5 Friends Every Woman Needs (and Needs to be)

We live in this weird time where everything is online to be seen, misinterpreted, exaggerated and envied. If someone posts a picture of their latest culinary creation, girls night out or time alone at the coffee shop, our first thought is to compare her life to our own.

Even a person’s friendships are out there for our scrutiny. We analyze how many girlfriends someone has, how often they get together and whether they do or do not include their children. The fact is that there is not a magic number of friends a woman needs. There is not a perfect nights-out-to-nights-at-home ratio.

friends

There are, however, some key characteristics needed in friendship. These can be found in multiple people or just a couple. If you find all of them in one woman, hold on to her like grim death.

  • The Grace Giver There is no way around it. We are going to mess up in big, embarrassing ways. We are going to speak out of turn. We are going to stand someone up. We are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Every woman needs a friend that is generous with the grace. No one should have to grovel, beg or plead for friendship. There has to be a woman who, when she looks you in the eye, has nothing but love.
  • The Truth Teller This is the friend that you do not always appreciate at the time, but it is so needed. Every woman needs a friend that will tell her when her attitude is out of whack or her priorities are out of line. It isn’t always pretty, but it’s precious. Flattery may feel good, but a truth-teller can be trusted. This is the woman who will tell you when your hair is too big, your jeans are too tight or your contribution to Wednesday night supper was less than stellar.
  • The Couch Counselor Lots of people will open their hearts to you. They will listen intently and pray faithfully. It is a special person, however, that opens her home to you. When a woman is willing to move the laundry and make some coffee, real relationships are formed. Honesty abounds with Dora the Explorer in the background.
  • The Burden Bearer Just the other day, I was struck by a verse in Philippians. When writing to “the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,” Paul’s desire was that they would be striving side by side and not frightened in anything (Philippians 1:27-28.) If there was some striving and some opportunities to be frightened, it is safe to say that there were some trials and painful experiences going on in their lives. Even your closest of friends can not always fix your problems. You need a friend, however, that will walk side by side with you through your trial. You need that woman who will bake you a casserole, babysit your kids or just be there to listen.
  • The Secret Sharer Oh, this is a good one, y’all. There must be a woman in your life who is a safe place for your secrets. This is the woman who knows that your cakes are from a box, you hid in the bathroom during your junior prom and you love you some reality television on Tuesday nights. There is no judgement in this relationship. When Gilmore Girls did you wrong, she just showed up with chocolate. She knows what you like on your pizza and never blinks twice when you go back for thirds at the local buffet.

Friendship is such a tricky thing. I think back to my mom sitting on the front porch snapping fresh green beans with the neighbor and wonder when it all got so complicated. When did friendship become a competition? Who cares if someone else is having dinner and drinking wine with her girlfriends while your crew are all holding juice boxes watching the kids run around the playground?

Again, I say, “Who cares?” Friendship doesn’t always look like it did on Friends, but that doesn’t make it any less of a friendship.

If it works for you, I say, “Pass the coffee and carry on.”

The Truth About Guacamole and Girlfriends

I think it is worse when you never see it coming. You awaken to a beautiful morning with the sun streaming through the windows. {Yes, I sleep until 7:00 a.m. most days. Whatever.} You jump out of bed with visions of coffee on the deck and a leisurely start to the day. Then, you hear the cough.

This is not the my-saliva-went-down-the-wrong-way kind of cough. Nor is it the I-want-your-attention kind. No, this is the cough – the one that you will literally hear in your sleep for the next ten days. It is the dry, hacking, cancel any plans you may have had kind of cough. It mocks you and any medicine you throw its way. The cough makes everything seem more stressful. You lose your mind when a child spills her milk at breakfast even though you have been cleaning up spilled milk since ’02.

When you hear that cough – give it up, girlfriend – you are in for the long haul.

avocado

Late yesterday afternoon, two of my children began showing signs of the cough. My three-year-old {who has not napped since the great bedtime battle of 2013} asked to lay on my bed and “rest her eyes.” Danger, Will Robinson! Then the one-year-old, who normally naps like a boss, decided sleeping was so not her thing. By 5:00 it became clear that the cough had, indeed, invaded our home.

Here is the thing, sweet friends. I had a girls night out planned – the kind which requires no high chairs and no one orders macaroni and cheese. Home is where the heart is, but guacamole is good for the soul. What I am saying is that I left my clingy, hacking children in my husband’s very capable hands and left.

Y’all, let me tell you something. There is very little in this life that can not be drastically improved by guacamole and girlfriends. I did not say “fixed,” mind you – but made better. Sometimes, we just need a reason to put on some earrings, to eat a plate of food without sharing and to laugh at ourselves.

We did not solve the world’s problems. We did not discuss anything that is currently trending on Twitter or Facebook. We laughed. We breathed. We sat, uninterrupted except for the lovely waiter who refilled our glasses, and just enjoyed a meal. It was lovely.

Then, I drove home in a guacamole haze not realizing that I failed to turn my headlines on until I was three red lights down the road. I drifted off to sleep knowing that I would, once again, awaken to the sound of the cough.

I laugh at the cough. This ain’t my first rodeo.

Happy Wednesday.

