Friendship and the Single Mom

It is our privilege and honor to introduce our friend, Amy Kidd. Amy is currently raising four children (exceptionally, might I add), running a photography business with outstanding talent, serving her church and community friends, and daily investing herself into living life to the fullest. Natalie and I can testify that this beloved woman lives out what she speaks out. She's the real deal. You're in for a treat and a wealth of wisdom in a topic most women (women young and old) are starving and parched in attempt to get right. See below what Amy shares with us about friendship! 

Liesel, Natalie M., & Natalie G

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It is the most comfortable carpet I have ever walked on. The padding must be at least three inch thick memory foam, and the carpet itself may be made of pure silk- at least it felt that way to me. That night we decided to lie down right on the carpet.   We listened to snippets of songs on iTunes, one after another, for a couple hours at least.  It was late, and we were both exhausted. But there was something about lying on the carpet that felt freeing, comforting, and safe.  It’s the kind of thing you do with a true friend.  No need for makeup, proper etiquette, or facades. That night I was overcome with gratefulness and memories. It brought me back to the time we were at a dance party, and I made her revert back to her cheerleading days and do a herkie right there in the middle of the dance floor.  The time we laughed hysterically for 30 minutes straight when her husband said he was “at his limit” because we gave him about 5 different things to pick up at the grocery store, and the time when I was drowning in fear regarding one of my children and she shared rich words to comfort my heart. Mostly, I thought about the day we first heard the news of her mom’s cancer and the long journey we walked of praying, hoping, believing, and trusting. 

 Now here we were, lying on the plush carpet at her mom’s house, trying to choose the perfect songs for her mom’s funeral slideshow and working through the details nobody wants to walk through alone.  That night the intimacy and comfort of our friendship was a beautiful gift in the midst of the heartache she was facing, and for that, I was deeply grateful.

As a single mother, what thoughts go through your mind when you hear the word friendship? Honestly, every mom, single or not, has so much to juggle. We have lives that are depending on us for their well-being every single day. We are developing these children emotionally, spiritually, academically, and physically. All of which involves things like hair cuts, dental and doctor appointments, three meals a day, homework and school projects, SAT/ACT prep, youth group activities, devotionals and prayer time, sports/music lessons, long talks regarding culture and friendships, birthday parties, and did I mention three meals… EVERY SINGLE DAY. No wonder we are tired!   Add to it being the only parent and primary provider for your children, well, it seems highly unlikely you will have a life outside of merely surviving through the tasks of each day, let alone friendship. 

This is what I felt like in my early days of single motherhood.  It felt like friendship, along with many other things, would no longer be a part of my life the way I hoped. I wondered if I would have meaningful friendships, and how I could possibly have the time to maintain them. Because of this great task before us, we must realize that while leaning into God each day comes first, he also created us to be in intimate relationships, and for single moms that means friendship.

Whether a young girl or a grown woman, having friends matters. It can make or break you in junior high, sustain you through the college years, and keep you sane when your kiddos are little. Friendship is pretty important, and as a single mother, I think friendship is imperative. The good news is God sees your heart; he knows your needs and sees your desire for deep and healthy friendship. He has the most beautiful plan for you when it comes to friends.

A friend gave me this card that I keep on my fridge. It reminds me of why I love my friends so much.

 

It makes me giggle when I look at it.  Those kids are armed and ready for anything that may come their way at the neighborhood pool.  

Just for fun, I looked up the meaning behind posse. This was taken from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Posse web page: 

“The modern day Sheriff’s Posse has its roots in Saxon, England over 11 centuries ago. In those days, the Reeve was the king’s officer and representative in each shire or county. The Shire Reeve, from which the word Sheriff has evolved, had the authority to enlist the assistance of males of the county, above the age of fifteen, to assist him in keeping the peace or in the apprehension of criminals. To do this, he would raise a “hue and cry” to summon residents who were obligated to respond to the Sheriff’s call. This group was known as the Posse Comitatus, which is Latin for “power or force of the county.” 

I love how it says the sheriff would raise a “hue and cry” and the posse would come with power and force. You may be thinking to yourself, "I really don’t need power or force; I just want a stinking movie night or a day at the beach!" I  do too, sister!  

Hear me out on this.  Those perks do come along with the posse, but for a single mom, we need to know, above movie nights, there is a team of friends that have our back. Friends that we can share anything with and who will come running when we raise our “hue and cry.” Our cry may be in the form of a text or phone call, but whatever form we choose our posse has our back! They are there to help lead us to victory. 

Our posse will help us gain perspective and arm us with laughter and hope. They remind us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and that he is working all things together for our good. They help your kids with algebra and help you tackle your budget.  They will pray for you and with you. They may just bring over dinner or leave cupcakes and flowers by your front door on Valentine’s Day (true story).

After I have spent time with a member of my posse, I feel like I’ve been heard, like I matter, and I know that I’m connected to something bigger.  I feel a lightness. I feel like I can dream and hope again.

Let’s take a second to talk about the members of our posse. The bible says in Proverbs 13  “a companion of fools suffers harm.”  

Ladies, let’s be smart about this - our families have gone through enough harm.  We don’t need to be spending anymore of our energy on damage control; we want to be walking through the rebuilding and beautification process from here on out!

Our friends will play a key role in this, so it is important to choose the members of your posse wisely.

Think about who your closest three to five friends are.  Your inner circle- the women you call when the world is falling around you.  This is your posse. These friends need to be seeking the Lord, living under the authority of His word, emotionally healthy, and trustworthy. They should be building you up and encouraging you to grow in areas that seem hard to grow in. This will not only bless you, but your whole family!

