Why I Need Single Friends In My Life

 

 

Extroverted. Introverted.

Leader. Encourager.

Organizer. Planner.

Teacher. Nursery Worker.

Single. Married.

God has called each of us to fulfill a unique role within the body of Christ and we all have something to offer.

I Corinthians 12:5-6 lays this out for us. “And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”

We also see in verses 13- 21 that we cannot function well if certain parts of the body are not fulfilling their part/role…or if other parts of the body are too proud to depend on others to help complete them.

If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”

However, when every member of the body is contributing their due part we find that the whole body can function in a healthy and proper way.

In recent years I have been specifically blessed with a number of single friends whose role within the body of Christ has become invaluable to me. As a mom with three little children I have found myself craving these sweet friendships more than ever before and am often found saying “I need more single friends in my life!” Why is that, you ask?

 

  1. Single people know how to talk about things besides children. When I get together with my mom friends the majority of our conversation will be centered around kids. And naturally so! However, while those conversations are good and beneficial in their own way, there are times I crave conversations that don’t involve my kids. Once in a while it’s nice to know that I DO still have thoughts about things outside of teething, potty training, childhood behaviors, etc.

 

  1. Single people don’t add chaos to the chaos. My husband and I love hosting people in our home and a lot of times this will include families with several children of their own. Those evenings usually consist of more noise, more toys on the floor, and more opportunities to lovingly redirect our children as they learn to share. Deep conversations can be hard to come by when the train of thought is continually interrupted by one or another of the children needing some attention. So, I repeat, single people don’t add chaos to the chaos. Some of my sweetest and most refreshing times lately have been spent with single people, whether we’re chilling on the couch together or pushing my kids in a stroller and chatting as we walk. (And when my friend offers to help load my kids in the van I appreciate her even more!)

 

  1. Single people can stay up past kid’s bedtimes. Wanting to go out for coffee and shopping with someone while my husband stays home with the kids? Feeling a spontaneous game night after the kids are in bed? Ready to watch a chic flick with someone while sipping on a hot drink and snacking on some goodies? My single friends are the answer. While my Mom friends can also help to fulfill this role in my life they have their own kid’s bedtimes to attend to and can’t be as readily available.

 

  1. Single people can bring an outside opinion. Their experience of the world is different than mine and they often have valuable advice to offer.

 

  1. Single people can do activities without finding a babysitter and are often more flexible in regards to time. Hiking, cookie nights, house projects, etc., are much easier to do with my single friends. I can also do some of these things with my mom friends but usually there’s a time limit because “So and so is due for a feeding” or “I better get back in time to make dinner”, etc., whereas my single friends can just join my own family for dinner and then continue to work on the house project with me!

 

  1. Single people can pray for me. Now, this one can be fulfilled just as easily by any one of my friends, single or married, but seriously, what Mom couldn’t use more prayer warriors in her life? I certainly could!

 

  1. Single people can love on my kids. Single friends have brought gifts, delivered a special toy, given a postcard from Europe, etc.. They’ve sat with my kids and given snuggles and love. They’ve played and laughed with my kids. And you know what? My kids are excited when they come over! And personally, I love that my kids can have these special relationships with my friends too.

 

So, all this to say…reach out to the single people in your life. Not for the sake of making small talk. Not because you feel guilty that you haven’t been including them in things. Reach out simply because you know that if you don’t you will be missing out on some truly beautiful friendships. Get to know the single people in your life. Truly get to know them. Find out what they like/dislike. Invite them along on everyday activities. Include them in family traditions. Find out their love language and then love on them in that specific way. You will be abundantly blessed by the love that they can offer back.

And, if you happen to be a single person reading this…look around at the married people in your life and reach out. You might be surprised by how eagerly your friendship would be welcomed.

~ Chrystal

 

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Hard Situations Through Which God Taught Us Thankfulness

As part of our Thankful Thursday series, today’s post will be a panel post where we share our  personal answers to the following question:

 

What circumstance has God allowed into your life that you have had a hard time being thankful for?  

Chrystal:
This question is a hard one to answer for me. Mainly because God hasn’t asked me to walk through any (what I would consider) major life crisis yet. No chronic illness, no miscarriage, no job loss, no wayward child, etc….yet. So when I look at my life and see the areas where I struggle with thankfulness it all seems rather petty to me. And yet, I think whether we are currently walking through a valley or pasture, God’s call to each of us remains the same. Be thankful.

