Girlfriends, Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em: 5 Ways to be a great friend!

For women, friendships are the most important relationships we have. But too often I meet women who have very few (if any) strong female relationships. The reasons are many and varied. Have you heard any of these?

“I don’t get along with most women.”

“I’ve been stabbed in the back way too many times.”

“I have nothing in common with girly, ultra-feminine types.”

“Women are too shallow and catty.”

Why do you think this is?

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Today my daughter and I sat together on our porch; I was reading a book and she was scrolling through her phone. At one point she says, “Ugh. I feel sorry for the generation of women coming up.”

“How come?” I asked.

“I’m watching a fight between three girls on Instagram. Two 19-year olds and a 16-year old. The 16-year old – who has a baby by the way – says, ‘The joke’s on you bitches. I had sex with both your boyfriends.’ No one has self respect anymore.”

I thank God my daughter was disturbed by this, but I’ve seen similar rants from women my own age played out in social media. I think some of the fault lies with us. After all, it’s up to the older generations to teach the younger ones.

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Time and again I’ve preached about the value of having good girlfriends to my girls and oh have they tried! But they’ve been been let down and gotten caught up in the gossipy, back-stabbing, competitive girl culture common today.

They already feel like giving up.

As an older woman, I’m committed to training and teaching girls of the next generation. So here’s my attempt at giving advice when it comes to females. To be good friends we have to . . .

Listen. Listening is hard and takes practice – lots and lots of practice. The next time you’re out with a girlfriend, try not talking about yourself. Not even once. Focus solely on her.

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Pay Attention. We live such busy lives it’s hard not to focus on ourselves and our troubles, but when we do this we miss out on another person’s perspective. Her point of view can open up whole new worlds to us.

Celebrate. Our friends are special and deserve to be celebrated simply for who they are. Try buying flowers or a special gift for your bestie “just because.”

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Share. This is one of our first and most important life skills. We’re supposed to learn how to do it in preschool but it always bears repeating. Got an old skirt or piece of jewelry you don’t wear anymore? Try passing it along to a friend who doesn’t often get to shop for little luxuries.

Love. Jesus said it best: “…love your neighbor as yourself.“(Mark 12:33) Our girlfriends are our neighbors and our sisters in Christ. The best way to love one another is by spending quality time, meeting each others needs and treating one another kindly.

What a gift it is to love and be loved! What a better world we’d have if we invested as much time in one another as we do in our entertainment or work.

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What if our work on this earth is to love each other?

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus (John 15:13)

Mother’s Day: One woman with a flower changes history

In two days, Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day, one of the most noted “female” holidays in the world. While walking through a local store I was astounded at the sheer number of greeting cards offered to shoppers.

A thought occurred to me – all these cards are filled with the words of other people writing sappy sentiments to someone else’s mom.

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Has our country become so lazy or illiterate that we can’t write our own heartfelt words?

Now, before you think I’m being snooty, I sent one of these cards to my own mom this year with my heartfelt words tacked on for good measure. I love her card; the artwork is beautiful and the writer managed to create a sentiment that expressed my heart exactly. Crazy!

The history of the American Mother’s Day is fascinating. It started with an idea by a woman named Anna Jarvis, and a simple white carnation worn as a badge by people visiting their mothers. The white carnation symbolizes purity and innocence.

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However, like many other holidays, Mother’s Day has been over-commercialized, something Anna Jarvis fought against for the rest of her life. She even petitioned the U.S. Government to remove the holiday from the calendar.

She’s probably rolling in her grave right now.

Even still, I have to admit I enjoy it. My children and husband usually concoct a wonderful breakfast in bed – gifts included. Then, they give me the best gift of all – a day to do anything I want!

One year I gave this “gift”of a day to my own mother and you know what she asked for? She asked that my brother and I accompany her to an opera in the park. I’d rather send a card any day! It was torture on us, but we did it because we love her and ultimately that’s what it’s all about.

On days like these, I’m sad that my mother and I live so far apart. I’d love to pin a carnation on, visit her in person and tell her how much she means to me.

I think this little poem by George Cooper says it best:

Hundreds of dew drops to greet the dawn,

Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,

Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,

But only one mother the wide world over.

Your Turn: How will you celebrate Mother’s Day this year?

Bloom: living and thriving in God’s great garden

Pressure. We all feel it at one time or another. It’s the feeling of being squeezed, suffocated and ultimately stagnating.

Stagnating is a fancy word for being stuck.

I almost wrote that I’m not sure why I’ve felt this way lately but that’s a lie. As women we can inadvertently become potbound. Being potbound looks like this . . .

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I hate when I see this in one of my plants because it means that as the gardener, I’m not paying attention. I’m not giving this girl room to grow (all my plants are girls).

If I’d taken better care of her she wouldn’t be in this mess, so now I have to tease her roots a little – I call it tickling. Then I have to move her into a different pot.

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When I do this she will thrive and bloom.

It’s important to note that as a human, I’m a flawed gardener. But God is never flawed. He never forgets to water, prune and tickle the roots of his precious children. Sometimes he keeps us in one season as preparation for another.

Now I realize that God’s been doing this for me. After living potbound for a season he’s moving me into a new place where I’ll blossom, bloom and flower – and ultimately produce fruit for his kingdom.

Oh how I love spring and the changes it brings!

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Your turn: Do you recognize the season God has you in? Are you potbound, growing or blooming?

“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my father.” Jesus (John 15:7-8)