Mamas, we need each other. How desperately so! We crave the kind of encouragement, wisdom, understanding, and inspiration which can only come from other moms. And, yet, we regularly act as if we do not believe this to be true. We go through our lives as moms busily rushing from one task to the next, oftentimes never making friendships with other women a priority. At the very least we do not regularly decide to take time to meet in person with the friends we do have or to do what it takes to sustain the closeness and strength of those friendships.
But, moms, this is not the Lord’s will for us. Consider for a moment His perspective on friendship:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” ~Proverbs 27:17
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” ~Proverbs 17:17
The Lord has designed us in such a way that we live more fulfilled, more godly, better lives when we are regularly enjoying friendship and camaraderie with others. So, why do we oftentimes not actively make this a regular part of our lives as moms? I find that there are five main roadblocks which keep us from building and cultivating the kind of friendships the Lord desires for us to have with other Christian moms. They are as follows:
1. The Mommy Wars
This is a big one! The mommy wars are so increasingly pervasive in our churches today. I have even had friends stop attending one church and start attending another for the sole reason that the mom in the family was receiving harsh treatment from another mom at the church over some of her chosen parenting methods. This should not be! As I write often on the blog, the problem here is that we are taking secondary issues – sleeping methods, vaccination choices, car seat etiquette, etc. – and elevating them up as if they are on par with the Scriptures. But here’s the thing – these topics are not talked about in the Word and there is no one-size-fits-all absolute truth for any of them. We mamas need to keep first things first – we need to know the difference between what the Word does actually say and what it does not at all address, giving grace to our fellow sisters-in-Christ accordingly. This would do much towards repairing the breach that the mommy wars have been creating between moms in the church.
The comparison game is so ugly and never produces any winners. Either we are always looking down our noses at other moms who “don’t have it as together as we do” or else we are downtrodden and discouraged, feeling we aren’t living up to some facade we have built in our minds as to what other moms out there are doing. Either way, comparison breeds disunity, hurt feelings, pride, discouragement, and walls around our hearts, which can be very hard to break down. If we want to foster the sort of friendships we see talked about in the Word, we are going to have to let go of comparison and, instead, each of us moms look solely to the Lord and what He would have us do with our own unique lives.
This one goes right along with comparison and oftentimes produces the same icky fruit. When we are expecting perfection of ourselves, we can easily fall into the trap of pride and a Pharisaical attitude of looking down upon other moms. When we are expecting perfection in others, we can likewise easily fall into that same Pharisaical trap and start judging other moms at those times when they fail to live up to our own man-made expectations. I don’t know about you, but I would have a hard time wanting to be friends with a mama like that! The question I then need to ask myself is – am I ever like that?
For many moms, this is probably the number 1 main culprit for why we do not deepen our friendships with other women as much as we should. We live in a culture of excessive busyness. We are always rushing to and fro, rabidly seeking to mark something else off the to-do list. We have forgotten what it is like to be still and sit quietly, not always having to rush about or be distracted by our phones. We have forgotten to look to the Lord for wisdom as to the right ordering of our priorities and have instead bought into common lies in the culture as to what we should spend our time doing. We are driven by our accomplishments and our completed to-do lists. But here’s the thing – we need to remember what true accomplishments actually are. True accomplishment is obeying God’s Word and prioritizing what He prioritizes. He prioritizes service over completed household chores, fellowship with others over business pursuits, and friendship over an emptied to-do list. So should we. For, truly, as we saw in the Scriptures mentioned above, fellowship with other believers is one of the main ways in which we become strengthened for the Christian walk.
5. A Lack of Vulnerability
This is an awkward and sometimes painful area at first. But if we want to go deep in our friendships, if we want to be the kind of friend that our sisters-in-Christ can come to with their deepest, darkest secrets and sins, knowing that they will find a shoulder to cry on and hear words of wisdom, truth, and love spoken over them, then we are going to have to be vulnerable ourselves. No one is going to feel comfortable enough to open up to us unless they know we are a safe place for them to let down their guard and cease their mirage of perfection. And the only way we will prove ourselves a safe place for them is if we, too, admit we aren’t perfect. If we, too, share that we understand their struggles and have struggles of our own. If we share with them the sins that so easily entangle us. By so doing, we are being faithful to “bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)” and we will be able to lift one another up, spurring each other on in our walk with the Lord.
As briefly touched on above, for each of these 5 common hindrances to the development of friendships with other moms, there is but one remedy we need, and that is time in the Word.
To end the mommy wars, we have to study the Word and determine what is absolute truth and what is mere opinion or preference. We have to know what it means to extend grace and love to those with whom we may disagree.
To end the comparison game, we have to study the Word in order to discover that we have no business comparing ourselves to each other (for we are all fellow sinners!), but that our sole focus instead ought to be comparing ourselves to Christ and asking ourselves how we can go about living more and more as He did.
To give up on perfectionism, we have to study the Word in order that we might look to Christ and understand that it is His righteousness that we have already had imparted to us through our faith in Him.
To let go of busyness in an effort to embrace those people who truly matter and those things which will last for eternity, we must be in the Word and seek the wisdom of the Lord as to what our priorities truly ought to be and then be able to let go of the rest. Remember- His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
To embrace vulnerability, we need to know the Word and the condition of our sinful hearts in comparison to it. We need to then open up to others, share our sins and struggles, and, in so doing, build up true, lasting, deep friendships where iron will sharpen iron and we will be able to bear one another’s burdens and point each other to Christ.
When we do these things, the result will be that beautiful, faithful friendship we all crave, and it will be so worth the work it required to get there!
So, tell me -which of these 5 barriers is the main roadblock you are facing right now when it comes to pursuing friendships with other women? What can you do to overcome it and begin today to grow the kind of friendships you want and to be the kind of friend you need to be? I would love to hear your thoughts!