My Dear Children,
An unfortunate situation happened a few days ago that made my “mother heart” very sad. I pray that you have forgotten the event and its only lingering effect is to motivate me to instruct you in the ways of godly friendship. As I am praying that God will help me to forgive and overlook an offense, like God teaches in Proverbs 19:11, I am also praying that God shows me how to teach you God’s way rather than what the world shows us.
As we embark on this new journey in our relationship, I want you to remember something. It’s something so important that I will tell you over and over again.
God chose you before the foundation of the world. He did not have to choose you. He did not have to love you. But He chose you. He loves you. He delights in you because He wants to. He gave His son on the cross to give you life. You will never experience love like that outside of your relationship with God. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice and because you have confessed your sins, you are a friend of God.
There is another thing. This is also very important.
Your Daddy and I have chosen to love you too. Because God has given us this love for you, there is nothing you can ever do that will change our love for you. We also promise to choose you. Every time. We not only love you, we like you. We like you on good days and bad days. We like you when you are funny or if you are feeling sad. When you are all dressed up or when you are in your pajamas. We like you when you have stinky breath (but that’s for another post!) or when you discover your first pimple. We like you when you have crazy hair or when you get braces and glasses. We like you when your voice changes or when others tease you. When you have been blessed with lots of friends or you feel very lonely. And everyday in between, we’ll still be your biggest fan! We will always choose you. We will always show up. We will always be there for you.
If you remember these two things, the other lessons will be a lot easier to learn.
Now. Because of our love for God and our love for you, we are making a commitment to teach you faithfully. You may not always appreciate this, but you will learn the difference between right and wrong. The world is teaching and showing you that there is no truth. Your peers (even other “church kids”) will also have an opinion about this. Standing up for what you believe in will often make you “uncool.” You may even lose people in your life that you thought were friends. Do not fret, my precious child. Even though it hurts, God will redeem each and every situation for His glory and you will grow. When all is said and done, every knee will bow and all will see that God is truth. It will be worth it to forfeit this momentary popularity for eternal reward! I promise.
Lord willing, you will also learn to be kind. For, every person is made in God’s image, even if they choose to be unkind to you. Your Daddy and I pray that you see, from a very early age, that the person you see cleaning a bathroom is just as important as a person who sings on stage. As a child of God who is in our family, we pray that you learn to be kind to each person you come into contact with. Through this choice, you will form some very special friendships and you will also entertain angels unaware (Hebrews 13:2). Not everyone you are around will become your best friend and some may hurt you. You will learn to forgive and speak with kindness (Proverbs 16:24; Matthew 12:34).
We also pray that you become a student of people. As you learn how to be a godly friend, we pray that you learn what blesses those around you. Each person is encouraged in different ways. A good friend makes the choice to remember what their friends enjoy. Your Daddy and I both have friends that are very different. We like spending time with them. In order to do that, we know what they like to do. This friendship lesson will also help you when you find a special person to marry. Mature people know how to participate in activities that their friends choose. This is also one of the reasons why it is so important to choose friends wisely. If you choose godly friends, it will be much easier to participate in their choice of activities.
Good friends. Godly friends. Wise friends. These come from being good, godly, and wise yourself. Become a listener. When your friend is talking, choose to listen. You do not always need to be planning what you will say next. Do not interrupt. Do not interrupt your friend or the other people they are talking to. Never try and take your friend away from a conversation. Mature people, who are good friends, wait their turn without feeling threatened. As you grow in maturity, you will become a wonderful listener. Those who listen are also much better at speaking a timely word. It is much easier to know what should be said, if you are truly listening to what you were just told. Girls and boys who are careful with their words are much more desirable friends.
Choose your company carefully. Who you spend time with, will reflect on you and serve to shape your reputation. Your Daddy and I will direct you back to the book of Proverbs often. God shared many instructions with us about wise counsel in this book of the Bible. We pray you learn this lesson God’s way and not through painful experiences. It is better to have a few close friends, rather than be led astray by the company of many. It is very painful to be lonely and lost in a crowd. Through things like social media, we’ve been fed a lie, that numbers amount to success. Choose wisely. When you’re running with a crowd, you’re often blamed for things you didn’t do and your own morals are quickly passed over and forgotten.
My dear children. Oh how we pray you will be guided under the direction of godly mentors and surrounded by some very special friends that are seeking God’s way like you are. We know there will be bumps along the way and times that you will need to humble yourself. Please remember that you can always seek forgiveness. Godly relationships are worth fighting for. The mark of a mature Christian is one who is willing to quickly seek forgiveness at the first sign of error. Please keep short accounts with God and the friends He brings into your life.
As you grow, and our rules and discipline transitions into counsel and encouragement, oh how we pray that we will develop special friendships with one another too. I long for you to have a relationship with us like we have with our parents. We may seem so frustrating or uncool at times, but we love you so very much and ache for our family to stay close.
As I write this, you’re snuggled in next to me in just your underwear. Showcasing your muscles! So, I guess, there’s always that! I think I’ll remember this…if, one day, you don’t feel like choosing me…
*Picture by Framed Living Photography