Sharing in Life’s Challenges

Sharing in Life's ChallengesLast summer I was sitting in a friend’s backyard watching our kids play. The weather was perfect, and we were contemplating the upcoming school year. One friend shared some difficulties she was facing with her child. “I thought I was the only one dealing with that,” piped up another.

This set me thinking. It’s so easy to assume that everyone else has it easier than we do. Whether it’s a parenting issue, marital difficulty, health challenge, or anything else Gd has set upon our plates. Yet we must realize that He has given it to us, and no matter the hand we’re dealt, we must remember we have the ability to get through it. Hashem only gives us what we can handle. So the question begs, how?

By turning to one another for guidance, and to share in the burden.

Throughout challenges I’ve faced, I’ve come to appreciate this. We are never alone in our struggles. I’ve come to experience support groups, but also just to realize the strength of my friendships. The more bleak times have seemed, the more we hang upon one another for commiseration, for strength, for reassurance. Whether or not we’ve faced this fork in the road before, we know that someone else out there has, and made it through the beaten path. There is power in numbers.

So the next time you feel you’re doing it alone. Remember, you aren’t.

As Friends, As Fellow Mothers, As Sisters

We as women are rooted by nature in the relationships we form. I remember, and likely always will, how in third grade someone came between me and my best friend, causing a huge playground fight, leaving me feeling ostracized and alone. To me, this was the first experience with true loneliness I recall having faced.

Growing up with brothers and forever wishing for a sister (haven’t let that go yet, waiting on sister in laws someday soon ;) ), I’ve found friendships to be fundamental to my life. Girlfriends become your confidantes, cheerleaders, shoulder to cry on, ray of sunshine, and most of all, sisters.

And it took me time to appreciate this unique relationship.

I recall speaking to a mentor some years back about communication within a marital context, and she said to me, “You’ve got to know that a husband can never be what a female friend gives you in life,” driving home how different the communication is between a man and wife versus a woman with other women. She wanted me to know that while some women come into marriage putting everything they’ve got into the relationship, it is essential that she continue to renew and strengthen her friendships.

No one knows you like your girlfriends.biscuits-box-break-1091

We tend to relate to those who are most like us. Perhaps because this allows us to speak without fear of judgment. Perhaps because we know that we can speak without explaining ourselves. Look around at your friends, and you’ll notice that many of the qualities which they possess are similar to the ones you seek to emulate.

With these similarities as the basis for so many of our friendships, we communicate openly, allowing them into our lives, and giving of ourselves to them. We build mutual understandings and appreciation. We are able to know when the other needs reinforcement, whether or not she has communicated the need verbally.

Relating on the same plane.

As we progress through seasons of life, we face new struggles, and new triumphs. Whether it’s a child’s first word, first day in school, or struggles in raising disciplined little people, we look for others who can offer advice and words of comfort, and then cheer along with us in success. Whether we’re stay at home moms or balancing a profession and parenting, we need to know there are others sharing in the journey with us.

Taking time to share the coffee.

As busy as things get, we have to make time for ourselves, and for our friends. For as long as I can remember, my mother has scheduled coffee dates with her college friends, now of more than forty years. It’s a powerful message for me. As young mothers, the relationships we build now are for life. The time we take to go out with other women allows us to rejuvenate and refuel ourselves so that we can give back more productively to our family members, becoming more accomplished without burning out.

Hold your friends near and dear.

The further I’ve come in life, the more I appreciate my friends. They are truly the sisters I never had, and I cherish these relationships. Ladies, wherever you are out there, you have my heart. You are my strength. Thank you for being you.

Go out today and tell a friend how they’ve added to your life.