We are made for relationship. Relationship with God. Relationship with family. Relationship with friends.

The feeling of connection that occurs when we interact with loved ones is not only beautiful, but also so important for our well being.

One of my favorite things to do is to sit with a friend and share a hot cup of coffee. I love the deep connection that is created as we ask questions about what has been happening in our lives, and learn more about the past stories that have helped form who we are today, and how we see the world.

There is something that happens when we feel truly known. Truly loved. Truly appreciated. And truly understood. We long for people to love us as we are. No strings attached. We want to know we can make mistakes, and still be accepted.

When I become close friends with someone, I love to hear their story. I love to hear where they have been. I consider it a gift when someone trusts me enough to open up about the deep things that are happening in their heart.

I know not all relationships are meant to be this way. We can’t sit with everyone we know for hours, pouring out our hearts over cups of coffee. There isn’t enough time in the day, or the week, to visit with everyone that we would like to visit with on that level.

There are different types of friendships that serve different purposes in each of our lives. And they are all important. They are all a part of our community.

Some people become our very closest friends. They are like family. They know our hearts, our struggles, our joys. They can tell what we are thinking by the look on our face, or the tone in our voice. They know us. Really and truly know us. We can go weeks, or months, or sometimes even years without seeing them and when we are united again, it’s like no time has passed.

Some people are a part of our daily and weekly lives. We see each other on the sidelines at games. We visit when we walk through the neighborhood. We say hello during pick up and drop off. We may not know the deep parts of each others lives, but we are immersed in the daily with one another. We see each other, and visit a little bit, on a consistent basis. We enjoy each other’s company, and are grateful for our time spent together.

Some people are friends for a period of time, and then the friendship slowly fades. They are there when we need them, and we are there for them, but with the passage of time the connection is lost. There is no animosity. There is nothing that happened to cause the separation, other than two lives going in different directions.

And with the passage of time, and changes in demands on our lives, the way we connect with friends and loved ones changes, too.

And this is especially the case in the childbearing and childrearing years.

Our time is spent caring for the needs of our family members. We are going to sporting events and cheering on our children. We are helping with homework and having family meals. And sometimes this can leave us tired and wanting a moment to ourselves, which means hanging out with friends in the evening, and connecting with friends on a deep level, may not happen as much as it did at other times in our lives. It’s not that we don’t want to, it’s simply that for a season, our priorities have shifted. As they should.

In my 20s, my husband and I were with our friends all of the time. We had game nights and kickball tournaments, and met on Wednesday evenings with our friends in our church group, who to this day are still some of our very closest friends.

In my late 20s and 30s, I had young children and the days were filled with playdates, museum trips and visits to the park. We would meet up with friends multiple times a week, and while the children played and explored, the moms and I would sit and visit. Interrupted visits of course, but it was still time spent together learning about each other’s lives and helping each other through the early years of motherhood.

Since moving, we have had friends visiting regularly from Indianapolis and staying with us. Our weekends were filled with out of town guests. And I have learned something special happens after spending multiple weekends living together. In that time, the bond of friendship begins to feel more like family.

And now, since Covid, we are in a new season. A season that can be isolating if we aren’t careful. For our family, the weekend visits from out of town guests have momentarily stopped. The regular gatherings and dinners with friends that we have met since moving are no longer what they once were. We aren’t going out on dates with other couples. And our children aren’t in sports, and are now learning from home.

During this time, we have had to get creative with how we visit with our friends. At the beginning of Covid, we moved from face-to-face interaction to online visits on Zoom, or FaceTime. Now, we may be gathering with our friends outdoors, and some even indoors, but it’s still different. We are learning how to connect during this time. And while it isn’t always easy, it’s still incredibly important.

We need our people. We need our community. We need that sense of connection and belonging.

I have realized lately I need to be more intentional about making connections with friends. As someone who is more of an introvert, and with all six of my family members at home all day, everyday, it’s been easy to put the relationships that exist outside of my home on the back burner.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have realized this needs to change.

I need my friends. I need to reach out to them. To hear their voices. To know how they are doing. And I want them to know how I am doing, too.

I am grateful for the connections that have been made over the years. And I am grateful for the close relationships I have formed. I am grateful for the friends who will share their hearts with me, and for those who will tell me about their day as we visit on the bleachers.

We are made for relationship. Relationship with God. Relationship with family. Relationship with friends.

This season can be isolating, but let’s not forget the truth that we need one another. Let’s continue to reach out and support each other as best as we are able. I haven’t been very good at this over the past months, and I know in my heart I need to be better. I need to make the relationships outside of my family a priority once again. The conversations may not be lengthy due to time constraints, but a simple “Hello. How are you? I’ve been thinking of you” can go a long way.

I am so grateful to my friends who have stood by my side over the years and have not given up on me. I am thankful for the friends who have endured the different seasons. I am thankful for the friends who I am no longer in touch with, but who have walked by my side at different points in my life. I am grateful for the friends who are like family. And for the family members who are some of my best friends.

Thank you, God, for the gift of these relationships. Thank you for creating us to be in relationship first and foremost with You. Lord, help me to be a better friend. Show me how to love those You have put in my life well. Help those who are feeling isolated and alone. May the bonds of family and friendship be strengthened. Where there is division and hurt, let there be healing. Thank you, God, for the gift of friendship. May it be something I never take for granted.

I would love to here what you think. Please feel free to comment below.