For years I have been meeting with seven of my closest girlfriends. We are each other’s encouragement and support, as mothers, sisters, and friends. I have known most of these gals for a decade, since our children, 21 between us now, did not yet know how to crawl. We sat in the small, carpeted church library and talked about the Bible and the challenges of being a new mom. We shared our fears and questions. Our new little ones, the first baby for each of us, lay on blankets, on the floor with toys, or slept tucked into infant carriers while we attempted to hold a cup of tea.
Most of us, as young moms, poured out questions begging for reassurance:
Is it okay I am here, even though I couldn’t get a shower in and I’m a mess and my baby who has digestive issues just threw up on my last white t-shirt?
Is it okay I don’t know what I’m doing; I crave sleep and time alone and miss adult conversations but am also so scared about what it means to be a good mom?
Is it okay I don’t feel like being intimate with my husband yet and I am exhausted and I didn’t know having a child would stretch our marriage beyond what I thought it could ever handle?
Am I okay?
Twice a week we sat on the floor alongside our new babies and took steps toward not hiding the truth–first one mom, and then another–about what life was really like. It just takes one sister being honest and raw and real about her heart to peel back layers on whatever it is we, ourselves, are trying to hide.
Ten years later we are still desperate for sisters around us.
And now, with our once babies now entering junior high school, our questions look something like this:
I want my child to have other adults in her life who know her and love her. I want her to have a safe place, a person whom she can trust, so she can turn to this adult when she doesn’t want to turn to me.
I worry about my son not fitting in and not developing deep friendships with other boys in his school. I want him to be known, appreciated, and loved. We pour ourselves into him at home, but I can’t protect him anymore–not like I thought I could when he was young. I need friends around me–and around him–as we begin to walk through these murky teenage years.
I take on the pressure my daughter feels to achieve and succeed. Her schedule is packed with after school activities, and we run around, from one thing to the next, just to make sure she doesn’t miss out. I am scared of letting go. Things are moving so fast, with outcomes that feel so important. I am afraid, so afraid, of messing up. The results would be too hard to bear.
We still need each other in ways words cannot even fully convey.
Still, the deepest question underneath each of the concerns hasn’t changed . . . the question we answer just by being together, alongside one another.
Am I okay?
Yes–even if you aren’t okay–know we are with you, reminding you God’s got you. Yes, truly, here, no matter what isn’t okay–you are okay.
Together, we put our toes in the water, trying to navigate the rough seas of parenting our soon-to-be-teens. We read awesome books about community, like Sticky Faith, and talk about God and share out hearts and trade resources and offer support. But, more important than anything we say is the reality that over the years and through all the struggles–parenting and marriages and friendships–we have committed to keep hanging in there together. Through it all, we have stayed.
We keep meeting, almost every Tuesday–now, in a home, over coffee, while our kids are in school.
What a privilege. What a necessity. What a gift.
Oh, Father, thank You for the community You bring and the community we need to keep fighting for–even when it is difficult to make it work. You show us how we need each other, how we are made to lean on each other, encouraging each other to lean on You.
Thank you for this community of women here at More to Be–moms and daughters and sisters. Let us continue to be honest and open and vulnerable with and true to one another. Let us love well and be present–in person and even across this beautiful stretch of Internet. Even here, sometimes even in a most beautiful way, we whisper the truth: You are not alone.
He is with you, gathering you in His arms. He knows the next steps, your every worry and fear. He has your children. He has you.
Yes, my sister–because He is with us, because He gives us community to love us–right here and more–we know the truth…
Yes, we are okay.
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