I turned to Aaron last night and said, “If she goes home in April, I don’t think I’ll survive it, baby.”
Taking my hand, he said, “We’ll get through it.”
The depths of human emotion are astounding. As soon as you reach the bottom of the well, your soul strikes a geyser, emotions rush to the surface, shattering the limitations of how you thought you could ever feel, or give.
The number one comment I’ve received after becoming a foster mom is, “I could never do that. I could never love a child and then give them back. It would be too hard.”
I know some of you’ve said those very words to me. You know the first person to say this to me?
About a gazillion times before you opened your mouth, so don’t sweat it. I’m pretty sure my head will pop off like a Barbie doll when/if she isn’t with us anymore. So…there’s that.
I try not to think of that.
Oh, yes, sweet friends. You’re right, it’s hard.
Loving a child like they’re yours, but they aren’t is like trying to settle untamed land. I’m unsure which attachments to let grow wild and where it’d be wise to put up some fences.
Is she supposed to call me, mommy? I’m not her mommy.
What do I say when someone says, “Congratulations”? She’s not adopted. In fact, she’s with us because of traumatic circumstances.
Knowing we’ll probably only have her for a season; the knowledge breaks and heals, gives and takes away. I don’t know how to feel, so I feel everything. It’s fascinating and difficult. Please, pray for me.
Some days lunge at me like a ginormous octopus. Emotional tentacles are yanking my gut, trying to reach a new understanding of what God’s love is really about. How can it spread in so many directions at the same time, with the same purpose? Is it even possible for me to love like him?
I promise I’m trying. I’m finding I don’t know how to successfully love my foster daughter, her birth mama, her birth daddy, her paternal grandma, the two social workers, three investigators, three lawyers, and the judge equally.
Somewhere down the line, I’ve come to believe that if I love one too much, it will interfere with my love for the other. What if I love too hard, will the wells eventually dry up? I don’t want to find myself cracked and parched, unable to love brave again.
The word tells us, “For God loved the world, that he gave his only son,”(John 3:16)
In other words:
He loved, so he did a very hard thing;
He loved, so he gave what was most precious to him;
He loved, so he endured.
He loved, so he hung, his lips cracked, his mouth parched.
The veil was torn. His body was buried. But it wasn’t the bottom of the well.
When the world thought Jesus hit rock bottom, a bigger rock rolled away, and the fierce love of God rose up.
I’m learning we can’t put boundaries and borders upon God’s love. We’re the ones slapping labels on His callings: Too Hard. Not Worth It. I. Just. Can’t.
Of course, we can’t! Love wouldn’t be holy if we could accomplish it on our own. Only through Jesus, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
After our last failed adoption, I was convinced a piece of me would never feel again. I was wrong. The death in that experience gave birth to a new depth in me I didn’t know existed. Under the surface of that suffering was an understanding that God’s designed us for more. More perseverance, more strength, more wisdom, more hope, more fight, more courage, and abundant love.
He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
We’re made in the image of God. So our love story on earth should look a bit like his.
Because he loves, we’ll do hard things. And because he’s with us, we’ll get through it.
Our bird mamma is back. Penelope- the one that’s decided our rotting patio cover is the perfect place to build her nest. I love this crazy, determined, cutie-pie bird.
The irony is not lost on me. I feel like I’m observing a bird version of myself. All the hopes of my heart to adopt over the past five years seem overshadowed by the decay that surrounds them. Five years of broken expectations. Four failed adoptions — one international, three domestic — chipping away at the strength of my spirit.
But here I sit, day after day, choosing to knit my nest together with God’s promises, while everything around me threatens to cave in.
what do you believe god’s promises are for you?
What is your nesting egg? The desire of your heart that you believe God planted? Have you asked God to remove it if it’s not his will? I have. Over and over. Yet it remains. And even when the lies of the enemy are crudely constructed, attempting to cover up the promise that God’s plans are to prosper me and not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11a), His truth still is not obstructed. I can still feel it.
Besides, “hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24b–25 ESV).
I may have to grope clumsily in the darkness for a season, but it’s there. Because God is eternal and God is hope.
What is eternal cannot be extinguished.
Did you know the biblical word for hope, tiqvah, literally translates to cord, hope, and expectation? It’s used in the story of Rahab. She’s instructed to tie a scarlet cord (tiqvah, hope) in her window to remain unharmed. (Joshua 2:18). Hope protects us. It’s a holy signal to the enemy that he can’t touch us. It’s the scarlet cord we unabashedly display over our doorframe that cries out, “I belong to King Jesus!”
