Sunday, November 22, 2015

bare naked heart-to-hearts

As my sisters and I married off, my dad kept saying, "You're gonna miss each other. Just wait and see."

We started different lives in separate places. Some of us had kids. Some of us were working and some of us were in school. The only real thing we had in common was that we were lonely. So. Very. Lonely.

Dad was right: We started to miss each other.

Even then, when we began reaching out to one another, the conversations were short and polite. We were talking with one another, but we were still alone: wrestling with parenthood alone, struggling through our marriages alone, crying over growing up...alone.

One day--thank the Lord--we worked up the courage to strip away our quaint facades and show each other the mess of a life we really lived. 

And from then on, we were lonely no more.

We cried. Over new-found friendship, the deep and restorative kind of friendship. Over our less-than-perfect lives. Over no longer being alone.

True friendship heals and nourishes the soul.

I want to be a mom who gives her kids her best. I want to be a mom who helps her kids shoot for the moon. And I want to be a mom whose friendships make her more like Jesus. A mom who connects without pride.

Not until recently did I truly understand the proverb "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (27:17). I changed one thing in my life, and that one thing changed my life.

The depth of my relationships.

I went from trying to keep my mess together to throwing my mess on display.

I started talking about my insecurities, weaknesses, and flaws.

And I learned something incredible: There are amazing people out there who love me just the way I am.

As anal as I am.
As selfish as I am.
As prideful as I am.

And to top it off, there's a God who knows the junk I haven't even confessed to myself--and He still loves me with a never-ending, too-good-to-be-true, I-don't-deserve-you kind of love.

Knowing those two things has made my life so rich.

We can't stop learning. We can't stop growing. Especially as parents. The further we go, the further we can lead our kids.

Just as we seek to help our kids become the best they can be, so God seeks to do the same for us. The ideal is Christ, and relationships are a one-of-a-kind setting for personal growth.

Let us invite others to live life alongside us.

Let us accept the encouragement, rebuke, and correction of others.

Let us live honestly and unapologetically with the people we love.

Openness and vulnerability come naturally to no one; they are habits we must adopt, habits that enable us to experience life in a completely different way.

Authentic relationships with God lovers keep our vision aligned with God's. They bear burdens, making light the yoke. They facilitate the transformative work of the Spirit.

May the joy and freedom of intimate friendships be yours.