The Call of Community

I used to be very intimidated by other moms. I would feel great shame when I would show up at a play date and see that other moms had packed coolers filled with healthy snacks and cold bottles of water. Meanwhile, I would have a ziploc bag filled with random whatevers from the pantry and a desperate hope for a fairly sanitary water fountain.

These days, I don’t worry about it as much – partly, because I pack somewhat better snacks but, mainly, because I have friends who know me well enough to pack extra snacks and drinks for my kids. That is what moms need to do. We need to fill in the gaps for each other. booth

We all have strengths. For instance, if you get in a bind and need someone to watch your kid, I’m your girl. Seriously, when you have five kids, another bowl of macaroni at lunchtime ain’t no thang. Some of you are fabulous at planning birthday parties. I see the things y’all pull off and am so grateful that my kids are not on Facebook to see it.

Motherhood is a community. It is our duty to rise up and help one another. This is a difficult age to raise babies. We need to worry about things that our mothers never did. For instance, were you aware that there is an app designed to hide photos and videos? The sole purpose of it is to deceive! I had no clue until another mother mentioned it to me. We need to have each other’s backs, y’all. The infighting and insecurities need to stop. There is too much at stake.

In Acts 6, the church was growing quickly and some things began to slip through the cracks. Due to a large number of people and a language barrier, the Greek-speaking Jews were upset that their widows were being neglected. They wanted the apostles to fix the problem.

The solution the apostles came up with was for people within that community to rise up and take on that responsibility. That is the beauty of community. We know the needs of our people and we know how to help.

churchbuildingYou and I are a community. We know the signs of a mama who is on the edge because we have been there. We recognize the desperation in her eyes because we have seen it in the mirror.

Listen, sweet friends. Motherhood is glorious. I would not trade this time with my babies for anything. This is not a woe-is-us message – not by a long shot. We are a blessed bunch of women. My point is that, sometimes, we stink at community.

Oh, we are great at moms nights out and small talk in the halls at school and church. We sip our coffee and smile as we sit on the bleachers at our children’s sporting events. Yet, when it comes to true community, we are missing the boat big time.

It is wrong that so many women would slip emails into my box saying, “I am all alone.” A complete stranger sent me a message asking if we could be prayer buddies because she did not have anyone. That should break our hearts because I believe it breaks God’s heart.

We are called to live in community. Let’s rise up and meet the needs of our sisters.

*******

Also, if you are not able to physically join a group of ladies to study God’s Word. You are more than welcome to virtually join me. 😉 I am currently reading through the book of Acts with a couple friends. You are welcome to join us. Just join our Facebook group and jump right in. We just read a chapter each day and share our thoughts. I would love to have anyone join who needs a little daily affirmation or accountability. There is no need to play catch up. Seriously, just jump right in with us. ❤

When You Get Lost in the Lonely

IMG_0156

I’m lonely.

The words echo around the room. How is it even possible that, amid the kids and chaos, there could be loneliness? But, it is there and it can be overwhelming. A girl can lose herself in the lonely.

There are feelings and there are facts. They are both real, but they are not the same. It’s important to remember. I feel lonely. I am not alone. If we try to view our world through our feelings, everything becomes distorted. Suddenly, everything seems wrong and even God seems far away.  I love what Eugene Peterson says about feelings in his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

My feelings are important for many things.  They are essential and valuable.  They keep me aware of much that is true and real.  But they tell me next to nothing about God or my relation to God.  My security comes from who God is, not from how I feel. 

When we feel ourselves getting lost in the lonely, we must speak truth to ourselves. Our feeling of loneliness is not an indication that God is far away. Also – loneliness is not the same as ungratefulness or discontentment. Sometimes, we are afraid to confess our loneliness for fear people think we are not grateful for where we are or what we have been given.

There are some questions we can ask ourselves when we are feeling lonely.

Have I isolated myself? This question came to mind as I studied Genesis 1-2. Think of all that Adam had: a beautiful (perfect!) home, work which gave purpose and pleasure, fellowship with the Lord, and a drama-free, stress-free existence. Yet, God looked at this seemingly perfect existence and declared it “not good.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. – Genesis 2:18

IMG_0140Even if we have beautiful homes and good jobs, it is not good for us to be alone. It is not the way we were created to live. As difficult as it can be for {ahem} some of us, that means we have to seek out fellowship. For an introverted homebody like me, it is easier to stay home. Easy, however, sometimes breeds lonely. 

Where is my focus? Paul wrote some of the most beautiful pieces of Scripture while sitting in a prison cell awaiting his death. He had to have fought feelings of loneliness. How did he do it? His love of Christ was greater than the lonely. Do not hear me say that, if you love Christ, you will never be lonely. My point is we must make a conscious decision to focus on Him and not ourselves.

I don’t have all of the answers. Here are just a few things I have found to help – from one (sometimes) lonely girl to another. 🙂

  • Keep a proper perspective. Sometimes, we convince ourselves that we are always lonely. When we do that, everything suddenly seems wrong with our lives. A praise journal goes a long way in correcting this.
  • Get out of the house! Seriously, a trip to Target will do you wonders. Take the kids to the park and soak in the sunshine. A change of scenery will do you good.
  • Spend time in the Word. This is not my attempt to be churchy or spiritual. It’s truth. When we neglect God’s Word, we are asking for Satan to plant seeds of discontentment or loneliness.
  • Reach out. There are women in your neighborhood, in your church, at your workplace, etc. who are also lost in the lonely. If we all sit around waiting for someone to reach out to us, it will not work. Someone has to be the first to step out. Quit looking around trying to determine who could be your next best friend. Instead, look around you and see who needs a friend. Then, be one.

You Can Bring Your Lonely Here

I keep bumping into them online – women who are lonely. They are laundry folding, nose wiping, boo boo kissing, grilled cheese making machines. They are single ladies working 9 to 5, sitting in on meetings and swapping jokes around the water cooler. They volunteer at church. They are classroom moms. They are doting grandmothers. They are all ages and in all stages of life  – and they are lonely.toys in the floor

One sweet lady silently slips an email into my inbox asking for prayer. She reaches out to a stranger on the other side of a computer screen. One whispers, late at night, “I have no one who cares.” It is heart wrenching.  I wish we could just sit down over a cup of coffee. I long to look each of them in the eyes and tell them they are not alone. But what can I do? I’m just one woman and a tired one at that. I’m just a mom with toys all over the floor and peanut butter on my keyboard.

Can I tell you something? I care. I’m a hot mess and I do not have all of the answers. I’ve made mistakes. I have been a selfish mom and a bad friend. I am just a woman in desperate need of grace. But, I care. And you are welcome in this place. You can bring your lonely here. I won’t judge your baggage or call you a drama queen.

It doesn’t matter if you have had a chance to shower. We can meet here, in my living room, among the toys and laundry piles. Dora the Explorer is probably going to be playing in the background. You can talk and I’ll listen. Or, you can just sit silently. Maybe, you just need some company. That’s okay, too.

I can not fix your problems. I can not take away your pain. Here is what I can do. I can see you and I can hear you. Suffering has a way of making us feel isolated and alone. We become desperate for someone to look our way.

Turn to me and be gracious to me for I am alone and afflicted. – Psalm 25:16

I promise, He is looking your way – and so am I. Scripture tells us that God sets the lonely in families. Here, in my little corner of the bloggy world, you and I are family. You are not alone.