During the last few years, God has impressed upon my heart how vital relationships are in each of our lives. We truly are all connected and need each other to share with, learn from, and encourage one another. It is important to be aware of people in our lives who need us to be there for them and those that God puts in our life for us. It works both ways!
In your life, do you make time for relationships rather than always busying yourself with checking things off your to do list? It is something I struggle with but feel I am making progress on in my life.
For those of us who are more introverted, I think this realization of the importance of relationships in our lives might take a little more effort compared to those that are maybe naturally extroverted. But I think the extroverts can help encourage the introverts of the importance of sharing with others and maybe help them come out of their shells some.
There have been three or four incidences within a few weeks where God showed me the importance of relationships. I think the main lesson for me is that, yes….
…we do need each other
…we can all help each other
…and build the kingdom of God through our relationships.
Photo credit by Celestine Chua under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
On Thanksgiving Day, I received a text from the Pre-K teacher I worked with the past two years who was just thinking of me and wishing me a nice day. This summer she moved about 1  1/2 hr away and I only saw her once since then when we were both at a funeral for a mutual friend. In the process of exchanging a few texts on Thanksgiving, we both said how great it would be to get together. I made sure I made an effort to contact her on my day off that week, and it was a day that worked for her as well.
It was neat to see how God used just that simple, little text to orchestrate our get together which was a huge blessing for both of us. She was excited to show me their new home and the church that her husband pastors, so I made the trek to their new place. It is always a pleasure to spend time with her, talk about the Lord, our families, and whatever else comes up. We enjoyed a nice lunch at a quaint little restaurant and her husband joined us for a bit. Four hours flew by and I know both of us were inspired and encouraged through our visit.
Sharing different parts of our lives with each other and in more depth was truly a blessing. So often I think I am the only that is going through something, but then I learn that is not really the case. Having that support and encouragement from other people helps us get through different things and might give us a different view point that we had not thought of.
Another friend of mine texted me on a Sunday to say she bought some tickets to a Women’s Tea at her church and wondered if I wanted to go. It was a blessing to learn that because of a sermon she heard about the importance of community, she decided to go the Tea and invite a few friends.  Again, it was a blessing spending time together, take time to reflect on the reason for the Christmas season, and it was powerful to see the speaker at the Tea echoed a devotional I had just read from the pastor of Third Day. God at work!
During the past year, my life has also been enriched through building community through a 32-week Bible Study and then a 10-week one. That coming together and sharing thoughts about the studies and even prayer requests builds relationships that are so vital in our lives.
Small groups are a great way to build relationships as well. I’ve been blessed to be meeting one on one with  a friend who experienced the Bible study with me and then we both shared an in-depth weekend retreat. It has been a true blessing to meet weekly with her to share our experiences, pray for each other and encourage one another.
Third day post
David Carr, Mac Powell, & Mark Lee, all of Third Day, with some Gomers in Fayetteville, NC  11/20/15
Attending Third Day concerts and getting to know the old time fans called Gomers shows me the importance of relationships as well. And as I’ve said many times, the guys of Third Day model for us the importance of relationships. They take the time to ask how your trip was, thank you for coming, and wish you safe travels home to show they care. The Gomers are a group of people, bonded together through their love for Third Day music, who realize the importance of relationships and are there to support one another via prayer, an encouraging word if needed, and sometimes even financially if some disaster is affecting someone.
Though not quite as vital and certainly not to replace our face-to-face relationships,  social media these days can help build relationships to a point and a definite way we can encourage others. There are more opportunities to pray for others, encourage someone with a kind word, and make a difference in their life.  I have been blessed to feel led to pray and encourage a few people this way, and truly have been blessed in return. You might just say one little thing that might have a huge impact on the other person. God can use even the smallest gesture or one sentence spoken in truth to change the other person or help them see something in a different light.
So, I encourage you to be aware of the importance of relationships in your life. Even meeting an elderly neighbor at the mailbox and talking with them and being really “present” for a few minutes, rather than being busy with your to do list, can make an impact on their life. Take time for those vital relationships that God puts in your path!
Feel free to share ways you have experienced how vital relationships have been in your life. Maybe helping you through an illness, providing transportation or meals for you when you couldn’t provide for yourself?
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  –1 Thessalonians 5:11  (NIV) 


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