I was talking with my friend yesterday about the pressure we tend to put on ourselves to “get along” with everyone, to “like” everyone, and to even be “friends” with everyone. I am air quoting the fool out of that sentence because the interpretation of what each of those looks like is different for everyone.
Some of us are people pleasers so it is harder. We want to like and be liked by everyone. And if we don’t or if we aren’t then feelings get hurt. Typically the feelings that are hurt are caused by the missed expectations we placed unbeknownst to the other person. Man, oh man, we are silly sometimes.
We continued talking and sharing with each other about how we’ve grown out of those tendencies to fret over, or even guilt ourselves over all of that. But still those feelings come up and we have to check ourselves (before we wreck ourselves or start acting foolish). I mean, sometimes life just feels like an extension of adolescense that no one signed up for, am I right?
And we all have friends (some more than others), but it’s almost as if we have friends specific to different places… like we have work friends, church friends, school friends, play date friends, family friends, and the list goes on and on. It’s not that we wouldn’t still be friends with them in different settings, but it’s just that those are our friends related to or formed from those specific places.
Have you ever thought any of those friendships were headed one direction and then all of the sudden you’re like, “wait I thought we were headed to Happy Friendshipville, but we somehow got re-routed to Crazy Town!” …surely I am not alone. Maybe it wasn’t that dramatic. Maybe you just got to know someone and realized they weren't who you thought they were, or maybe that you didn't have as much in common as you thought. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. We are all different.
So after talking with my friend she shared something her mother had said to her that helped put all of these feelings and irrational thoughts into perspective. This isn’t verbatim but you’ll get the gist…
There’s someone for everyone,
but you don't have to be everyone’s someone.
…that’s some good stuff right there. Let that marinate for a minute or two. Now flip it over. Soak the other side in. Okay, ya got it?!
have to be
That was never how friendships and relationships were designed. I think our pride and need for approval have developed some of those false precepts about what those should look like.
How exhausting is it to try and be the “someone” that “everyone” is looking for?!
And if we are being honest, it’s likely disingenuous aka NOT REAL!
Proverbs 18:24 (ESV) tells us, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
The same verse in the NKJV reads, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Those seem to say two different things, but I like what John MacArthur’s notes say regarding the NKJV of this verse…
“The best text says 'may come to ruin' and warns that the person who makes friends too easily and indiscriminately does so to his own destruction. On the other hand, a friend chosen wisely is more loyal than a brother.”
"Indiscriminately" means to do something in a random manner. I can be pretty random at times, but I will tell you that choosing my friends is not the area that I would want to do things randomly. I believe we should have a criteria for choosing friends and, as Christians, we should look to Christ and His love and treatment of others for just that.
Yes we are to love others, to serve others, to meet the needs of the least of these, but friendship is deeper. It is more guarded, more trusted, and more sacred than being everyone’s someone.
So look around...look at your circle, your community, your tribe, your PEOPLE. Are you investing your time and energy into a few intimate and lasting relationships? Or are you trying to be everyone's someone?
Because after all, the only “someone” that will ever be meant for EVERYONE is Jesus, and there is only ONE of Him.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said, “my life is crazy town!” in a DAY…this renovation would be paid for. Oh yea. That’s right. We are currently renovating our house.
…while living in it.
...with our three children ages, 6, 2 1/2, and 10 months.
...and our 5 month old puppy.
...who got electrocuted because he was chewing one of the many exposed electoral boxes.
But seriously, y’all.
Howdy, I’m the mayor.
During my prayer time last week I was thinking through all of the crazy we are currently living in and I finally just said, “Lord, PLEASE don’t let us make any more stupid decisions!” and what I meant to say was, “Lord, PLEASE help us to be wise in the future decisions we make!”
Ha. The Lord knows my heart, so my mouth was just speaking truth.
Do you ever stop and look around at your life and try and step outside of yourself?
Like, how does everything look from the outside?
Am I holding this together?
Who keeps making my life crazy? OH RIGHT- ME!
