I need love, I need friends

"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up!"  Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 One of the most repeated struggles in my life has been loneliness. Our family has moved 17 times (6 times internationally) and because of life-circumstances, we have been extremely isolated from our extended family. So it means lots of starting over times and most holidays spent alone when others are with their families. But each of us is pre-wired by God to need to "belong", to be a part of a group where we can be a valued member--a beloved person. We were made for love and friendship. Yet, so many are desperately lonely today, even though amidst lots of people.

Our soul will shrivel up without true, close fellowship. As a speaker and leader in the Christian realm, I long for people I can be myself with--they know me, warts and all, and still love me and accept my children and my sin and weakness and all of my faults. I cannot exist in a bubble of busy-life where no one really knows me but only supposes me to be what they think I am from reading my books. I need real, velveteen rabbit sort of relationships--where you are old and worn out together and dirty from sharing life--but it has made you all the more precious to each other.

I am off to a meeting in a little bit, so I will just type all sorts of thoughts I have in my heart about the importance of Jonathan-David, close friendships--no time to edit today--but I pray it will encourage your hearts.



My sweet daughters, who are my best friends, and Gwennie, my sister friend who became so close to me and such a support when we were single missionaries in Poland.She and I are family to each other since neither of us has had much family over the years.


In this whole idea of becoming refreshed, we need to look to God grace through others as a necessity for us to be able to be refreshed. Friendship was designed by God to be a grace from Himself. We were not created to be lone-ranger Christian believers.

Recently, I was quite discouraged and weary. A sweet friend asked me over to her house for some time together over a cup of tea, fresh raspberries and blackberries, some chocolate and biscotti. We sat on her deck and just enjoyed our time sharing our thoughts, feelings and life-issues. Then we prayed together over all we had shared. I felt like a new person when I left. The fun of sharing an afternoon in beauty and with good food, and the sharing of hearts and then the lifting each other spiritually--all three elements I needed. She lifted my heart and spirits and I didn't even know how much I needed her!



My sweet friends Deb and Shelley forever, who meet once a week for history group for our children (and for us) and who serve side by side at ministry functions with their kids all over the US. We have grown close by planning and working and building specific dates to get together amidst the busy-ness.

*******************************************************    Sometimes I am so used to being strong and keeping going that I don't even recognize my need for other women. In days of old, people were born into and lived in their community their whole lives. They knew their neighbors and when they hung the laundry out to dry, or needed to borrow a cup of sugar, they went next door to the friend they had known for years. Often the grandmothers would live in the same house and aunts and uncles and cousins would live in the same vicinity. There were built in community relationships of lots of different people who could share the load, be friendly, make a cup of tea or bring a batch of cookies.

Now, we live apart. Go to a church of thousands not in our neighborhoods, don't usually know our neighbors and often have nothing of values or background in common. So, we become used to fending for ourselves--taking care of all the details of life alone--and then suddenly we poop out and wonder where God has gone.

God's design was always for us to live in community--first the family was to be a large group living together, loving each other and sharing life and traditions together--including the older women who could help with the younger women. There would be lots of children with similar values and close relationships for kids to play with so that the mom could actually have a few minutes alone while the children played and ran and had wholesome fun.

Then He called the Jews to be a people together, with a history, celebrations, traditions that would support themselves as a community. He picked 12 disciples to be together in a little cohesive group. The church is supposed to be a "family" or body of people with whom we can be close, and share spirituality as well as the burdens of life. 

No wonder in these last days, Satan has succeeded in creating isolation amongst us--because when we are alone in our homes, we naturally compromise our ideals, become discouraged and listen to his voice of discouragement.

Media has further separated us. We watch imaginary stories on television each evening to not feel alone and to fill the time, but there are not real live people to touch us, to give us a real meal or cup of tea or to give us their shoulder that we may cry upon. 

And husbands cannot fill all of our need for love that was meant to be filled by a community of people who loved us and by a gaggle of women who could share in all the feminine things of life--getting pregnant, bearing under morning sickness, living through the sleepless nights, nursing our babies, raising our children--cooking, cleaning, living loving--all to be shared with Titus 2 women who could come alongside us in love, friendship, spiritual and emotional and practical help.

