On being a friend.

I am pretty sure I’m not the only one who has been here:

The kids are growing, and making their own decisions. In our instance, everyone had seen our son grow up and leave for college. It was while he was there, just an hour away, and engaged in Student Ministry, college sports, Sports Ministry, and playing in at least 2 or 3 worship bands, when he started his downward trend. Then the bottom went out.

While this was going on, and WE saw him making poor choices, the whole town around us still thought of him as being “such a good, Christian, young man” – while we tenderly shared our requests for prayers interceding for him.

Often, people didn’t believe us, or brushed it off. Whether they thought we had too high of expectations for our kids (pretty sure we did, but only because we wanted them to build on the shoulders of our faith, something we didn’t have in either of our homes), or that he was “just being a kid”  (well, he was, but we prayed a lifetime of prayers that he would only move forward in his faith), it hurt more to realize that we lived in an extremely superficial place, and that we weren’t getting to see much genuine faith expressed in our friendships.

We wanted to be real. It wasn’t a gossip session – it was a real, genuine, request for prayer. We tried really hard to be genuine in our friendships, sharing burdens and blessings. We weren’t wanting attention (ugh, who wants THAT kind of attention?) and really prayed fervently before having to go into “tough love” mode. It was one of the hardest seasons in our lives (which really drew us, my husband and I, closer together in Christ). It was bittersweet.

So now, being on the other side of that lesson (our son, sweetly restored to His Savior, and now engaged to a lovely Christian girl), how should I respond when other friends’ kids just start to step away from their faith? What about when we suspect something before our friends do? Is our greatest service just to hold our tongue and lift them all in prayer?

I think so. Do you?

Comment please…


8 thoughts on “On being a friend.

  1. I think you’re right: hold your tongue and pray really hard. God will reveal to the parents what they need to know; and if He hasn’t, then they probably aren’t ready to hear it. Possibly, also, He is working on the child. We were in a situation with our older boys where we suspected something but not THAT. God revealed it in His time THROUGH our boys’ confessions and repentative spirits. God took care of it, and we didn’t even know the depth of it when He did.

  2. Gosh I just lost my comment. I pressed the full stop and it disappeared. I’ll start again.
    What you have written has given me a lot to think about. I know I will sometimes think…. is overreacting or I will say “It’s not so bad” to make the person feel better. But now I think I will listen to what…..is telling me, tell them I will take their concerns to God and if they are overreacting God will let them know. We need to do life WITH people, not AT them or FOR them. (God has been telling me this in a number of ways lately). Thank you for your thoughts. It’s good. Cheers, Linda.

  3. I, too, think you are right. Taking a step back, praying and trusting God to show you if and when you should speak and trusting that He will bring about the perfect opportunity if you should say something in the future. Thanks for sharing. I can identify from experiece with your desire for real, genuine relationships and the hurt that comes when you realize you’ve been living in a superficial place that you thought was real.

  4. Hi I am new here and this post hits home. My 26 yr old son is away from God after a life in church along side us as we gave ourselves to ministering as pastors and teachers. Once it became clear to others that he was not a “good little christian boy” anymore, it meant so much to me when friends would come to me and tell me they had been praying for my son and sometimes they even had beautiful and hope-filled messages or visions regarding him and how the Father sees him. It seemed like this often happened just when I was about to give up hope for him. Like a sweet gift from God.
    So I would say that it is good to pray for your friend’s wandering kids, but also let the parent know you are praying. it means so much!

  5. thank you for this post. We (my husband and I ) are actively involved in 4 young men’s lives that are not our children but dear fellow believers. They have good christian parents who feel as you did. We feel it is a tremendous privilege and duty to be involved in this way. God has given my husband the burden to come alongside and challenge these precious wanderers in a way that the parents cannot presently do. 1 in particular has done a 180 and is now back in the proper fellowship with his parents as it should be. While he was in rebellion the challenges were something he wouldn’t listen to from his parents but would from my husband and his see-thru heart. God does direct in this and many times I have been held back by HIm when it wasn’t a ripe time yet. It has to be an open ministry between my husband and myself to protect both my marriage and these young men, but what an awesome opportunity. God does use us to reap what He sows. Blessings Laura

  6. Also we did keep up with the parents and specifically try and uphold anything they were asking. Our goal was to bring the child back in fellowship with both God and the parents while still helping them see each others needs. My husband has a gift for really feeling and listening. Most would see him as a silent servant, but his ability to connect with this generation is uncanny. God is good all the time.

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