Why do we do that? Why do we add stress to our own lives? Well, if you’re me or my husband, it’s because we like to live in a perpetual state of, “Hi, we’re gluttons for punishment.”
That sounds miserable. And our lives are joy-filled…but seriously, we are a couple of gluttons!
I think it’s because we are just naturally always pursuing tasks, or goals, or SOMETHING. We always want to be striving for some. thing. I don’t think that’s bad, but I do think it can become a beast. It can consume our lives and our happiness.
And in the middle of the self-made hurricane, are my three precious children.
How do they feel about it all?
How do they like the sudden change and the literal ripping our home to pieces aspect?
I never really asked. I never really considered. Until my daughter, Ava, walked out angrily one afternoon from me and under her breath mumbled, “Why’d you have to ruin our house?”
Perspective. It’s so important. And I hadn’t considered hers. At least not until that point.
What do things look like from where she stands? From what she comprehends? From her “normal”?
I am the adult making decisions in her favor, although it may not look like that now. I see things she can’t. I see family meals in our house around a table every night for the FIRST TIME in the almost 2 years we’ve lived in this house. I see the late night snuggles on our couch, after making sundaes, while we watch her favorite movie. I see the Bible study evenings with friends and families from our church and community where we will pour into the lives of people we love and people Jesus longs to know. I can see all of that and so much more. But right now…right now it just looks a lot like a mess. A dusty, insulated, hot, mess.
So she responds to what she sees. And what she sees isn't good. But it’s work. It’s the work in progress leading to the ultimate home we have envisioned for her and her brothers.
Why doesn’t she see that?…because she’s human. Because she's stuck on what’s right in front of her. Because she’s just like you and she’s just like me, when we are too distracted, too FIXATED, on the mess in front of us, to see the beauty of what God is preparing for us in the future.
And beneath all of it...all of the groaning and complaining and questioning "Why me, Lord?" is a whole lot of selfishness and pride. Man, it consumes us. But in the mean time, if we can manage to step away and look at everything, think through everything, PRAY about everything, we will see God working. We will see the beauty.
So while I sit here preaching to myself, at my computer, while the good people of Crazy Town are sleeping, I can smile. At least a little.
...because everything is a work in progress. Whether it's my house, my children, or my own heart. "And He who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Phil 1:6
With love & laughter,
Over the last few months I’ve had several people look at me with all three of my kids and say, “man you’re in the trenches right now!” or “I remember those days-surviving the trenches!”
My first thought was like, my life doesn't feel very “trench” like?! Should I hate where I am in life right now? Should I be more exhausted? Are my kids being crazy? AM I CRAZY?…it didn’t feel that way.
But then each week it seemed I’d find myself dealing with more and more stress… my 2 1/2 year old started displaying new and undesirable behaviors. My 6 month old became more sick and more clingy. My 5 1/2 year old became even more argumentative than normal. What was happening? uh-oh…the dreaded trenches.
My inner monologue started rolling..ok THESE are the trenches they were talking about. I guess I’ll just have to do my best to survive each day…get through each moment. I know it’s not fun right now, but it’s only a season. I can’t enjoy playing with this child or that one, because of what this one or that one is doing. I’ll find time later. This is ONLY a season.
Ok let’s STOP. Let’s stop right there. All of the above are thoughts we have all had- I am sure of it! And we have all said or been told that whatever current difficulty we are going through is just a season we will “get through.” Well, guess what? That whole sentiment has been super convicting to me lately. Let me tell you why…
Life is hard.
Mom-ing is hard.
Wife-ing is hard.
Friend-ing is hard.
Work-ing is hard.
Love-ing is hard.
Change-ing is hard.
But they’re also all very rewarding.
If we get caught up in the middle of “getting through” any of them, we risk missing out on the JOY in every single one of them. Especially mom-ing.