 

For me, I find it the hardest to give thanks when my own personal comfort is being jeopardized. So, this plays itself out in my marriage: I want a husband who will pursue and serve me even when he’s tired. It plays itself out with my kids: I want them to behave well and never inconvenience me, especially in public. It plays itself out in my home: I want a home that always stays clean and never feels dirty or cluttered, etc.

 

In the moment these things seem like good and honest desires to me. Husbands should pursue their wives, right? Children should obey their parents, right? Our homes should be up kept, right? And yet, often I find myself prioritizing these things above God. I get upset when these “rights” of mine aren’t working out. And suddenly my ugly heart is exposed with what I truly idolize: myself.

 

It is at these moments that I need to remind myself that God is the source of my satisfaction. Ultimately, I should never be looking to myself, my family or my home as my reasons for a grateful heart. (Not that I can’t be thankful for those things, but at a base level those are not good wells to be drawing my joy from.) Ultimately, my family and home can be taken away, but God has promised me all the satisfaction and joy I need in Him.

 

Psalm 16: 8-11 – “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasure for evermore.”

 

My hope is in Christ, not in man/circumstances. Christ is my Redeemer. And when God is the source of my happiness I will always have a reason to rejoice.

 

Angie: 
 Almost four years ago, God allowed me to miscarry twins, our first pregnancy. At first, I was simply dealing with all the emotions of the grief. However, after a while, it did become an issue of “Can I thank God for this?” Needless to say, it was an intense struggle to honestly thank God for our miscarriage. Deep down in my heart, I knew that I was supposed to be thankful for it. But my flesh fought against yielding so easily to the correct answer. To come to the point of being able to thank Him for our miscarriage, I believe there was one perspective that was primarily instrumental: I had to establish a deep-rooted conviction of God’s sovereignty and goodness in everything, even in our miscarriage.

 

God used His Word and several books (primarily Knowing God, by Jerry Bridges and Inheritance of Tears, by Jessalyn Hutto) to help my heart grow in my conviction of His sovereignty and goodness in all things. With time, this conviction has become the foundation for understanding and giving thanks for our miscarriage. I don’t understand the full reason for why He allowed it. I don’t understand all of the things that He has accomplished and continues to accomplish through our miscarriage. But I do understand that God’s Word teaches us that He is good and sovereign in all His ways, and as such, I can trust Him, even when there were times when it felt like I was being suffocated of the very air I breathed because of the pain of the loss.

 

It is because of His faithfulness to show His goodness and sovereignty that I can now thank Him in this pain as He works to accomplish His good work in me. Because of our miscarriage, God has blessed me with some of the sweetest times of fellowship with Him as He revealed Himself through the pages of His Word. However, even now, almost four years since our miscarriage, there are still times when I wonder if the pain will ever go away. It is during these moments then, that I again have to remind myself of the bedrock truth that God continues to be good and sovereign, and continues to use even the pain for His good will.

 

Rachel:
When I was just a tiny little girl I remember wanting to grow up and be a mommy to a lot of children. As I got older I envisioned being a strong woman who delivered all my children naturally without the aid of any medication or pain-reliever.As our first baby’s due date drew closer and Braxton hicks come in strong waves I prepared myself mentally for delivery. On the day that marked 40 weeks everything changed. Our doctor told me that I had a problem with my cervix which was causing it to not dilate. The longer the pregnancy continued the higher the risk of an emergency cesarean became. There were two options: one, schedule induction or wait it out and risk an emergency c-section. He suggested we go home and make our decision, if we chose to wait the baby would need to be monitored every couple days.

Before our next appointment arrived I began to labor hard and a few hours later my water broke with contractions coming every two minutes. We arrived at the hospital anticipating that our baby would arrive very soon only to find that I was not dilated at all. I labored for 29 hours and still had not reached 5 centimeters. At this point I was given an epidural and a high dose of pitocin. Six hours later our little girl made her appearance! A perfect healthy little blonde baby was placed in our arms. I was so happy and so thankful for our girl and that we had been spared a c-section.

Fast forward 21 months and we were preparing for the birth of our second little one. I was positive that things would be different this time, so sure that I could “do it” without help or medication this time! But as that 40 week mark come then went and I showed no signs of dilating, though I was experiencing strong labor pains, I grew more and more upset and bawled my eyes out in the OB office at 40 weeks 6 days. The midwife told me to go home for some lunch then come back for a stress test and ultrasound.

