I used to love kaleidoscopes when I was younger. I could sit for hours and turn the end of one, making the vibrant colors rearrange into beautiful patterns. I would turn it slower and slower, trying to see the precise instant that one pattern merged into another. The sparkling reds, the emerald greens, and the pretty plums all moved together to create breathtaking patterns and designs.
Recently, after my youngest daughter’s birthday party, I looked at my husband and said, “You know? I have a pretty eclectic group of friends.”
Here’s what I meant by that: apart from knowing me (and my daughter), the chances of that particular group of people being together are pretty slim. We are all so very….different.
Growing up, I chose to surround myself with people who were “like me.” My community mainly included my family and friends. My friends were typically the same age as me, and had many of the same interests.
But as I got older, and particularly when I became a mom, my community started to shift and change. No longer could my mother (whom I trust to share Godly advice with me) answer all of my questions. For example, I had 3 c-sections. She did not. Any questions I had regarding the healing from those surgeries had to be directed to others who had traveled that path before me.
As my children have grown, so too has my community. My kids are on average about four years apart, so my “mom friends” may be several years older or several years younger than me. I have learned so much from the moms who have already been through the season of life in which I find myself.
It has become increasingly important to me to not just seek community with those who are like me, but to see what I can learn from each and every mom I meet. Surprisingly, I have community that looks nothing like I would have imagined in my younger years.
Some members of my community look like:
~a friend who knows all my secrets, from the struggles I have faced in my marriage to my doubts and fears as a mom trying hard to follow after God. She is my biggest cheerleader.
~my mother and other women of her generation. There are several women whom I am honored to have as friends in my church who are around my mother’s age or older, and have encouraged me with my walk with the Lord. I know that they will give me Godly wisdom and will challenge me on my wrong thinking.
~other homeschool moms. These may be the most colorful facets of my community. People who homeschool choose to do so for a variety of reasons. I have met working moms, homeschooling grandmothers, and military wives. Some have one child, and some have many. But, the thing that I have found within this group is a sense of comradery. Homeschoolers enjoy talking about the methods they have used, and are quick to honestly admit that they don’t “have it all together.” This transparency is so vital, especially to new homeschool moms who may be struggling.
You may be thinking, “Well, Courtney, that all sounds great. But I don’t have a close friend like you described.” Or maybe you aren’t close with your mom. You may not homeschool. You may not have the opportunity to meet people in a similar season of life.
But, friend, can I encourage you? Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV) says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
God showed me that I had to stop looking for those who were “like me,” and start reaching out, realizing that there were other women in various stages of life who could challenge and encourage me in my walk with Christ. But, during the interim–during the time that I was waiting for community-Jesus was the balm for my lonely spirit. He was the one who heard my midnight cries and prayers for help that no one else heard. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Just like the kaleidoscopes I enjoyed looking into as a child, my community is vibrant today with colorful personalities and unique traits. And, just as every color in the kaleidoscope is beautiful in its own right, it is so much lovelier together, sparkling and shining and ever-changing.
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