What pressure we put on our husbands to fill us up and meet all of our needs for love, when God never intended one person to be able to do all of that!

We must re-create these groups if we are to have the same support and love. We all need love and understanding and encouragement and were not made to do well without it. Most women I know don't even know an older, Titus 2 type of woman who could encourage them or baby sit or give them sage advice.

But be sure to cultivate healthy friendships--ones who point you to God, who do not gossip or whine or create bitterness or criticism towards others. Gordon McDonald said, "A person can only have so many drainers in their life at once, before it wears them down." 


My friend, Lynn, from North Carolina--we have known each other since our kids were quite small--but we pursue each other. She send me cards, calls me, travels with me, even flew to a conference where I would speak to drive my rental car when I had the flu--a Jonathan friend.  


Build your inner circle of friends who have your values, who believe in God, who will pray for you or help you when you need it. You may have to create such a group--it is why we are helping moms all over the world start mom heart groups--we want them to have support and friendship and fun and love.

True, Biblical Friends invest in your life and add to it. Look and pray for women who you know you will be uplifted after spending time with them. Invest in their lives, invite them over, send them life-giving words that the relationship may not just be one way. 

Last night, I called another friend and she told me to read a book I had on my shelf. I stayed up late and was so encouraged by it. Again, help and encouragement from a friend.

I was teaching a Bible study at a large coop I attend, and one of the women came to me and said, "Sally, you are going to burn out. You never stop and you need an Aaron and Hur to hold up your arms."

I realized she was right. I invited over a group of women that I saw often and we have lunch together once a month and they have become my local support system. They encourage me and love me and help me and we are becoming closer and closer all the time. Now they are the very group who will help me host my Leader's intensive in August. They have beautifully organized the food and transportation and so many other things--it has been great fun for us to be together--but my friend recognized my need and then I had to initiate it.

This summer, as I evaluated my own needs to be refreshed, I wrote down specific goals of what I needed. I am meeting with one of my friends every week that we are both in town. She is a few years ahead of me and whenever I am with her, I am always encouraged. So I asked her if we could meet once a week and I have been so very blessed personally. 

I also made a list of some women I wanted to have time with--so I have been meeting one person a week for breakfast. I planned some time with Sarah, my daughter, because I always know I will feel loved and encouraged after being with her. So, as to our tradition, we go out each Saturday morning, when Clay is with Joy, and share coffee and breakfast and then we go walking amongst the beautiful old Victorian homes and talk and share dreams. I have "girl's club"--Sarah, Joy and Sally times once a week--just for fun--either breakfast together at home or lunch out or hiking together--intentional, relationship building time.

I have almost had to initiate every group that has ever become a blessing and have lots of people over to my house for dinner and rarely get asked back--but the cultivating of emotional life and friendships has kept me from going under. So don't wait for someone to ask you or to initiate to you--everyone is busy and overwhelmed and it does no good to bemoan the fact that you never get invited--it seems to be a common thing for all of us in this busy day and time to feel that we are the ones who always take initiative. Instead, just initiate hospitality because it is a grace God has given to you. Most people enjoy coming together, but not everyone feels comfortable initiating it--but if you want to have groups and friends, you have to create it, cultivate it, pursue it--and it is a worthwhile effort.

The bottom line, a wise-woman recognizes her need for friends, her need to be loved and her need for fellowship. She recognizes that her children and husband also need this Biblical companionship. She makes plans, she initiates, creates groups, reaches out and seeks to cultivate closer friendships--for the sake of a healthy soul. Make a plan for your own life, pray for God to open doors--to give you ideas of how to make pathways towards new friendships. Cultivate love and fun and sharing in your home today-that your sweet ones may be building towards the kind of deep friendship God created you to know. Celebrate life and bring beauty that love may flourish. 

So many friendships over the years have kept me sticking to my ideals--to keep going in ministry, to keep seeking God in crisis in my life. Though I do not have all of their pictures, they will be the reason I was able to keep going--to see His love and to feel His touch--through them, His own reaching out to me through their life-giving love and words and help when I needed it.

Wish I had pictures of all the dear ones who have come to mean so much to me. But God has seen your grace in my life and I pray He will reward you for your generous love and time. I appreciate you today.


My own sweet best friends who God sovereignly picked to be my family.