Cultivating Friendship Amidst Motherhood

Hello Beautiful Momma,

When this blog was birthed in my heart the Holy Spirit gave me a lot of topics to write about. I barely had enough time to grab my phone and type up the list that was coming at me like a flood.

Friendship is one of the things on my list. For the longest time I felt unqualified to write about it. It’s a sensitive topic for many women.

I’ve made mistakes in my relationships over my lifetime. Friends. Family. If we’re honest with ourselves – we all have. I am learning to recognize my shortcomings and better understand myself and others.

The truth is nobody is perfect. We all need forgiveness.

Life has taught me that true friends are very few in this world. They are like a rare jewel. The friend you can completely trust. Who accepts you just the way you are, simply for who you are. A friend who loves at all times, for no gain at all. Who understands and doesn’t define you by your struggles.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one. – C.S. Lewis

God created women with a deep desire to connect with others on an intimate emotional level. I think this is why we can often feel lonely even when surrounded by a crowd of people. In our small-group at church right now we are studying communication – mostly relating to marriage but I think this can definitely apply to other friendships as well.

Proximity and activity don’t always mean connectivity.
– Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited

There are 5 levels of communications: 1 through 3 are safe, shallow and polite. There is little risk here. This is cliché conversation. Mostly superficial. Reporting facts, ideas. Discussing your day, kids, activities.

Then there’s level 4 and 5. There is great risk. Vulnerability. You’re discussing feelings, emotions. It is open communication where you can lay yourself on the line and be totally honest and certain it will result in mutual understanding. Many couples often stay in level 1  through 3 – very seldom going deeper, which leads to a myriad of marriage problems and lack of fulfillment.

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Love is not a feeling, but a daily decision that says “I still do, I still choose you.”

I have been married to my high school sweetheart for almost 10 years. We have three beautiful children. He is my best friend. Understand this: there are things that I only share and tell him. My most inner of heart. But as a woman, I also need at least one female friend who I can connect with on a level 4 / 5. Someone who has earned my transparency. A girlfriend I can be vulnerable with. Authentic. Honest. Someone who can support me.

Yet, every friendship serves a different need in our lives. I’m not saying you have to be at a level 5 with all your friends. It is not wise to be utterly transparent with everyone. You can still be genuine. Every friendship serves its own purpose. Some friends are simply there to provide surface conversation. To laugh with. To discuss weekend plans. To have a play-date. You cannot be best friends with everyone. You have to be wise and choose who you can connect with/ be emotionally intimate with.

I was listening to Lisa Bevere’s podcast the other week, and really liked this thought she shared in regards to social media friendships:

If you’re sharing things that are private & intimate, with people you don’t know,  it’s voyeurism – it is not building a relationship nor intimacy.

I think we often make this mistake in real-life relationships too. TMI. Over-sharing with the wrong person. Not everyone wants an account of our children’s every move, a transcript of their conversations. There are situations (like in seeking advice), where that is normal of course. But if that’s the depth of all your friendship, there is little authenticity and vulnerability in your relationships.

Perhaps then you are hiding your true-self under a mask of perfection. Maybe you are afraid of being rejected, misunderstood. For many women, superficiality has been engrained into them all their lives. Maybe you’ve been burned in the past so you’re determined to live a private life. It’s important to do some reflecting and recognize those roots that need to be pulled.

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One mistake I have made in relationships, is feeling like the other person had to think the way I do. I am learning that I need to simply hear their heart out without needing to prove my point all the time. It’s good to have friends (and family) who think differently than yourself.

I also really like that in her podcast Lisa brought up the importance of the younger-older-woman friendship that needs to be cultivated. I can’t think of a better woman-friend to seek insight from than someone who is older and wiser than me. Someone who is already at the place where I am just beginning my journey to.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. {Prov. 27.17}

Last week I was invited to a night-out with such a friend. Fifteen years older than me, with sons in high-school & college. Yet, when we sat down…an ocean of ministry came out of her heart to me. The Holy Spirit was saying truth through her that I couldn’t have received from a peer. She listened to me. Prayed over me. Spoke truth into my life. Encouraged me.

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“Looking back, one thing I would change,” she said, “is not get in the way of my husband parenting our boys.  I regret not letting him be ‘harsh’. Now, I realize the boys needed that.” 

Our decaf-coffees turned cold and the waitress must have asked us a dozen times if we wanted to order anything else. We sat there for what seemed hours. Lost track of time. As I drove home my heart was encouraged and I came home with a renewed-confidence in my role as a wife and a mother.

I believe  everyone needs at least one older-woman figure like this in their lifeI personally don’t think this should be your own mother. Why? Because a mother is emotionally involved in your life. She is always worrying. No matter how hard she tries to separate herself from that, her main concern will always be your feelings.

So, what does it mean to truly love a friend? And how do we choose our friends wisely? 

1). Accept the person for who they are. Not what they have accomplished.

2). Be their friend simply to be their friend. No agenda. Don’t try to change them. Make their life better. Make their marriage better. Those things (if meant to be), will happen naturally if you’re authentically genuine. You are not their savior. 🙂

As humans we oftentimes make assumptions & draw conclusions about others’ lives, their marriages, their children that frankly, aren’t true. (I’ve been guilty of this myself before).

3). Don’t expect or feel entitled to something in return, or as a means-of-gain, from the friendship. Friendship is a gift.

4). Always protect your marriage. Does this person always ridicule men? Constantly only complaining about her husband? Not a good friend to invest your time with if you care about your marriage.

5). Do not compromise your values – don’t spend time with a gossiper. Even if it’s subtle, by listening to gossip you are aiding it. Over time you become who you are friends with.

With their mouths, the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape. {Prov. 11.9}

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” {1 Cor. 15.33}

Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
{Prov 14.7}

Yes, there can be godless people who go to church their whole life. Be wise about who you spend the majority of your time with.

6). This one is from Lisa’s podcast: Find a friend who is unimpressed with you. Someone who loves you and can speak truth into your life. We need to be truth- builders.

An open rebuke is better than hidden love. {Prov. 27.5}

7). Friendship drift is normal. Change is okay and expected. Sometimes when a friendship changes we feel shame & wonder what we did wrong – when life simply has different seasons. Friends can come and go. Be open to new friendships.

8). Many true friendships can withstand miles and different life situations. You might not talk for a while, but when you do connect it’s like nothing has changed. They don’t take it personally if you don’t message them. They understand that you have days when your hands are full. Hold onto those kinds of friendships. Value them.

9). It’s not the number of friends that count but the quality. Make it a point to invest your time into at least one good friendship you want to grow.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. {Prov. 18.24 nkjv}

Lastly…remember that God loves us best. Before you go to a friend, come to God first. Kneel in prayer, tell Him all your problems. Pour out your whole heart. Pray about your friendships. Ask Him to lead you to the right people in your life.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future.
{Prov. 31.25}

I hope this post resonated with you. It’s easy to feel isolated in motherhood if we don’t seek out opportunities to connect with others. Sometimes you have to reach out your hand first. Don’t neglect friendship because you’re busy raising a family. You never know how you will bless someone. 🙂

I’m so thankful for the friends and family in my life. I appreciate every phone call and message.

Friendship is a gift.

 

Love & blessings…

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