For me, the best thing blogging has brought me are friends.
Deep. Authentic. Rich friendships.
The only problem is that none of these friends live around the corner.
They live in California and Canada. D.C and L.A.
One lived in Iowa.
Now she lives in heaven and my heart.
Sara, Sara, Sara. The friend I keep talking about these days. We all do.
She would be mortified by all this talking.
Sara was the first *deep* blog friendship I cultivated.
Probably because she took the time to cultivate too.
Nothing was one sided with Sara.
As I pray about this post and seek what would Sara want to share, I think it would be to not fear friendship. Dive in. Don’t be afraid. Even if the person lives across the country.
Cultivating friendships can be challenging – and even more so if you aren’t in the same town as your friend. Last week I shared 5 ways Sara’s in-town friends served her. Today I am going to share 5 ways to love on your out-of-town friends.
1. Call them – This is the easiest one. Just pick up the phone. I called Sara multiple times a week, which allowed me to really know what was going on in her world.
2. Send them mail – I loved, loved, LOVED sending mail to Sara because it was such a huge day brightener for her. Sometimes it was just a card, other times it was a package filled with snacks or something extra. In this day of email and text messages, people love pen to paper, REAL MAIL.
Also, if you know of a friend’s need, surprise them by meeting it! Because of Sara’s circumstances and limited budget, it was easy to send her surprises that met a need. Being able to meet needs for Sara was a gift for her, but blessed me the giver even more.
3. Read their blogs & comment– If your out-of-town friend has a blog, read it and engage. I always read Sara’s blog, but I didn’t always comment. In retrospect I wish I had because it would have shown her that I was engaged.
4. Visit – If budget and time allows, plan an in-person visit. I had the opportunity to visit Sara last August, about six weeks before she passed away. The memories of that afternoon together will stay with me forever.
5. Pray for them – Take time to pray for your out-of-town friends. It can be hard not knowing what is going on in their day to day life, but that doesn’t mean your prayers aren’t meaningful. Even if you don’t know what to specifically pray, your prayers will be heard by their loving Father who knows their needs.
How do you love on your out-of-town friends?
By Jessica Turner, The Mom CreativeLeave a Comment
Carlie V. says
I don’t know if I spend enough of my time and energy on my out-of-town friends.
Life is often so busy that it is very easy to simply forget to make time for those friendships the same as I would make time for my friends that are closer to home. Or I make excuses – she wouldn’t mind if I didn’t call her, she has other friends there and I have other friends here, so my words aren’t going to be missed.
It’s hard to be intentional about cultivating out-of-town friendships because friendship is supposed to be effortless, and with busy lives sometimes spending time on other people, especially people far away, is anything but effortless.
I think prayer is a good place to start; it’s something I’m doing anyway, and taking a few extra minutes to pray for a friend is an easy first step. Once that friend is on my mind at least once every day, taking other steps will be easier.
Elizabeth @ DogFurandDandelions says
I love this post. I have a chronic illness that keeps me home most of the time – so I rarely see friends who live in my area. Sadly, they just don’t have the time to come over and visit. So instead, I’ve turned to the web to find new friendships, and been overwhelmed with some amazing women. These are some great ways to continue those friendships. Thanks much for sharing this today!
Christy @ Love is a Verb says
I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you! I am pulling out my Christmas list and going to get stationary today! I need to be more connected this way! Thank you for making me smile and miss them today! Miss them in a good way! We moved 21/2 years ago And knew no one. So, all my friends all my family are 2000 miles away! I long for a cup of coffee…… But a note written is going to suffice! Maybe they can read it over coffee! Maybe ill write that on the outside of the envelope! 🙂
Mandy (@DailyCupOfGrace) says
This is a good reminder. I just lost a very dear friend who was more like a sister to me. She lived out of town and I look back and wish I had done more to keep in touch.
this is so perfect today Jessica! shared it with my (in)spired ladies as we begin our community life together. thank you!
Fantastic! I am far away from some of my dearest friends as well. Oh the things you do for love! I moved from BC to Ontario Canada to marry my true love. But I left some of my dearest friends there and am slowly working on developing friendships like those here. I do send mail to those friends but not as much as I should. Thanks for the inspiration!
Dana Butler says
Super practical and helpful. Thanks for this post!
Beautiful words and so true. I’ve written about some similar themes lately…especially the pen to paper…and God using us in ways we don’t even know, when we pray. I’m so glad you got to meet your Sara…and to know she is joyously waiting till you meet again. Thanks for sharing!
Barbara Collins @MadreMinutes says
I have a friend like this named Sandy Coughlin @SandyCoughlinRE with The Reluctant Entertainer. I reached out and she responded and we have been friends ever since. I have been going through breast cancer treatment and her sweet mama died from it. That connected us immediately. I knew I could count on her prayers through it all and she has been an incredible online friend. I have several actually. Luann Collins @LuannCollins is another. We have same number of children, 6 ea, same last name, same kind of dog, we prefer white chocolate and we love the color purple just to name a few of our similarities. What I have discovered is that it does take two. I can not expect my online friends to always shower me with comments, text or reTweets. I must do my part as well as true friendship would be if she lived where I did. Its the same but just a little different. With the way we can stay connected via social venues its easy to build relationships online, good ones.
Ones that last a lifetime.
Thanks for the post.
