I’m an (un)independent woman

About a week ago we had our first official night out of the house together without baby Seth.  It was hard to believe and we were discussing in the car how it was weird to be out, together, alone, at night and all 5 of our babies were at home.  17 precious weeks but it was time for me to readjust to being a fully fledged adult and not just a mama.

For me it was a good first, 4 of our closest friends who know, cherish and love us.  The feeling is mutual of course.  These are the people I would lay my life down for.  They know me; they know my weaknesses, my faults, my heart, my life.  They encourage the good, challenge the not so good and laugh at the attempts of both!

I have learned… that my friends and I can do anything or nothing and still have the best time’

These guys are precious and all that life seems to throw at each and every one of us on a night like Saturday night we were just happy to be in each other’s company.  To eat, to drink, to laugh, to cry, to chat, to not chat, to say silly things and to not worry on the way if I said too much or too little.

Put your life on the line for your friends……’ John 15:13(MSG)

For a long time in my life when I was much younger and way more foolish I liked to think I didn’t need anyone.  I thought it was a cool stance to have…. I can do this alone, with no-one, I am an independent woman don’t you know!

But you see I don’t believe, think or even imagine that is what God wants for us… Just look at Jesus…. He had His trusted 3 but He also had His precious 12 and He loved being and spending time with people…. Take his mate Lazarus who He didn’t see a great deal, it broke His heart when He died.  He got the friendship thing and He (dare I say) needed His friends in His life.

A friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg even though you are slightly cracked’

My life looks a lot different now….I have learned to trust and realise people don’t walk away that easily (some still do of course but that’s their issue not mine)I have good, amazing, talented, kind friends that have been in my life since I was 12, friends who I met 20 yrs ago, 12 yrs ago, 8yrs ago, 5 yrs ago,2yrs ago, 1yr ago… people who I have met through my life, my church, my work, my school, my kids, my street and Glen would argue even the bus stop! I love my friends, their lives, their families and their kids each of them mean a heck of a lot to me… some of them are female, male, married, single, divorced, with kids, without kids, heterosexual, homosexual, working, not working, in the church, out of the church, in the country, out of the country….I love each one…

Each one bless, encourage, love me and love my kids bad days and good, these people don’t just go the extra mile but come back for me, pick me up and tell me when its getting tough that is too will pass, these friends will make the coffee when they come to MY house for a chat and these are the kind of friends I want my kids to have.  One of the things I pray for the most for my kids is the people who they will call their friends.  If nothing else I want my kids to have good friends who will lay their lives down for them and vice versa.  Friendship giving and taking is a precious gift.

I do also have a few trusted friends who hear everything that is going on in my head without the filter, who get the good, bad and the ugly. Who pray, love, forgive, laugh and cry with me.  I don’t think that is for all my friends to have the short straw of this one but I know for these friendships my life would be pretty tough without these precious ladies in my life.

‘If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you’

Then there is my bestest friend……. Glen who is my rock.…friends don’t come close to this man… he gets it all and more… He loves with what seems like an everlasting love, he is not perfect but man he is patient…my life is good and perfect just with him being in the same room as me.

‘A friend loves at all times…….Proverbs 17:17

God has given me an array of friends who literally make my life better, fuller and give it great joy!      They are all different but all of them for me it comes down to love…. You see love is patient…. Even when we muck up and get it wrong for the 10000+ time….. love is kind….even if you can’t be bothered writing that text or making that call…. Love never gives up… even if you are really really hurt….Love is not rude…..even if you are really really annoyed…. Love does not envy… even if it does hurt to be glad for them….. Love does not boast…. Even if you do want to show off …… love is not easily angered…. even if you are sick of giving people the benefit of the doubt….. love keeps no record of wrongs….. even if you do really really want to hold that grudge….love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth……it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves….

I wonder what would happen to the precious friends we have in our lives if we all started living like this…..

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Everything is perfect…..

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Or is it?

Today I had one of those moments where I was watching the kids play in the paddling pool and listening to them all laughing and having a right good time where I felt ‘yes indeed this is perfect!’ It was an ‘instagram’ moment.  One of those pictures that portrays the perfect family having fun in the sun…What the picture didn’t say was (I didn’t take it in the end) was that Jessie and I had a stand up row the minute before that about sun cream, I had just done not 2 but 4 stressful school runs, Seth had cried himself to sleep and I had a happy meal in Mcdonalds for my lunch! Today I felt dog tired, lonely, weepy, stressed and that photo would have told the opposite. Herein lies one of the dangers about social media is that you can control how you and your life are portrayed.  That picture perfect moment…. Or is it?

I read an amazing and actually quite life changing book recently ‘Hungry for more of Jesus’ by David Wilkerson and there was one particular chapter that talked about the God of Hope.  It struck a chord.

Like the interview with Justin Welby from the HTB conference this year.  It struck a chord.

For me every day there is a battle within me to be ‘perfect’ (to be the perfect wife, mum, daughter, sister……to have the perfect house etc……the list goes on… some days I am constantly comparing myself to the next person wanting to say and do the perfect thing, pray the perfect prayer, have the perfect kids… but I realize it really isn’t about me at all…. I am and never will be perfect! And actually God doesn’t want me to have it all worked out, sewn together because actually God uses His imperfect people to show He is a perfect God.

For me the closer I get to Jesus the battles are still there within me but the easier they are to fight, the easier they are to accept and know that actually this life covered in its imperfections are all about the One who came to give me life to the full..

I don’t want to actions of others or if someone lets me down to change my trust in God.  I want my confidence and my trust to be in God.  I want my kids to grow up knowing that perfection never has to be achieved or needed in our house but trusting that when we get it wrong that there is hope, love, forgiveness and grace all the time, everyday!

To be honest at this stage in my life, in the church, in my marriage, in my kids I am not sure how I would do this without God.  Because I am messed up, inside out and a back to front sort of person! Every day I take up my cross and follow Him daily. I love my life but know that only by Gods grace that we are where we are.

It is a privilege and an honour to walk through life with the people around us.  To be in their lives, to hear their stories, their fears, their joys, their sorrows and to be there when life as it does sometimes hit the fan! But to be honest when it all comes down to it I am neither flattered nor fooled… nor do I want to brag or boast because I know that God is good and I know for us God uses us only in spite for ourselves.

I come with an empty hand and a full heart to some situations and when I trust in the Holy Spirit He tells me what to say and when to say it.

I want to walk with integrity and let my yes be yes and my no be no…. I don’t want to change like shifting sand.  The battles may still be there but I know God is renewing my mind every day and hopefully by His grace I will love and be loved because……..

Everything is not perfect…..