Grasping it like a rope, I’ve tried to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23 ESV). I still struggle, asking God, Why are you making us wait so long for the desires of our heart?!
hold on tight to God’s promises. it’s worth it.
In all transparency, my hands have grown weary and calloused from clinging to the rope for so long. It hurts. My hopeful waiting has been seasoned with suffering. But isn’t this part of the blessing? Callouses give us the ability to endure situations that would naturally tear our hearts wide open. It takes time and endurance for callouses to form.
In high school, I cursed the callouses that formed while trying to learn to play the guitar. However, the first time my fingertips were tough enough to press on the strings to play a worship song, I was flooded with understanding. The momentary discomfort I’d endured made it possible for me to sing a new song of praise. I don’t know all the reasons we’re asked to wait. However, I do know there is a perfectly holy reason for every situation. We are called to hope (Ephesians 4:4), and that means we are called to wait. Not just to wait but also to look.
In fact, the Hebrew root of the word hope is ka-va, meaning to wait, to look for. Faith-filled hope is active. When I find myself wrestling with discouragement, I’m really wrestling with my passivity. Hope requires that we’re eager watchmen on the tower of our days, scanning the valley for signs of life.
Just like Penelope, who is oblivious to the rot around her because her eyes are on the tiny, yet wildly adored, promise beneath her. She waits. She watches. She constantly tends to the hope among the decay. Sweet Jesus, teach me to do this!
The idea of becoming foster parents was like realizing there was another egg in the nest we’d never noticed! It’s only through the sustaining grip of God’s love that we kept diligent watch over the ragged nest perched in our hearts. I praise God for the gift of hope. I thank Him for reminding me that hope is my protection, my courage, my confidence, my calling, and my strength! I raise my hands in praise, calloused as they are from clinging to hope, to the one that gives life to His promises.
“But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)
God’s word is always the best source of encouragement! Click here for a beautiful printout of verses celebrating hope in Jesus:God’s Word-Marked by Love-Hope
Last week, I had a –how did my walls get this dirty?! – kind of day. Our adoption social worker was coming over to redo our home safety report (because they LOST the original. Yup.)
I can’t even. I found myself, knees pressed to the wood floors, scrubbing off fingerprints…or maybe they’re toe-prints? I don’t even know.
One smudge rallied so hard against my efforts- it was like a caveman painting fighting to not be erased from our home history.
So how did my walls get so dirty? Because people live here; little dirty people and big dirty people. This is our safe place; our “come as you are “place.
Let’s be real- Our safest walls are always the messiest.
When they walk through the doors of this house, I don’t demand they clean up right away. I don’t insist on showers the second they burst through the door from hours of bike-riding, or soccer-playing or middle-school surviving.
I let them rest a bit. Breathe a bit. Eat a snack. Grab a drink. I let them just…be. And although this is a picture of grace, it’s still not excusable for them to intentionally wipe a muddy cleat on my hypothetical white rug, or smudge a happy face on walls with their grubby fingers.
Our home parallels our relationships. The more intimate the relationship, the messier it can get. The safer we feel, the more careless we can become. There are days my hubby comes home and I soil his spirit with careless words, sarcastic comebacks, and hurtful eye rolls. All the junk that’s clung to my shoes and wedged under my skin from the day, I carry straight to my people.
It’s OK…but it’s not OK. We have to take responsibility for checking the condition of our hearts when we enter our safe spaces. We can’t treat our people like it’s their job to stand still and let us wipe our junk all over them.
When my kids come in stinky and tired, it’s true, I let them rest. But eventually, they’re getting in that shower y’all! It’s the same with our attitudes and spirits.
The home is where grace and discipleship should be profoundly weaved together. Healthy homes cannot have discipleship without grace, and grace is not effective without discipleship.
I try to hold my tongue when someone spills in my home. It’s simply human nature to mess up, but even more so, to sin. There’s no value gained by verbally ripping into my family, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues” (Proverbs 10:19).
However, I don’t allow them to walk away without taking responsibility to clean up. When the mess is dripping off the table, soaking my rug, I’ll snatch another towel and jump on the floor with my kiddo to help. At times, the stain is so tricky, I’ll need to explain how I know white wine gets out most anything. Our kids are still kids. We need to guide them on how to clean up the messes they make.
