I was invited to a special evening last night by a dear friend of mine. A night in which mothers are invited to stop and be served. This wasn’t a potluck or a bring something and take something. This was come and be served.
Motherhood is amazing. I have been given the blessing of being the part of two incredible lives. My children are fabulous people who continually give of themselves and I still wonder why God gave me such an easy pair to raise.
But motherhood is exhausting. I come home from a nine to ten hour long work day (play rehearsals have started) and am confronted with at-home work. Dinners. Clean-up. Dog care (the Girl usually takes over in the evening). Homework checks. Grading. Squeeze in some time to play a stupid computer game. Read a chapter in the Bible.
By the time I am on the road, driving home, I am confronted with the question, “What’s for dinner?”
At home, I find my mental list has new points of consideration.
This is my reality, one that I constructed for myself. I’m not complaining. I wanted to be a mother. This is motherhood.
And this is not a feminist, “woe is me” rant. My husband is a good man who gives of himself as much as he can. But he has an impossible schedule.
My children have their “night chores.” They help with dishes. They take out trash and recycling. But the Boy has started working and my daughter is in ninth grade and taking honors level classes which means homework. I don’t want to thrust more burdens on them.
Wow…I really do sound martyrish, don’t I. Gross.
So to take this back to last evening…
My friend who invited me is an incredible Christian woman. She is an authentic, sincere, real person who says exactly what she means in the kindest ways possible. I had a student once complain that Christians were people with catch phrases and dogmatic text/lingos that when one is said people knew the automatic responses. This statement has made me button my mouth on so many occasions.
I don’t want to be one of “those” Christians. The ones with the catch-phrases that have no meaning.
But my friend is so sincere that even if she said something like, “I’m praying for you,” she REALLY means it. Prayer is a real conversation with her. She talks to God. I have a tendency to feel like I’m talking AT God, that I’m giving a list of sins and demands. I don’t ask Him how His day is going. I tell Him that I’m thankful for my day and that I sinned and that I would like forgiveness. I rattle off a few things that I need, some issues that are affecting my life.
I ask for help to find a literary agent.
But my friend, I don’t know what her prayer life is like because she’s the person Jesus talked about. She has her prayer closet where she tucks herself in and likely has this incredible dialogue with the Lord because she is that genuine of a person.
Jesus mocked the Pharisees with their loud prayers, their whole list of catch phrases and superficial statements. My friend is the opposite of the Pharisee.
I can almost see her like John the Baptist, working by herself by the river, caring for others, living humbly. John the Baptist didn’t have catch phrases; he had the word of God.
That is my friend.
She is selfless. She is quiet. She is giving. She is humble and authentic and real and gracious and kind and compassionate. She listens to others before talking about herself. Her conversations with others is about the other person.
God, I love her.
When I first started working on Pedestals in October, I felt very conflicted. The first story that I wrote is from Aphrodite’s perspective. I was writing about sexual identity and the sense of objectification that a woman can experience.
I didn’t feel very Christian in my writing.
I prayed about it. Or, I talked to God about it because I still don’t know that my prayer life is what Jesus wanted or talked about. I can recite the Lord’s prayer, and I love saying it in church. But sometimes I feel like I’m missing the mark.
So I went to my friend. I confessed to her my worries and my concerns. And she listened and thought about it and helped me see that writing about sexual identity is not the same as erotic, sexual writing.
I am not writing a romance novel. I can’t write something like that. I sound awfully silly and stupid. And I’m not writing love scenes. I really can’t write something like that. I sound really silly and stupid.
But I am writing about what it was like as a second-grader afraid of wearing dresses and skirts because of Friday-Flip-Up-Day. Which wasn’t always Friday. It was any day.
I wrote about growing up as a young woman and feeling put off by my body and how others saw my body. Everyone talked about how “boys will be boys.” No one explained what that meant. No one said “girls will be girls.” And that doesn’t even make sense in the first place.
My minister explained to me that I was writing about damage. About stereotypes. My friend ministered to me, though, when she helped me navigate my spiritual confusion, find my way to a point where I felt like I could write about….everything.
My friend ministered to me last night. She took me to her church where we sang songs and ate delicious desserts and sat within a circle of other women and talked about life, about snow, about snow days and teaching and midterm exams.
My friend and I talked about school and hiking and running. We sat in the quiet of a room and listened to other women talk. We sat in the quiet and were just friends.
That is what I call a perfect evening. Thank you, dear friend. I am honored to be your friend and to have received the compassionate blessing of your ministry. You are true apostle of Christ.