Baby passed the stress test with flying color but as I lay there while the nurse moved the ultrasound doppler around on my stomach I could tell from her face something was not quite right. She explained that the amniotic fluid was almost totally gone which could cause complications and even a still birth if this baby did not come very soon. She fetched a doctor who looked me in the eyes and told us that we were not leaving this room. She said she never liked to induce unless it was absolutely necessary and this was one of those times. I lay there thinking “This is NOT how I wanted things to go, this is not how I want to tell my story. But I can do it this time without an epidural, I’m sure I can be strong enough!”

As my body reacted to the medication it was riddled with the most excruciating pain beyond what I ever imagined. I truly though I was going to die. Hours passed. By the time I looked at my husband and gave into an epidural I could not stand, sit or lay down and my body would not stop shaking.  As the nerve block did its job I slept and woke up ready to deliver. 13 hours of labor and another beautiful, perfectly healthy little girl was placed in our arms! Thank you God! My dreams of “normal” labors and deliveries have crumbed before me twice but each time I am strongly reminded how much I have to be thankful for-  thankful that my body can carry our babies, thankful for doctors and modern technology which I’m sure God used to save my life and our babies lives, thankful to have been spared c-sections, thankful that each time God has given Jeremiah and I strong, healthy little girls! It has been hard but I can only praise God!

 

It is amazing and encouraging to see how God uses many different circumstances and situations to teach us and mold us into the image of His Son! He is good and faithful!

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Mommy Hold Me

 

You’re just trying to get a few things done around the house and of course this is the moment that your child has decided to make you his favorite person.

He’s following you around, wanting to be with you, asking for a snack and clinging to you like a third appendage. You try to give him something new to play with; something that you’ve been keeping hidden for such a time as this. You get him happily settled before returning to the kitchen.

Just as you roll up your sleeves you hear a little voice below you and feel a tug on your leg. “Mommy, hold me.”

You didn’t even know he could move that fast, but there he is, looking up at you with those adoring eyes. He’s managed to lose interest in a $15 birthday present in exchange for time with his favorite person. How are you ever going to get anything done?

We’ve all be there.

Then one day it hit me. Why was I spending so much time and energy trying to keep him occupied when he could be “helping” me with some of my projects and having fun at the same time.

Needing to do dishes? Not a problem. I filled my sink with soapy water, scraped the dry bubbles off the top, gave them to my son in a bowl with a spoon and bam…instant entertainment. He spent tons of time sitting on my counter, stirring bubbles around and “making applesauce.” It was great sensory play for him and I was getting my dishes done! Win, win.

Needing to make a salad? No big deal. I found that at 18 months my son could tear lettuce leaves up and throw them into a bowl. He also liked putting the croutons on at the end (and of course he sampled a few just to make sure they were good.) He could do the same thing with cabbage when I made stir-fry, etc.

Chopping vegetables? Let him collect them and put them in the pot for me. Picking up individual pieces kept him occupied for a looong time.

Needing to do laundry? My son loved collecting dirty things and throwing them into the baskets. And when it came time to switch the laundry over I’d put the wet laundry on the open dryer door and he’d have fun pushing it into the machine all by himself.

Needing to write a thank-you card or a letter of encouragement to someone? I gave my son a coloring book, markers and crayons and while he happily colored I flopped onto my belly next to him and wrote my card using the same markers. In his mind we were doing one of his favorite things together. In my
mind, I was seeing a big fat check mark on my to do list. (Even bigger bonus points if I could include his colored picture into that note of encouragement for someone.)

Needing to get my floor cleaned? Why not put a wet cloth on that Swiffer he was already pushing around and let him clean while he played? I could even take out the middle piece of the handle and make it perfect for his size.

See what I mean? A whole new world opened up for me when I realized that my son could take part in my own every day tasks. And the best part was that it also enabled us to spend time together; learning, creating and laughing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not super mom. Some days I have no creative ideas about how to involve him in what I’m doing and that’s when the high chair, a snack and “Curious George” on a screen become my best friends. And sometimes…that’s ok too.

~ Chrystal

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What I’m Learning as as Mom

 

It all happened July 18, 2017, when that 8 pound 5 ounce human being made her grand entrance into this world.

Suddenly, I was Mom to a living, breathing human being who was entirely dependent on me for her every need.