This same model of discipleship can be used when our kiddos verbally smear their siblings. I’m struck by The Message’s version of Matthew 18, “But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments…”
As parents, don’t we get it?! I know I struggle to remember this! It’s not the words we should be scurrying to mop up- it’s the “vomit” collecting in our hearts. We offer astounding love when we help our kids notice there’s a well from which they draw their words. Harsh words and attitudes don’t pollute the heart; they ooze from a polluted heart.
We all have days that leave our souls caked with mud-like frustration. It’s expected we’ll need a safe space to wash up. But showing someone our dirty hands is different than shoving it on them.
It’s my instinctual reaction to yell, don’t you dare say that! or apologize right now! But I’m praying for patience and wisdom. Maybe the question I should really pull my kiddos aside and ask is, why do you think you just said that? And instead of demanding a flippant apology, challenge them to think, why do you think I’m asking you to apologize?
If we don’t teach our kids, (and ourselves!) how to ‘heart check’ in the midst of bubbling emotions, we’ll be spewing all over our beloved home asking, how did our walls get so dirty?!
God’s word beautifully reminds us that our words have the power to give life. Check out these Bible verses for inspiration: God’s Word Marked by Love
I have baby onesies with no pudgy legs to fill them. I have space where I hung dresses for a job I didn’t get.
Having empty space in our lives, doesn’t mean we’re called to endure emptiness. Once a woman wept outside an empty tomb and was met by the hope of the world.
Remember Mary, the shamed woman whose heart was seen by Jesus? In Him, she was most likely cherished for the first time. Then she witnessed the desire of her heart mocked, beaten, and nailed to a cross.
Mary’s new identity was mercilessly pinned to a piece of wood. Her hope was in Jesus. And now it hung lifeless for the whole world to see.
Our desires may be holy and epic! For me, wanting to adopt is that one desire I feel I’ve been watching die a gruesome death. It’s out of my hands. All I can do is stand aside and feel the fool for believing. Have you ever felt this way; that God entrusted you with a longing but it seems it’s a no-go?
I’m guessing Mary may have felt this way. She proclaimed the hope of the world had come, and the next day they rolled a stone sealing His grave.
Still, she knelt outside the tomb, where her unmet expectations lay buried and dead.
Dying to self is a true death. And it’s OK to treat it that way. As long as we don’t forget: We worship a God of resurrection!
Mary went to Jesus’ tomb, terrified and confused to find it hollow. She pleaded with the angels, asking where they’d taken him. (John 20:11-18). It’s not that she wanted Jesus to be dead, but it’s what she expected.
Sometimes, we’re so busy focusing on the hollowness of a situation…we miss the hallelujah!
We’re so much like Mary. If we’ve watched a desire of our heart be abused and buried, we visit the grave expecting it to stay that way forever.
We forget what hope looks like. When this happens, we can miss it staring us in the face.
Hope looks like Jesus.
Hope is Jesus.
Mary didn’t even recognize Him when he appeared to her outside the tomb. She mistakes him for the gardener! (John 20:15) She was seized by the fact things didn’t remain irredeemable. The world was whispering, “What’s the point? What you hoped for is still dead.”
But the world lies. There’s always a resurrection! Whatever’s lifeless, looks different after revival.
Jesus looked different. He was glorified. (Philippians 2:20-21) I think it’s why Mary didn’t recognize Him right away.
It’s the same with the desires of our hearts. It’s not that they aren’t lovely, but God has something planned to take our breath away! Something we haven’t considered. Something impossible.
This. Is. Faith. Standing outside a graveyard and believing resurrection will come.
We’re completing our Foster Certification. Something mind you, we said we’d NEVER do. God, through the past five years of loss and frustration, has been tirelessly crafting our powdered dreams into something completely different than what we expected to see. The idea of becoming Foster Parents was our equivalent of Mary mistaking Jesus for the gardener. We initially flipped out, “Where have you taken our dead dream?!!” I just wanted to remain face down, ugly crying like Mary.
Sometimes, it’s easier to sit in disappointment then to step into the unknown. This is a big unknown for us! But I know the sweet face of hope. I refuse to mistake Him.
We’re approaching a desolate space and expecting the impossible to happen.
We’re expecting God to resurrect all that was lost.
We’re expecting desires to look different.
Standing right in front of us, could be the glorified, holy, resurrected will for our lives.
Once, I swung open the front door of my mini-van, jumped inside, heard a growl, peeked over my shoulder and found myself face to face with two black dogs.
Seriously, who the heck put their stinkin’ dogs in my mini-van?!
Um. Yeah. Not my mini-van.
