The thing is, us women, we need each other.
When I was young I was a very girly girl at heart, I wore dresses, had giant bows in my hair on most days, and played with dolls consistently until I was 12. But the truth was, that I secretly liked hanging out with boys WAY more than I ever liked hanging out with girls.
A constant battle of the heart was the way it was for me. I can still hear the voices of the popular girls on the playground that one Tuesday afternoon in 1984. I was five, and Jennifer S. had convinced the other girls to define me as the girl with coodies and a clown nose.
And of course there was that day walking down the halls at Earl Warren Junior High unaware of the inappropriate sign that had been taped to my florescent yellow T-shirt... a girl that I hardly knew had put it there to pay me back for not giving her the answers to a silly homework assignment.
And yes, there was even a day that same awkward 12-year-old year, when I was the one who whopped a some-what innocent girl right upside the head, right in front of the principal, simply because I was sick of her taunting. (Not the godly way to respond... I know)
It is true that girls can be cruel. As I've found myself growing into this thing called womanhood, I must admit that there have been seasons, some rather LOOONG seasons, when I've been tempted to just camp out in my house and live my own hermit life because at least that way I would be able to protect myself from any sort of pain that might be cast over me if I ever chose to be vulnerable in a friendship again...
And despite my timidity, His unfathomable faithfulness has shown me that He can bring some of the greatest gifts when I allow Him to slowly take down each brick that over the years has formed a gigantic barrier between me and the blessings that He wants to shower over me.
I want to write about friendship, but truth be told, I feel that my words might be inadequate as to the magnitude of blessing that He has shown me in the area of relationship with other women... women of all ages, all walks of life.
Have you ever found that some of the greatest gifts have come through the seemingly most difficult of circumstances? Eight years ago My Joey and I lost our first two sons, they were still born. It's strange to say, but that season just might have been one of the best seasons of my life. I now have a trust, a respect, a love for my Joey that I might never have had, had I we not walked that road together.
Five years after that loss, My Joey and I moved into a giant house on a hill with another family. On move in day, quite frankly I thought that the Lord might have been punishing me for some unknown sin or something. But instead what He was doing was giving me one of the greatest gifts that He has ever given me... EVER!
Gifts aren't always easy to receive. That year in the giant house on the hill, I spent many days feeling broken, awkward, sometimes angry. And yet as I walked through that year (dragging my feet most of the way), I gained a deep, raw, real, genuine, trustworthy, & authentic friendship with one of the most incredible women that I've ever known. She's quiet, steadfast, forgiving and gracious. She's wise beyond her years.
And in that one year that her and I lived under that same roof together, she encouraged me, she exhorted me, she prayed over me.
She was there when my two oldest treasures accepted Christ.
She was there the day I was spotting and thought that I might have to give back yet another little treasure to the Lord. She was there to seek the Lord on my behalf and now we have this amazing one-year-old, joy-boy with pudgy arms and legs crawling around our farmhouse.
She laughed with me when we drove across the country to our new home and my very pregnant belly got stuck in between the DVD cords while I was trying to help one of our treasures in the back seat.
She was there when I cried my eyes out as I said goodbye to everything I had ever known to be home.
We no longer live in that big house on the hill.
Now we share a farm. Our kids spend these long summer days riding bikes freely between our house and theirs.
And this weekend, I couldn't help but look back on this past year, the year that I was convinced was going to be the worst year of my life, the year that I left a home of 30 years, the year that I left daily interaction with friends who will eternally have a place in my heart, the year I moved across the country 25 weeks pregnant with our forth child, the year my Joey had minimal work. The year that I thought just might do me in, has instead turned out to be the year that He has showered me with His extravagant love, grace & gifts.
He's given me friendship with some of the most incredibly godly women I've ever known. No, they're not perfect, but man oh man do they love Him. And no, I don't just like them because they make me feel good about myself... Why just last week I went to Tara's house to borrow something and she could see all over my face that I was having a hard day. I told what was going on, that I was having trouble with a child, a son that was giving me a whole handful of attitude. And in her kind and gentle voice, she exhorted me, and asked that if I might check my own attitude, would I find that my son was simply mirroring what he was seeing in his Mama? And she was right on. I was not living what I was trying to teach my son.
How thankful I am for friends that are willing to help me get past where I am.
And this weekend, I sat on her back porch with my tea hat on and looked around at all the other women with their tea hats on and whispered silent gratitude for the ways He has blessed me, even through some of the most difficult days of my life.
Gifts that come from women authentically knowing other women...
Women that have graciously spoken truth to me, when I was believing something other than the truth.
Women who have showered me with encouraging words.
Women who have exemplified to me the way to not just be a good mother, but a godly one.
Women who have humbly and sacrificially loved their husbands and inspired me to do the same.
Women who have caused me to be brave and pointed out some gifts that the Lord has given me.
Women who have lavished friendship on me despite myself.
So this weekend, surrounded by the tall pines, we ate delectable food, found out some fun facts about babies and celebrated one of the BEST gifts God has ever given to me and so many others...
Sweet T___ Can't wait to witness the many ways that the Lord is gonna use you to mold another precious treasure into His likeness!
You are truly a treasure friend.
Thank you for walking through this life with me.
Hope this weekend you saw, you heard, you soaked up, the many many ways that you are loved, knowing that He uses you in more ways than you could ever know. :)