And calling everything a season seems a little like a copout… Life is full of seasons. Like literally and figuratively… but I don’t want to just get through each season of my life. I don’t want to just survive the trenches. How about we stop referring to periods of life as seasons or trenches and just call it life. Cause I mean, that’s what it is…and when I think about my life... well, I don’t just wanna “get through” that.
I want to live my life…
I want to grow in my life…
I want to remember my life…
I want to experience my life …
I want to find JOY in each and every moment of my life.
I’m just not too sure that viewing a period of your life as a trench, season, or something to “get through” accomplishes that.
We all, especially us mamas, have to be so intentional. We have to guard our hearts. We can’t let what the world says be the loudest voice we hear. We have to intently listen for that still, small, yet true voice of the Father. What does He want you to learn, experience, or remember in this moment (difficult as it may be)? Cause, I’m telling you…that’s where the joy is.
There is joy to be found in all of the good and in all of the not so good that comes with being a mama. Whether your children are little or grownup, there is still so much joy to be had. We just have to put off more of ourselves and put on more of Christ. His love, grace, and mercy will help us find the joy we desire.
So for me, for this mama... I want to stop the trench-living and “getting through” seasons. Life will always have obstacles to overcome, and I surely don’t want to miss out on the joy because I’m too busy trying to get through the course.
How bout it, mamas...will you join me?
With love & laughter,
I’m sure when you read that you probably thought it was a typo. Perhaps your mind autocorrected to “God is good all the time.”
I was scrolling through Facebook the other morning and misread a post because the font was some swirly-twirly kind of font. When I read it I saw “God is God,” which isn't at all what it said, but it made me stop and think.
God is God ALL of the time.
All of it. Not just when things go our way, and certainly not just when everything looks good. So is God good all the time? YES. He is good in ways that are often times difficult for us to understand, and even worse, sometimes they're painful. But, what we must not forget is that He is still God all the time. In every situation.
I’m not just talking about situations of life and death, marital problems, addiction, or world poverty…Those are major issues where we often look to God for help, but He was already there and He was already God before any of that existed or became a problem.
God is God all the time...in the moment to moment situations of each day.
In the good and in the bad.
In the rescue and in the loss.
In the law and in the redemption
In the grace and in the mercy.
In the consequence and in the discipline.
God is God all the time.
When you need Him and when you “think” you don’t.
When He feels near and when He feels far.
When you succeed and when you fail.
When you rejoice and when you mourn.
When you love and when you hate.
When the sun rises and when it sets.
God is God all the time.
Each day as I spend time alone with God in study or in prayer, there is a reverence, or deep respect, that comes over me… but there are also a lot of questions. God, why did You do that? Why were those people punished? Why don’t they listen? When will You show me? How can I help change this? What should I do? What did Jesus do? Why did He do that? How will I learn? Are we any different? Are we so much the same? The questions just pour out of me. BUT, and this is important, …even when I don’t understand, even when it makes no sense, even when I can’t believe it, He is still who He always said He was.
He is holy, set apart, free of guilt or sin, all powerful, all knowing, always with us, always for us… HE IS GOD. In all the ways I want to understand everything, I am not meant to. But one thing I have to trust and believe is that He is over it all. He is God all of the time.
God as defined by Merriam-Webster is “the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.” If this is who He is, creator, ruler, sustainer, then, guess what? He knows all and is present in the midst of it all, ALL of the time. We just tend to forget that.
God is God when the sink literally cannot hold another dish.
…when we haven't slept in days.
…when we are drinking our third cup of coffee (or are on our third attempt at reheating and drinking it).
…when potty training is a nightmare. (Literally, am I asleep right now as I’m typing this? Wake me up!!)
…when the refrigerator looks like a mix of the barren lands and your child’s science experiment.
…when work has called you for the third time this evening, and you just left the office 30 minutes ago.
…when you remember you don’t have a nanny, and your 5 year old can’t (and shouldn’t) cook you dinner.
…when you sit down to read your Bible and you fall asleep (straight to snoozeville).
…when your best friend’s life is 100% more put together than yours (or so it appears).
