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Staying in Touch

Kaylea Hutson

As I sat talking to my friend Nicole, I felt as if we were sitting face-to-face in the same room. In reality, I was sitting in a storage closet off my newsroom in Oklahoma; and Nic was in her office in Hamburg, Germany. Our means of communication was Skype.

Skype was the tool we needed to bridge the physical distance between us and to allow us to pursue our friendship, which grows stronger every year. Our friendship began in a dorm suite in seminary. It has survived several moves—hers to Georgia, Ghana, England, and Germany and mine to Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Kaylea-pink cow 2Along the way, we became steadfast friends with Betsy and Alicia. Our ministries have changed. Husbands and children have been added. But the main thing, our friendship, has remained the same. We continue to share laughs, hopes, and dreams as well as fears, tears, and struggles. Despite being separated by geography, we find ways to maintain our friendship and to grow in our faith through email, phone calls, text messages, Facebook, Skype, and an occasional long-weekend, in-person visit.

Friendships take work, especially when friends are separated by miles. Spiritual friendships, those built on a mutual relationship with God, take even more work. But ultimately, the results outweigh the struggles. These friendships not only keep us connected but also help us grow in faith.

The hour Nic and I spent skyping went beyond catching up on the latest happenings in our lives. It also gave us a chance to check in, to ask the tough questions, and to see how we were doing in our spiritual journey. At other times, round-robin emails keep the four of us up-to-date on our joys and concerns and remind us of specific ways we can pray for each other.

Faith-based friendships can develop in unlikely places. Recently, a Facebook friend, someone I know strictly through mutual connections, read with concern a post related to my faith journey. She caught me on chat to see how I was doing; and we ended up talking for more than an hour, listening and being a sounding board for each other. In the end, a desire to connect beyond a “Like” or a status update emerged.

What will this look like? We may set a specific time to chat over Facebook message or FaceTime. We may skip the basic questions and get to the heart of what’s going on in our lives. We may not see each other face-to-face for weeks, months, or even years; but friendships forged on faith stand the test of time.
Friendships are important. Spiritual friendships are vital. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 27:17 (NIV): “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” It’s true! My spiritual friendships sharpen my faith, make me stronger, hold me accountable, and encourage me to remain true to my beliefs.

 

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DIG DEEPER

What do you do to strengthen your friendships? How can you use social media and other forms of technology not only to stay in touch but also to grow together in faith? How does your friendship sharpen your friends?

 

Photos courtesy of Kaylea Hutson

Kaylea Hutson , a journalist and children¹s pastor, is currently working as the managing editor of The Grove Sun, a bi-weekly publication in Grove, Oklahoma.

—from devozine (July/August 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

 

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