Thoughts on Friendship: We Need One Another

I grabbed my phone from my bedside table Wednesday morning and considered the options. Despite the appeal, I know better than to start the day with social media. As I scanned the apps on the screen, I became curious about the verse of the day on You Version.

The early hours can sometimes be the better hours for letting scripture sink into your mind and soul. The haze of just waking up lends itself to some imagination.

The verse began, Jesus said to her.

I didn’t recognize the rest of the verse. I am her too and I must know the context of this story. I could not resist Jesus said to her and clicked Read the Full Chapter.

It was the story of Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, when the latter was raised from the dead.

It’s a Story about Friendship

It’s a story about many things, but Wednesday morning, the friendship among the four of them resonated. I imagined the helplessness and loss the sisters felt as Lazarus became sicker. They sent a message to their friend Jesus to come.

We need each other. We call to those we love when we need nearness for whatever life may be serving that day. We so need each other when hard things hit. We need proximity, care and comfort from the people who reach for us without asking a question or saying a word.

We need the people with whom we have made mistakes in front of and have been forgiven. We need the friend who has laid her head in our lap for comfort amid hard things. We need the friends who have wiped tears from our cheeks and put our hair behind our ears.

We need friends who understand brokenness and emptiness and desire to fill it in only the way a friend can. These are the same friends who know your best recipes (or that you can’t cook) and what to bring you for dessert. These are the friends that empathize, show up and be present with us. This was the friendship among Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Jesus was a person, not only God.

I think about how I share my life with my friends. How I talk to them, text them, make plans with them. When I think about Jesus as a person, as a friend, I ask myself if I really can imagine in my heart of hearts that he is just like my Susie, or Stephanie. My Melissa or Sonia. My Christina or Connie. My Suzanne, Sharon or Sils. My mom. My Nathalie.

Do I embrace him like I embrace them? Do I think up ways to bless him like I do them? Am I concerned that he knows I love him and am there for him like I am concerned about them? Do I wonder what he is up to like I do when I call or text them?

This isn’t a test of love. It’s just another way to think about your Savior.

Jesus said to her. He spoke to her as a friend. He told her the things that only he could know. Your brother will rise again. He did the things that only he could do. Do you believe me Martha that those who believe in me will never die?

When she wept, he wept. When she reminded him of death, he reminded her of life. When others looked onto the friendship among the four, many believed in Jesus. When others look on to your friendships, does the idea of having Jesus as a friend crackle in their mind?

Jesus said to her.

Four little words that keep me running towards my friendship with Jesus.

For more thoughts on Friendship, you can read about what my friend Steph taught me about shame or how to be an authentic friend.

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Let’s Do it: Choose Real With Two Questions

Hey my sweet friends, it’s Tuesday. The day I can’t resist reaching out to you.

It’s an odd thing writing in the evening. I had all my words planned.

And then life.

My true friend lost a loved one last night. I found out mid-morning.

As God would so well plan, I got to sit in my car with her to hear her story of the last few weeks. Her life was entangled in love and frustration with her loved one. This is how relationships often go.

There is no such thing as squeaky clean when it comes to true love and care for one another.

Coincidentally, I am finishing up the book that my friend gave me awhile back. She doesn’t have time to read but she knew I would. She had connected with the author online and the book was mailed directly to her as a gift. I had it in my purse as we sat in the car together.

After reading the book, this author is the kind of girl that would have been sitting in the car with me and my friend. Listening and hearing. Putting time aside for a while.

In this way, the air becomes sacred. The holy spirit is present. We listen and hear one another.

We bear the weight and then let it go over breaths of air, soft smiles and with promises sewn into the heart.

My original plan was to share some words from Turning Outward, Chapter 12 of Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue, with you. My plan stands, but perhaps with more meaning.

The crux of the chapter are these questions. [I am paraphrasing.]

Will you shut yourself in and paralyze your soul? Or will you choose to turn your loss outward and use your story for a redemptive purpose?

Will you succumb to your circumstances or turn your feelings outward to be available to how God wants to use your imperfect situation?

There is a crossroad some days, if not every day.

You can choose roads of bitterness or self-absorption, or self-pity. Or, you can reach out to connect and serve another soul – just as broken and in need of a friend as you.

In this process of turning outwards, we find ourselves. We find the things that we were made for. We may find, like the author, that we are good at the ministry of chocolate chip cookies.  We may find that we minister by writing words. We find that, among thousands of gifts, we were made for one and one was made for us.

The author says:

Start where you are with the gifts you have. Do you feel alive speaking? Painting? Designing? Opening your home and putting out brownies and helping people experience a sense of belonging? Your ministry doesn’t have to start big or become monumental; your God given purpose may start with a prompting of His Spirit and a willingness to be present, to be obedient, to offer joy . . .

This is what I want to say to you today:

We are in world where our to do list can wrap about the galaxy ten times. We are in a culture that asks us to put ourself and our own first. We are at a point in history where picking and choosing sides is valued over entering in.

It is in this world that we are offered the choice to cling to isolation and the false pretense of self-preservation or open our eyes to God’s redemptive purposes.

The people that will be impacted by our daily choices are all around us. They are people waiting to be noticed, heard or sat with. Just like you. There are heart connections waiting to be made. The same kind you yearn for within.

This is where your calling, your gifts, lie.

Your hidden gifts yearn with potential to change someone’s day or even season. You have the gift of you that only you can give.

As we approach the season of gratitude and giving, let it become so very clear – – may you know how you were made to give in they way only you can.

I pray that you would pause in your routine and in busyness of your day. I pray you would ask yourself these questions and, with intention, write your answers.

Will you shut yourself in and paralyze your soul? Or will you choose to turn your loss outward and use your story for a redemptive purpose?

Will you succumb to your circumstances or turn your feelings outward to be available to how God wants to use your imperfect situation?

When you are ready, write out how you will live outwardly every week for the next nine weeks. I’m on week twelve of sending one postcard or card to a friend each week.

What is God calling you to? Do that and do it well.

Ah, yes, one more thing, I just updated a page on the blog. I took a workshop on writing this page and I’d love to hear your feedback! This is the link. Shoot me an email at sasha@sashakatz.com.

Love,

Your Soul Sister Sasha

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