Category Archives: (in)courage
(There’s a giveaway at the end of this post, so make sure to read to the end!)
I was the boyfriend girl.
Meaning, I was always wrapped up in a guy and never made time for deep friendships with girls. Which is a major bummer because I missed out on the friendships you always hear about, the great high school and college friends who “always will be.”
Sure, I had a couple friends, but we all went separate ways for the most part, and then I got married, and then I had kids, and then…who has time for friendship when you’re exhausted and barely making it. I probably needed friendship the most in my desperate years, but it was those years I just couldn’t seem to find the energy to find or make new friends. First it was the boyfriends, then kids, then just plain exhaustion. So, I decided I was a loner. I wasn’t any good at friendships and maybe I just didn’t really need them. I was fine. Really.
But I wasn’t. I had no idea how important and wonderful and good life-giving friendships were.
Until my mid-30’s. In my mid-30’s I met my dearest friends.
And not only do I now have these beautiful, life-giving friendships, I am learning how to be a good friend. The fact is, I’ve not always been one. I’m not a natural at friendship, which is weird, I know, but true.
Maybe you struggle with finding friends or being a friend, or maybe you think you don’t need friends. Maybe you’re just worn out and can’t even muster the strength to work at friendship. I hear you. But let me offer this: If you don’t make the effort for friendship, here are some things you might miss out on:
You might miss the encouragement your soul needs to keep on. My friends know me so well, they know when to call or text or vox and send Scripture or encouraging words or drop off a coffee or take my kids. My friends fill a place in my soul that I never even knew I needed. I would be missing a great gift if I stayed in my “loner” thinking.
You might miss really fun girl nights out. One of my favorite things to do with my friends is head out once every couple of months to a restaurant and eat lots of bread and salad and drink wine and laugh and cry and have wonderful conversations with my friends. These nights refresh my heart and help me to keep on in the dailyness of life.
You might miss knowing you’re not alone. Knowing that my friends go through similar struggles as I do is comforting; we can comfort each other and share how God has helped and what He’s doing and what works and “here’s some chocolate, it’s been that kind of week.” I also know when I’m feeling in the depths, I can call on my friends and they will rally and lift me up, as I will do for them. My husband is my best friend and my greatest supporter, but my girlfriends are a lifeline that is so sacred and special to me.
You might miss knowing you’re loved even at your worst. Real friends love you anyway…they love you, tell you the truth, walk with your through the dark times, and never condemn you. They listen. They are honest but kind. Their arms are wide open. This is the grace of kindred friendship: that you are loved even at your worst.
You might miss out on growing in faith and loving God more. My dearest friends teach me so much. Their love for God is inspiring, and I come away from them wanting to know and love God more. They sharpen me, teach me, and through their struggles and faithful obedience to God, I am encouraged to keep on.
Now maybe you know this, maybe you are desperate for friendship and want to make friends but aren’t sure how or where or what to do. Here are some thoughts for you:
First of all, friendship is like dating…you don’t give up just because the first (or second or third) doesn’t work out (tweet that). You’re not going to have chemistry with everyone, and that’s okay. Stay open.
Second, ask God. Ask God for good, true friendships. Back to the dating analogy for a moment, in the book Little Women, Amy says to her sister, “You don’t need scores of suitors. You need only one… if he’s the right one.” I feel like this about friendship. You don’t need scores of friends, one good friend is worth gold (think of Anne and Diana). If you get to have two or three dear friends, well that’s just extra grace. Ask God for a kindred friend.
Make the effort. Yes, friendship takes effort to develop, but soon it becomes natural and sweet. My dearest friends are those I can let down with, be myself, and not have to worry about pretense. My friend Amy always says, “No eggshells!” You don’t have to feel like you’re walking on egg shells with good friends, and I love that. But even after the work and you’ve settled into a friendship, you’ve still got to work to love well, because it’s easy to let friendship just be. It’s important to keep caring, to do the work of writing down birthdays and dropping off a coffee now and then, writing a note telling your friends what they mean to you, or saying, “Let me take your kiddos so you can get a break.” Friendship, like marriage, like life, takes work and care. But it’s so worth the effort. So make the effort to invite that woman from church over for coffee. Make the effort to get together with that other mom from your child’s dance class. Make the effort to go to the dinner you were invited to even though you’re born weary. Every time I feel too tired to go see a friend, I’m always refreshed after; I never regret it. Make the effort.
I didn’t always have these beautiful friendships. Maybe you’re in that place right now, praying and hoping for kindred friendship. Don’t give up.
Today, to encourage you, I want to tell you about Craving Connection, a book that is not only a lovely offering about friendship, but has challenges to help you make and become a better friend.
