Have you ever been at the park or Chick-fil-A or on Instagram or at Macy’s or in the carpool …to find yourself desperately and almost pathetically reaching out for a friend?
Hi. I’ll have a sweet tea and a #1 combo – and do you want to eat lunch with me?
Hi. I like your daughter’s dress – do you happen to live close and want to hang out with us like every day?
Hi. Thanks for helping me at Macy’s – want to hear how awful my morning has been? Or any advice on teething?
Hi. Instagram people. I know I overpost – but I just sort of need conversation and a community. Hello? Anyone out there?
Friendship is complicated in the world of moms. Here is the deal – we have no time to shower, but we need time with authentic friends like it is air. Something about other women fuels us. Our husbands and our savior certainly come first and fill a void that cannot be over communicated. Those two first steps are critical.
However, I have found there are just some things and thoughts and discussions that are better thrown out amongst a group of teary moms. There are parenting dilemmas and diaper rash discussions that dads just don’t want to figure out over coffee.
There is the beautiful side of friendship in motherhood – I see my friends serve each other, give generously, show up at life’s most important events, celebrate kids, mourn together, catch each other during falls and be the literal hands and feet of Jesus. It’s inspiring to watch you all do it for me and for each other.
Then, truthfully there’s the ugly side of friendship that comes straight from the enemy. He doesn’t want us content.
He wants us comparing. He wants us doubting our individual gifts. He wants us putting doubt in each other. He wants us isolated. He wants us alone and stuck. He wants us gossiping and caddy and surface. He does NOT like us digging deeper and fighting through hard talks to grow. He does NOT like community and unconditional love.
You know who loves community, contentment, support and love? God.
He created the idea of friendship and said we love at all times.
Managing the demand is also complicated.
I have friends from all seasons and all stages and thank the Lord for social media so I can keep up. I have my Erin from when I was 5. I have friends from high school that know my every stage and phase and love me the same (Cara)! I have my college crew from Auburn. I have those roomies from Auburn that remain on speed dial for belly ache laugh and instant support whenever life goes up or down – Brooke, Kelli, Rebecca and Heather. And, I am blown away by the beautiful women of Orlando – at every turn there is precious support all around me. Truly grateful for what I’ve found here.
I have friends God brought into my life through church from Joy to Ashley to Katie and I know I’m going to leave out someone – ugh. I love you all.
Recently, there’s a group of girls that God has moved into that I want to tell you about. And I want to share a couple things I have noticed. Did you know we don’t all live in the same city? In fact – Houston, Orlando, Raleigh, Atlanta. Five friends all different ages and stages.
Did you know we even vote different? Gasp! What! And we like different clothes and styles and have different point of views?! What in the world.
However, with every year that passes – we are bound together by a glue. It’s a glue of God’s love and a deep deep support and unconditional love of each other. We have had tough talks and “I’m sorry – will you forgive” and misunderstandings. We have challenged each other. We have miscommunicated. We have acted out of insecurities and jabbed. But those moments are way dwindling. Our group is becoming extremely safe.
We text everyday from funniest kid stories to extreme feelings of loneliness. We carry each other through the day. And when one is new in a city and there’s a new life to celebrate – we sort of just GO. We don’t worry about the cost and figure it’ll work itself out somehow. We even offer to pay for each other’s flights if we need to – one for all. All in. We go.
Amber though I was just coming – and the whole crew came and just walked in. It was an epic moment of surprise.
I hope the spirit of this post isn’t ‘look what I have’ – it’s look what God has grown. And, I need it. I’m encouraging you to remember the importance of community in your life. And, I don’t think it has to be a ton. It’s HARD to keep up with relationships. As quickly as we are to lend a hand – we get mad at someone for lack of support. They might not be thinking of us. Grace. They might be drowning in motherhood. Grace. Start with being a great friend. Praying for just the ones you need. Focus on being the best friend and serving others unexpectedly. Pray on how God can change you as a friend vs seeing how they need to change. Maybe consider fading out those that hurt you the most. Some are the worth the fight and honestly some are not. Always love. But some are not worth the time on your calendar if they continuously bring you down and drain you – leaving you zero mental and emotional energy for your family.
Be around women that bring you back to the cross and back to your marriages. If a group gather for Girls Night and the night brings you away from those two things – consider a new group.
I am still working at this for sure. I am extremely grateful for this group of women that evolved over time and have become irreplaceable. Those that will lay their hands on me and pray. They know my heart. They know my kids.
Friendship is complicated, but worth the effort.
Each stage is different and your needs will be different. Be flexible. Be graceful. Be patient. LOVE BIG.
As I write this – Natalie Grant song “HUMAN” is on – please listen… “we got to do better than this cause we only have ONE chance to make a difference.”
I truly believe our world can see Jesus through the way we do relationships and community. Let’s do it different. Better. Let’s show our neighbors Jesus because of the way we love our friends at all times.