This particular day my friend Vanny was over at my place for a playdate with her two girls. We had known each other for a couple years now and always seemed to naturally connect. I felt like I needed to be more vulnerable and share with her my recent struggles. They were affecting me and my clan.
We stood in my kitchen slicing pieces of chocolate chip banana bread for our kids and I decided it was time to share. My heart raced, and I let it out:
“I’ve been struggling with cussing to myself and sometimes out loud from all the pressure that’s on me as a mom and feeling so overwhelmed.”
She was now the first to know, along with my husband.
Vanny looked at me with eyes of understanding and compassion, not judgment which I feared.
“I get it. I do too, at times.”
I couldn’t believe it. She struggled with this too?
I slowly felt the burdens of guilt, shame, and fear being lifted. I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t a horrible mom. The truth was that I didn’t just have a cussing problem. I had a heart problem.
Spewing careless words from my lips revealed a deeper struggle with control (okay, major struggle!) and anger over things not going my way. I felt I just couldn’t meet all the needs of my children at once, and I became the kind of Mama I never hoped to be.
From the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks – Luke 6:45
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? – Jeremiah 17:9
I knew that I desperately needed mom friends who I could lean on for hope and encouragement. The kind of friends you can deeply share how:
We aren’t sure if we’re doing this whole thing right
We caused a World War II in our kitchen with our kids and husband
We struggle with yelling and impatience
We wish we still fit into that old pair of jeans
We feel like we live in the kitchen and nothing else gets done
We wonder at the end of every day if we showed our kids enough love…
We also need the kind of friend who will:
- Speak the truth in love, even when it’s difficult
- Extend grace in areas where your views are different
- Sharpen you to be a better wife, friend, and mom
- Let you drop off your kids for a few hours to save your sanity
- Tell you you’re doing a great job
- Laugh and cry with you
- Check in and see how you’re really doing
We need to be that kind of friend too. I believe that in these kind of friendships, we see the hand of God in our life and we’re given greater hope. We realize that God cares about us in our deepest moments of struggle and he uses others to assure us that we can do this.
When I joined my first Mother’s of Preschoolers (MOPS) group three years ago, I was seeking encouragement on how to be a better mom but I realized later that I was also seeking friendship. My life has been so rich because of the mamas who have loved on me, brought meals when they had their own kids to take care of, babysat my kids when I was going crazy, wrote letters of encouragement, texted to say they were praying, and more.
Through that process of sharing life and being there for each other, it has become natural to share our struggles. I have experienced what it means to be known by another person and still fully loved. I’ve experienced how God sees me and loves me even when I fail and fall short.
Every day I still struggle to do things right, but God is helping me to control my tongue and to ultimately understand his unconditional love – which changes how I view myself. I’m a mess, and he loves me still. But he doesn’t want me to stay where I’m at. He wants me to surrender and depend on his guidance because I can’t do motherhood in my own strength.
God gives us the gift of friendship as a tangible tool for love, hope, support, and encouragement in our life. He uses our relationships in incredible ways to help lift our heads from despair. And because of that, we should be all in when it comes to embracing authentic friendship with others even when it requires a whole lot of bravery.
Cheering you on from the trenches,