Monday, October 14, 2019

About the importance of finding female friends.... Jen Hatmaker has a few words to say on the subject (from Chapter 5 of Out of the Spin Cycle):

I'm a terrible driver when I'm alone. It always seems like a great idea at first. I relish the notion of being the in the car without the following verbal barrage assaulting me like tiny, individual daggers stabbing away at the thin flesh of my sanity: "Mommy? Do you know how to teleport?" "Mommy? How many seconds have you been alive?" "Mommy? What's five billion times ten million?"

But the reality of driving alone is much different that the beautiful, peaceful theory. I get bored. I get tired.

I should have brought a friend. Friends help you uphold he heavy responsibility of motherhood and remind you you're not crazy. They don't complain when your kids interrupt your phone conversation every twelve seconds. They gladly enter the parenting discussions that our husbands lose patience with after only the fourth time. Friends don't even bat an eye when you burst out crying for no good reason.

The way we love each other, serve each other, and live our lives with each other is a big deal to Jesus. At the beginning of time, creation encountered its first problem: "It is not good for the man to be alone." Thus history began with human connection. Two are better than one, and togetherness is always superior to loneliness.

Never was I more susceptible to isolation than during young motherhood. It can be such lonely work. Because my personality required a scheduled routine, for years I fed and dressed babies, cleaned up, put someone down for a morning nap, engineered lunch chaos, put kids down for afternoon naps, cooked dinner, bath time, story time, bedtime. I'd sit down for the first time at 8 p.m.

It was hard to make room for my friends. But I did it. We had playdates down to a science. We put babies to sleep at each other's houses, bathed them together, fed them together, ate at Chick-Fil-A so often the manager knew us by name, and picnicked at every park in the greater Austin area. I changed their babies' diapers as often as mine. We put each other's kids in time-out. I administered first aid to their children, and they pulled mine out of the swimming pool. We've traded kids, taken kids, borrowed kids, and dumped kids.

My friends are the reason I survived young motherhood.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35.

If we are to love each other like Jesus loved us, then it makes practical sense to band together during young motherhood. Because–like Jesus does–we'll end up loving each other when we're crazy, burned out, hysterical, and exhausted. We'll stand by one another during the most neurotic phase of parenting there is. We don't let a member of our tribe slip under the radar or get swallowed by isolation. We share the burden of parenting, making it lighter for everyone to carry. We'll remind our friends to laugh and call forward the best in each other.

Motherhood is the task that brings us together, but love is the glue that binds us together. if we're too busy to love each other like this then we're too busy. We need our friends. We need the counsel and companionship; they need our compassion and comic relief. "You must love one another, " said Jesus.

We really must.

Are you enjoying the tribe of young mothers, or are you lonely and isolated? Reach out to another mom or group of moms today. Invite them over, plan a playdate, arrange a picnic, whatever. Need a friend? Be a friend.

Excerpt from Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker,

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Rules || Katie Westenberg |,

 Each time my family purchases a new game, the evening goes down in a pretty predictable fashion. See, we have these kids who are (finally!) outgrowing Candyland and stretching into the land of strategy and thinking games. (Yes, it really does happen eventually.) So when we find a new game, we gather our tribe around the table and read through the rules carefully. Our four kids frequently interject with a dozen questions because none of these rules and instructions quite make sense in the learning process, and my husband and I have almost no answers because we’re still trying to figure it out as well. Welcome to the beauty and tension of family game night, where we typically end up pleading for everyone to be patient and it often turns out to be a learning opportunity in more ways than we bargained for. Maybe you have been there? I can’t count the times I have heard a mama friend sigh the words, “I wish there was a rule book for this,” as she moves into a new and challenging season of motherhood. One kid struggles with friends or seems to have hopped on an emotional roller coaster without warning, and there is always that second or third child who is doing things nothing like her older siblings did. Motherhood is humbling and often we’re thirsty for someone to just tell us how to do this well. We’re all in, just please, someone tell us how to handle all the nuances of relationship and personality, creativity and gifting, for the unique combo of kids God has given us. Tell us what to do and we’ll get right on it. But that is not quite what God has for us. We’re begging for rules and he is after relationship. He looked his disciples in the eye and said “Follow me” because he wasn’t just going to tell them; he was going to show them what it meant to seek first his kingdom. Before his ascension, Jesus told us that it was to our advantage that he was going away because he was sending us a helper to guide us in all truth (John 16:7,13). Do we even begin to understand how awesome that is for us? We have a helper - the ultimate helper - to call on in our frustration and confusion, our weakness and desperation. The next time you find yourself looking for a rule book, a better instruction guide, stand firm on this promise: We don’t need more rules, we need more Jesus. And when we ask, we can be certain he will be near.

Katie Westenberg is a wife and mother to four, who is passionate about fighting fear and living brave. She writes to inspire women to live their bravest lives at “I Choose Brave” and many other places online. Married for 17 years, she lives in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys small town life outside the city limits.