I'm in the trenches of motherhood and sometimes things get pretty lonely. Yes, I'm with kids all day, but there are so many things that I'd like to talk about or even THINK about...but inevitably someone needs something...so it will have to wait. At the end of the day, I'm so exhausted that I can't remember what I was thinking about so I go to bed and start all over the next day. I miss people. I want to drink coffee...hot coffee...in a coffeeshop. I want to spend time looking in a store rather than grabbing a pair of jeans out of necessity and finding out that they don't fit after I've already washed them (raise your hand if you can relate). I'm lonely.
From time to time I get stuck in the trenches and have a hard time seeing out of it. As I cling to Jesus...he has shown me a few things. Lately he's been teaching me about friendship. Like most women, I've been up and down the roller coaster of friendship. Seasons of friendship, levels of friendship, hurts from friendship, and blessings of friendship. At the moment I'm a bit wary of friends after coming out of a season of hurt. Who can I trust? Am I a burden? Do people want to step into my mess? I just want to have fun...and be loved.
The truth is that we were made for connection and I don't believe that it is wrong to want friends. However, I wonder if at times we've elevated the importance...the NEED for friendship above our need for Jesus. And without sounding like a Christian cliche...I'm talking true Holy Spirit dependence. When I'm feeling lonely and unloved, fearful, hurt etc. do I turn to my friends or do I turn to Jesus? Are we making an idol out of friendships/family relationships? Just wondering...
Proverbs 18:24 says that Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
I Peter 5:7 says to cast all your cares/anxiety on to Jesus because he cares for you.
Psalm 55:22 says that God will sustain us when we cast our cares on to Him.
So once we have done all of this...I still believe that there is a place in our lives for friendship, connection with others, making disciples, celebration and fellowship. How do we do this as lonely moms in the trenches? Here's what I feel like the Lord gave me:
First of all, depend on the Holy Spirit to guide you. Maybe he wants you to lean into the discomfort because he has something to show you. Maybe he's leading you to a certain person or group. Let him tell you what your next step should be. Then...
Be intentional. Ask a friend to come over. Email a friend. Text a friend and ask them how they're doing. Schedule a play date. Invite a friend to lunch or for coffee. Take your kids if you have to. It won't be the end of the world.
Be vulnerable. Tell someone that you're feeling lonely. You'll be surprised that you're not alone and the telling actually makes you feel better. Doesn't work the first time? Try again...
Focus on others instead of how you're feeling. Send a note of encouragement to a friend. Think about others that are in need...write a missionary...call your grandma. Do something to get your focus off of yourself. (This doesn't mean that your feelings aren't important...but sometimes we really do get lost in them and need to shift our focus).
Do something new. Get out of the house. Invite someone over that is very different from you or that is out of your comfort zone. Appreciate their differences. This one is hard for me because I like things to be ordered and a certain way. God's working on me here :).
Ask God to help you to find the joy in your family. They are your first friends. I've experienced a change in how I see my kids especially. At times they feel like a chore that I have to "do" but I'm learning to see them as friends...people that I really enjoy and have fun with.
Lastly, if you're married...go on a date. Don't forget that other person that's on this journey with you. Your marriage needs attention to if it's going to last.
How have you experienced friendship in the mommy season of life?