Our Own Reflection

Many moms can become lonely. Friendships can be hard to keep up when your families’ needs come first. It is a wise woman who knows this. Yet even though we may know that sometimes our wishes and desires have to be put off, that doesn’t mean we feel any less lonely at times. It doesn’t mean that our hearts don’t yearn for some good girlfriends who can understand our soul.

Just as our children need good friends in their lives to walk alongside them, encourage them, and be strong for them during those times when they aren’t feeling so strong – so also, do we as adult women need this in our lives. In fact, just when we may need this the most (when we become mothers) is when it becomes the toughest to cultivate.

So, what do we do? What do you do when you feel like there is no extra time in the day to get together with another woman for lunch? What do you do if you are having a hard time making friends who you feel truly care about you and your family? What do you do when you feel really lonely for women friendships?

I have been on both ends of this spectrum. I’ve been thankful – most of my life – to have been able to easily make and keep friends wherever I’ve lived. I always thrived with girlfriends in my life to help teach me things about myself, to encourage me, and to just be a sounding board at times. Yet, I also hit what I call a “desert” period in my life with friendships. I’ve had close friends leave my life and holes have been left that created quite a deep loneliness in my heart. It was a new feeling for me.

As lonely as this time has been, God taught me some special truths through it that I wouldn’t have learned had I been filling my heart and mind with only the words from the mouths of friends. Instead, I was forced to go straight to the mouth of God for what He thought of me, what He wanted of me, and how He would help me. I learned that it is good to have no one to depend on at times other than my Lord. For so often we can let others fill His shoes in our life when that is not their place. And oftentimes we can lose a little bit of what makes us unique if we are in the company of women who are stronger, or more verbal than we are. But with God – all He shows us is our own reflection. It may not be one we want to see at times, or it may be just exactly what we need to see to encourage us to move onward. But it is pure, it is authentic, and it is full of love for us and our future.

Nothing can ever take the place of earthly friendships. As women, we are social beings and we were created that way on purpose. God knows we need friends. But if you find yourself in-between friendships, or maybe in a position where you’ve been praying for years for sweet, Godly friends to enter into your life – then be encouraged. I believe they will come for each one of us in God’s perfect timing. Until then, know that you have the best friend of all who is right there beside you. He wants you to unload your daily heartaches and burdens on His shoulders, share your dreams and hurts, ask Him His thoughts and perspective, and He wants to be able to encourage you and show you just how beautiful and lovely you truly are. He wants to show you what HE sees in you so that you can blossom as a woman.

You can have a very special friendship with Him that will help hold you together until those women come. And you will find that even when they do, God will be the first person that you turn to with all those thoughts and feelings that you’d normally run to a girlfriend with. She’ll still be there to hear them – but they will be filtered with the wisdom, grace, love, and devotion of your Heavenly Father. The best friend a woman could ever have.

 

 

~ Dionna Sanchez

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

Getting Distracted By Life

Depression. Ambition.  Loneliness. Bitterness.  Busyness.

All of these things have something in common. And that is that the focus of each one of these is on ourselves. We are centered and thinking about our own situation, feelings, environment, and mood.  Life can do that to us.

I’ve found out a little secret.  Something that keeps me from being too prideful, helps me get over being depressed or lonely and something that keeps my priorities right. That “something” is vision.

You see, when I have a God-given vision or purpose, then it gives my life and each one of my daily moments a true purpose. It gets me excited about something, it keeps me moving, it focuses me on something greater than myself. It works – every time.

I think we let life distract us from what we are truly here for.  We let our drive for paying off those bills, or going to that next big attraction or adventure, or making sure we’re taking all the right pills and medications – keep us from giving and living within our true meaning and purpose. We let all that “stuff” be the ruling force in our lives instead of letting God be the ruling force in our lives.
When I am doing something for the Lord, whether it’s teaching Ladies Bible Study, focusing on an upcoming missions trip, working on my ministry, doing community service – whatever it is that He has laid on my heart – I get excited about living! I get motivated to eat right, exercise, my attitude is improved, my health seems to fair illnesses better, I forget about the lack of close friendships or the dreams unreached in my life – and I just LIVE for Him. All those things dissipate and it feels like I’m living out my true calling for that moment or period in time.

