Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On Community and Parenting

"We are better together," as Gungor sings. It's beyond true.

In the past week, I've been tucked even more securely into my wildly beautiful community. The flu knocked me down, and friends brought food to our house. It didn't even bother me that they saw me languishing on the couch in significantly oversized PJ's (who wants to wear clothes that fit when Baby is bouncing about on a roiling stomach?) with a days-old bed head. I'm rather obsessive about at least appearing moderately put-together, and the fact that it didn't even bother me made me realize. These Kansas people have become My People. 

I had prayed that I could find more friends who are new moms. The joys and pains of pregnancy have had me keenly missing my Old Friends, the ones who have known me in other eras. I feel very well-connected here, but there's something about your very body changing that makes you ache for familiar people. Plus, most of those old friends are already parents. They've been making me laugh and sharing their pregnant (in every application of the word) advice via other modes of communication and cheering me on from a distance, but I knew I needed mom friends here. And, as if in answer, women who aren't necessarily in my usual social paths have just made themselves at home in my life. They're so uncannily similar to me in life experiences, personality, and parenting philosophy that conversation requires zero explaining. You know, the sort of friendships that usually develop over years and years. They love being moms, know their giftings, and pursue health for themselves in order to parent well. I really need to be present with these sort of women in order to visualize what my ideals look like in practice for myself. And here they are, going out of their way to share life with me. It's astounding and wonderful.

The most terrifying prospect of parenting is my own brokenness. My own inherent flaws are many and formidable, and topped off with the ways I've been hurt and abused. Knowing I will be one of the two most formative people in this already-energetic little one's life makes me question whether I am truly healed of the things I can tend to forget even happened, and how they will affect our precious baby. So, it's really beautiful to me, such a tangible reminder that redemption always overflows into a wealth we could have never imagined, that a new friend whom I already greatly admire connected with me precisely because we've experienced similar adversities. As she said, "The devil meant to ruin us for community." But you know what? Redeemed people, people who have found their way through darkness toward light and health... They make the most incredible village. This is the story of my best friends, old and new. They're honest, unpretentious, and live out of a self-acceptance that liberates those around them. So, like everything else intended for evil, it backfires into even better than good. 

I'm grateful for my community, near and far. Baby is already surrounded with people who love and give and pray for good things. It keeps becoming more true: I know the best people. And knowing I will parent with the support of many great people gives me confidence that I won't be a horrible mum. 


Clair's prayers said...

Yes. And amen. Glad you are finding goodness in Kansas, but it would be grand to have you closer in this Season of your life.

Becca said...

Oh, I know, Anna! I miss you so badly, and it seems wrong to be so far apart.

Joycelyn Showalter said...

....but for all you've been thru your heart is still tender and that's what matters. All I can think if is your kid is so lucky to have you two to parent him/her.

Ruth Anna said...

I often think about the comment that I'm pretty sure you made in a conversation we were having way back at FB. I think in talking about broken things you said, " children are going to need redemption because of ME!" Truth be told, that statement still reassures me. (it's true with school kiddos too...=) I don't need to get it all right, or even pretend that I'm getting it all right. I will mess up. But God is bigger than my little (or bigger) messes and is still in the redeeming process. This is what I thought of when I read this post. It's a good reminder for me today! Thanks for sharing!