"A friend is someone who sings your hearts song back to you when you have forgotten the words."
David Coppola, Ph.D
Hope you enjoy this podcast and article that I wrote and also the podcast we recorded 10 days ago. But lots is bubbling up in my heart, and Kristen and I will be podcasting about some thoughts and convictions that we hope will bring encouragement through these demanding times. Stay tuned for our special podcast later this week. Meanwhile, ponder how very important it is to stay close to your loved ones and children and to build close relationships to keep each other strong.
My adult children are truly my best, inner circle friends. Because we have intimacy in the most secret places, we trust one another, we speak into each other's lives, I learn from them as adults and they listen to me, we enjoy spending as much time as possible together. But most important, we share spiritual influence. I with them--they listen to my counsel and seek me out. And, I also seek their spiritual insight. We all mutually serve the Lord and have the same spiritual convictions.
These friendships, though, did not come by accident. It was from investing thousands and thousands of personal hours together: playing, talking, working, celebrating life, comforting and listening to one another.
We all long to be known, loved for who we are and validated as people of worth. This kind of deep friendship is the essence of discipleship. Friendship forges pathways from one soul to another. Our hearts are open to influence from those who love us and have invested in our lives. So, seeking to be worthy, excellent, "calling you to your best" sort of friends with our children is the way they will listen to our messages about God. Influence and mentoring do not come from a vacuum, but from an intentional investment of time.
How, practically, did it happen? My story below is but a tiny example of how my deep friendships were forged. But, now, I reap the soul-filling fruit of having cultivated these friendships over many years and it is indeed one of my most blessed gifts.
Sunday morning, in early morning hours, presented a celebration of the art of God. It was one of those glorious days that you want to hold on to forever. Gorgeous foliage singing over my soul with brightest reds, blazing golds and friendly breezes of coolness that bespoke of the coming snows. Walking downtown Colorado Springs amongst the blocks of turn of the century homes, all bedecked with porches where hours upon hours were wiled away with children playing, grown ups catching their breath and sharing the events of the day spent in home and family labor and marveling at the sunset on the distant mountain of Pike's Peak.
I was walking, walking these remnants of 8 or ten blocks and enjoying the reverie that comes from such a day. Only there was one thing missing--my dearest Sarah.
Almost palpable was my longing for her to be beside me as we had been for so for at least a decade. For many years, we had awakened at 6 - 7 on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday mornings), before anyone else in the house stirred, to steal away together to our favorite downtown cafe, a haven for sharing secrets, discussing the profound ideas we had been pondering and connecting to each other's soul dreams. Most of the year, when the weather allowed we would follow our rendezvous with invigorating walks in these wonderful tree lined streets that whispered of over a hundred years of memories of families dwelling together, sharing life through the last century, each a uniquely designed masterpiece of a home with individual personality.
I think we loved these walks and especially these blocks, because they reminded our hearts of the kind of community we only dream of in this contemporary isolationist life--the days of Anne of Green Gables. The times when families lived close, neighbors knew each other and shared values and beliefs and life together, where children played freely together over the gardens of each others' families. Bygone times when adults befriended each other through the seasons of many years of life, sitting on the porches and drinking tea. This was always the dream place that we wished we had shared. This became the place of sharing in each other's dreams and wishes and hopes.
But this day, Sarah was off at a writing seminar that Clay had found for her--off for three weeks to adventures of her own with kindred spirits. How she had become my deepest of deep friend, whose soul mirrored my own, who had called to my deepest parts to be excellent, to walk with God and to love Him in a worthy way. I could not have understood as a young mom how profoundly my children would become my bestest of friends, my confidants and spiritual companions.
After Sarah, Joy and I discovered our own favorite cafe. And last year, we chose a new one. Same breakfast, same coffee every week. All last year, I would even take notes on bits that joy would share with me from what she had been reading--she teaches me.We also have a heritage of years of breakfast, coffee and walking and dreaming.........
Joel and I have had hundreds of breakfasts together, one week at a time, with our own friendship. And Nathan and I have invested all over the world together but make time to talk on the phone every day for years and years.
God is a God of companionship, the first real friend.
How thankful I am that God was one who was seeking companionship in the garden when looking for Adam and Eve. Scripture tells of Moses being the friend of God. Our Jesus lived and loved and ate with His disciples and shared deeply in the sadnesses and celebrations and ate with them daily. The living God didn't just impose a set of theological thoughts upon our minds, but that He was the original friend and one who created us with our need for intimacy that would satisfy our souls.
Now, I am already clearing out my schedule because I will have my adult children home for over 6 weeks. When you are best friends, you make it happen. We will be celebrating life--walking together on another road, having coffee together, sharing secrets and forging new memories of friendship. Watching your wings spreading, Sarah and Joy, brings me joy. But we will celebrate the excellence of our "girl's club" that we have all built over the years and cherish the moments we are given, but also, you know I will look forward to visiting you wherever in the world God takes you, because until I see Jesus, you will be my priority friends.
Hope you enjoy our podcast #2 on cultivating friendships with our children.
Be sure to sign up for Renew My Heart Conference by November 18 to save $10. Early registration is over November 19. If you register by Friday, you will be entered into a drawing for 2 free conference entries. If you win, you will get your money back in full. Hope many of you can join us--this will be a strategic time for renewing and refocussing our lives on all that matters.