A Friend of Substance

I have a few sweet friends who I haven’t seen for awhile. Friends I miss greatly after moving away from San Antonio and toward Denver. They’re the kind of women of substance who want to know the real, nitty gritty part of one another’s lives.

Without fail…whether it’s over an open Bible or a frozen margarita, they’ll lean in with focused eyes and ask, “What season are you in?”

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What season. I love that. Is your life full of budding flowers, just waiting to bloom? Or perhaps autumn is where you are, in the midst of a great harvest.

Where do you feel you are?

Even when I’m in the dead of winter, praying for warmth and life, I know I’m just like the trees outside my window. I know the roots of my life are indeed growing deep as I brave the cold.

Don’t you want those kind of friends? Friends you can be real and truthful with?

So often we just chat with friends. Chatting as in talking about our kids and about life, but not really talking about anything at the same time.

We don’t delve deeply enough into each other’s lives. We don’t actually know one another’s struggles, our deepest passions, and the hurts we need prayer for.

And I am the president of this club. I want this more than anything, and yet I don’t reach out and grasp it. I still feel new to town, only having been in Denver a handful of years…but that’s ridiculous. I have a friend in our neighborhood who has been here a much shorter time, and has the friendships I crave.

Why? Well, I tell myself it’s because she has less children and therefore more time…but really, it’s because she reaches out. She starts the conversation. She knows I’ve been having a hard time with something and brings over lunch and fellowship. She takes the time to ask the difficult questions and is always there to support. She almost senses a need in someone and calls them to see how she can help with it.

And then I try and comfort myself with the fact that I’m an introvert and that I already stretch myself every day as I interact with people.

As I sit here in the early morning hours, before the sun even wakes, I’m surrounded by half finished chores and an endless to-do list. Life has been abnormally insane lately. And with six kids, I am definitely used to the crazy. But right now my husband and I are almost in survival-mode.

Have you been there? Things life is throwing at us, things God is asking of us…mixed with moving to a new house, is exhausting.

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, I can pretty much promise you’ve heard this verse countless times. But today, if you’re feeling weary and that your heart is needing comfort, read it with fresh eyes…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Ok, yes…I’m exhausted. But if I’m honest…we’re ALL a bit weary, aren’t we? My story is likely the same of yours, only with different details.

It’s no excuse. We need relationships and we need deep friendships. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mother with little extra time or a career woman with an overwhelmed schedule. Or both. Ohhhh goodness, my friend…if you’re both, may God give you added blessings of strength and energy.

But friendships are important. Please don’t forget that. I’m not saying small-talk with ladies as we wait at school pickup or at our son’s soccer game. I’m not talking about catching up with the latest gossip or talking about what shows we’re currently obsessed with.

I’m talking about the REAL. The heart and substance. Asking “how are you” and not expecting to hear simply a “fine” but rather being honest about the fact that you’re moving and overwhelmed.

Or that your children are starting at a new school on Monday and some of them are sad and scared and you don’t know how to make it better. (oh wait, those are my things)

As I’ve been praying through this for the past few weeks, God began to reveal opportunities to me. I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile who mentioned wanting to start a monthly prayer group with a group of 6-8 friends. I jumped at the idea.

It’s been a few months since I wrote the text above and have spent so much time in prayer that Christ would stretch me and create opportunity for me to make those friendships I craved.

And you know what? That prayer group I mentioned…it’s become my lifeline. This group of girls who basically didn’t know one another, have become sisters I can trust with the good, bad, and downright yucky.

In addition to opening my home for that group of ladies, I’ve also started having a dinner party every month that I’m calling An Evening to Nourish. I’ve had three so far and each month and invite both women I know well…and those I’d like to know well. It’s a different group each time and I decided I just wanted to love on them for a night. Because if I was feeling this way, most likely other women are as well.

IMG_0304IMG_3470menuThen this past week I decided to host something I’m calling, Bootcamp in the Backyard which is basically what it sounds like. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning for the rest of the summer, a friend who is a Trainer is coming over and we work out in my backyard. I’ve invited neighbors and girls I’ve barely met and moms from the kids school. I told them to bring their kids and we put a movie on for a little distraction and minimal interruptions to our time together.

So I encourage you as I encourage myself: Reach out. If you don’t have the friendships and girl-time you need, create the opportunities yourself!

Have girls over for dessert or coffee or a glass of wine. Ask what Season they’re in. Invite some over to do a workout video in your living room…it’s amazing what you talk about after an hour of sweating your heart out.

Delve into a deeper friendship with a few ladies you feel pulled to connect with more.

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And most importantly, pray He brings the right ladies to you. Women you can truly connect with and form tight bonds with. He’ll bring ‘em to you.

Just like The Field of Dreams reminds us, If you build it…they will come.

 


 

About the Author

Anderson 2Teresa Anderson

A wife to Ben, mother of six (2 biological & 4 from Ethiopia), Teresa‘s life is the opposite of what she’d planned. Never {ever} wanting kids, she realized in her early 20’s that she was living the plans shewanted for her life, rather than the perfect plans He had created her for. After praying and completely laying everything down at Christ’s feet, He soon placed a new dream upon her heart: Africa. Caring for the uncared for. Loving the unloved. Now, she lives in a {very!} busy household and blogs over at Hugs & Punches, striving to see the beauty and choosing to have inexpressible joy amongst all the craziness, loudness, silliness, and mess that is her life with a house full of beautiful kids.

 

 

  • Lauren

    I’ve been going through a hard time finding girlfriends that I can be open and honest with and not feel like I’m being judged and criticized. With my husband and I moving to a different town in a few weeks, this was exactly what I needed to hear today!

    • Teresa Swanstrom Anderson

      I’m so glad it was just what you needed to read today, Lauren! Good luck in your move!

  • Kelsey Lasher

    Teresa, I love this! So many great ideas! Praying for you! And hey, I’m just down the road from you so if you need a little help getting rid of that “new to town” feeling, let me know! My email address is lasherke@me.com!

    • Teresa Swanstrom Anderson

      Kelsey, you’re the sweetest!! Where do you live?!

      • Kelsey Lasher

        Castle Rock!

        • Teresa Swanstrom Anderson

          So close!! I’m in Greenwood Village! xo

  • Lissy

    Love this Teresa!! And love these ideas! I am *really* trying to say No to things I’m just not that into to make more room for the things I really crave and care about! And I want to come to one of your Nourish dinners!! Maybe you need a 2nd West Ashton Historical Society dinner?? 😉

    • Teresa Swanstrom Anderson

      ohmygosh Lissy…YES!!