friendship amidst the mess

words-of-encouragement-900

Recently I read a blog post from Under the Sycamore where she spoke on encouragement for women.  I like how she wrote about how little things can really be big things when it comes down to women encouraging each other.  She asked a friend of hers who leads retreats for women to share some practical ways women can encourage each other.  She says this:

I am always impacted by women sharing their honest struggles.  Whether it’s face to face while having coffee, or a snapshot in my Instagram feed.  Honesty is the only way I feel like I can survive this stage of my life.  It’s encouragement, when others tell me that they too are struggling.  When someone shares that their life isn’t perfect, it’s a direct reminder to me that none of our lives are.  Our struggles may all look different, but they are struggles none-the-less.  Being honest in what we share has become a passion of mine.  We can all learn from one another and the journeys we are taking.

Being honest is such an encouragement to me as well, I love stopping by someone’s house and seeing that it’s not perfectly neat or ‘gasp’ there are even dirty dishes in the sink.   A few months ago a friend called me up and asked if I wanted to get together for the afternoon.  She had no car that day so I would have to pick her up and bring her over for the afternoon. Even though I wanted more than anything to have adult conversation and be able to put off the three loads of laundry I had to fold.  I just couldn’t get rid of the idea in my head that I knew I had not picked up ONE thing before we left the house.

You know those mornings, the ones where it literally takes 10 minutes for three kids to undo all the mess you picked up the night before.  The one where more breakfast foods end up on the floor under the table than were actually eaten.  The kind of morning where your 2 year old finds your newly folded clothes basket and decides to help you unload it all…over…the…floor!  The ones where you were able to take a quick glance in the bathroom to see who knows what on the toilet rim and the whole tube of glittery toothpaste smeared all over the sink. (But of course no one did it, it just somehow got there!)

I fought against my insecurity and said yes, and as we stood outside my front door I looked at her and said, “I must feel pretty comfortable with you because this is the first time I have EVER had someone over and had no idea what my house looks like”.  She laughed and reassured me not to worry because her house wasn’t picked up either.  I thought to myself, oh dear Lord this mom of one is going to be scared to have more children, because I am am going to be that example of what a house with three kids looks like trashed.   I breathed in and turned the key, closing my eyes, praying somehow the magical cleaning fairy had come in and picked up the kids dirty underwear and straightened up the living room so we could at least sit down and chat.  The door swung open, and I was faced with mess and clutter everywhere.  But as I sit here and type I honestly can’t remember what it actually looked like besides it being just a big old mess.  Instead I remember the time spent with my friend laughing about life, marriage, and motherhood.  I am realizing now that it wouldn’t have mattered if my house had smelled like freshly baked banana bread, or if I had multiple candles burning to create the perfect environment.  We were still able to fellowship despite the environment, in fact the environment actually might have helped bring us closer, as we laughed about trying to juggle it all!

Encouragement for me is in friendship, just letting people in, whether thats with an email, a text, or even some ‘Facetime’. There is comfort and safety in knowing people are with you.   Slowly I am learning to lean in instead of retreating, and that I need to have an open door no matter what mess is behind it.  It is time to embrace the freedom that honesty and authenticity can bring to relationships.

Comments

  1. This is so true, Tiffany! It is hard for me with the plywood floors and mismatched linoleum right now. I am being challenged and stretched to still be willing to let people in-not wait until it is all done (and we’ll be ready to sell and move!). I think that there is much truth in this on the deeper level of letting people in to see this is “ME”. These are my feelings, my failures, my hurts, my heart and being willing to really share all of it!
    AND I bought a Fall candle at Target yesterday and thought of you! : ) Wish this TX weather would realize it is nearly Fall.

    • Seriously it’s the truth though, there’s such a tension in wanting to share your life with people but when that means we have to be vulnerable, it’s hard to take that first step. Side note- hooray for fall candles! We are supposed to be 91 on Wednesday so that’s a step backwards in my mind!

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