It’s a bit terrifying how long it took to realize my mistake.
No one in the van was happy…and somebody definitely peed a little.
Here’s the deal: Don’t climb into someone else’s mini-van uninvited. It doesn’t matter how much it looks like yours. Same goes for our lives. Someone may appear to have a similar life, outlook, circumstance, parenting triumph or woe – but until you’ve entered in, you’ve no clue what’s really going on inside.
Never assume. It’s a waste of time. And don’t barge in. It’s too risky.
Wait to be invited.
This can be so tricky. Especially if the door of their life appears wide open. Dusty goldfish are pouring out, the leaking juice box under the backpack has puddled next to a runaway credit card. You just want to offering a suggestion…right?! Stop. There could be some snarling teeth in there. Someone’s going to get hurt.
I can’t tell you how many friendships in my life have been strained because we’ve felt judged by one another. It makes all of us shut down and pull away. Ask yourself two questions:
Have I established mutual trust with this person?
If you haven’t known this person long, and you get all up in their business, it can feel like judgement. It may not be your heart! But remember, they don’t trust you yet. It’s not fair to expect them to know your intentions. Be wise and hold your tongue. But love them like crazy. Be a constant in their life.
Has this person indicated they want your opinion?
I have friends who I know don’t want my opinion- even though they love and trust me. Bummer is, I’m still prone to give it. We’ve got to know our audience y’all. It’s hard for this Italian/Irish girl to shut it down! I’m learning at the speed of molasses – I need to discipline myself in this area.
Does your friend let her kids watch rated R movies at the age of nine…guess what?!
That’s not your mini-van!
Or maybe a friend doesn’t believe in vaccinations, or home-school, or private school, or public school, or any school!!
Yeah. That’s not your mini-van either. Get out girl!
It’s hard to be a mom these days. Everyone and every book out there hisses, “You’re doing it wrong” or, “You can do it better.” Our generation has trouble trusting God can equip us properly.
We turn to the next, “How to…” book, before we turn to God’s book.
We ask Siri before we ask the Spirit.
I believe the enemy’s in this; undermining our God-given instincts to parent our children well. He uses social media, articles and most aggressively- he baits us to tear each other down. We don’t need to be another blasting horn of judgement towards our sisters! God’s heart is for us to, “Encourage one another and build each other up.”(1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Don’t know how to do this? I think it starts with less worrying about getting into someone else’s life, and inviting them authentically into your own. Living out grace is a powerful witness and gift; loving people regardless of their parenting choices. If a friend does ask your opinion, it’s a safe place to practice honesty. Any fiery pups in her mini-van should know you well enough not to snap.
We call it, “The Dark Hole of our Marriage.” I was thirty and had birthed three kids in 2 ½ years. Everyone around me was a total jerk. Everyone. Other mammas, my mirror, the mailman, and especially that speed-walker dude on Kellogg. Trust me – but don’t trust me. I hadn’t slept and each day was a blur of diapers, feedings and potty accidents. It wasn’t until I was thirty-three that I began to feel a bit human again. Kids were sleeping more; playing in the toilet less. I finally understood; maybe everyone around me wasn’t really a jerk. Maybe the honking lady in the Sprouts parking lot truly cared my baby was rolling away with my shopping cart. Maybe.
Perhaps, they were just offering an oxygen mask to a suffocating girl.
Life’s truly a canvas of mountains and valleys. One of the greatest dangers for extreme mountain climbers is lack of oxygen to the brain. When this happens, they get disoriented and can’t think clearly (Hello, motherhood!). They become incapable of ascending or descending the mountain alone. A fellow climber must place their own oxygen mask over the climber’s mouth and physically help them down.
This is how God designed fellowship to work. Because we all have ‘mountains’ to climb, dear ones!
On some mountains, you’ll be stronger than me. Your faith won’t falter. You’ll have a week when all the kiddos are healthy, and you’ve had bunches of quiet time with Jesus. Your oxygen tank will be 100% full with a backup in the mini-van.
On other climbs, I might be honking at your kiddo in a runaway shopping cart.
But what is our spiritual oxygen tank filled with? Encouragement? Wise words? Dinner on the doorstep?
All of these are precious and certainly loving. But we’re talking about our sisters SUFFOCATING!!! I don’t care how epic your baked pasta dish is, it’s not going to cut it.
Two things are made from the breath of God in the Bible: Mankind (Genesis 2:7), and God’s word (1 Timothy 3:16).