<3 Stacy

Mom Talk: Nothing but Grace

20120920-011548.jpgI am currently reading Jen Hatmaker’s newest book, For the Love. I wish we could just all read it together and discuss each page because it is that good. We could sit in my living room, drink a little something hot and look each other in the eyes.  I am not a jump-on-the-bandwagon-of-the-latest-and-greatest-speaker-author-personality kind of girl. Jen Hatmaker, however, brings out the hidden groupie inside of me. Ever since my friend and I heard her speak at a conference, I knew she and I were cut from the same cloth.

Her advice to her children, as they are approaching their teen/early adult years, is fabulously simple.

  1. Be kind.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Love Jesus.

“My dream is that you see hurting kids and do the simple, brave work of kindness.” <– How great is that?

Don’t we make it way more difficult that that? Yet, all of the instructions we give, if broken down, would fall into one of those three categories. What if, as adults-women-moms-coworkers-wives, we lived by those three rules?

  1. Be kind. To yourself, your people, strangers at the store, people online. I was in the restroom at Macy’s the other day and this woman walked up to wash her hands beside me. She had one of those adorable, short, spiky haircuts that I admire so much but could never pull off. I turned and said, “You have seriously fabulous hair.” She broke out into the biggest smile and said that I had just made her whole day. Y’all, that woman smiled the whole way out of the restroom. We all want good hair, don’t we?
  2. Be yourself. Inside of you is everything you need to walk out the calling you have been given. Single mom, working mom, homeschooling mom, mom of multiples, mom of a child with different needs, mom of teens, mom of a prodigal – trust that God made you the way He made you for a reason.
  3. Love Jesus. Nothing else will ever matter if we do not love Jesus. No parenting book or philosophy will help us raise our babies the way loving Jesus will. The fact is that we all do this mothering thing differently. I am overprotective in a lot of ways. You may be more of a free range parent. We can be on opposite ends of the spectrum on a thousand issues but, if we both love Jesus, we can meet right there and encourage one another.

I believe that, if we were more generous with the grace and more careful with the criticism, the world would be an easier place in which to walk around. Mom Talk

The other day, I posted a comment about my daughter graduating from an infant car seat to a big girl one. Someone asked me if she would be forward facing or still rear facing. I answered…and held my breath because nothing brings out the big feels in people like someone parenting differently than they do. We take other people’s parenting so personally.

Here is my promise to you.

I am not judging you.

Not you personally, the way you parent, what Bible translation you use, what you did or did not watch on television last night or the fact that you don’t like coffee. {Well, maybe a little on the coffee thing.}

If your child throws a fit at Walmart – you get nothing but grace from me.

If you open your car door and trash falls out – I will open my door and show you my trash.

If you walk into the worship service late with your crew – I am going to high-five you for being there.

There are too many people out there shaking their heads, pointing their fingers and wagging their tongues. I am all too aware of my own desperate need for grace to withhold it from someone else.

You, my sweet friends, are so loved and adored.

Mom Talk Monday: Are we there, yet?

Mom TalkIf you have ever been on a road trip with your children you know that, within five minutes of leaving the driveway, the dreaded question will be asked.

Are we there, yet?

I’m curious. How do you respond? Because my husband and I? We have different philosophies on this one.

Here is how it goes down in our car.

***

Child: Are we there, yet?

Me: Almost, honey.

Hubs: No, actually we are not almost there.

Me: Well, we are closer than we were when we left.

Hubs: Yes, but we are still far away. Far, far away.

***

I am trying to put a positive spin on it. I have the best of intentions, y’all. {Yes, yes, yes – I know all about the dangers of good intentions.} My husband, on the other hand, feels honesty is the best policy. Also, once you give them the impression that they are almost there, they stare out of the window expecting to see Granny’s house around every turn. They miss the beauty of the journey because they are uber-occupied with the destination.

Also, if I am absolutely honest, I usually have no idea if we are almost there or not. I can not read a map to save my life. Just ask any of my former bosses.

I also have to confess that, when my husband informs them that we are, in fact, nowhere near being there – they find things to do. They watch a movie, read a book, make up games, eat snacks, etc. They enjoy the journey much more.

Are we there, yet?

It seems like, my entire life, I have been hearing people say that Jesus is coming back any day. You know what I think? I think people have been saying that ever since He left. I think it is what we long for and, therefore, are constantly looking for.

Life beats us down. We get weary and worn. Someone hurts our feelings. The baby won’t sleep. The barista misspelled our name on the cup. World news terrifies us. Loved ones leave us. We beat our chests and cry out, “Lord, are we there yet? Have we made it to the point in time when You will return and end all of madness?”

There are many who will pat us on the head and say, “Yes, child. We are almost there.” Then, we begin looking at the sky completely focused on the rescue to come. I am guilty of making those promises to myself. He is coming at any moment, Stacy. You’re almost there.

Here’s the thing, though. We may not be almost there.We may be closer than we were, but still far away. We do not know where we are on the journey. Is this the final leg? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Work until I come.

In the book of Luke, Jesus tells a parable about a nobleman who was going to a far country. He gathered ten of his servants and gave them each some money with one instruction.

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, “Engage in business until I come.” – Luke 19:13

He did not say to stand in the doorway, stare off into the distance and look for his return. He did not say to look for signs or study the skies in an attempt to guess when he would return.

The instruction was to work. For how long? Until he returned. That was all the information they needed.

Are we there, yet?

I could, with the best of intentions mind you, say, “Almost, honey.” The truth, however, is that nobody knows. Perhaps, we should stop spending so much time staring at the skies and simply work until He comes.

Y’all are loved.