I have some special women in my life. We are all busy moms, so we don's get to see each other as often as we would like. We try to preserve one night each month as our "girl time" and we hold it precious. When we get together, the children are in bed and it is just us. We make a batch of popcorn, bring out our latest crochet projects and just start talking. We have been through many seasons together - seasons of laughter, expectation and joy, as well as seasons of tears, loss and sadness. We depend on each other for counsel and encouragement, love and unwavering acceptance.
Here is Ashley. On our last girls' night this past week, she would not let me take a picture of her because it was late at night and we had been laughing and crying for a few hours already. Ashley is the mother of eight children and this was our first night together since she lost her little boy Jeremiah. How awesome it is to have the safety and comfort of friends to be real with through the good and bad.
Erin was a little better of a sport about getting her picture taken. Erin is the mother of four children and one more is on the way. Erin's daughter Ellie and my son Brendan have decided that they are going to get married when they are old enough - we'll be fine with that. Lucky for me, her children are nearly the same ages as my four, so we share much of the day to day chaos and frustrations, as well as the humor and joy. We bring a lot of parenting questions to Ashley and Mandy and listen intently!
This is Mandy. Mandy lives about 40 minutes away from us, but that just makes time with her all the more coveted. Mandy is the mother of five children and she and her husband are bringing home two children from Ethiopia sometime this fall (yes, that's a total of seven!). Mandy taught Ashley, Erin and me how to crochet - which has been a hobby that we all enjoy so much. Many babies ago, we started a sweet tradition between the four of us that when one of us has a baby, the other three crochet a three-part, non-patterned baby blanket for the new baby. One of us starts it with our own idea/color/pattern and passes it to the next person who does the same and the last woman finishes it and puts an edging around it (we try to have Mandy do that when she is not birthing because she is the crochet queen). Each blanket always winds up looking "unique" but is always created with prayer and love for that baby by such dear friends. Lucas is asleep with his in his crib now! This week we gave Ashley her tiny little blanket to remember Jeremiah.
These are the women I share my joys and laughter with, and they laugh with me and share theirs. What is even more unique though, is that these are the women I complain and cry to, and they listen and empathize, but always turn me in the right direction. Am I justified to be mad at times? Absolutely. But how would God want me to react as His child? As a wife? As a parent? As a friend? As a stranger? These are the women that will so gently and lovingly turn me to the truths of God's word and encourage me to be blessed by obedience, even if I don't feel like it.
And I'm so very grateful to have them on all sides on this road of life.
Proverbs 31:10 "A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman woman, who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls."