We Were Made For Friendships

Family Photo copyIt didn’t make sense. It was 11:00 at night. My husband had just gone to bed, and I was shutting down the computer to follow him when a simple picture of friends swept across the screen and loneliness swept through my heart. I turned out the lights and sat in the darkness.

It wasn’t that my friends weren’t there or didn’t care. It was that I was in an emotionally exhausting season and was too overwhelmed to connect like usual. I was struggling on my own, and I felt isolated. I needed the encouraging words of a friend to shed light and remind me that I was not alone.

Maybe it isn’t a picture in the midst of a too full plate that makes you lonely or hurt. Maybe it’s:

  • The cold stares from those moms who think your son is too wild in the church nursery.
  • That all your friends on Facebook have husbands who post praises to their wives and pictures of romantic dinners while yours falls asleep in the chair and you cry alone in bed.
  • That you feel like a terrible mom because you love your kids so much and yet you don’t like them because they’re rude and disrespectful and you’re sure no one else feels that way.

Whatever makes your heart heavy, I want to be that friend whispering into your darkness that you are wonderful and capable and accepted and loved. And that I understand your fears and your doubts because I have them too.

We were not made to go solo. We were made for community.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT) says, Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Here we see that friendship provides greater success, help in need, warmth, strength, and wholeness. I want this and I want it for you.

It’s why I write here. For those of you who only know me by my blog photo, you matter to me. I want you to know that on the other side of your screen, I am here cheering you on. My heart breaks when you feel broken, and it celebrates when you feel joy. Every word I type is my effort to take your hand and say:

“We” is better than me!

And sometimes I need you to take mine because it can be lonely on this side too. The enemy often convinces me that what I do doesn’t matter. That my words are meaningless noise in an already too-busy place. But my writing is not for me. It’s for you. I share my stories and my thoughts to encourage and hopefully inspire you. So I will keep writing when I’m too tired or too busy because maybe it does.

Putting my heart on display for public scrutiny is not easy. With each post, I risk rejection and criticism. But friendship comes with a risk–there can’t be intimacy without vulnerability–and you are worth that. And I know that as we learn to share our broken pieces, we can fit them together to form something beautifully whole.

So, can I ask you to link arms with me in friendship? In a world where people are isolated and alone, will you remember that you don’t have to be? I hope so, and I hope you’ll leave me a message to tell me so. 

 

 

 

 

Putting Sex In Its Place

I could feel his eyes on me. And not with appreciation. Then, only half-joking, he said, “If I ever catch those sweatpants off your body, I’m going to throw them away.”

Umm, since when does he care about fashion? Good luck with that anyway. I like my sweats.

Out loud, though, I laughed and quipped, “They’re comfy. I like ’em,” and went on my way.

Later, as I was tossing them into the hamper, I realized that my husband doesn’t mind my comfy sweats. What he minds is my forgetting to trade them for something sexy and remember him. Lately, I’ve been mopey, he’s been sick, and the calendar has been too full. So needless to say, it has not culminated into a heavenly, lose-your-mind moment.

ID-10076442Instead of falling into his arms at night, I’ve been falling onto my side of the bed thinking, I have to be up in 7 hours. Yeah, I should sleep. I have forgotten that Jon needs me—all of me—just as much as I need sleep. I’ve fallen into the dangerous trap of letting my chaos dictate my choices and letting sex fall from its place at the top of my priorities.

Why does it matter? Because, except in extreme cases, married sex is the tie that binds. As we intertwine our bodies, we also intertwine our hearts. I want that. I want him.

So I’ve decided to tell him more often and put sex back in its place. Maybe you need to, too. Maybe life has gotten a bit chaotic and you’d rather take a long bath or eat leftover Valentine’s chocolate.

Maybe you’ve forgotten that you were a lover before you were a mother. 

What do we do?

1—Talk about it and address the real issue. Tell your husband where you are and what you’re struggling with. Talk about what you need and ask what he needs from you. You might be surprised.

2—Put it on the to-do list. I know, I know, that sounds terribly unromantic! But really, it’s important. Now, not in writing mind you—that would be weird even for this die-hard planner—but if we don’t make a mental note and plan to set aside time and energy for our husbands, then we’ll be drained of both by the end of the day. My husband knows I attack everything on my to-do list, so he periodically pencils his name on it to make sure he also gets attacked ;-).

3—Wear pretty underthings and lingerie that make you feel beautiful. This one thing speaks volumes! Since our husbands are the only ones who ever see our intimate apparel, shouldn’t we give more attention to it than to what the world sees? I understand we all have a different degree of comfort here based on beliefs and body image, but just as putting on a smile makes you feel happier, putting on sexy things makes you feel sexier.

4—Pray about it. Really. God is not nearly as uncomfortable as we are talking about sex. He won’t be shocked or offended by your questions and doubts. He wants us to enjoy married sex. He tells husbands, “…may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated by her love.” (Prov. 5:19 NIV) Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Over the years, I’ve recognized that sex has its seasons just like everything else in marriage. Babies, illnesses, crises—life—all make it easy to neglect this area. But let’s determine to put sex in its rightful place. It’s a beautiful way to enjoy each other, draw closer to each other, and burn a few calories to boot. Not too bad a way to spend our time.