On being community

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This post is going to be all over the place but I decided to write it because I got all sappy tonight retelling God’s goodness and kindness of answering a prayer in His perfect timing that I had prayed sooooooo many stinkin’ times it felt like I was speaking into the wind where the words were just blowing behind me instead of the Person in front me that they were directed to.

What’s the prayer I prayed? Friendship. True friendship. In all honesty, this prayer started in college. I had friends in college but not the kind of friends who were my besties . (College people, this little snippet goes out to you – it is FAR better to not have any friends in college than to have many friends who don’t push you toward Christ. This is coming directly from someone who went through four years of schooling longing and praying for just one friend to call my BFF while there. (Lindsey, you don’t count in this because you have always and will always be my first BFF)). Then I got married and before I knew it we had a baby and had settled back into our hometown. We went to church on Sundays. I tried to get involved in MOPS and other mommy groups. I tried “dating” other moms on play dates but it all fell flat. Most people I met had all their friendship connectors filled and I had arrived a minute too late to really plug myself into anyone. I was desperately crying out to God for one friend. Just one. It was a pretty easy prayer to answer – at least I thought so. Plus Jesus is my bestie and He died for me, so what else did I really need. Queue this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iUU6jTqB6k

Well, long story shortened (‘cuz who knows how short this will end up being). We switched churches and were plugged almost immediately into a Connection Group full of people we knew nothing about and it was amazing! But this isn’t where the story ends and I raise up my hands and say I got my friends! These people were awesome and great and there will always be that bond of that group but half of us were sent on to start up Connection Groups in Cedar Rapids that would be the beginning of Veritas Cedar Rapids (which is another God story in itself). Anyway, years past and more babies were born…

I still remember the moment. And it still brings those happy, sappy, God is too good and kind to me tears. It was the moment I realized my prayers (the desperate ones, the ones that were lonely and felt like they were directed toward deaf ears) were answered. It was when I realized that God hadn’t been turning His ear from me but telling me all along to wait, that He had the perfect friendship waiting for me but that the timing of it would be the sweetest gift. One that I will always hold deeply too (just like the gifts of my husband and children and healing of our sweet boy).

I’ve written about it before but when Garrison was born, we spent the first three-ish months of his life back and forth from the U of I Children’s Hospital. It was exhausting. Our wonderful community set up meals and watched our kids and did everything they could to make those months smoother.

I still remember the day that Alexa came to my house to bring our family dinner. She remembered me telling her that hospital days were exhausting and how I never had the energy to feed my family by the time we got home (and this was well after the initial weekly trips to the hospital had stopped and when life had calmed waaaaaaaaaaay down). It feels like just yesterday that I heard God telling me “My sweet child, I heard your prayers. ALWAYS! I wanted you to wait for the friendships that I knew would be perfect for you.” And He was right.

This friendship (and all the friendships He has graciously given to me the years since – shout out to all my homies!!!!!!*), was so worth the wait.

The point of this post isn’t to gloat over my bestie (although she is pretty great) but really to say, if you are lonely, keep praying. Keep praying. God is faithful and He listens and cares and your cries out to Him do not land on deaf ears. And if you are lonely (or maybe you don’t even realize you are lonely because you have filled your life with busy-ness to distract you from loneliness), I am willing (me, Karlee Sue Hufford) to step in and be the community you need. You know, the one you call when you are sick and need diapers or medicine or chicken soup or someone to watch your kids or to bring you Starbucks or just listen and pray with and for you. We might never be BFFs but I’ll stand in until you look up one day and see your best friend standing there and you get to see answered prayer. Because when you see God answer prayer in His perfect timing, you always realize the wait was worth it. Loneliness is always worth seeing God’s work in your life. Always.

So if you are not willing to ask (I know the most humble of us struggle with pride (raises my hand) and it SUCKS to admit you are in need of friends – believe me, I’ve been there, done that) and I see you looking lonely, please accept my offers to lighten your load (motherhood is a heavy thing to carry all by yourself) and to be your friend.

*So I was totally going to write homommies (you know, a combo of homies and mommies) but I realized after getting mad at autocorrect for changing it to homilies a dozen times that homommies looks and sounds like ho-mommies and we don’t want any of that.