Sandy @ RE says
I agree with Barbara, Madre Minutes. It’s hard to keep up with everyone with social media, so many blogs, online friendships, but the connections … when you just know “they are there for you.” You can always pick up the phone or text, or even send a note in the mail. The best for me is to think of them during the day, and offer up a simple prayer. Great post! Thank you for sharing!
I just love this Jessica! Thank you for sharing about your friendship with Sara and your thoughts. So great! Missing her with you and thankful for how God is using her still!
I have a family friend who lives 10 hours away. She had a miscarriage at about 14 weeks earlier this year. I found a local florist online and ordered flowers for them. I also made a point to send them a card when it was about the baby’s due date. I wanted to remind them that I was still praying for them and that I hadn’t forgotten about their little one.
Tammy Totten says
I have lived several states away from my very best friend for over 15 years now. One of my favorite ways to feel connected (Aside from calls, texts, facebook,etc) is throughout the year we collect our favorite things that we have discovered throughtout the year(Think Oprah but on a much smaller scale:-) ; and for birthdays and/or Christmas we send them to each other. It’s so enjoyable and makes me so happy to give and share something I really love!
Erica Guthaus says
This is such a fantastic idea! Might just have to borrow it 😀
Kristen Strong says
Standing ovation for this, beautiful Jess! I have many more friends who live out-of-town than in-town, so I doubly appreciate these very doable ways of lovin’ on them.
Goodness how I wish I lived in your town! But since I don’t, I’ll settle with telling you I think you’re the awesome sauce X a million. Much love to you, friend!
Sarah K says
I’m so glad you wrote this post at this moment because I just moved away from all my friends and am in the midst of starting over fresh in a brand new city. It’s so overwhelming to feel lonely and lost, but I really needed this reminder that I need to really continue to cultivate those relationships I already built, but from afar. Just because I moved doesn’t mean those friendships are doomed!
Erica Guthaus says
As someone who moved cross country back in February, I’m praying for you Sarah! grace! Erica
Kirsten Holmberg says
When I moved from my hometown five years ago, a dear friend suggested a weekly phone date. To this day, we still talk every Friday at 2pm. That kind of intentionality is a rare and precious gift — as is she. Thanks for the great suggestions!
Great post. Ten years ago, I moved from Australia to Norway and have been living in Europe ever since. Long distance relationships are hard, but so much harder when only one person is making the effort. Don’t underestimate the value of birthday cards (not just an email), having flowers sent (as another person mentioned), a quick phone call, or sending/emailing photos of what you’re up to so that you can feel connected. Long distance relationships can be really rewarding!
skype is the most wonderful way we keep up with long distance family and friends. fb is another :). Techonology today is a true blessing. I recently had the opportunity of meeting up with a childhood friend I have seen since we were 12. I think sending Christmas card pics (I actually send Valentine pics as I realized when my girls were baby/toddler it was easier for me to do and enjoy in January :)…) as well as snail mail little encouragement cards or gifts from time to time. Love this post! Happy day to you.
Great post. If you find a friend your soul connects to, it doesn’t really matter where they live. But don’t let that friendship slip away through your fingers. Keep it going.
Great advice! It is so important to me for my distant friends to know that I truly care about them, but I don’t always have a lot of time.
I have a friend close to my heart who lives halfway around on the other side of the earth. I send emails, photos of flowers, check out her blog and comment. I pray. Once we put together a little something in the mail for her and her chicks. I agree, while the internet opened a new way of bridging the distances and smoothening out time zones it is a special feeling, to give something the friend can hold in her hands. My daughter and I had such a wonderful time putting the package together and it was almost magical to see photos of our friends with the gifts we sent. By the way, this friend and I have never met or spoken.
Katie @ imperfect People says
Always love your posts Jessica! Great picture too
I happen to stumble upon this… Or God sent me here tonight. I am new to blogging…so I am completely lost! In the community I live in its hard to make friends, but I think it’s that way in a lot of places. I am looking for exactly what you shared… deep, authentic, rich friendships, so Im hoping to learn how to blog and find some amazing friendships…
U know I still go to Sara’s blog page to see what her sister writes. I loved reading Sara’s blogs. Her words always came at the right time. That’s why I love reading (In) courage. Everyone’s words come just at the right time.
DogFur and Dandelions » Christmas Trees & Mashed Potatoes says
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Thank you. I am active duty military, so I have friends all over the country, not to mention the world. These really are awesome ideas that can definitely brighten their days! Thanks!
As a missionary very far from home, it is hard to explain how to friends at home how much we need their contact. There are so many reasons people don’t stay in touch, but none of those reasons help us when we are feeling lonely and far from home. Receiving a package from home is like Christmas!! Receiving an email or a letter is like a big hug. I hope that you are encouraged to love on people far from home, it means a lot to us!
Beth Williams says
Amen Amen and Amen! I try to often email some friends I met through a weekend walk (Emmaus community). They are older and live in several different states.
I try to stay in contact some with them. They often send me prayer requests and I respond by praying and emailing back to check on their requests.
I send cards often to people, family, friends. I believe that in this day and age of electronics it is nice to receive a written card. It tells me that someone is thinking of me and took the time to write a nice note.
I can tell you I do not do a very good job of loving from afar. It is really easy for me to get wrapped up with what’s right in front of me and let the busyness of life fill my time. These are great ideas and I definitely want to use them to make a better effort. I love that you don’t just make these suggestions, but you actually DO them. I have been on the receiving end of all five of these from you! I am honored to be your friend and feel your love from afar!
Encouragement from Incourage says
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