You see, we all need a “Holy-vison” or a “Holy-calling.” We need something higher than ourselves that God has asked us to do. For each one of us, that calling or vision may be different. But I’m betting that each one asks us to step outside of our comfort zone a little bit and reach out into some area of life that needs reaching.
Start praying today and ask God for Him to show you what God-given task you can devote yourself to. Look for those opportunities that He has placed before you to give your heart and soul to. Watch how quickly you will forget about the worries of the world and all the other things that used to crowd your heart and mind.

There is something BIGGER than ourselves and we can be apart of it.
~ Dionna Sanchez is the Founder of Emphasis On Moms at http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com.  She also maintains her own blog to encourage women at http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

Spiritual CPR: Care, Prayer, Repair

Marianne felt lonely.

On the outside everything looked perfect. A great husband, two little
girls, vibrant and busy in an under-four kind of way, a master’s in
education and the good looks of Jennifer Aniston. She read her Bible, prayed and went to church. But inside she hurt horribly.

And she didn’t know who to tell.

The women at church had it altogether. Or so it seemed.

If we stop and look, we each will see hurting women in our churches.
They are “sheep” who have fallen down, a “very pathetic sight,”
writes Philip Keller in A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. “Lying on its
back, its feet in the air, it flays away frantically struggling to stand up, without success. Sometimes it will bleat a little for help, but generally, it lies there lashing about in frightened frustration.”

Who are the fallen lady sheep in your church? She is the woman in a
difficult marriage, or who has a rebellious teen, or is burdened with
a painful past. She is the woman whose husband is out of work. She is
the one who’s depressed or anxious, grieving or stressed out. She is the lonely 30-something with the good looks of Jennifer Aniston who says “fine” when you ask, “How’s it going?”

God gave me a passion to offer hope to Christian women who hurt. This passion led to seminary to learn pastoral care to women. It led me to counsel women at my church using the Word. It is leading me to begin a Biblical counseling center in my community.

I encourage you to ask the Lord to reveal to your heart the name of a hurting woman in your church. He’ll provide one. I’m certain of it.

Compassion  Begin to give this woman spiritual CPR: care, prayer and enough love to repair.

C=Care. What does spiritual care look like? First, we need to notice the injured. You’ve already done this when you identified a name. Then stop. This is what the Good Samaritan did. Read the story in Luke 10:30-37. Next, meet immediate needs. It may mean watching her kids or a driving her to the doctor’s office or helping her figure out a budget. Most important, listen to her pain.

P=Prayer. To help a hurting woman, we need to pray to Jesus, the
Great Physician. Tell him the needs of the hurting woman you’ve
identified. (He already knows, of course.) He’ll help you figure out what to do next. Trust him to show you.

R=Repair. Identify a hurting woman’s real pain. Listen carefully. Is she committed to her husband? Is she filled with fear or anger? Does she have junk from her childhood? Divorce, abuse, a loved one’s death — any of these may still affect her today. Ask her gently but directly. Take care to notice sinful patterns in her life and address them lovingly.

When Marianne and I shared iced tea on her patio, I spoke little and listened a lot. She told me that she had gone through two major transitions: Her family was fairly new to our community, and she left a job she loved.

Once she recognized that these life changes contributed to her mild depression, she felt better. She was able to let go of the fear that she was defective in some way and move on.

A mutual friend encouraged her to join the young moms’ group at our church. She began to make meaningful friends. Within a few months, she joined the groups’ leadership team and contributed her talents of drama and teaching.

God had not abandoned her as she had feared. He brought someone into her life who noticed she was hurting and took the time to listen. He provided her a place at church to connect, to grow.

Who is a hurting woman at your church? How can you help her?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. 2 Cor. 1:3

Please visit me at www.lucyannmoll.com and sign up for my free online newsletter, Cup of Joy. An author, speaker and biblical counselor, I have a passion to offer hope to Christian women who hurt.