Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Along for the Journey: Trusted Friends

My friend Sandy can take a big, bad, everything-went-wrong day and quickly put it in perspective. And after 15 years of homeschooling together, believe me, we've been through a lot of those days! I remember once in particular, several years ago, when we had taken our kids for some recreation time at the gym. It had been a horrible day, and I was feeling like the worst mom in the world. Taking a deep breath, I quietly confessed to Sandy, “I threw a fit today--lost my temper, raised my voice, the works.”

“I’ve had days like that,” Sandy replied ruefully. What a relief to know I could be real about my struggles as a parent and not face criticism or judgment from my friend! Instead, Sandy helped me sort through my frustration and turn the experience into one from which I could learn. How did we get to this safe place in our friendship? Well, it certainly didn’t happen overnight. Our relationship began as mere acquaintances and morphed into trusted friends when we began sharing our fears, disappointments, and also victories with one another. Getting together with our kids in tow, as well as spending the occasional evening out for girl talk, offered opportunities for a unique transparency to develop between us, allowing us to shed the “supermom” image that seems to be expected, and just be ourselves.

The book of James invites us to “confess our sins to one another.” It’s easy to believe you are the only mother who struggles with anger, laziness, or jealousy. After all, other moms make parenting look so easy! When we open up to a reliable confidant, however, we will find our experiences are universal (I Corinthians 10:13) and much easier to manage with a friend.

Mothering is a journey wrought with blessings, yes, but also a certain measure of stress, frustration, and difficulty. Do you have a trusted friend? Who is holding you accountable? And who is standing faithfully by your side? If you think of someone right away, praise the Lord for that blessing of friendship. And if you don't have a special friend, ask the Lord to provide you with one. Then keep your eyes open, and trust Him to do so!

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