Photo dump Tuesday

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Because it’s Tuesday and I planned on posting this last Friday but didn’t because strep throat invaded our home. Thankfully it only took daddy down for the count and left me standing with the ability to clean all the bathrooms in hopes of stopping it!

Anyway, the past few weeks have been full of sunshine, new vans, Nora letting me curl her hair, bike rides, and trips to Sam’s Club with all my little minions in tow. Oh and of course, moments where you leave the baby on the floor and walk to find him on the couch kicking for dear life.

REAL mom Wednesday

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You know you are a real mom when…

*You realize just how lucky you are.

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They always say you will find a good woman is behind a good man (or something like that), but I’m not sure how true that really is. Folks, our family is led well by a good man and it has nothing to do with me.

When you blink

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Tonight me and my first born put the kids to bed a little early. She cleaned the basement while I got the baby fed and down for the night and finished up the laundry. She is such a great helper. I don’t tell her that enough. But she helps me out when I can’t find the missing shoe or everyone needs help zipping their coats.

But as I stood back and let her make the brownies tonight (she did it all by herself!!!!!), I realized just how big she’s gotten. She talked while she baked. She talked about the moon and the sun and their brightness. She talked about the heat in the oven and how not to get burned. She talked about friends and their birthdays. She is such a little chatter box.

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I’ll admit that sometimes the chatter wears me out. I love that she has so much to say but I’ve also listened to soooooooo much chatter with her other siblings during the day that silly talks about the sun make me zone out.

But tonight, I chose to listen. And guys…she’s so grown up. And beautiful. It’s not that I don’t know these things. It’s just that the time slips by between waking up and bed time and I’ve failed to truly see the gifts in front of me.

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There are too many times that I wish away the days of dependence on me and look forward to tomorrow a little more than I should without savoring today. We’re never guaranteed tomorrow and I really don’t want to wish today away.

These days of motherhood are tough. These tough days are giving me wrinkles and extra belly skin and one day gray hair (either I have bad eyesight and can’t see them or there is nary a gray on my head). These days are long. And I often wish tomorrow would come. But the years are soooooooooooo short.

All you do is blink. That’s it. And they grow up.

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REAL mom Wednesday

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You know you are a REAL mom when…

*You think your baby slept through the night (8 hours straight!!!!) or if you just forgot you woke up.

I think Bennett slept through the night. I’m pretty sure I did. The three options are:
1. He did in fact sleep from 11 to 7.
2. I don’t remember getting up with him.
3. I didn’t wake up to his cries.

Considering that I am the lightest sleeper ever and his bed his like ten steps from mine, the only options that are truly plausible are 1 or 2. Either way, I’ll take it. Here’s to him not sleeping through the night ever again!

Life lately

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So I deleted Facebook off my phone. I wasn’t spending a ton of time on it (that’s really relative and vague, I know, but whatevs). Whenever I had a down minute or two or was nursing Bennett, I got on to check out the haps in the world. It was a serious time suck and between the political posts and people hating people who believe this or that or the other thing and the constant selling of stuff (no offense intended if you are selling stuff or promoting stuff, I totally get that social media is the best way to do that and keep on doing it, I am just getting tired of being invited and seeing it), I was getting angry at stuff that I didn’t need to get angry at.

Do you know what happened when I stopped looking at Facebook? A lot. I am reading more real books and actually spending time really praying for people. In the morning I am reading my Bible without the end goal of getting on Facebook to see what happened during the night hours. It’s seriously been freeing.

I have kept instagram on my phone and since the people I follow rarely update, looking at it a couple times a day doesn’t really do much and can be done when I’m waiting for kids at school pick up. I have been taking a few minutes in the evenings to check up on my favorite pregnant ladies to see if their sweet babes have been born! I can’t help it, sweet posts about family, kids, and babies make me smile (so keep on sharing those!!!!!)! I have also narrowed down my blog reading to three blogs (one is a food/family blog, one is a friend blog, and one is a make-up/hair blog since I clearly need that) so I am not trying to replace one source of social media with another.

Anyway, life has been better without it. I’m not missing out on anything. Actually, I am gaining so much more. It’s kind of like living in the 90’s where you didn’t know what was happening to your friends unless you actually talked to them (but without the crazy AIM names and instant messaging across dial up) and your life wasn’t impacted by things that didn’t really concern you (except for what happened on the bus ride home and TRL because what music video was number one did concern me).

Most of the time in life, less is more.