I spent a lot of this weekend writing out thank you's to the many people who have been blessing Kyle and I with gifts for our little girl. Most of them were women, because, well, that's who came to my baby showers.
Anyway, it got me thinking how amazing and beautiful these women are; and how it'd be crazy if I was friends with one of them, but how really it's the grace of God that I count myself friends with all of them.
Maybe this is a Southern thing, or a Christian bubble thing, or a Southern Christian bubble thing, but it seems people are often nervous to talk about facets of their lives that are actually pretty freaking sweet, because they don't want to make other people feel bad who may not be in the same place.
Which is a good and sensitive thing, but I wonder if it also keeps us from really reveling in specific areas that God has blessed us in. It all comes down to approach, I'm sure.
Like me being clear that I haven't done anything, really, at all, to deserve a community of women like the one I have - especially if you knew more about my backstory; and that I know many women who do deserve one, but don't have one, and I don't really understand why. So the biggest reason I felt compelled to write anything down was because this huge wave of absolute gratefulness hit me - that God's given me this circle of women for this season.
A circle of women that I feel safe enough with to cry in front of (like, rage-cry), or make inappropriate jokes with, or be angry about something that I probably shouldn't be but am anyway, and I know they won't jump on my bandwagon but they won't make me feel like a jerk either.
That I can talk about the hard parts of my marriage with, and I know they know my husband and they know I love him even if there are days you wonder, you know, how "forever" is going to happen. And they listen and nod and encourage and send me back to Kyle with a heart full of hope and not resentment.
That I can vent about how hard motherhood is, and (again) they listen and nod and encourage and know that I love Z even if there are days you wonder, you know, how raising a healthy human being to adulthood is going to happen. And they send me back into the trenches of raising little ones with joy and not bitterness or boredom.
A circle of women that are at different stages in life, and have walked different paths in life, and each have their own Jesus-story. Being able to watch each of them love Him, and maybe even more so watching Him love each of them, has taught me more about how wide and how long and how high and how deep the love of Christ is than any amount of sermons or books could.
It hasn't always been scented candles and soft laughter over coffee mugs, mind you. There's been sharp points meeting vulnerable spots and apologies needed and misunderstandings cleared. But these women, they're willing to work hard at friendship and community and connections that are deeper then a quick smile and nod as we pass each other on Sunday morning.
Because what motivates them is much deeper then a mere sense of sisterhood.
It's Christ. Christ, who exists in a constant state of community, and therefore as His followers the need for deep connection echoes through our souls.
These women, I've seen them do it many times, roll up their sleeves and head into the scary world of female friendships, ready to fight for each other. I've had the privilege of watching them on the front lines for several years, and let me assure you that no battlefield can wound like the one of friendship with women. The risk is great, yet they continue.
And so, I am thankful for these women who have walked before me in marriage, motherhood, ministry, and life, the women I can look at and ask, "How did you make it through?"; and the women who are walking behind me, who I can look at and say, "Come! Be brave, follow Christ, and let us help you as sisters."
And I soak in each day I have to walk alongside them.