How to Make Friendship Soup

“Sometimes we have to lean into the support of folks around us.”

Her words hung thick, like a swallow of bittersweet honey. I knew she was right, but the thought scared me because something like that takes time.

Between car lines and a rocky marriage and a demanding career that was finally peaking, my life was packed with responsibility, stress, and an exploding to-do list. And it was all feeling a bit too much.

Sitting in my counselor’s office, I had just shared how it felt easier to isolate lately. How ignoring most of my friends had actually made space for me to move to the next thing on the list that had to be done.

But in a vulnerable moment I admitted that life, the way I was living it, was flat hard.

Because building walls is lonely work.

So with my counselor’s help, I determined to accept the next invitation that came my way. I decided to stop using so much energy avoiding people and to take a chance to let folks back in.

It was a short two weeks later when, clutching my hot tea, I sank into the kindness of a new friend’s leather couch. Masquerading as an extrovert, I had made my way to a quilting party. And I’ve never quilted a day in my life.

Sometimes we simply have to choose what’s good for us even if it’s uncomfortable.

I watched the women around me slowly hand stitch colorful squares and strips as short stories about patterned blocks of fabric quickly led to deeper, more meaningful conversation.

“I thank God for our gatherings,” said the host, who had lost her child a couple years earlier. “Because life’s too short to hide from the hard stuff.”

Before I knew it, two months had passed and I too had shared a few hard experiences with those ladies. And as they poured out their love on some of my deepest wounds, a beautiful healing unfolded.

But this isn’t a new thing, is it? How God uses the brokenness of one to mend the brokenness of another.

Over the years it’s taken many shapes and forms as we’ve cultivated and nourished friendships around various activities and gatherings. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul reminds us how connecting in authentic community was critical for even the early believers as he pressed them to “encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 CSB

No one left out. Especially not the girl like me {and perhaps you} who feels the pull of navigating multiple roles.

I know doing community can be hard. It can take time and effort and require energy we may not feel. But we aren’t meant to go it alone in this world. We shouldn’t even try. Relationship with others is a part of God’s created and purposeful design.

Need a great idea for a low-key gathering with others to help thaw out your own emotional frostbite? Text or call a few friends {old and new} and invite them over for a batch of soul-warming Friendship Soup.

Make it a co-op sort of hang-out so all the work isn’t on you. Ask each friend to bring one ingredient and then dump everything into a big pot. For a really flavorful dish, ask folks to bring an ingredient unique to who they are to add to the mix.

As the soup simmers and we pull up a chair, the cozy conversation begins to roll and we’ll all start realizing we aren’t alone after all. And it’s that sort of connectedness that often serves as a line of defense for those hard days ahead.

Maybe quilting or making soup for dinner is not your thing. Maybe you’d feel more comfortable connecting with others through a Bible Study, or simply reaching back to a trusted mentor for a lunch date. Check out these tools, resources and ideas to help you reach out:

Friendship Cards

Friendship Gifts

Christian Books (perfect for any book club)

How to Host an Illustrated Faith Girls’ Night

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"Whatever you do, just remember to be creative and willing, “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:23-25 CSB

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