Friday, October 7, 2011

Friendship and Transparency

 What is it in some people that draws my out of my shell?  

Today I had a couple of times with women in which I shared some deep things.  One was the more expected, when I took a walk with three other women from my house church. I have been with them in a small group for a few years, yet it has taken me some time to be able to share deeper things with them.  I guess part of it is because I had been in churches where you don't share your sins, your weaknesses, your failings.  Those that do are ostracized, criticized, and certainly can't minister to others until they get their life under control.  Women have perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect clothes, perfect houses, and perfect children.  Of course, many times under that kind of pressure, you find out later that they are hospitalized with a nervous breakdown or run off with some guy, leaving their confused family behind.  One time I had attended a Bible college class where the teacher was recommending that women sleep a half hour less each week, until they find they have enough time to get all that stuff done.  This woman was down to four hours of sleep a night, and things were going great with her! Really?!!! I never could keep up, and even had a talking to by a church leader who couldn't figure out why I couldn't have a clean house with two kids under three, a virus, probably mono, that laid me up for a few months, followed by another pregnancy!  Oh yes!  Just the stuff for encouraging transparency!  And that wasn't the last time that I was hurt by church people.  It got so bad, I learned not to show weakness, at least to people in my church. I found I was more real to people outside the church than to people in it. That's not good.  Not good at all!  

Fortunately I now go to a church where it is safe.  Safe to be real.  Safe to not be perfect.  Safe to confess my sins.  God has healed me a lot in this area, and I'm a lot more transparent.

The other time I shared deep things today was with a woman I just met.  I had gone to a respiratory therapist to talk about my asthma.  We ended up spending about an hour about our kids and ten minutes about my breathing!  She is about my age and is raising her grandson.  So it didn't take long before we were talking about the details of how to raise a child with FASD, and also the pluses and minuses of contact with the birth family.  She was so open and real with me, and it helped me to be real back.  And I think we were both encouraged that we were not alone!

Which brings me to something that I've been thinking of the past few days.  Tuesday was a homeschool parent meeting where people were teaching out of the book Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe by Todd Wilson.  It was done in a humorous and entertaining way.  One of the things that stuck with me is that we tend to believe we are the only ones who have problems, bad days, yell at the kids, feed them fast food, have a messy house, don't have time for a quiet time or exercise, feel stretched beyond our limits, etc.  Sometimes I am embarrassed by what comes out of my kids' mouths or the way they act.  It certainly isn't your typical homeschooler behavior!  My goals for my kids are way different than the goals of other moms.  And that is discouraging sometimes.  Thankfully our homeschool group is full of people who extend grace and acceptance.  And I'm so grateful!!

It just makes me want to give my homeschool group women and my church women a big hug!

And I hope that I don't sound on this blog like I have it all together.  That I am doing more than is humanly possible.  Some projects I do are my therapy.  Not much is completed in my life, so it is good for me to be able to look at a quilt, or even a washcloth, and think that not all things have to be done again, and again, and again!  And yes, some days, like today, I'm behind in the dishes and laundry!

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