Today, I want to share an article with you from my friend, Karen Hardin.  To read more of her articles, visit her website at www.karenhardin.com

It’s important we recognize the season we are in Do you know the season you are in? You may feel I’m referring to Christmas, and while that’s important, I am not. I’m referring to seasons in our relationships.

There are some of you reading this who are struggling because of relationships. May this bring hope. Recently, I began to thank God for my friends. As I did, it made me consider friendships past and present. We all have people who fit in both categories. It used to make me sad when a close friendship moved into a non-active or past-tense relationship. When I was younger, I often worked vehemently to restore those friendships. But as I was writing one of my first books entitled “Seasons of Life” God gave me a new perspective which is important that we all recognize. Relationships have seasons.

“Some friendships have expiration dates. And that’s okay,” the Lord has said to me many times since I wrote that book. He said it was okay, but it has taken me a while to be okay with that. Friendships are a special gift. One we should cherish and yet hold loosely. Because friendships will change based on our seasons.

When I was homeschooling my kids, my closest circle of friends were other women also homeschooling and most were part of the same homeschool group. We did life together, we prayed together, we stuck together. But homeschooling is almost seven years in my rearview mirror and I realized that many of those once close friendships are no longer in my circle of friends. Mind you, not enemies. Not broken relationships. Just no longer flowing in the same circle or season.

And I have learned to be okay with that.

There are other times that I have had people close the door on our friendship—sometimes out of anger or disagreement. Where I used to chase after those relationships to see them restored, I’ve learned that it’s better to ask the Lord for His input. The need to ask for forgiveness or grant it, is ALWAYS important. But the question of whether to restore a friendship that has broken is a serious question. It is best to get His input regarding the matter, rather than blindly restore and experience further heartache.

When trust is broken. If lies have been uncovered. These are huge issues that require time and prayer. Some of those relationships can heal, but some may not. Some may restore. But some may not. This is not a “one size fits all” solution. But God certainly can speak into them all.

And then there are those friendships that God breathes on, that become lifelong friends. They are rare and to be treasured and nurtured. My friendship with Kim Potter is one such friendship. Because Kim understands the meaning of being a true friend.

Kim and I met between 15-20 years ago when she was the founder of the Christian magazine, Fresh Outlook. My job at the time was to connect with Christian magazine editors who would run stories on authors I represented. Kim and I worked together on several projects over the phone and online and I developed a tremendous amount of respect for her. I would even call it a friendship although we only met once in person. Then both of our lives shifted into new seasons, which is not unusual especially in work-related friendships. I didn’t see her again for several years. Then one day I saw an article on Elijah List from a Kim Potter. Immediately I wondered if it was her. It wasn’t just a passing curiosity either. I felt compelled to reach out to the writer to find out. It was indeed the same Kim Potter.

I’m not sure how many years had passed since we had last talked. Ten? Twelve? What I learned as we talked on the phone was life had happened to Kim and I both—and in many ways it hadn’t been kind. We all get hit with surprises in life, don’t we? But I want to remind you that He is working ALL things for your good.

At the very time Kim & I reconnected, she had been hit with some very challenging news that a close friend was dying. As only God can do, in the transition of losing one friend, God was providing another.

As we talked on the phone, it became clear that God was reconnecting and reforming our friendship that had gone dormant. And it has gone from just a work-related friendship to one that is much deeper. That was approximately seven years ago and I can’t tell you how grateful I have been for her friendship. She is one of those lifelong, trusted friends.

I want to encourage you today to pray and know your season. Not the natural season we are in right now—Christmas. But the season of your friendships. Because some are simply for a season—and it’s important to be okay with that. Don’t hold onto something that God has gently prodded you to let go of. Some will experience change and some betrayal. Letting go can be the healthiest action we can take—while we also walk in forgiveness to let go of bitterness. That never goes out of style.

But some relationships, which may have gone dormant, may come back around. God may resurrect them—or introduce new relationships as others move into another season. Whichever it is we need to understand that just like the weather has seasons, so do friendships. Let’s be willing to pray into them, cherish them and be willing to release them, when needed as seasons shift. And finally, don’t forget to pray over and invest in those who are precious gifts for life.

P.S. – For those who are struggling in this Christmas season due to a loss of a relationship whether because of physical death or death of the friendship, never forget that God is your closest friend. He sees your heart. He knows the pain and He wants to carry it with you. Don’t forget to let Him. And don’t forget to re-emerge to the new season of hope. God has a plan and purpose for you. This is a well-quoted verse, but I believe appropriate as we close.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, “and I will restore…”

P.S.S. – If Kim and A New Thing Ministries have been an online friend that has ministered to you in dark seasons, please take the time to let her know. Send an e-mail. A card. Make a donation. Let’s not forget to let our friends know they are special. Merry Christmas!

 

Appoint My Days

My God supplies all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  I walk in financial abundance. God supplies all of my needs – not half of them – ALL of them. Satan, take your hands off of my finances. Finances, I command you to be loosed from the world system, and placed at my account today, so I can do the work of the Lord.

Philippians 4:19