The Definition of a Friend

Food For Thought  Okay, I may have a little bit of self-pity here, but I’m also being honest when I say, I don’t have many friends.  Growing up, I was pretty outgoing and kinda spunky.  I wasn’t super popular, but I definitely had friends.  Then, I made it to college, a campus full of other student who (mostly) had the same views as I did, since I attended a Christian university.  I easily made friends there and was a pretty sociable person.

By the time I reached adulthood in the “real world,” I was struggling to make and keep friends.  Being busy with life, struggling with depression and anxiety, avoiding activities that went against my beliefs, and discovering that people are actually not always honest or loyal were all contributing factors in my becoming more and more isolated.  I’m not proud of this or trying to make excuses.  This is just how my life journey has played out.

All of this leads up to me being in my forties and saying I don’t have many friends.  My husband has even reached a point when he has said, “You need to find you some girlfriends to talk to.”  Well, that’s easier said, than done.  Sometimes, I actually say I have no friends, buy my daughter and husband are quick to point out specific people in my life that have embraced the role of friend in my life.  But I don’t think my friendships will ever be the same, like they once were in my younger days.  I don’t go out with friends to movies or concerts.  I don’t take “girls’ trips.”  I have no one to call when my life is falling apart.  When a family emergency hits, I don’t really have that go-to friend who can step in and save the day.

Well, last week, I was invited over to a friend’s house for lunch.  Can I just tell you how incredible that made me feel!  It was the first time in a long time I felt I was worthy of being someone’s company.  I had been struggling with low mood and unbalanced hormones, but in one afternoon a friend worked their subtle healing powers to restore and rejuvenate my spirit.

We have that power, ladies (and gentlemen)!  Here’s the deal…I bet I’m not the only person to have feelings of loneliness and friendlessness.  Hey, if you’re social calendar is always full and you never experience those feelings, I’m happy for you, really!  But some of us are looking for that one invite, that one inclusion, that one “come sit by me.”  Even as adults, we want to be accepted and included.  We have the power to be that friend to someone, to be the listening ear, to be the guardian angel in times of need, to reach out and say, “You matter.”  We can be the gentle advice during the difficult times, the faithful friend that will stop and pray for their struggle, the loyal companion that keeps the secrets.  You have the power to be all that and so do I!

In our busy hustle and bustle, let’s make sure we don’t forget how to be a friend.  We may have outgrown the playground and school lunch table cliques, but we are never too old to make new friends and restore old relationships.


Today’s Scripture  True friendship is characterized by the love in Jesus’ ultimate example in John 15:13.  Our walk as Christians is the opportunity to show the world His example of friendship.  A true friend loves, gives wise counsel, remains loyal, forgives quickly, and promotes the welfare of the other above their own wants and needs.  Now that is the true definition of friendship!

Today’s Bible Study  I had quite the shift in thinking last week.  I went from feeling like I had no friends and I didn’t matter at all to feeling like I did have friends and I do matter, which all built from the single act of one person.  These ponderings about friendship led me to take a closer look at friendship in the Bible.  I want to share some of the verses I found during my study with you today.


Today’s Recipe  While teaching kindergarten, you can imagine that we discussed friendship a lot.  Much time went into how to be a good friend, make friends, and how to resolve conflict between friends.  These are valuable lessons, but not just for the five and six year-olds just beginning their school journey, but for boys and girls of ALL ages!

During our Thanksgiving unit in social studies, we had a collaborative feast with other kindergarten classrooms.  Everyone contributed a canned item-broth, vegetables, or fruits.  On feast day, the teachers brought our slow-cookers to school along with some browned ground turkey to make our Friendship Stew.  I would dump in my cooked turkey and some soup seasoning.  Then we added the items our friends brought for the feast, cans of broth and vegetables, to make a hearty soup.  The canned fruit was dumped into a big bowl for some Friendship Fruit Salad.  The kindergarten classes would combine for lunch in the classroom, sharing the time with our friends from down the hall and plenty of good food.  Of course, we ate our Friendship Stew and Friendship Fruit Salad, but we also prepared corn muffins in the classroom and served trays of fresh cut vegetables, cheeses, and crackers.  A true feast among friends!  We almost always received more canned goods than we could use, which allowed our kindergarten classes to donate to our friends in need at the local food pantry.  It was always a great week with lots of good food, friendship, and valuable lessons.

This recipe doesn’t have to just serve hungry five and six-year-olds.  It’s a delicious and hearty soup to feed your family any time of year.  What’s even better is this is a “dump and go” dinner.  Once you brown the ground turkey, the rest of the dinner is hands-free!  Here is our kindergarten recipe for Friendship Stew.

Friendship Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 1-oz pkg chili or beef stew seasoning mix
  • 32 oz chicken or turkey broth
  • 4-6 cans of vegetables, drained–we used a variety based on what we received in the classroom, mixed vegetable blend, carrots, peas, corn, beans, even canned potatoes!

Directions

  • Brown the ground turkey in a nonstick skillet, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place cooked turkey in a large slow cooker. Add seasoning and stir.
  • Drain all the vegetables and add to the slow cooker.
  • Pour broth over all and stir.
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours.