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Sister Spotlight: Annah Matthews

Let me introduce you to one of our uplifting Momsanity Sisters, Annah Matthews.  Her fire for the Lord is contagious as she shares how we all need a tight community of mom friends who love well!  May you be encouraged as you smile reading her words.

 

annah matthews

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with my girlfriends from high school to celebrate our 40th birthdays together. We came from three different states, and several cities and towns to spend a weekend at the beach. For over two decades these girls and I have loved each other, walked through life with each other, and seen each other at our absolute worst, most awkward, most embarrassing phases of life. (Can we say baggy pants, loser boyfriends, and un-waxed eyebrows?)

I think what joins our hearts together more than anything is the fact that we have seen each other in the good, the bad, and the really ugly times in our lives. Many of us have walked through deaths, births, weddings, and graduations together. We have laughed with each other, cried with each other, been angry with each other, and somehow found our way back to sitting in a circle on a beach 25 years later, laughing at ourselves and promising to keep some things in girl code forever. The fact that we can still love each other, and pick back up conversations as easily as we last left them, still amazes us. It’s a sisterhood that we all need.

It is a great reminder to me that there was a time in my life that I was lonely. I had recently gotten married and moved to a city where I knew absolutely no one. All of my former friends were in different cities and town, starting their own lives just like me. The social butterfly in me was dying and I needed some friends.

I was yearning for girlfriends like these gals from high school who knew me so well and who somehow managed to love me in spite of my mess. I began to pray for good friends again. Friends who loved me, allowed me to be myself and stuck with me in the ugliness. But one of the things that I realized is that we must allow others to love us. Not just know us, but love us.

You may be saying to yourself, “What the what?” I do let others loves me. Maybe you do, but maybe you find that you keep a shell around your heart that won’t let others in. It could be from bitterness, hurt, resentment, past mistakes, failures, embarrassment, or you fill in the blank.

Can I tell you a secret? Every single one of us deals with these same thoughts? The what if, should have, could have, and would have, really don’t do anything but leave us feeling lonely, guilt ridden, and afraid to let our guard down.

I have found over and over again that when I am willing to share my vulnerabilities with a small group of other girls that we breathe out a collective sigh of relief. “Oh. My. Goodness. You mean you feel that way too. I thought I was the only one.” No, you are not.

Let me throw a few out to you:

  • I struggle to love my children like they deserve
  • I struggle to love my husband like he deserves
  • I think that I am screwing up my kids
  • I really really don’t like to help with schoolwork and I used to be a teacher
  • I have a child who hates to eat vegetables and I don’t fight that battle anymore
  • I let my kids eat processed foods although I swear to you that I try to make them eat healthy
  • When life gets really busy, I sometimes go weeks without exercise
  • I like big hair 80 bands more than K-Love
  • I try to avoid signing up for class parties, field trips, fundraisers, and the church nursery. (Oh yes, I just said that!)

I have freed myself from being shamed and guilted into signing up for things that I do not enjoy nor I gifted in doing.

Girlfriends, do you need real, loving, authentic, “love you through the mess” girlfriends? Then you need to be willing to share your burdens and fears with others and when someone is vulnerable enough to do that with you, for the love of God, do not judge them, love them.

Galatians 6:2-5 (GNT) Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. You think you are something when you really are nothing, you are only deceiving yourself. You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done. For each of you have to carry your own load.

Within the last 8 years God has brought women into my life, who God moved from three different states, to love me and to share life with me. They are moms who are in the same stage of life as me, who know how to shoot it to you straight, who love me in my mess, and who encourage and pray for me regularly. I am so endeared to them for the way that they love me and for the way I can share my fears, laughter, and most embarrassing moments with them. Some of them are part of the Momsanity Sisterhood, and can I tell you that these girls are not afraid to share the good, the bad, and the embarrassing life as moms, sisters, daughters, and wives.

God has also brought me a group of women through my lay-ministry team at Encouragement Café Ministries. A team that shares the love and encouragement of Christ through radio, events, and an online community. They love Jesus just like me, live all across the U.S., will pray for you in a heartbeat and love to encourage others. Matter of fact, on a recent trip to California, I had the opportunity to have lunch with one of those friends and we talked for hours at the table with almost no break in conversation. Our hearts have been knitted.

I have been so blessed from one small prayer, from one lonely gal, who moved into a town with no friends to speak of, to an abundance of blessings call friendship! I look back now and see how slow it was to start with, but God gave me that heart’s desire and now I can’t even fathom the length to which I am loved with friendships.

I don’t know what stage of life you find yourself in as you read this article. But can I tell you that God didn’t create you just to leave you hanging out there for no one to share life with you? He loves to give good gifts to His girls, and He is not holding out on you when it comes to friendships.

Pray that God would grant you the desires of your heart and allow you to build healthy, encouraging friendships with others.

Ask Him to show you the relationships that you could build and ask Him to give you the courage to be a little vulnerable.

Ask Him for discernment on what to share and when to share it. Sometimes we need some time to build and cultivate friendships and over time we begin share and open up a little more. (Side note, be careful what you share on social media, not everyone is just like you or willing to accept everything about you without authentic relationship.)

Be confident that you are not alone. First of all, you are God’s girl and He loves you like crazy. There is nothing that He does not know about you so lay your heart out to Him before anyone else. Second of all, He will be faithful to give you those girls to share life with you. You wait with hopeful expectation and be ready to accept the blessings of friendship.

Want to join encouraging moms like Annah?  Click HERE to join our Momsanity Sisterhood!  Our online community of women focuses on Jesus, Eating Right, Staying Active, and Helping Each Other Through This Crazy Mom Adventure!

 

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