…when you haven't had a second of time with your husband in what seems like weeks (at least not the kind of time with meaningful conversation that reminds you why you married this man and procreated all these little tiny humans that eat up every other second of the day.)
So what does that mean? It means He cares.
If He created us, He knows us. He knows our needs as mothers, spouses, and as His daughters. Even when we don’t see or feel His goodness, He is still God. Which means His word doesn’t return void (even though we often run on empty), that He is for us (even though our children obviously are not), that He is near (even though bedtime isn’t), that He pursues us (even, and this is touchy, when it seems our husbands won’t), and that He is infinite (which is usually how our laundry feels).
He is God all of the time. We must not forget, overlook, or undervalue that very important yet simple statement. And if He is God, then He can handle it. Whatever it is that stood out to you as you read this. Whatever He brought to your mind in this moment. He can handle it. So give it over to Him, and let Him take and keep it for you…but if it’s dark chocolate, well you can just give that over to me.
With love & laughter,
Last week Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and the entire southeastern coast of the U.S. shared a common bond. We were all experiencing one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the area. Winds blew like trains passing and water raged totally non-threatened by seawalls, sand dunes or dams. As the often taken for granted electricity put city by city into creepy black darkness, I think I could speak for the majority saying that we knew only an act of God could turn this monster storm away. The news (when we could get it) reported of devastation after devastation but let me relay a different side of things - a side which doesn't always make the front pages.
We are in a season where we hear bashing remarks about and from politicians on a daily basis. It's often ugly and incredibly inappropriate. Everything in the media's reporting on hurricane Matthew last week was dismal as well. That is, until South Carolina's highest ranking official, our governor, took the podium just before the hurricane hit our coastline. Somewhat surprised by the act but extremely grateful at the same time, I heard our governor ask for a prayer of protection to be sent to our Heavenly Father. It wasn't a moment of silence and it wasn't just a reference asking God to be with us. This prayer was also not flowery and self serving as to say "Hey, look at me and notice how spiritual I am". The prayer that day didn't show hesitancy with thoughts of what might be politically correct or incorrect. The words were words of genuineness and smallness, true concern and compassion. There have been little to no backlashes of "they shouldn't mix church and state". The feelings and comments seem to have been of thankfulness in publicly calling in a higher power. These leaders knew they would need help and wisdom. Hurricane Matthew was bigger that any human being and the southeastern coast knew that. Believe me when I say I'm not endorsing or putting anyone on a pedestal. I certainly don't intend to appear to do so. What I am doing is noting that we as a nation seem to innately know that when things are at their bleakest there is only one place to turn. So why does our nation at other times seem to push that knowledge away?
On a more local scale, I want to relay some of the kindness I saw and experienced personally. I know there were SO very many random acts of kindness but these were just some I saw.
One young mom posted that her home would be open for a simple meal of tacos to those who she knew did not have electricity in town.
One church in town threw a free four hour post hurricane party for children. The party included pizza, games, hanging out with friends and also a service project... A SERVICE PROJECT! 1 Peter 4:10 says "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." What a great thing to teach these children as they also provided time for them to get their wiggles out! Another group of moms organized a play date at a park for mother's of preschoolers and their children.
Personally, I posted that I was looking for a generator to borrow from someone who might have already gotten their power back. Within the hour, I had one. Then I posted a question inquiring if anyone had seen ice for sale in town (without electricity it's difficult to keep food fresh, right?). There were people who offered ice from their own commercial ice machines, one offer came from a staff member who said I could fill up coolers from the church kitchen supply, three people offered extra bags of ice they had in their own freezers or coolers, one not only offered the ice she had in her refrigerator ice maker but also a warm shower and s'mores around the fire pit! All these wonderful servant hearts went above and beyond. What would our country be like if all our nation's leaders prayed publicly and privately for help and wisdom while asking for prayers from others to do the same? What if we also prayed daily for our leaders? What if we all had servants hearts not only in times of extreme stress and need but every day? What if....
Walking the road with you,
Mom 2 Mom
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