The "Committed" Mom?

I am blessed to be the mom of three wonderfully amazing children I call Brent, Lottie and Kenzie. But honestly, there are days when I am committed and days when I need to be committed! So here's where this little blog comes refuge- my opportunity to share with all who care, the joys of being a "Committed" Mom!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The End of an Era...part two

So I got a few private responses regarding my last blog, and I truly appreciate the encouragement and the advice.  However, I did have more to say about the topic- I was just trying to break it up.  I had to build suspense see- make you want to read!
Once upon a time I was a youth group leader to Jr. and Sr. High students, a wonderful time in my young adult life I might add!  Anyway one of the young women in my group struggled with having a deep connection with girls her age and felt very empty without a BFF.  I remember thinking at the time, how sad to be her age and not have at least 1 BFF she could confide in and share her heart with.  It was foreign to me, I can honestly say growing up I had always had at least one best friend.  But when I found myself without one last May, her heartache really hit me and I finally understood it.  I started talking to God and saying "Lord, who am I gonna talk to about some of my deep heart issues now?  Who will be there for me when I need to unload my struggles with being a mom and wife?"   Now, at this point I began to mourn the loss of my friendship deeply.  But God is mysterious in how He works and gets His point across to me.  I began to hear Him ask me "What do you miss about her?" Well I miss that we were different and yet still had a connection and He said "Don't you have that with your other friends." Hmmm.... I miss that she knew deep things about me and still loved and respected me. "What about your women's group and the connections you have made there?"   I loved that she was there when I felt like I needed to blow up and let off some steam. "Don't you still have women in your life who do that?"  I loved that we would do things together and hang out. "You don't now?"  I loved that she was honest and would tell me like it is.  "Nina, I think you might agree that the women in your life tell you like it is now.....only maybe they do it in a way that is more encouraging and positive! Can you not turn to the multiple women in your life now at any given time and they will be there for you?  Don't the women in your life love you unconditionally now?  Aren't they sticking it out with you? And Nina...."  Yes God...."If none of them were around....would I be enough for you? Would you trust me and allow me to fill the void for her?"
God is soooooooooooooooooo amazing!  He began to show me how I didn't need 1 BFF, because He has blessed me with different women for different reasons and seasons in my life.  Just like my husband is the most important thing under God, Kevin is not my all in all.  Each person in my life contributes something of value, something of purpose, something of love!  I can not make one friend my all in all, when I have so many He has blessed me with.  Healthy friendships with amazing women!
I began to realize, it wasn't me.  The friendship ending wasn't about me- it was about her and it was her issues.  I can only take responsibility for my share of the relationship and I evaluate where I can improve in the friend department!  A good friend was worried I was really trying to rate myself on the friendship scale, but honestly none of us is perfect- all of us fall short and that is why we need Jesus!  I will never be a perfect friend and I will never find a perfect friend, but I can try to be the best that I can!  I can take responsibility for things I do and say wrong, I can be more considerate and try to think more of others and  less of my own problems.  I can reach out more and take initiative more! I can eliminate expectations and judgement and love deeper! I realize I am blessed to know some pretty amazing women and I need to be thankful for that- because not everyone has that or finds that!  God, thank you for the gift of women friends and I thank you for the heartache I had to go through to realize I had way more than I ever realized!  Thank you for creating them differently and uniquely and bringing each one into my life at just the right time.  Help me to be a better friend, a better example of you.  Help me to love without holding back and to trust more deeply!  This is the end of an era...but the start of an even greater one!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The End of an Era...part one