Perhaps you have never experienced a rich and intimate friendship, and you wonder if it’s possible? Where do you find these friends if you don’t have them? Many women typically look for someone they have much in common with and try to befriend them.  It is a good thing to have things in common, but I encourage you to expand your thinking and maybe let God do some of the choosing. They may not look exactly like you in life; they may be at varying ages and stages of life.  One may be your bestie from college, a friend from work, a younger woman from church, and still another might be an older woman that is both a friend and mentor.  

In the book of Acts Luke talks about the fellowship of believers in the early days of Christianity.  I think we can learn much about friendship from these words. In Acts 2:42 (ESV) Luke says, 

 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”  

In this specific verse, Paul is using the Greek word Koinonia for fellowship While studying for a class I am taking, I came across such a beautiful description of God’s meaning of friendship within the body of Christ.  Listen to how Duvall and Hays (2011) describe the word Koinonia:

“Koinonia was a familiar word in Greco-Roman society. It was a word often used in religious, familial, and social contexts. It was a word that Greco-Roman writers used to reflect some of their society's highest ideals of intimacy, sharing, interconnectedness, friendship, and unity. Thus Luke appears to borrow this word from Greco-Roman culture and society in order to explain and illustrate the special relationships that had developed within the early church—relationships that actually achieved the highest ideals of the Greco-Romans. The word koinonia comes from the Greek root word koinos, which means ‘common.’ Based on this root and that Luke illustrates his koinonia by describing very specific common participations modeled by the early church, it seems best to define his koinonia as ‘participating together in life led by the Spirit’ (i.e., sharing in the Spirit's common life). Based on the testimony of the early church, this life promotes ethnic and social equality. It is a life that is abundant, miraculous, hopeful, and joyful. It is a life among friends in the family of God. It is a life in which people overcome hardships together. It is a life of faith. It is the best life possible. It is life in the Spirit.”

Wow!!!!  This word, koinonia, reflects the highest ideals of intimacy! It is participating together in life led by the Spirit. It is a life that is ABUNDANT, MIRACULOUS, HOPEFUL, AND JOYFUL!  This is God’s ultimate design for friendship for us. Through the leading and power of the Holy Spirit we can experience this with our friends too.

Are you beginning to see the value and importance of investing in friendship? On the days you may feel overwhelmed, can I encourage you not to allow shame or exhaustion to keep you isolated and fruitless?  A huge part of the healing for both you and your children will be to see you smiling, making new memories, and having friends intimately involved in your family's life. 

It starts by looking at our mindset.  Ask yourself how absorbed and consumed you are with your schedule, your kids, and your life.  It’s the scarcity mindset that can be all consuming for single moms.  You are constantly thinking to yourself,  “I don’t have enough money, time, or energy. There is not enough of me to go around.”  Many times it is true, but that mindset begins to seep into your friendships and leaves you feeling drained and isolated. I have been there so many times, and it felt like a pile of guilt added onto the huge pile of guilt I was already carrying. Not healthy.

When is the last time you stopped and invested in an important friend?  I have found that when I stop and allow the Holy Spirit to lead me, He empowers me to be a better friend and I am filled with renewed strength. If we want to be more than a superficial friend on Facebook, we need to invest in our friends. It requires more than just a comment or reply on social media.  There is a level of sacrifice in every relationship. Many times it feels like a real sacrifice when you are a single mom pouring out all day long. But where there is sacrifice, there are rich rewards. Even when you’re completely drained, cook the meal for a friend whose husband has been travelling, spend the extra twenty dollars on the flowers that will lift your friend’s spirit, buy two lip glosses instead of one, take on a couple more kids for the night. (What’s two more?) It’s so worth it! I know our schedules are full, but if we just get a little creative we can maintain and nurture our friendships.

Here are a few creative ways I found to keep fostering my friendships.

One friendship is maintained by 6:30am weekly prayer times in the summer when she isn’t teaching. Another is a dinner at a killer restaurant every few months. One is a class at the YMCA on Monday mornings or a long walk when talking is necessary.  Sometimes I pile up the laundry during the day and plan the long conversation while I’m folding (it makes folding so much more bearable).  You may have to get really creative, and there are times you have to let the to-do list go for the day and go be with your friend. 

My friends are intentional; they are world changers and kingdom makers. They lead full lives with strong families, planting churches, leading ministries, running businesses and raising babies- lots of babies!  They inspire me to live a life of purpose and meaning. May I remind us all we must be equally intentional with our friendships. They are gold.

They are treasures. They are the cream in our coffee, the whip on our frap, the wind in our sales, the shoes that make the dress. And the pain or insecurity you feel while making and maintaining friendships will only make you stronger and wiser, more compassionate and humble, a happier mom, and will bring you closer to Christ.  I don’t know about you, but when I get whip on my frap, it also comes with pounds on the waist.  Not so with friends. With friends you gain spiritual muscles that equip you for a rich and full life, bearing fruit and finding joy in your life each day.  

In the words of my ten-year old daughter Audrey, “God gave us friends to encourage us, so we won’t be lonely, and to have fun.”  It sounds to me like something every single mom needs.

The book of acts and letters of Paul. (2011). In J. Duvall and J. Hays, The Baker Illustrated Bible handbook. Ada,  Michigan: Baker Publishing Group. Retrieved from:       

http://www.liberty.edu:2048/loginurl=http://literati.credoreference.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/content/entry/bpgbb/the_book_of_acts_and_letters_of_paul/0

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