While I've spent years saying I'd easily fit into a hermit lifestyle if my family vanished suddenly -- that's my introverted side poking out -- in recent years, I've learned the blessing of friendships beyond my family.
This morning, I was reminded why the Lord gives us community and friendships.
One of my dear friends from New England called me first thing this morning while I was still cozily (and lazily) laying in my bed. The house was quiet. C had already gone to work and the kids were still in their beds. Her timing for a more-than-five-minute phone call was perfect. Truly.
Well, for me it was perfectly timed, but she's two hours ahead and I could tell her children were full of energy on her side of the line; but it was great to hear that our kids aren't the only ones who go a little nutty when Mama is on the phone. It made me a little giddy and more appreciative of the fact that mine were still asleep.
I'm not sure she (even now) realizes I was still in bed, but Louisa, when you read this blog post, believe me when I tell you that it was really great to wake up to the voice of a good friend today. Fridays are already my favorite, but today took the cake (at least the start of it).
I said, "Hello," and her reply was about how I sounded quite muffled. So I adjusted myself so I was no longer smashing the phone between my face and my pillow. She said, "Oh! That's better."
I didn't bother to explain. (But now she'll know.)
Anyway, she called about an idea for a graduation gift she wants to send for S and my thoughts about it, but one topic led into another and eventually we were having a great conversation about our families and a study she and her husband have been doing on the topic of relationships. I love her heart for her family and she has always been one of my "mama role models," so it's always good to get her perspective on the things and to be reminded that she has her own life struggles -- so I know she's still human.
I'm rambling now, but basically, besides her perfect timing in my week and in my day, her encouragement was perfectly timed for this season in my life. She has two daughters who have now graduated from homeschooling (plus several other kids on their way towards that end) and hers were always the girls I hoped S looked up to when we lived there (and she did). I value my friend's expertise and where she, too, has had to reevaluate some of her parenting choices as she goes along (yes, she did read my "Dating" blog post) because it helps me remember that God is ultimately in control.
As parents, we have hopes and expectations for our children, but it's important to remember that the Lord is the one we want our kids following. Not me, for goodness sakes! I'm too imperfect and flawed. I want our children to have a better role model than I could ever hope to be. They will still stumble along the way, for they are human, too. But my prayer is that they feel the Lord's presence as a constant reminder of the life He has planned for them.
God will never be disappointed in the path our children go down because He knows all. He knows that their missteps are required for a deeper understanding of their own faith. He loves them no matter how they may stray -- and in straying, they are still actually on the path He has always known they would take. He is not surprised. He works all things together for our good. For the good of our children. For the good of all those who love Him.
So when, in summary, my friend reminded me to "never give up hope," it struck a chord with me. It's not that I had never heard that phrase or that the idea is new to me. It's that I know her friendship is for real and God's blessing on my life (and in my day!) because she speaks the truth and she works to live by that message herself every day and with her own family.
Parents, in your own lives, I know from my own experiences, that you will have some very difficult times ahead as you raise your children to love the Lord, but I leave you with the words of my wise and wonderful friend: Never give up hope.
God hasn't given up on me, so as I was made in His likeness, I will not give up on our own children even when times are tough and things seem really out of control. I know that God is good and He's got this.
Thanks again, Louisa. You are amazing. Without friends like you helping me stay the course, I would have given up hope long ago, I think. You and other friends God has put in my life are a constant reminder to me that I need friends more than I could have ever imagined.
I'm glad God knows what's best for me and that I've listened to Him (on this subject).