How do you maintain friendships? I don’t mean just on Facebook, Twitter, and a few deep blog posts. I mean maintaining deep, true, graceful, bold, life giving, heart filling friendships. Motherhood is lonely and I think it is critical that we give the key to our hearts to a few women who can be trusted with the junk, the pride, the fears, and the beauty of our hearts.
I’ve heard many people say that in this season of motherhood, we may just have to accept that friends aren’t part of the plan. This has been hard for me to accept and I was reminded why a few weeks ago. We got together with a group of friends from one of my husband and mine’s first small groups to celebrate the arrival of a new baby.
I love these people dearly, especially the girls.
Together, we have experienced EVERYTHING life has to give-miscarriages, infertility, loss of parents, loss of siblings, career changes, rocky marriages, babies, puppies, and new houses just to name a few. We had the best time at the shower and it felt like our friendships had never missed a beat. One of these women in particular, Emily, is one of the best friends I have ever had, is the wife to an amazing man and is the mom to my son’s best friend in the whole world. The biggest problem in our friendship is that she lives five hours away. I will never forget hugging her family goodbye the night before they followed their dreams to Savannah because I was acutely aware of the rarity of our friendship. It’s just not common to be great friends both as couples and as individuals. So while they were in town for the baby shower, I felt like all was right with the world as we talked about everything and nothing all at the same time. We listened to our boys play, imagined what baby #3 was going to be like and just caught up on life.
I was overcome with emotion as they drove away and I had a good, ugly cry when I went back inside.
As women, we were made for community and there is nothing like what comes with knowing and being known by someone who will tell you when you are being a jerk to your husband in the same breath that you talk about which outfit will get his motor running.
Yes, life is busy and depending on the age of your kids, it can feel beyond crazy!!! You are probably thinking I’m nuts for even suggesting you have any extra time to squeeze one more thing into your schedule and you are probably right. I’m crazy enough to think we need to fight for our friendships because we need them desperately. They just need to be the right ones and the right kinds. Please understand-I’ve spent years keeping people at a distance and hiding behind my fears of rejection and hurt. But ladies, we’ve been called to experience so much more than that. Motherhood loneliness isn’t remedied by ignoring it, pretending like you don’t need anyone, or hiding behind whatever issues you have. It is remedied by asking our Heavenly Father to bring women into your life that will encourage, challenge and inspire you to be all that God created you to be as a woman, friend, mom and wife.
Women who are life giving, not life suckers. Women that you feel connected to whether they are next door or across the world.
Women who are extravagantly graceful and keep short accounts of your wrongdoings, but are willing to give and receive hard conversations because your relationship is worth it. Along those lines-women who are safe enough to witness when God prunes you and are willing to let you see when He prunes them as well. I truly believe God wants to answer this prayer of our hearts. One other thing he may reveal to you is that you may have too many friends. You may actually need to let some go in order to be more available with your kids and husband. Either way, God’s got you.
One little disclaimer-this may be hard. You may have to make plans in advance only to have them fall through. Your calendars are complicated! Your feelings may get hurt. Your friends may not like your new intentionality. Conversations may be shallower than you want, but that’s ok. You can put yourself out there because the maker of the universe has already said he delights in you. Thus, your worth isn’t at stake and you’re free to allow his glory to shine through you to experience the degree of friendships he has ordained for your particular season.
So, that’s where I am, but what about you? Are you resigned to not having friends until your kids are 18? Do you have too many friends and your family needs you more?