This is no coincidence. When our spirits are gasping for air, we need the breath of God’s word poured into us. But what happens when we’re too worn out to lift relief to our lips? You’re not the only gal who struggles to find time to read God’s word. But you don’t need to collapse on the trail and declare it hopeless.
Look around for other climbers – other believers. Use what’s left in your lungs to cry out, “Someone, please speak the word of God over my life right now!”
This is not shameful. This is brave.
Your life, your children, your marriage, your sanity, in some way, depend on your ability to recognize, you’re too exhausted to ascend higher by yourself. Some days, we’ll need a sister to hoist us up, press the word of God upon our lips and carry us straight to Jesus.
And if this isn’t you right now, get ready for a search and rescue season! I guarantee there’s someone with an empty oxygen tank on your trail. Scoop them up, speak God’s truth into their life and take them to the King.
Sometimes Mamma’s need help. But all the time, they need grace.
Once upon a time, at Trader Joes, I allowed my three angels to push their own mini-carts. So…they decided to play bumper carts down the aisle of wine bottles. Smack in the middle of the horrific scene, another mom sauntered by, her two children peacefully pushing one cart and said,
“You know, it’s really not the best idea to let each of your children have a cart.”
I don’t remember what I said. But I did not say,
“Wow, that’s such wonderful advice. You’ve helped me feel like a non-idiot. You clearly care about me and the six shattered Merlots I’m about to pay for.”
Yeah. I did not say that.
Moments later, a heroic Trader Joe’s worker, rushed to my side as I confiscated the horrid mini-carts. I was attempting to balance all three on top of my big one. She gently offered the kiddos a sucker while I completed my mission.
I look back on this day and ask myself- Which character in this embarrassing story do I want to be? Our words and actions, even well intended, are pathways.
Here are key questions I’m learning to consider:
Is what I say or do, leading someone down a hallway to God’s love? Or, is it a route to my own self-validation?
Will this help them feel better, or me feel better?
Which corridor am I nudging people towards when I come to their aid?
I don’t think the mamma at Trader Joe’s had a heart to help me. She wanted to make it clear, she knew more about this parenting thing than me. I’m super guilty of behaving this way, too. We all struggle with insecurities when we seek validation outside of God’s love.
Once I shamed a mamma for packing her daughter marshmallows as a ‘healthy snack.’ Not my finest moment. But advising her how not to feed her children, validated the way I chose to feed mine. It was vain. God’s word makes it clear, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
Holding my tongue is just as hard as the Bible says. God’s shown me, sometimes I don’t really want to help, I want to be heard. If being heard by others becomes more important than loving them, we’ve missed the mark big time. This is true in our friendships, marriages and everyday encounters.
Jesus didn’t say, the greatest commandment is, “Love the Lord your God with your heart…And the second is to give judgmental advice to all the tired moms on your street.”
Nope. He said, “‘Love the Lord your God… And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’(Matthew 22:37-39)
How did you feel loved when you were in this bleary-eyed stage? Consider those things…and then do them for others. Next time you see a crazy mamma balancing mini-carts in Trader Joe’s, help her get the third one up with a smile. She doesn’t need your advice, she needs your grace.
There’s power in a name. Too often, we hand that power over to others.
My name is Arabic in origin, literally meaning, ‘small bird.’ I think it’s cute. But last year, when a small bird built its nest in our front door wreath…I wasn’t so sure. Every time we opened the door, it whizzed into our house and repeatedly rammed into our fireplace. My youngest laughed, my daughter screamed and my oldest lurched with a determined broom to guide her outside. Hmmm. Am I a small bird?!
In 2018, I surely let circumstances label me – Slight, Insignificant and Weak.
All false names given by false friends.
We’ve all allowed false names to banner over us. Names like: Alone, Failure or Liar.
Instead of asking God for a word to live by this year, I asked Him for a new name. This year was straight up hard. 70 percent of the time, I felt 100 percent inadequate. I mean, face-down on a rug, sobbing, I-don’t-think-I’ll-ever-stand-up-again kind of inadequate. Maybe God had a new name for me; something awesome, like Phoenix?!A name to inspire rising up fierce from the heartache. But after failing to persuade my hubby that Phoenix is a super cool name for his wife… God dismantled my view.
In the book of Acts, Peter heals a lame beggar. Onlookers are astonished and,
” When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? …By faith in the name of Jesus,this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.” (Acts 3:12, 16, emphasis mine)
God didn’t have a new name for me; but a new understanding…
My name isn’t the one that matters.
