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15 Nov

Godly Women Make The Best Friends

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How many girlfriends do you have? I don’t mean people you see once a week at church or that you chat with at the park, I mean real girlfriends. The girls who are there when you need them, no questions asked. The ones who will pray with you in the middle of the night over a sick baby. The ones who will cry with you over something that doesn’t even make sense to them.  How much time do you invest in those relationships? I think friendship is one of the most difficult things to maintain through the motherhood years. We already have so much that we are responsible for between children and our husbands, housework, finances… the list goes on and on. It’s sometimes difficult to find time to nurture and grow great friendships. It’s so important to have godly girlfriends to walk through life with. Someone to build you up when you’re feeling discouraged, someone to speak truth into your life when you need to hear it. Maybe just someone to sit and drink coffee with to take a break from all the stressful moments. Good friends are so valuable. God gave us friendships, He spoke about them often.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 

Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their labor:10 If either of them falls down,one can help the other up.But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.But how can one keep warm alone?12 Though one may be overpowered,two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

These verses are about relationships, not just about marriage. God is describing how we should love each other, how we should build each other up, help each other when we stumble, comfort each other when we are hurt. Friendships are important to our Godly walk.

There are two types of friends in this world. Well, really there are many, but I want to talk about two in particular. Godly friends and worldly friends. I’m quite sure we all have a few of each, right? Let’s talk about their roles in our journey.

Godly friends speak truth into our life. I love my Christian girlfriends. I know that when I have an urgent prayer request I can call them and they are prayer warriors. They will pray for me, every day and they don’t have to be reminded. They will call me or message me to check on the progress. They are invested in my life and in my walk with Christ.

Every single one of us struggles with sin. We all have our favorite, am I right? Your Christian friends *should* be the type of women to discourage sin in your life. They shouldn’t be afraid to tell you when you’re headed down the wrong path, but they should do it in love. A friend who judges you, looks down on you or condemns you without compassion is not a friend. She’s someone who is quite possibly taking pleasure in your struggles to make herself feel better about her own life. These people belong in your acquaintance file… they aren’t the girls you go to for spiritual advice or when you’re struggling. I’ve had several friends like this through the years, I always walked away feeling worse about myself than before. They weren’t capable of building me up when I need it. I still love them, but I know their limitations.

In my little circle of close friends there are a few women I can call at any time and know that I’ll get Godly wisdom and advice. I know that I’ll get confidentiality, they won’t gossip. They won’t judge me. They will speak truth to me, because they genuinely care about my soul. They care about my walk with God. They know and understand God’s calling on my life and they won’t deter me from it. They encourage me to get up, keep walking and they hold my hand when I need it.

I read a quote this week and loved it so much.

“True friends are like jewels, precious and rare. False ones are like autumn leaves, found everywhere. “

I thought that was a very accurate picture. You can surround yourself with dozens of girlfriends, but there only seem to be a small handful that you can consider to be trustworthy; wise. Truly godly friends will edify you and lift you up. They don’t judge your personal convictions. They support your walk with Christ. 

Worldy friends are the other friend zone I want to talk to you about today. The friends who you may have had forever who are, well, worldly. They may not know Christ, they may or may not attend church, but they don’t walk with God. They may be wonderful people, they may be great friends, but sometimes that’s just not enough. I had a small group of girlfriends that I hung out with regularly for several years when my kids were very small. We had play dates and mom dates together quite often. We talked on the phone all the time, supported each other when times were hard. I could count on them to be there… when the whole house had a stomach bug my friends would drop hand sanitizer and Gatorade at the door. We used to get together quite often to go to a favorite restaurant for dinner, a girls night out if you will…  We would eat dinner and have a few glasses of wine together, gossip about different people we knew, and talk about life. We did this together for years. The last time I went was right after John and I had started going to church. I had begun renewing my relationship with Christ and striving to be the woman He wanted me to be. I felt convicted about drinking alcohol and I had decided that I wasn’t going to have any wine at dinner. We got to the restaurant and everyone placed their order, I asked for a diet coke. My friends looked at me and asked why I wasn’t drinking. I was a little embarrassed so I told them that I was on a diet and couldn’t have alcohol. My lie was thinly veiled. They knew why I wasn’t drinking.  It had mentioned a few times over the weeks prior that I was turning into one of those “church ladies.” They weren’t bad people, the were among the best friends I have ever had, some of my favorite people in this world… but they didn’t have the same convictions that I did. They spent the rest of the night encouraging me to just have a glass, telling me Jesus drank wine. I personally don’t think it’s a sin to have a glass of wine. I do believe it’s a sin to get drunk. The Holy Spirit convicts me about drinking because I’m not the girl who will have one glass and He knows that. But whether or not it’s a sin isn’t the point. My friends weren’t supportive of my decision to abstain because they simply didn’t understand it. They didn’t respect my personal convictions because they didn’t feel the same. It’s hard to explain how we feel about things like this. Especially when we may not even fully understand it ourselves. I still love them dearly, but we aren’t close any more. I don’t call them for advice like I did in the past because I know that they are more likely to speak to my flesh than my soul. Sometimes it hurts. I do miss those girls. Our lives have just changed in such a way that we’ve grown apart.