What is the definition of a good friend to you?  If we asked your friends what would they say? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most amazing friend ever- would you be a 10?  Are you perfect? I am struggling once again with an issue that is now a year and a half old and I am thinking to myself; really Lord can't I be done with this already?  The issue is friendship and just how good a friend have I been in the past and how good of a friend am I now? So here is my quick response: When looking at my past I sucked as a friend..on a scale of 1 to 10 I was a solid 4 maybe a 5 from time to time, but definitely not even in the 10 ballpark. I would say now as a friend I am a pretty good 7 and slide into a comfortable 8 more often than not. (Still not a 9 or for those of you friends reading if you feel cheated- now's your chance to run!)
In May of 2010, my best friend of 20 years ended our relationship.  And like a marriage, I was devastated beyond words and even today, thus the reason for today's blog, I am affected by its aftermath.  I feel I can compare it to marriage because I imagine this is what the end of a marriage would feel like (minus the physical intimacy part of course).  This is the 1 person I trusted with my heart and soul the longest, the one who knew all the good-bad- and ugly about me and still loved me for me, someone who knew my sense of humor and my quirks, someone who knew deep things about me and didn't run away, someone my family welcomed and loved as a part of their own.  I know it sounds silly but she was the best friend who I thought I would literally grow old with.  I always joked with her about how my loud voice was a good thing because she was hearing impaired and when we got old she would still be able to hear me.  I loved that she had an amazing memory and mine was horrid, so that when we were old she would remember and tell me stories of our lives together (kind of like Fried Green Tomatoes).  We shared the joys of children and the loss of fertility together.  We shared our boyfriends, fiances and husband issues and joys. We shared identity issues and worked out just who we were and what we stood for.  We grew up together and I thought we'd matured together as friends, as schedules and responsibilities kept us from talking as much as we'd like. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't imagine we wouldn't always be apart of each other's lives. I believed it so much in fact that the home I love with all my heart is literally at the end of her block.
So what went wrong? Isn't that the million dollar question? The problem is I don't know the answer to it and I don't know if I ever will.  My heart aches with each click of the keyboard I feel a deeper tug and the tears starting to form in the corner of my eyes.  Why?  How do you walk away from a friendship with no explanation and no reason? How can you just say goodbye and not look back, especially when you live right down the block from each other?  Why can't I feel better? Why do I still cry, even though I am sooooooo angry at her?  Why can't I look at her as she drives by me?  What did I do?  Why didn't she give us a chance to fix whatever was wrong? More than anything WHAT WAS WRONG in the first place? I have played it over and over and over again in my head.  And here is what I got....Before her, I always walked out on relationships (friendships or dating) and because I trusted in my heart that she would never leave me.
Let me elaborate a little on the first revelation, I don't say it lightly and I am ashamed to admit it, but the truth is the truth.  During some prayer time with God, He revealed to me a pattern in my life and that pattern is "When the going get's tough or too intimately close (not physically) I end it."  Why? Because (now I just learned this about myself) I need to end it before they had a chance to hurt me.  God didn't show me that to hurt me or to make me feel shameful, although I did struggle with that at first. He showed me so that I could learn from it and grow.  This prayer time and journaling gave God time to speak to my heart.  In my journal I began to write all the loves I have lost (whether it was friends or boyfriends and sadly there were many) and then for whatever reason I began to look over the list and consider why it ended.  It was then I began to notice my history of running...which, come on, qualifies me as a pretty bad friend! Who runs out on a relationship and friendship because it was to personal or too close? What kind of person says I am gonna hurt you first before you hurt me?  A wounded one...a poor, broken in spirit girl. Running was my protection, it was my safety net, it was the only way I knew to deal with my problems.  I am not saying each time I ran wasn't for a good reason, some were, some were not, the point is I ran! However, with my friend I actually stuck it out and endured the hard stuff with her.  Which is when it hit me, my newly ended friendship wounded me so badly because I didn't call the shots, I wasn't in control. It was the first time ever that I was the one who was broken up with.  And I gotta say, it stunk!
The second part of my revelation is about to sound rude and may even offend, please realize this was a hurt woman's thinking at the time. Due to certain life experiences, I had it set in my head that men may leave your life and they may cheat, but friends are not supposed to, not best friends of 20 years anyway. So when she left, and she did cheat- cheated our friendship- my whole sense of trust was thrown into a 'universal tilt-a-whirl' if you may!  Not only did I struggle with trusting men, but I also had a history of not trusting women.  The distrust in men came from examples I saw regularly on a personal level and in the world around me.  The distrust from women came at the end of my high school years and the beginning of my college years.  I was not very wise with some of the people I associated myself with, gossipers, back stabbers and manipulators (see why I left first?).  I always knew if they talked bad about each other when they weren't around, what did they say about me when I wasn't around?  However, God had other plans for my heart and about 8 years ago- the women's group in my church began to show me just how wrong my thinking was.  These amazing women began to show me how women can inspire, encourage and help each other out.  They were mentors, they were there to show what real friendship looked like.  They were real with one another and that allowed me to let my guard down and be real with them (on a safe level of course) I began to know that what I shared in the bible study wasn't being gossiped about around the church. With that being said,  I haven't honestly let anyone get really deep with me yet. I didn't think I needed too because in my mind, I already had a BEST friend. I mean why do you need more than 1 BESTIE?  These women were great, but I wasn't on the market shopping around.  I mean who wants to share their deep stuff with someone new, I mean I had her and my husband- that's all I needed....or so I thought!