“Every woman needs a tribe. Force yourself to pick a few good women who will go the distance with you. Hang on to those you select for your tribe because you will need them as you age. And they will need you. Friends who love us know that motherhood is about transitioning, and adjusting constantly to the demands life brings.”
~~ Meg Meeker, M.D., “The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers”
As we wrap up our series of The MomTrek, the last point I want to cover in our journey as mothers, is the area of cultivating key friendships. One of the most rewarding parts of my own personal MomTrek has been the mothering journey I’ve shared with my “tribe” along the way. The quote above from Meg Meeker says it well — we need a tribe — a few good women who will go the distance with us.
Friendship has gotten harder – for all mothers. In their insightful book, “Grown Up Girlfriends”, Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver discuss the rewarding and the challenging aspects of friendships: “Friendship is a means God uses to fulfill His good purposes in our lives … both through the heartwarming and the heartbreaking experiences. He uses these relationships to provide support in times of need and to bring us to our knees so we can better see our need for Him.” “We believe that, for most women, four factors are the principal barriers to building new friendships: life transitions, personality issues, personal comfort zones, and busyness. Building relationships takes time and a willingness to risk.”
So what are the real hindrances to cultivating meaningful and healthy friendships? We labor intensely, the pace of life, the ages of our kids and the demands of everyday life. And the first thing that usually gets delayed and put off is our friendships with women, thinking we will catch up later. But life gets even more demanding. Things need our constant attention. And all along, we ignore the deep fact that God designed us for relationship. And Mothers are, by our very nature, relational creatures. We thrive on loving and being loved, talking and listening, seeing and interacting. We need each other: to share our fearful questions, to bare our anxious thoughts, to bind our wounded hearts, to vent our frustration and maybe even anger, to lift each other up in prayer, to encourage with a needed word of scripture, to smile and especially to laugh! Friends help us get a fresh perspective, challenge us to stay on the path, and navigate safely, onward and upward together!
I’ve had the incredible joy of having some lifelong friends, who have displayed these qualities and have remained constant as our children have grown up together. These women have challenged me, held the standard high with me, and we have endured times of much laughter and some difficult life events as well. Our children are grown and we are now enjoying the seasons and blessings of our kids marrying and starting families of their own — what a joy! I have other groups of friends who are constant as well, though not as close as this group, yet still walk alongside me as we’ve raised our children together. And few and far between, I’ve had mom friends who sadly, did not turn out to be the friends I thought they were, but these are the lessons of life. Disappointing and unhealthy friendships teach us to be oh so much more grateful for the loyal, lasting, life friends who love us for who we are and challenge us to be better and stronger as moms and women.
So what can we take away from this last point on cultivating key friendship?
*Our friends and the friendships of our children are one of the key determining factors to the success of our MomTrek. Choose them wisely.
*Invest in healthy, God-honoring friendships.
*Determine to work at maintaining consistent friendships, no matter how hectic life gets.
*Be a good friend. Listen, laugh, cry, have fun, and by all means – take food!!
So as we close out this last point on friendship, let’s resolve to base our actions and attitudes, not on fear and insecurity, but instead on truth and a healthy perspective of our identity in Christ. Let’s let go of being driven by what the world tells us, stop comparing, speak truth, and stand together as moms who want to take our kids to the heights of God’s very best! Let’s be moms who hold each other accountable – who have the courage to hold to a higher standard and hold our kids to that standard.
Our children need to see that God is the center of our world and that our lives revolve around Him – not them. That no matter how off course we may get, He is always our True North. Let’s get our bearings, regain our footing, and take hold of our higher calling and spur each other on all along the way!
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)