Thursday, January 13, 2011

That's What Friends Are For....

I LOVE that song.

Friendship is something I really struggled with last year. I just read that sentence and it sounds completely silly. But it is true. 

All my life I've never had a problem making friends. I've easily made friends in every stage of my life. In fact, I've never really had a falling out with any of my friends. Of course, there are people I still talk to on a semi-regular basis but most of my friends and I don't really see each other or talk anymore. That said, I know that if we ever ran into each other that we would be able to sit and chat for hours. 

Recently, I've found there has been a little emptiness in my heart. After spending much time praying and trying to figure out where this bit of sadness was coming from I realized that it was because I really didn't have any friends. Ok.... not exactly true. Maybe it wasn't so much that I was missing friends, but that I was missing out on meaningful friendships.

Once I realized that I was missing out on friendships it was time for me to figure out how to find these friendships. Seriously, this is new territory for me. I've spent the past 4 years at home every day with my children. On almost all of those days, the only adult interaction I have is with Jared when he comes home from work. I love him dearly, but it just wasn't enough. I needed something for me (not in a selfish way, but in a way that helps me grow emotionally and spiritually).

I decided to re-join the Ladies' Group I was in when shortly after we were married (I had to stop going because of babies and Jared's wacky work schedule). I knew it was going to require a commitment from ALL of us for me to go - but Jared and I both agreed that I needed it. They are a wonderful group of women who love the Lord and I love them all dearly.

I've also started getting together with my S-I-L, Jill, for our daughters to play (as often as we can). We both agree that we may need those playdates more than our girls do. It's a win-win, really. 

And then, just like clockwork.... here comes the attacks of the devil. I started feeling like I was upsetting my girls by leaving them every other Monday night for group. I started feeling like no one really wanted to be my friend because I don't really have anything to offer a friendship - my kids and husband take up nearly all of my time, so what was left for me to share with a friend? I started feeling like I didn't really belong with these women. I could go on and on.... but, you get the picture. Attack. Attack. Attack. 

Through many tears and prayers I got past the worst of those attacks. God is so good! I've realized that I can be a friend. What I have to offer a friendship is me - nothing more or less. I have to ease up on the pressure I put on myself to be the "perfect" friend all the time. Is there such a thing as the perfect friend? Ha! And the truth is (and this is hard for me to accept sometimes) that there are people who actually want to be friends with just me. No pretending, no facades, just me. Humbling.

Here is what I know now:
  • I need friendships. We all do.
  • I have great friends from my childhood that I may not see regularly, but we will always be there for each other. Our friendships will change and evolve as our lives do and that's ok. 
  • I have an amazing group of women in my Ladies' Group that I am honored to call my friends. I love each of them and I'm excited about growing our friendships as we continue to spend time together. These ladies are very special and God is using them to help me in so many ways. 
  • I am so blessed to have so many women in my family that I can call my friends. 
  • Jared and I are working on doing things with other couples. And I can honestly say that some of my favorite moments of the past few months were made with some couples that we love. 
I plan to do as much as possible from now on to grow my friendships. I have realized how important it is in my life and I will do everything I can to keep from letting go of my friendships. If you are reading this and you are one of my cherished friends, know that you mean so much to me. And if you are reading this and you feel like you need a friend, email me. 

I'll leave you with another video..... perhaps my FAVORITE friendship song of all time.  I can't tell you how many hours my sister and I spent singing this song together. It's like someone took our relationship and wrote it into a song. Love. And can I just add that I miss Whitney Houston. The girl could SING! 


elainaann said...

What a humbling post. Thank you for being so honest about yoru feelings. I too often feel like I don't have any girlfriends. Makes me wish I was a stay at home wife so we could hang out more. Andrew and I would love to get together with you and Jared sometime. I think that sounds like loads of fun. :)

Alex and Jill said...

Well I love this post because as you already know from our previous conversations - I've had the same struggle this past year. You have been an encouragement to me and I want to thank you for that. You're always willing to help me when I'm overwhelmed or panicking. :) You have been there for me to talk to when my heart is heavy. I love you to pieces & can't wait for God to restore health in my home, so we can get back to playdates!!

Carrie said...

Oh gosh - I know exactly how you feel. After Mia was born, I struggled, too. She's 15 months now, and I am still working hard on developing friendships with other women. It's hard in the grownup world because you don't see people every single day like you did in high school or college. And I think anybody would be happy to have you as a friend because you just so happen to be awesome.

BTW, it's not selfish to be healthy - mind, body, soul. And it's good for your children to see you taking care of yourself. Part of that is have wonderful girlfriends. :) Good for you.

Vickie said...

I LOVE this post!!!!!! I feel the same way about not having many friends. Yes, we have ladies group, but honestly I only see 1 person maybe 2 out of the every other Monday routine. I know I have friends here but sometime I feel like we (Chris & I) are lacking in the friends department. I think that is one reason we spend so much time going to Hamburg/McGehee. We go out when we are here , but it's usually with one other couple. I love them to death, but I think Chris & I need a little more variety. My goal for this year it to decrease our travel "home" and spend more time together at our HOME. So if you and Jared ever want to have dinner call us!!! :-) Love you girlie!!!!

Linda Lou Rogers Averitt said...

jenn a honest heart felt blog, it is so easy not to take itme for friends/your self when you have three small children, and it is soooo inportant to take that time, I am always here to help with the girls so youc an be a part:) you are so precious and have you to offer in a friendship which would be a honor for anyone....I love you dearly and cherish our friendship:))) Now quit letting the devil talk to you and listen to the Lord and to you heart:) HUGS looking forward to our time MOnday:)

Pediddlepie said...

Amen for friends! I have that struggle a lot when I start thinking of friendships that have been untended or just swept away by life's events. I have to really assess and then I get fearful of, "oh no, what if so and so moves or leaves me?!" AAAHH!! Another hard part about our age is that it often seems like people get stuck in their ways and with their current friends and actually don't want to invest in new friendships. I've had a gal tell me before that she has to be really impressed by someone to make the effort to befriend them because she barely has enough time to keep up with all of her current friends. I was floored. I also don't really much like lots of women (sorry, it's true, we are often so mean spirited and insecure that it's impossible to feel comfortable around us). So, I'm stuck! I wish us both luck as we traverse these murky waters and find trusted companions to journey with us!

High Maintenance Mama said...

If only everyone would get as REAL as you just got in this post... There are SO MANY women that are at that point or have been at that point, including myself! We all just seem to smile and say "I'm fine"... ha! THREE babies makes for a crazy life... one only a mother can understand, specifically a mother of THREE, because having 1 or 2 children is not the same as having THREE... having three is not the same as havingd 4,5,6,7... you know!! These babies can complicate friendships, especially when coupled with work, home, chores... but we need to MAKE time to nurture our friendships, even if we have to leave the babies SCREAMING ;) I love you! You are REAL, you are COURAGEOUS, you are SMART, you are BEAUTIFUL, you are MY friend!!! So... let's make a date?! Watcha say? ;)