Found Full

Girls weekend! The much anticipated annual event that brings six women, with 18 kids between them (and two more on the way!), together from four states for an extended weekend packed with rest, reconnection, and much rejoicing. Emphasis on the rejoicing this year as last year the trip was cancelled due to COVID and childhood cancer.

As we celebrate mother’s this weekend, I reflect on the importance of having your own moms club to have your back and support you as you mom along. It can be difficult to find “your people”. I think we entertain this ideal of finding a community of people who have similar backgrounds, similar parenting methods, and with whom we agree with on pretty much everything. As I have grown and developed lasting relationships, I have realized more and more that similarity is not the mark of a lasting friendship. Rather, commitment and care is the foundation on which to build connection.

This girls weekend, we celebrated thirteen years together as a group, surviving COVID, and kicking cancer’s ugly behind. As we stayed up way past any of our bedtimes, we talked about our marriages, our families, and reflected on our past selves. We questioned who of us would have been friends in high school and the answer was maybe one or two, but probably none. How can the extended relationships between six women survive such differing backgrounds, interests, and life choices?

Well, if there was a neat and tidy answer then all the world would live in peace! I don’t have the answer, but I do have a few protections we can place over our relationships.

  1. Value the person over the opinion.

In all of the hot topic mom choices (birth choice, feeding, vaccinations, schools), we have vastly different opinions. But through it all we support each other, we learn from each other, and we love each other. We have discovered that we are so much stronger together and there is value in our differences. Different does not have to be a weakness. Different can be a great strength. Disagreement does not have to be a wall. Disagreement can be a bridge to understanding.

  1. Share your lives together.

When you know another person’s story then you are better able to understand them. The beauty of having different backgrounds and beliefs is that we are able to learn different perspectives to form a more accurate viewpoint. Celebrating triumphs and mourning losses together creates enduring bonds. Vulnerability and sincerity encourages genuine fellowship and friendship. When you surround yourself with others who are just like you then you miss out on how God proves Himself good and faithful and kind in all circumstances. God is greater and bigger than any one experience alone and through sharing our lives together we witness His work more fully.

  1. Laugh together. Often.

We all need joy in our lives. Negativity and stress are prevalent in the world and threaten to disrupt daily life. So often we feel lost and alone in the world and imagine that no one can understand our concerns or conflicts. This specific group of girlfriends was created out of the great need for community when we were all newlyweds. Marriage is hard and often you wonder if anyone else can possibly understand what you are experiencing. Just as there were a lot of new situations and weird circumstances in early marriage (in and out of the bedroom), so also this continued into our motherhood journeys. As we shared anecdotes and asked questions of each other, there was a lot of laughter over the discovery that we truly we not alone! Our shared (and especially unshared, unique) experiences brought laughter and relief. But we had to be willing to be vulnerable and share our embarrassment or confusion. Laughter is great medicine and when we can laugh at ourselves then we can find hope and healing.

After a long weekend away with these girlfriends, my heart was so full. We keep  up with each other on a video app, but this is no comparison to being able to hug each others’ necks, prepare meals together, and sit around uninterrupted and just be together. We do not need pomp and circumstance, we just need to be with each other. That is enough.

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