Craving Connection is a book that will take you on a journey and offer you real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to:
- Embrace the desire God has given each of us for connection
- Invest in meaningful relationships, right where God has you
- Become the friend you wish you had
The book is by the (in)courage community writers, and they invite you to grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair to the table, and commit to creatively and prayerfully fulfilling your cravings for connection.
Giveaway and FUN
Now for some fun. First of all, if you want to learn more and/or buy the book, check out cravingconnectionsbook.com.
Second, head to your local bookstore where you might find a Starbucks gift card tucked into the book so you and a friend can have coffee together, thanks to (in)courage.
Lancaster, PA people, I’VE GOT YOU COVERED. Head to your local B & N or Lifeway and you’ll find a little somethin’. 😉
To win 1 of 3 copies I’m giving away, just fill out the form below! Contest open to U.S. residents. I will pick the winner TOMORROW at 9pm EST! GOOD “LUCK”!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER! The winners are…
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastics 4:9-10
Here’s to the gift of friendship!
Love, Sarah Mae
Thank you so much B & H for sponsoring this post. Such a gift to be able to offer this book to those who are hungry for kindred friendship.
I remember the first time I felt like I needed to hide from Jesus . . .
I was at a Christian retreat; it was my freshman year of college. I was hungry for God and wanted to know more of who He is, and I believed in that place, the retreat, I would be surrounded by His people and I would learn and take Him in. The Bible was newly alive to me, and with each phrase I was blown away at how I could understand it, and how it spoke to me. I was ready for more.
I tuned in as the speaker gave his talk, hanging on every word, until he said something that shook me.
The speaker asked, “What would you do if Jesus walked into the room right now?”
The immediate thought that came to my mind was, “I would hide.”
If Jesus came into the room, I would hide. I would go and bend down behind one of the worn couches and make sure He couldn’t see me. Because He wouldn’t want to see me. He, being holy and good, and me being filthy and having done awful things. I was not clean. I was dirty. A holy God shouldn’t see a dirty girl.
I shared my thoughts with the small group I had been put in, thinking they were obvious and made sense, and someone from the group spoke life to me:
“You wouldn’t have to hide,” she said. “Jesus knows everything you’ve done and everything you’re going to do and He loves you anyway. If He were to come into this room, He would embrace you and put His hands on your face and call you ‘daughter’.”
Read the rest at (in)courage today!
I had a boyfriend in college who told me he could never see me as a mom.
I asked him why he thought that, and he just said, “I don’t know. I just don’t see it in you.” His flippant words hurt. I had always wanted to be a mom, and this person who I cared so much for didn’t think I was worthy of that title.
Fast forward to now, and even though I have three beautiful children who I am absolutely in love with, his words creep up on me. Hidden behind the spoken words I hear, “You’re not good enough to be a mom.”
Some nights I lay awake with anxiety, spinning with thoughts of all I mess up in and all the ways I could do better. I just don’t want to regret my mothering years; I want to do right by my children.
Then the morning comes and everything feels new and I know I can begin again.
And I remember, I am not enough. I am not adequate. I will fail in a million and one ways. But merit doesn’t make a mother. God makes a mother.
Read the rest over at (in)courage today!
Want to win a copy of Desperate for you and a friend?
Today I’m giving away six copies of Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe! There will be THREE winners, so you are entering to win one for you and one for a friend! WOOT! Just fill out the form below! By the way, the Kindle version of Desperate is only $1.99 right now!!! Get it HERE!
~ savoring treats with my favorite people ~
For the first time in my life, I lost my sense of smell and taste.
It was the strangest thing not to be able to taste my morning coffee and bacon, or smell my children’s heads. At one point I tried to eat a banana, one of my favorite foods, only to be disgusted because apparently no taste and all texture makes bananas unbearable.
Food became pleasureless. I had no desire to eat anymore, except for the pure necessity of surviving. The silver lining, of course, was that since I couldn’t taste, I didn’t overeat, and I could drink green tea without any sugar or honey, and that has to be healthy. I even lost a few pounds.
Through my experience, I realized that food is not a gift. The taste of food is the gift, and the pleasure we receive from it.
Read the rest of this article on (in)courage today!
The movie was almost over when my sweet little girl fell asleep in my arms.
I looked at my other children and gave them the “shhh…” lips as I attempted to gently lift myself and carry my girl to her bed. As I tugged gently on the blankets and pillows surrounding me, her eyes opened. I picked her up and carried her up the steps heading toward her room.
“No mama, I’m not tired, I don’t want to go to bed.”
“Yes honey, it’s bedtime, I’m going to carry you to bed and lie down with you.”
The wriggling began.
The screaming, the crying, the desperation in her body for me to let her go…she started acted crazy.
Read how I calmed her down by heading over to (in)courage.