*Note: I plan to write a discussion post on Mondays & Fridays. This way, you have all week to read one chapter and you have the weekend for another. Don't stress about not "keeping up" with me...that's the lovely thing about blogs. They're here for years and years!*
Desperate is a book about not being alone as a mother. We are not alone in our feelings. We are not alone because God promises never to leave us nor forsake us. We are not alone in this world as there are many women who will come up along side of us in our journeys if we but ask.
Desperate is, largely, a book about the need for mentorship in motherhood. Chapter 2 is dedicated to this premise.
When I read the chapter, part of me shied away from acknowledging the need for a "mentor." I am one who looks to my God and my husband for the majority of support and help in my life. At least, that's what I thought superficially. While my husband is a faithful supporter and help in the raising of our children, I realize that I do, in fact, have a group of women whom I turn to for help in my walk down the path of motherhood. I do, indeed, have mentors, though we've never formally planned it that way.
When I had 5 children in 6 years, I had a dear friend who lived just 10 minutes away and we attended the same church. This woman had a few more children than I at the time (several more than me now) and her oldest three were all older than my oldest son. While she was still in the trenches of young-motherhood, she had a few more years under her belt. She was the one I called if my child had an odd rash and my mom wasn't readily available. She would call me and check on me during my pregnancies just to see how I was feeling. While my mom always taught me to take it easy after a baby was born, this friend clarified it this way: "The first week of rest is for the baby you just delivered. The second week is for your next baby." Meaning, you need to take it easy to get healthier quicker. It will take much longer to recover if you push yourself and you're not doing your body any favors.
This is the friend I called when my fifth child was 6 months old and I was at the proverbial end of my rope. It's a long story that I will tell at another time, but she was the ONLY woman I knew at the time that had as many children as I as close together as mine. I couldn't get a chance to read my Bible and I wasn't sure how I was going to make it. I called her one day and said, "How did you get through it?" Her answer: "I don't know how I got through it, I just know that I got through it...with God's help." Other than telling me to read just one verse a day a pray a lot, she really didn't give me any practical "do-this" advice. However, she gave me the greatest help anyone could have given...understanding, empathy, and hope.
This friend now lives across the ocean and communication is sparse due to our busy lives. However, I do know I will see her in a couple of months and we will pick up right where we left off...hugs, coffee, and encouraging words. When she left, God gradually gave me several friends to whom I could be a blessing as they have children a couple years younger than mine. Again, these friendships occur naturally and "morph" into mentorship. I have found myself many times repeating many of the wise words of my friend to these ladies and they have helped me keep fresh in my mind the trials and struggles, as well as the joys, of being a young mom.
Sally Clarkson mentions that where ever she moved she usually had to be the initiator of groups and friendships. This is often the case...especially for those of us who recognize our God-given need for others. I do not belong to a church that has "small groups." We have lots of large families...and lots of tired moms. Since reading this book, I am getting a burden to help these fellow-moms as we journey together. It's like we're walking the same path, but not talking to one another. I am praying about forming a prayer group every other week, maybe after our homeschool co-op, just to lift one another up in prayer and encourage each other with fellowship. I have to step out. If it flops, it's God's will. If someone is encouraged, it is God's will.
I love the verse quoted at the end of the chapter:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
Yes, we have our husbands. But, let's face it...they will even admit they just don't "get" us on a regular basis. Have you ever had your friend tell you something she did, you admit doing the same thing, and you both are amazed that anyone else in the entire world felt as you did? This is what happens when moms open up and let each other into their lives. They realize they are not alone. They fall and the other helps them up...usually because they've fallen in the same pit along the way.
Older moms...don't leave the young moms behind to fend for themselves. Walk with them. Lift them up when they stumble. Carry the load for part of the journey.
Young moms...allow yourself to be helped. Don't be a lone traveller...those who travel alone, especially when it gets dark, are vulnerable and unsafe. Accept help from one who has travelled the path before you.
How about you? Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? What is God leading you to do in this area? I would love to hear about it! I will reply to any comments...I want to encourage as well as to be encouraged!
Keep up the good work, moms!