After finishing the series on Isaac, there were some things that are heavy on my heart to share with you. These things are not new things, but because of Isaac, they have been emphasized in my heart. These same things came into clear focus when we went through Silas’ (our youngest) life threatening beginning (you can read about his story at http://simplenourishinghome.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/celebrating-silas/) I can’t help but think God has a reminder here for all of us.
First of all, as I shared all the ways that God was faithful and made His presence known, I had this nagging feeling to keep reminding all of you that He will be every bit as faithful to you as He has been to us. When you find yourself in life changing situations, He WILL make his presence known to you as well. None of our journeys will look the same, but the same God is with us in all of them. He never changes. He is ever faithful. My purpose in sharing the specifics of OUR journey was just to help you have eyes to see where He is working in YOUR journey.
Part of being able to see God working has to do with what seeds you sow BETWEEN those times. In other words, are you seeking Him and pressing into Him when you are NOT experiencing difficulties? This is a time to sow seeds that will often bear fruit during a crisis. Sometimes our relationship/quiet time with God gets a little stale and feels mundane. It happens. It’s part of being human, it’s part of living in a sin-stained world. I think the important thing is not to let that go on for TOO long. Do things to challenge that status quo, ask God to help you out of the rut and keep seeking Him. (You can read more about ideas on quiet times at http://simplenourishinghome.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/heart-to-heart-ideas-on-how-to-get-quiet-times-with-god/)
The second thing I NEED to say is this: WE REALLY DO NEED EACH OTHER. I can’t tell you how thankful I was for all the people in our life who were there for us during the loss of Isaac. We felt overwhelming loved and cared for. That’s the kind of stuff that gets you through these times. God uses those people to minister to you…to be His eyes, ears, hands, feet, and voice. It’s like having God there with skin on to hug you, pray with you, feed you, comfort you. And whatever conflict we had in the past (if any) becomes completely insignificant.
I’m going to be blunt here: You get those kinds of relationships in your life be BEING the kind of friend to others that you would want them to be to you. In other words, don’t spend your energy quarreling or being hurt over petty things and focusing on “non-essentials”. Be prayerful in your friendships. Don’t confront without asking God for wisdom first. Many things just work themselves out.
Friendships also experience seasons. You will likely only have a handful (at most) of lifelong friendships that continue to be maintained. Most friendships are “seasonal”, meaning they were perfect…for THAT particular season in our lives. That is not a BAD thing. It doesn’t mean we part ways mad at each other. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) It just means that friendship served God’s purpose for it in THAT season. Sometimes those friendships are re-ignited. Almost all the friends I have had over the years are still my friends and when we face challenging, life altering times, they come to our side. We do the same for them. We just may not talk to them all that often, but when we do it is like a breath of fresh air.
When there is conflict, be very prayerful about your confrontations because words are very powerful. You can’t take them back. We need to be responsible for our part, but it’s important not to try and force the other person to change. You have to be able to be yourself (within reason). You need to feel “safe” with them and they with you.
Let’s be honest here, sometimes friendships become draining. It’s really important be sure that your friendships aren’t sucking the life out of you. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t willing to sacrifice for that other person or search your own heart and admit when you are wrong, but you have to pray for wisdom to know when to take a break or when to walk away for the sake of “guarding your heart”. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” It’s what we live our life out of. Friendships are very important, but as a wife and mom, our families are our priority.
My point in all of this is that life is short and unnecessary conflict does not honor God and is a waste of time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. It’s again about being a good steward of what God has given us and being willing to let go when He leads. Let HIM be Lord of your relationships.