A few months ago, some moms from my church started getting together every couple of weeks to visit and to pray. Nothing formal really, just some much needed mom time. I thought about going, but came up with a million excuses why I shouldn't....my kids are older...I'd probaby be the oldest mom there...I have enough stuff on my plate right now...I like having a few mornings each week at home...etc, etc, etc. My friend, J, has been persistent in inviting me though, and I finally said "Okay, I'll come next time".
Yesterday was their get together, and I got up yesterday intending to go. John and I had a few minutes before the kids got up to talk over coffee/chai, and I confessed that I was already (in the span of a few minutes) feeling the pull to back out. I thought of about 6-8 things I could be doing at home, and I ran through my mental list of reasons NOT to go. Honestly, though, I don't like to break my word. If I say I'm going to do something, then I'm going to do it if it kills me. So, I told John I was going, because despite the self-talk, I knew that I needed to be around some other women.
I was so glad I went. There ended up being seven of us, and guess what? I wasn't even the oldest mom there! Most of them do have children much, much younger than mine, but as I sat and listened to them, I realized part of why I was supposed to be there yesterday.
When Abbey was a baby, I had quite a few friends who had children older than mine. We joined a small group shortly after we moved here, and the four other couples in our group had kids in high school and college while I was still toting a diaper bag filled with Cheerios and sippy cups everywhere I went! I can't tell you how many times they told me "it's just a season...it passes so quickly". I knew that in my head, but what I really needed was some empathy in the moment. I even had one friend who told me so many times to just "suck it up, Mer, you have a two year old...we've all been there, and we've all survived", and honestly, her lack of grace and compassion made me so angry that I finally stopped sharing anything with her. I needed a friend who could "hear" me, and who could be present with me in my state of exhaustion. Someone who would encourage me, but not belittle what I was feeling.
Even though I've moved past the infancy/toddler stage that most of those other moms are currently in, I'm not TOO far removed from it, and I realized that I can offer them my ear, my understanding, my empathy, and occasionally my help. I have a chance to offer to them what I desperately needed someone to offer to me in those difficult years with small children. Babies and toddlers are HARD work. So much of that season in my own life felt like mere survival. Only in the last couple of years have I really felt like I had somewhat of a handle on meals and laundry and housework and spiritual training.
I've been struggling a lot lately with some self-worth issues. God has been speaking into those areas and revealing some truth to me. He's calling me to believe what He says about me is true. I heard God tell me yesterday as I was driving to meet those other moms that I needed them, and that they needed me. Like I do all too often, I kinda shrugged it off because reallywhocouldpossiblyneed me? But isn't that a beautiful thing about the body of Christ? We all really do need each other.