap.

Several years ago God asked me to start encouraging people on social media, but I totally shunned that call. Instead of taking step one, I wanted to skip to step ten. Have you ever wanted to skip the steps God has asked you to take?

When we obey God it makes Him so happy, and I’m convinced that obedience is God’s primary love language.

In John 14, Jesus tells His disciples that if they love Him, they’ll keep his commands. In other words, we prove our love to God by obeying Him.

What are ways you can speak God’s love language by this week? It might not be a big gesture, but know that every act of obedience is large to God.

To God, no act of obedience is ever small.

Your obedience sings a beautiful love song to God, a sweet melody of worship to your Father.

When you feed your kids and tackle the laundry, know you’re pleasing God. He sees you at your work. He sees you making dinner and doing those dishes.

Keep being faithful. Keep pouring out your worship to Him.

Next week on the blog and on my Facebook author page, we’re going to talk about celebrating! Have you thought about celebration as a spiritual discipline lately?

Are there ways you can incorporate more celebrating into your lives? How would this benefit you? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

***If you haven’t followed me on Facebook, would you do me a huge favor and like my page? ***

An Open Letter to My CC Mom Friends

 

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Photo by Ellie Taucher.

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Photo by Harald Groven, courtesy Flickr.

Dear Classical Conversations Mom,

You’ll probably see me dragging in on Tuesday mornings, propped up on coffee and trying not to yell at my kids. Invariably, someone has left their lunch or backpack at home. Please tell me this happens at your house too?

When you see me frazzled with that crease deepening between my brows, can you do me a favor? Speak life into me. I’m going to need you this year. I’m going to need you to tell me that I’m not crazy, and that I’m not alone.

Homeschooling has taught me to take off the supermom cape. Being with my kids 24/7, tends to expose all my flaws, insecurity, and pride. That’s why I need you.

Can we be friends this year? Real friends? If so, I need to tell you, I’m a mess. Motherhood is messy isn’t it? We need real friends to make it through. If I look like I have it all together, it’s a mask, spackled together with pride and insecurity.

We need community to anchor us, but we’ll never get there wearing our masks and supermom capes. I want us to be the type of community where it’s safe to lay down our capes and take off our masks.

I want to see the real you.

I want to see the mom that God has uniquely gifted and see the world as you see it. I want to hear your story and see your passions sparkle out. Because, mamma, you’re gorgeous—just the way you are.

Let’s view each other through God’s eyes—beautiful, restored, and wholly His daughter.

I’m going to do my best not to judge you or contribute to the crushing weight of mom guilt that I know you already feel. Turns out, today’s moms suffer mom guilt more than any other generation.

 

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A room full of smart, beautiful CC tutors. Photo by Cetelia Bullard.

 

I’ll do my best not to pile any anxiety on you. Unchecked anxiety can be so contagious. Let me go a step further. I promise not to compare myself to you, and I’ll do my best not to compare our kids. Let’s avoid the comparison trap. Nothing sucks joy faster than comparison.

Please know I’m doing my best to live up to my own ridiculously high standards. I’m guilty of always thinking I can go further and faster than is humanly possible, especially with three kids in my wake. I’ll need you to remind me that seeing Jesus in my kids is my ultimate—not a national merit scholarship.

After three years of home education, I still misplace my focus and need Jesus to reset my expectations nearly every day. The grace of slowing down and depending on Jesus, I relearn every day.

Though we only just met, I know we’re going to be friends. You are my people—my inner circle and my social outlet (because homeschool moms need socialized, too!). My husband and I attend a large church and don’t know many people. When it comes to a spiritual community, you’re all I’ve got.

Something beautiful happens when we come together each week to laugh and swap stories (and teach the kids). Those issues I’ve been fretting over all week look incredibly small afterward.

Let’s help each other not sweat the small stuff. This school year, let’s give each other grace.

 

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Photo by Ellie Taucher.

I’ll do my best to love your children and speak only the words that will help. I won’t criticize you or condemn you because, I get your life. You and I are much the same.

Maybe not in culture, upbringing, or in race. Our churches may speak different vernaculars and sing different songs, but we stand united in Christ. If at first we struggle to talk about spiritual things, let’s keep trying. I’ll remind you of Jesus’ love, and I’m going to need you to remind me.

This year our children will grow and learn together. Let’s grow too. Chances are, I’m going to need your advice and your specific brand of wisdom.

On some days, I’ll need to borrow your courage, and I’ll lend you mine when you need it. I’ll probably need you to talk me down from a few cliffs, and I’m here for you any time you need to send me a message or call me at midnight.

When I lack fresh vision in parenting, I’ll be looking your way for inspiration and enthusiasm because you’ve got this! This job of motherhood is a high calling, and you’re already doing great.

In Grace,

Trisha Mugo

Effectiveness = Knowing I’m Loved

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I sprawled out on my bed, happy and a little weary from a productive day.

Why not channel some of the day’s momentum into prayer? I thought.

As I jotted down a list, I began to feel guilty for not praying for these people more. I had listed my friends, coworkers, and family members.

The need is huge and tends to overwhelm me. So I prayed, “Lord, I need you to teach me to pray better. I want to be effective.”

So many of my thoughts swirl around this idea of effectiveness. I want to make my life count. “Don’t waste your life,” reverberates through my my mind on a daily basis.

I listen to podcasts and can’t stop reading books about productivity. It’s become a little idol I regularly bow down to. I often dupe myself into believing spiritual effectiveness resembles the kind of effectiveness we all strive for in our careers.

See, I want to do so much for God. Maybe you’re the same way, and you sometimes worry that you’re not doing enough.

Not sharing the gospel enough…

Not praying for extended family enough…

Not loving your neighbors enough…

If you’re like me, you’re struggling to scrape in a few prayers breathed at the kitchen sink or exhaled as you fold laundry.

That day God answered my prayer for effectiveness, and I was so glad I was lying down. As I begged God to make me a more effective Christian, an ineffable voice whispered something like this:

“You’ll be effective when you know you’re loved.”

After a moment, Love piled on me like an avalanche. My breathing slowed and I felt the weight of God’s love. I laid there several minutes buried in that truth, tears squeezing through eyelids.

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I can’t love people the way I want to unless I’m living in His love. When His love is my reality, my countenance changes and a little bit of God’s effervescence shimmers through.

When I get into overwhelm mode, only love can rescue me.

Only love can snap us out of our striving. It’s the only thing that can snatch us off the hamster wheel of trying to please God in our own works.

Only God’s love has the capacity to truly change our hearts. This love sets us free, blessedly free to be who God created us to be.

God—who is Love—vanquishes our fear and supplies us with courage and endless grace. 

In God’s love, we wake up every morning with hope, and it’s the same love that tucks us in each night in peace. His love helps us endure.

In a culture so obsessed with productivity, only love can prevent us from building little idols to our own achievements, even the spiritual ones.

Love came down and bestowed so great a kindness on us that we don’t have to rest in our achievements or our productivity. We are loved just as we are.

God’s love redirects our focus away from our own effectiveness toward the accomplishments of His Son.

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You are loved as you scroll through this post. Yes, you know this. But do you really believe it?

Do you know how to consistently live in the light of His love? Only when we take time to let Jesus baptize us anew with His love can we ever hope for effectiveness.

Only when we know we’re loved, can we walk as He walked and live with the kind of connection to God that we long for.

Your are deeply loved, dear reader. Don’t forget it.