by Heather Bock
Tuesdays are always crazy for me. I’m part of a busy generation in the middle of a busy nation, so I’m sure you can relate. This week is even crazier because my oldest turned nine today, and I’m throwing him a birthday party on Saturday. Ever since he turned three, I have made it a tradition in our family to create big parties at our house with lots of homemade decorations. It’s become something my kids anticipate and love, and even though it ends up being a lot of work, I completely enjoy it. You could say it’s my hobby three times a year. I also wanted to make cupcakes for Mr. C to bring to his Wednesday class to make his actual day special. On top of that, I’ve been preparing for a conference that I will be attending next weekend–so excited!–and that has taken a lot more (good) time than I thought it would.
I went to bed on Monday night wondering how I would get everything done on Tuesday and still treat everyone in my family with the love and respect stress tries to strip away.
What do you do when you face a day like that? What do you do when your work overwhelmingly looms over you like a wave about to drown you?
I knew exactly what to do. First, I asked for God’s help to complete what I needed to complete and to know what to drop if I needed to drop anything. Then I waited until the morning when my praying friends would be awake and sent an SOS group message to them, asking for prayer. It wasn’t long before they were writing back with words of encouragement, and I knew I could count on them praying.
I know God answers my prayer without my friends’ help–He has many times–but somehow, for some reason, God uses our friends to support us in a special way.
Think about Moses in Exodus 17. Joshua was fighting a battle against Amalek and while Moses kept his staff raised, Joshua would win. Whenever Moses’ arm would get tired, and he would drop his staff, Joshua would start to lose. God could have made Joshua win another way, of course. Just skim through the books or Joshua or Judges or even I Samuel, and you’ll find some pretty unique ways for winning battles with God. I think God wanted to show us the value of standing by and helping strengthen fellow believers. Aaron and Hur each took an arm and in this way, Moses was able to keep his arms up, staff raised, through the entire battle, winning the fight.
Jesus told Peter that after Peter had been tested by Satan and had turned back, that he should strengthen his spiritual brothers (Lk. 22:32). In another place, Paul sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage believers (I Thess. 3:2). God could strengthen and encourage us directly through His Holy Spirit, and He does at times, but He also chooses to use other Christians to do this job.
Whenever I need strengthening, when I’m weak because of lack of sleep, worry, anger, stress, or anything else, I know that after I bring it to the Lord, I can bring it to that group of women, and I know they will pray for me and encourage me. This hasn’t come from nothing. I’ve done life with these women for many years–Thanksgivings, Easters, birthday parties, Sunday mornings, moms’ nights out, women’s conferences, and countless Monday nights. These women became more like my sisters than just friends. I don’t live near any of those I texted Tuesday morning anymore, but we still call on each other for help several times a week.
Do you have friends like these? Are you developing friends like these? If not, you need to start.
Don’t be discouraged by the length of time I mentioned that I had with these women. It doesn’t have to take years. I moved to Texas about a year and a half ago, and, knowing I would need friends like what I left behind and knowing I wanted to be that kind of friend, I dug in as soon as I arrived, starting a monthly book club with a group of like-minded women, planning field trips with my homeschool community, and setting up playdates for my kids. I joined a morning prayer group. Because of this, I have new groups of women living near me to whom I can share struggles and encouragement, and they do the same with me.
I don’t know how Tuesday would have gone without my friends praying, but I can say that with the help of the Holy Spirit and the confidence coming from knowledge of friends on my side, I was able to accomplish everything on my list that day without a bad attitude–not an easy task! What if it had been something more serious than just a busy, overwhelming day? What about cancer, or relationship issues, or the death of a family member?
God made us to need Him first and foremost, but He also made us to need each other. It is not good for us to be alone. If you don’t have a group to support you when you are weak, I implore you to get involved with one or start your own now.
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