This year, there were times I felt like this lame beggar – that I’d never stand again – miraculously, I did. And it had nothing to do with my name.
There were moments I felt I’d suffocate from unmet expectations – but I didn’t. And it had nothing to do with my name.
God works through the mire to birth His magnificence. I’ve lived this truth. If you have too, you’ve known no miracle on earth like it. When we’re not strong enough to stand – but still do – we’re face to face with our true identity.
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (1 Corinthians 12:10)
When this small bird felt she’d never soar – she found herself wielding swords and charging into battle…because of a name. God uses the meek to bring forth the meaningful. This year, I’ll allow the weakness in me to lead to the wonderment of Him. I’ll be less concerned with the meaning of my own name, and seek to understand more the meaning of His.
For it’s in the purposes of Him that I find the purpose of me.
We don’t require a special new name to label us; we need to allow The Name Above All Names to live in us…
I have one big brother; and he is all brother. When we were kiddos, his love language was messing with me. I believed his Every. Single. Word. Stuff, like-
At the age of 12, I’d be sent to live on an Indian Reservation to make bead necklaces for the rest of my life–because I was a girl.
Dr. Pepper was called “Dr. Pepper” because you were supposed to pour red crushed peppers in before you drank up.
I’m relieved my parents forgot to send me away, and eventually, I traded sucking red crushed peppers through stubborn straws for my beloved non-fat, with-whip, mochas.
My whole life I’ve had the ‘fun’ of knowing what it means to have a brother…but not a sister. Last week my daughter received a letter with the precious words crayoned,
“Ciana, you can call me Sister”.
I read it over and over, and all the feel-goods sprinkled over my spirit. My cousin’s daughter had written them. She’s adopted from Uganda and understands more than most, love makes a family. And God is that love. We enter a loving relationship with God; strike down genetic laws; and become sisters with other believers. But it doesn’t always feel that way.
If someone at church referred to me as ‘sister’…I figured they’d forgotten my name. Honestly, there are times when hearing it from random ladies makes me roll all my eyes. Why can it feel so patronizing? When it’s stripped down: we may be sisters in God’s family, but we often struggle to treat one another that way. It’s not on purpose! We’re busy. We’re tired. We’re overwhelmed keeping precious little humans alive and forget to really pray when we say we will.
When someone in a family struggles, it affects the whole household. If something is lost, all grubby fingers dig under the couch cushions to find it. If one kiddo hurls their body into the mini-van late, all the kiddos run like hyenas to get to class on time. If you’re in a healthy family, your lives are intertwined. But if you don’t live under the same roof, this gets tough. I think of the letters between Ciana and Milla. At such a young age, they’re making an effort to keep their lives intertwined. And that’s the key…they’re intentional.
True sisterhood speaks these words:
When you struggle, my spirit will wrestle in prayer for you.
When you’re lost in an area of life, I’ll search God’s word for answers with you.
When you feel you’ll never make it to the finish line, I’ll carry your heavy diaper bag.
But how can we authenticate our spoken words of sisterhood when life is so….much?
Here are three things I’ve found to be practical, powerful & completely do-able:
1. Fast together.
When a friend lays out a deep concern over coffee, I offer to fast with them for a week over the issue. Fasting doesn’t have to be dramatic. It can simply mean going without something you enjoy and replacing it with specific prayer. I typically choose to stop eating sugar. The struggle is so for real. Every time I’m all cravy, I stop right there and pray for whatever unique trial my friend is dealing with.
2. Pray at the same time everyday together.
Most likely, you don’t see your friend every day. So set an alarm on your phone to remind you both to stop what you’re doing and pray. I had a friend who was struggling with her husband when he came home from work. We set our phones to alert us to pray thirty minutes before he got home. When we were done praying, we would simply text, “Amen,” to each other.
3. Dedicate a prayer journal to your friend.
I love to do this! I buy thin journal packs at TJ Maxx or HomeGoods, sharpie a friend’s name on the cover, and fill it up with prayers over their life. Some fill up faster than others and I don’t do it every day. Sometimes I’ll take a quick picture of the cover and text it to my friend saying, ‘You were just covered in prayer.” I imagine when I go home to Jesus; my children will find them and deliver them to my living friends.
I’m praying these practical tips spur your relationships to a deeper level. It’s not easy when you’re in the jungle of ‘Adulting’. But that’s why it’s so important, isn’t it? We all need to know someone is genuinely in the thick with us. We all want someone to take the time to say, “Friend, you can call me Sister.”
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)