Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Surround Yourself Well -- Parenting Through the Little Years (Part Seven)

This is Part Seven of "Three in Diapers: Parenting Through the Little Years." If you are just tuning in now, please check out the IntroductionPart One, etc. for context and disclaimers.

7. Surround yourself well --  Sometimes we think we are all alone in our role and endeavors and hopes and dreams and fears and failings.

I'm super thankful to know that I'm not alone. I have an amazing God and the best husband. I have family that is always there to encourage me. My in-laws live nearby and are cheerfully helpful and pray for us often. I have a church family that is phenomenal. I have friends who freely give of their time (and have freely given of their children's time as well -- but I now count those "children" as dear friends, too) and love to help me and love my children. I have sisters in Christ who are in similar life stages that I can be open and transparent with and who point me to Christ often, both through their actions and their truth-based words. I have friends who have walked through difficult seasons with me. They are the types of friends who are always there to listen and process with me when I am confronted with difficult realities. I have people I can trust who have already raised (or mostly raised) their children who often have good counsel for me.

Honestly, I'm very blessed by the people who are in my life, and I do know that not everyone has the same level and quality of encouragement and support. And I hesitate to even call this section "surround yourself well" because I know that these people who are around me are undeserved gifts from a very kind God, and I can take very little to no credit for their presence in my life.

So the first and foremost way that I can encourage you to surround yourself well is by committing to pray for you, that God would surround you with quality people in your life who will care for you, encourage you, help you, and love you and your family. And I encourage you to pray and ask God for people like this in your life.

Secondly, if you don't already have a church family that is busy growing in love for God and love for others, find one! There are many, many reasons to find a good church. (Though I have to add here one of my favorite quotes that I can find no source, "If you ever find a perfect church, leave quickly before you mess it up.") No church on this side of heaven is perfect, but finding a church that is growing in love for God and love for others helps us grow in love for God and love for others. And a bonus is that God uses people who are growing in godliness to help sanctify us, and these are the kind of people who will love you and encourage you and support you in this path God has given you.

Thirdly, be a good friend. One of the best ways you can build open, transparent friendships is to be open and transparent yourself. Now this does require some discernment -- people are all at different levels of maturity and trustworthiness. But look for people who are growing in the direction that you want to be growing and work to build real relationships with these people.

Sometimes these relationships fall in your lap. David told me before I moved to Sacramento that he had found my "future best friends" and introduced me to a couple of gals that were also getting married that year. These, and other, gals are now definitely among my closest of friends -- and I thank David for the introduction -- but the depths of these relationships have grown through time, effort, honesty, love, grace, patience, forgiveness, and above all, the kindness of God's hand in it all.

Keep your eyes open for such "kindred spirits." Pray for such relationships, and when you find them, thank God often for such sweet gifts. They will be the people you first go to when it's time to "rejoice with those who rejoice" and "weep with those who weep."  They are precious, precious encouragements as we press on in this life.


Part Eight is somewhat of a continuation of this concept and starts branching into some more practical applications, so come back soon for that!


Sharon said...

I need a tissue :-)

Christina said...

Shocking, Sharon. Shocking!! ;)