Shared From: “A Good Crisis” Blog
Written By: Lydia Engram
Every mom needs a mom squad. Our husbands leave for work, and we have 8 hours or more. Alone. With kids. It can be exhausting. It can feel like our brain cells are slowly dying, suffocated by baby talk, and repeating simple instructions over and over again. Finding a good group of friends at that same stage is so important.
I’ve never been more aware of my own need in this area than now. For the past six years, I’ve had the blessing of having a very rich friendship. This girl has been my neighbor, my fellow event planner, my cookie & frothed chai supplier, my “sister from another mister” as the cool kids say. And she’s moving across the country in a few days.
It’s fine. I’m fine. *famous last words*
“Win some. Lose a lot.” – Emily Bower
I know that we will continue our friendship at a distance, but I also know that friendships change with time and circumstances. When Emily leaves, the most comfortable local friendship I have will be pulling out with the moving truck. I’m really really going to miss her.
God has a way of mixing things up when I get comfortable. I will need to begin to do the hard work of growing my friendships deeper where I am locally. It’s something that has me feeling some trepidation and anticipation. It can be hard to put yourself out there. But I know that God has been faithful in the past and will bring good local friendships with time.
I also know that to have good friends, it’s important to be a good friend. Friendship is not a passive relationship. It takes time and cultivation, and I’ve realized that I have some tendencies that I need to be aware of that can hinder me from developing rich Christ-centered friendships.
COMPARING: I want to acknowledge this upfront. It is almost impossible not to compare. If you’re going to talk about your kids with your friends, you are naturally going to notice differences in practice. Every parent is different, and every parent tailors their parenting uniquely to the needs of their own children. Also, every parent is sinful and will not parent well on any given day. Seeing differences in parenting style and parenting struggle is not in itself sinful. It’s the heart issues that comparison leads to that are.
First, comparison often leads to guilt. We see our mom friend disciplining her toddler calmly with success or having a robust devotional time with her kids or keeping her home organized. It could be anything, and the accuser always knows the exact place where he thinks we should feel mom guilt. It’s the area where we feel weakest and where others are thriving.
A second sin that comparison leads to is pride. There is always a mom to be found whose kids are far more unruly than our own, whose home is a little messier, and who has a shorter temper. Pride is so subtle, but if we’ve ever thought, “At least I don’t do that with my kids,” our ego is involved.
Both of these responses are just wrong. Guilt pushes us to either self-improvement or self-loathing. Pride pushes us to self-glorification. The gospel says something completely opposite; it’s not about “self” at all. Our successful and unsuccessful mom friends are not the standard; God is. It’s about Him! And His standard is perfection. We know (and so does God) that we can’t be perfect. That is why Jesus had to die. His perfection covers our imperfections. So now, we can appreciate our succeeding friends without guilt. We can encourage our struggling friends without self-congratulation. We can fail and move forward without loathing because He bore that shame on a splintered cross. Thank you, Jesus!
COMMISERATING: C.S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” The beauty of having mom friends is that they get it. They speak the language of birth stories, breastfeeding, toddler tantrums, and school pick up lines. We are united in our shared experience of nurturing life, and we love to share our experiences and hear them echoed back to us.
Sometimes we want those echoes to be validations. When we lose our ever-loving mind at the kids, we want the knowing nods and the pats on the back. We want to hear “it’s understandable” and “why do kids do that?”
The best kind of friends will care about our circumstances AND our character. They’re happy to listen to us vent, but they won’t just commiserate. They don’t let us wallow in our sin. They remind us of what is true and won’t validate us when we are clearly in the wrong.
To find the kind of friends who don’t compare or commiserate is hard. To be this kind of friend is even harder. But if we want to have the kind of relationships that encourage and push us to grow, we need to live that way too. We become this way by surrendering to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to transform us and to also bring good friends along for the journey.
Written By: Lydia Engram @ https://agoodcrisis.wordpress.com