“Wait a minute. I’m not sure I’m ready for this. Can I hit pause for a few weeks and return when I’ve done a bit more research on how to be a Mom?”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Ready or not, I was a Mom. Trial and error would become the new routine.
The poop splatters all over me and the bed quickly taught me that diapers must always be changed with a changing pad, even if it seems safe to do so otherwise.

I discovered that, in my case, the weeks of adjustment after birth were much more difficult than the labor and delivery.

I realized that this was not an 8-to-5 day shift job, but rather a job that included the 8-to-5 shift, the swing shift, and the night shift. And I had intentionally signed up for all three shifts.

And it is these sometimes humorous, day to day situations that are teaching me that being a mom includes more than simply keeping a child clean, fed, and happy: It involves my heart.

I think it is safe to say that in many ways, parenting is more about the parent’s sanctification than the child’s physical well-being.

What do I mean?

Well, it is the simple, mundane, and routine activities that most often expose the attitudes of my heart. I’m talking about those moments when the fork gets tossed over the edge of the table for the fourth time in a row or when the food on my plate gets cold before I have a chance to even take one bite of it because I’ve been busy feeding a hungry toddler.

Insignificant and ordinary events, but my reactions are oh, so often, a telling indication of what is in my heart.

More than any other lesson in parenting, God has shown me repeatedly that my actions and attitudes during such mundane situations are merely an overflow of what is in my heart.

With each frustrating parenting moment, I have a choice: am I going to allow my members–my mouth, my hands, my heart–to become provoked to exasperation and to sin? Or am I going to use this as an opportunity to glorify God, even in the most mundane and routine of activities?

But don’t get me wrong: parenting hasn’t just been about the frustrations.

There are plenty of smiles and hugs and kisses to go around. There are plenty of moments where I feel my heart could just burst from the love I feel for Talitha, the little cutie pie who has brought so much joy into our lives.

And for this reason, I am thankful that God gives strength for both the joys and the frustrations in each new day. Lord willing, Talitha will grow up to learn to love and obey God and in turn, her parents will grow to be more Christ-like.

~ Angie

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Enjoying My Children Today

 

 

Have you ever heard the song “Cat’s in the Cradle”?

I grew up listening to the good ol’ blue grass singers like Ricky Skaggs and this song occasionally pops into my head, southern twang and all.

It’s actually a very sad song about a father and son. The father was too busy to spend time with his little boy and before he knew it his little boy had grown up into a man. Now the son is too busy with his own job and family to find time for his dad. You can almost hear the heart break of the father and the regret.

Dad’s often do work outside the home and they work HARD to provide the best for their family. It is tough for them to carve out time to interact with their children. One would think though, that as a stay-at-home mom it would be easy and natural to spend time one on one with my kids.

Sadly, that is not always true.

I often find myself guilty of being WITH my kids but not really spending time interacting with them on their level.

Little ones NEED so many things that are physical that it is easy to forget that they have emotional and spiritual needs just as I do.

Often I feel like I am doing OK if my girls are fed, clean, rested. They needs so much more though! They need love, care, acceptance, affirmation, friendship, a listening ear, and more!

Cultivating a relationship with children takes time, initiative and commitment.

Over this past summer I have been convicted of just trying to keep my girls entertained so that I can do what I want to do or feel like I “NEED” to do and missing precious opportunities to invest in their lives.

I have found myself bemoaning in my heart that I am “missing out” on something because my kids need a nap or that they take so much attention that I won’t be able to enjoy myself.

My selfishness glared me in the face and I saw how it is and will affect my children and the relationship I will have with them.

I am SO very grateful that God helped me realize this while my kiddos are still young!

I must take advantage of this precious time that I have my children’s undivided attention and love. Take advantage of the, oh so many, chances I have to get down at their eye level and interact with them there. Take the time to STOP and listen to what they are saying to me.

Their little conversation may seem so pointless and unimportant but, to them, it is important stuff! If I relay to them that what they are saying is not important, they won’t come to me with the truly important things later in life.

God is expanding thankfulness in my heart for girls!

God is giving me JOY in getting down to a one and three year old level to see what my little girls see!

God is always teaching us and molding us and these are the lessons He has been teaching me these past months.

These little ones are the beautiful GIFTS God has lavished on me!

These little girls are the MINISTRY God has entrusted to me!

These children of mine are the people that one day I will wish and long for more time spent with them, the ones I will want to hang out with the most!

Start NOW, momma!

It will be with it!

It IS worth it!

 

~ Rachel

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