What She Said! Part 2: Add a Friend
by Sherry Bitler, Guest Writer
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:12-13
I may never be called to give my life for a friend physically, but I am called to put my friend’s needs before my own needs at times.
We can make our family a laboratory for learning and developing lots of things. A significant character trait is a skill for interpersonal relationships. Look for a sense of who our children can be in Christ and how they can relate to others. The more intentional we are about this task, the more we can spot opportunities in everyday activities to connect with people who we might have previously overlooked as potential relationships.
A young mom I know who likes to run, recently confessed that running would be a lot more fun if she had a partner. Her schedule didn’t match with any of her friends. I suggested she watch her neighborhood for other runners and ask if they would like to run together. She was nervous but began to pray for boldness. Seeing another woman running one day, she bravely approached her asking if she would like a partner. A relationship and a friendship began. In their conversations, she shared things God is doing in her life. Talking about this experience with her family is a great example of overcoming their insecurities and friendship building. Being a friend is not just about the people we know, but it is about who we are.
As parents, we need to be intentional about the values we want to pass on to our children. Do we want our children to be ‘others’ oriented? Breaking that goal into steps we can see that reaching out to build new relationships is key to understanding ministry.
We can make mercy ministry a mission for our family. It does not have to be a trip to a foreign country. We can look around in our own community and identify needs. Is there a neighbor that just had a baby and would appreciate a meal? Did someone you know just get home from the hospital and need an encouraging card or a call? Is there an assisted living facility nearby where elderly people would enjoy a short visit? Maybe they would appreciate some homemade cookies. We can pray with our children before we go, that God will show His love through them. There are many people who do not have anyone visit them or whose family lives far away.
Life can be so busy or so full that we overlook Scripture’s command to love one another. There are so many recreational activities to keep our children active; there are so many sporting events to spur on teamwork and competition, and there are so many standards and expectations put on young families in our culture today. No matter what childhood environment baggage we bring into our families, we can learn to walk by faith asking God to help us as we teach our children how God opens doors of mercy ministry through everyday friendships.
Dear Father, Perfect Friend, help us transition from the busyness of the day to day to stretching ourselves to model for our children's mercy ministry. Help us to not only read what you have for us to learn but to put it into action before our children. Help us to evaluate any of the activities that we participate in as opportunities to interact with other participants, building new relationships. Please show us when we should be reaching out and including someone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sherry Bitler is the founder of a local traditional Christian School, a home school cooperative school, and a summer program for children at a popular Christian Conference Center. She is a spiritual mother to hundreds of young women. Challenged by her daughter-in-law, she began writing a blog, The Grateful Grammie. She loves time with her husband of 47 years, their four children, their spouses, and twelve grandchildren. Sherry shares more about living with Multiple Sclerosis in the MARKINC.org interview “When MS is Your Constant Companion.”
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