One of the most freeing times in my life was when I jumped into a night time lake. Bare to the bones. Just as I was. I remember feeling guilty for doing it and also, absolutely brave. I admired these women for the freedom they had in themselves. For their boldness, the acceptance of their skin and their encouraging me to do the same. I’ve had few friendships like this, that sit with you in a lake, as you feel the weight of the water against the imperfect of your body, just laughing under the moon. But in this season of womanhood I found intimacy in relationship. And in this season of motherhood, I’ve pursued others the same, where I once was too afraid to.
Are you a self-deprecator?
Do you choose defeat because it’s easier than the what if or the maybe this time...
Do you slam yourself with words and criticism from the start of the day, even softly in your head, just to protect yourself from someone else doing it first?
Do you fear rejection so much that you don’t even try?
Do you hole up? Withdraw? Get snarky? Throw a lip-snarl towards the ‘other’?
Do you make excuses like it’s your side hustle?
Do you talk about others with pray for them as the excuse to chat and make connection?
Do you compare yourself to every single other living breathing being that you’re walking by,
or scrolling by.
Do you project all of it on those you love?
I’m a woman, and I think we’re the worst –or is it the best?– at this.
And we can, at times, enable it in one another.
But what if we had the freedom to lay down comparison and have the tenacity to embrace intimacy, with exactly who we are today…and who we hope to be?
I have the opportunity to love on and get to know other women. Not because it’s in my job title, not because someone told me to, but because I know how rich my life is for the other women in my life.
But what about the men?
I have my husband, he’s my best friend.
He also drives me crazy.
I have my dad, he’s a constant, good man and father.
But I’m not under his roof.
I have my brothers I can always count on,
but they have their own families.
I have pastors that teach and disciple,
but that’s not every day.
And I have a handful of other men in my life that I look to with respect,
but they are men, and I’m a woman.
And I need other women.
(And Jesus every single dang moment, but that’s not the point of this post)
Women need other women.
If you don’t think you do you are lying to yourself.
But somehow women are the hardest to actually rally together.
We talk a big talk.
We talk about walking with our tribe, leaning on our village, warrior-ing up together in prayer and communion and bread broken around the table.
But are you doing it?
Are you showing up for your people?
Or are you just posting about it online?
Are you reaching out bold
or are you too scared of your own shadow?
Do you know what you bring to the table of friends?
Or are you at a table talking about your friends?
I do mean this in love, we have to do better.
Recently I was asked how I’m managing this season of motherhood.
Managing seemed like a funny word to use. When some days it feels like survival, other days feel like a blur, most days it is what it is and sometimes it feels like I stumbled upon fields of gold with my children.
The reality is my motherhood and home can look messy, chaotic, alien, ugly, stained, blissful, photo-worthy and humorously mundane and significant all at the same time.
Does it for you?
I’m a mama of two and I do that life 24/7…365…with the occasional grandparents weekend and me day tossed in. Thank God.
Unless you’re in it, you can’t really get it. And that is okay. I free you from trying to!
So how do I “manage”?
With other women who are doing it, have done it, long to do it, and who feel me.
Otherwise I’m a hot mess of self-deprecation.
And some days…I still am.
Some days it looks like pulling the covers over my head with a pounding headache before the day even starts and letting my toddler start his morning with some show called Kazoops.
Or two trips to Starbucks in one week when my body doesn’t even want it just because the experience feels better emotionally then watching my toddler empty all of the toys he doesn’t even play with onto the floor…again.
Or this week it looked like pulling into a parking lot on the way to the gym and crying my eyes out because I was just too tired of failed grace moments.
Last month it was too many cookies, too much tv and too much letting my mind wander into places of paranoia because I watch too much tv…
Do you follow or do I just sound crazy?
The point is…too much of this alone would be detrimental.
But touches of this while holding hands with other women who get it is actually a life-source while on earth.
Of that I am convinced.
So, woman to woman, slow down. Open your eyes. Look around and see you’re not alone. Stop scroll-comparing and know the woman behind that photo is actually living life and life is actually unfiltered. Steady your thoughts about yourself to know that someone else might be as lonely as you are, or once were, and they probably need a friend. Keep reaching. Reassess what you bring to the table, what you could bring to the table, and then set the table for communion. Or commiseration.
There is something so profound when we know ourselves intimately enough that we aren’t afraid to know others in intimacy too.
So I’ll keep inviting, jump in bare as you are with me.
But maybe not in a lake.