The Bible tells us that we are to surround ourselves with wise (biblical) friends.

Proverbs 13:20

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. 

The word wise in this verse isn’t referring to intelligence. God isn’t telling us to walk with the intelligent, He’s is telling us to walk with the GodlyIf we do not surround ourselves with wise counsel, we will suffer harm.

Take my girls night situation for example. My girlfriend encouraged me to be like everyone else, to conform to the world and enjoy the happy hour wine. She pressured me, made me feel like the odd man out for not drinking.  If I had been with any of my close, godly girls and considered ordering some wine they would discourage me. At the same time, I would never feel pressured to sin with them. If gossip starts in our group it’s nipped away quickly. Are  my girlfriends perfect? Of course not. They make mistakes just like everyone does. But I know they genuinely try to live a godly life. We pray for each other, we serve each other. We care not only about each others physical and emotional well-being, but our spiritual well-being as well. I know that when I’m struggling and I call them, I’ll get wise counsel. I’ll get compassion and not judgement. I’ll get truth. Our godly friends give us the truth that our friends who are conformed to this world don’t understand.

Romans 12:2

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

I’m not telling you that I don’t have friends who aren’t Christians, and I’m certainly not telling you that you shouldn’t either. I’m just reminding you that we do need close, godly women who are following after the heart of God. We need those friends and we need to strive to be those friends. I’m a work in progress. I fail my heavenly Father daily but He has blessed me with some of the most wonderful women on Earth to call friends and I am so grateful for that. I am so thankful to have women of God who influence me and encourage me daily.

So you sweet girls who always speak truth into my life, always pray when I need it and always love me no matter what, thank you. <3 You know who you are.

 

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06 Nov

Uh Oh! Mom’s Sick Too!

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mom's sick

What a week!! Our family has spent the week passing around a nasty respiratory virus. Well, at least three out of the five of us have. It all started last Thursday morning, Liv woke up around 2 am asking for covers. She NEVER uses blankets, she’s my hot-natured little bug. She was shivering.  Uh Oh… fever. She didn’t feel too warm so I thought maybe it was a fluke, so we rolled back over and went to sleep. I got up a few hours later to go for a run, I warned John that she felt feverish in the night and to call me if he needed me. Like he can’t take care of a toddler with a fever? Lucky for me, he understands my particular brand of crazy.

When I got back home my little girl was sitting on her daddy’s lap, with a great big smile and bright red cheeks. Yep… thermometer time.

101… not a good way to start the morning. I gave her some Motrin and turned on Doc McStuffins. She seemed happy, no symptoms whatsoever, so we went ahead with our normal school day.

I was a bit worried about how long the fever would last because we were hosting a big Homeschool Halloween Party the following day, so I messaged all the other mom’s and let them know we’d need a plan B. We all hoped and prayed that Liv would wake up from her nap and be fever free…

No such luck. She woke up at 101 again. Plan B it was… Thank you to my sweet friends for changing the venue and taking my boys to the party so that they didn’t miss out! You girls know who you are and you rock!

By dinner time she had gotten up to 103, oddly enough though, she still had zero symptoms. She didn’t eat much dinner, but didn’t complain of any stomach pain so I felt pretty confident that she’d wake up better after a good night’s rest.

She didn’t. She ran 103 fever all night, and she slept on top of me. John slept in the spare room to avoid catching whatever she was sharing. He is a wise man.

The next morning, we were both cranky… neither of us having much sleep at all. As we sat on the couch together, her with her sippy cup and me with my coffee, she proceeded to throw up all over me. Yay motherhood. That’s when I called the pediatrician.

After one more vomiting episode a gnarly cough set in, literally in the doctor’s office. They tested her for flu and strep, both negative (she had her flu shot a month ago) He diagnosed her with croup :( The nurse tried to give her a steroid in the office, she promptly threw it up. I think kids are like cats in that manner, they can vomit on command or when it suits them or to get out of a test…

Anyway, that was Friday, the day before Halloween. The day that no kiddo wants to be sick. She had the cutest costume this year, Lambie from Doc McStuffins, her very favorite show right now. *So glad her Yo Gabba Gabba phase is over!* I was disappointed that she likely wouldn’t get to wear it.

Friday night went very much like Thursday night did… she slept on top of me, with a fever, and now an awesome cough. All. Night. Long. Yay me.

Saturday morning she still looked puny, but both the boys seemed to be good so I was thankful for small blessings. We continued on with the planned fesitivies, Trunk-or-Treat at church, only daddy had to stay home with Lambie. She helped him pass out candy so it was not all bad.

lambie

 

When the boys and I got home we did a little Trick-or-Treating with Lambie and came home and put the kiddos to bed… after they ate about half of their candy. :)

The next day, Sunday, I kept Liv home while John took the boys to church. In the blur that is life with a sick kiddo on a holiday weekend, I completely forgot it was my turn to bring breakfast to Sunday School (sorry Family Life Group!) Liv still felt crummy all morning but I got a ton of stuff done with the boys gone for a few hours.

That night Kaden and Collin had a big play at their Co Op, Olivia wasn’t up for the show so my dad stayed with her… this is how she looked when we left her at 4…

sick girl

I’d say she was still under the weather, wouldn’t you? And she insisted on wearing those socks… all weekend. She didn’t go anywhere, so I figured why fight her on it :) Her way of celebrating Halloween I guess.

The boys did an amazing job in their play. I was so impressed. I was so very proud of all their work, John and I laughed so hard we cried at their mannerisms on that stage. It was awesome!

We got home that night and put everyone to bed, and I was feeling rough. You know that “I’ve had a sick toddler stuck to my side for 3 days and now I feel like I have a fever” feeling? If you’re a mom I bet you do. I went to bed, hoping and praying that I wouldn’t get sick. The next day (Monday) was our 13th wedding anniversary. No one wants to be sick on their anniversary… I went to bed early, slept with a croupy toddler and woke up sick.

The problem with momma being sick is that everything stops. John would have happily stayed home from work if I needed him to but that just didn’t feel right. He’s got a busy, demanding job. I knew it’d be better if he stayed out of the sick ward. So we pressed on.

Monday came and went, Olivia and I both sick and running fevers. By Tuesday Liv was better. No more fevers and only a little cough left. My mother came and got her for a couple days so that I could recoup. I am so thankful to have amazing parents who live 20 minutes away! They are  my life savers!

I spent the next two days laying on the couch watching old episodes of Law and Order SVU and Ghost Busters with the boys, it’s not a bad way to spend your sick days. Knowing the toddler was taken care of (Papa let her eat jelly beans for breakfast but that’s a topic for another post), and that the boys are big enough to entertain themselves I was able to relax. However, by Wednesday, Kaden was feeling crummy. He didn’t have fever but he had the stuffy head and cough that had plagued Liv and I… Luckily his illness only lasted Wednesday and Thursday… kids bounce back so much better than we do!

sick days

So here we are on Friday. Everyone is feeling better, although we all still have a cough. Collin and John seemed to have come out unscathed and we are praying that they stay that way. We got nearly zero school done this week, although I did make the boys do their daily reading and I let them watch their favorite marine biology show on Netflix (We call that sick day science!) so we survived. We got so stir crazy that we all got dressed and went to Target at 9 am today… Just to get out of the house… Then to lunch with Daddy… again… We. Were. Stir. Crazy.

We have some things to make up next week but that’s ok too. We got through a rough week together. I didn’t have to worry about how much school they were missing or if I was going to have to send my sick kids to school because of a test… I know it sounds funny, but that was peace to me. We had no where we had to be, no tests that couldn’t wait, we could just sit home together, with netflix and tissues and get well together. It was the best sick week we’ve ever had. <3

Have a great weekend!

Nicki

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