Saturday, March 29, 2014

Family

A friend of mine asked me if I would be willing to blog about my experience with being single and pursuing friendship with families. Gladly.

Over the past few years there have been many times where I have read, written, cheered and clapped when people (pastors, married friends, single friends) acknowledge the unique challenges and pains of being unattached and childless.  The validation that comes from being “seen, known and loved” is a gift.  However, if it is only one-sided validation then it stops short of what could be an invitation to much deeper and richer relationship.  

Recently I have heard accounts of families who feel a little used due to always being the one to give, invite, minister to and intercede on behalf of singles.  Hear me out here.  I know the Church largely caters to families and Sunday’s can be the hardest day of the week for singles. I see you, single friend.  I know. I am you. BUT (the BIG BUT) sometimes families have a need to get an invitation as well.  You have much to offer families.  What a gift it is to invite others in to your world and to love them and give of yourself!  Yes, it might take a little extra work and preparation, but the effort, thought, and inclusive of children invitation speaks value.  You know how much value you feel when your mama friends get a babysitter so they can go out and celebrate you on your birthday???? Inviting children over is a gift. So what if you can’t have a coherent, full sentence conversation due to toy guns bonking you in the head, someone wanting to twirl, a baby spitting on you, 4 kids on your legs trying to put you in “jail” as you braid hair??? IT IS AWESOME and it is real life. 

I understand there might be some seasons where it is too much, but more often than not I have found that by engaging in the joys and sorrows with my family friends it only enriches and opens my own heart.  God sets the lonely in family.  I have found this to be one of the most healing things in my life.  Does it also deepen the pain of my own longings? Yes, sometimes, but why is that always a bad thing?  It pushes me into God like nothing else can.  


If I choose to avoid families and only choose friendship with single people then I am in big trouble.  Here’s who I would have missed out on:


The Burr's.  Ami is my cousin (more like my sister) and her 6 kids and her husband who is truly a brother to me.  This family has challenged me and loved me like Jesus.  I was driving Laura Beth (my namesake - the only blonde on) to a birthday party and I wasn't saying something very nice about the driver in front of me and she quickly called me out. Nice. :)  There are so many things to say here, but they fill my heart.

And I'd miss out on this:


I held Emory since she was just a few weeks old and prayed over her and held her in worship so mama could have a hand free to lift. :)  Greg has challenged, loved, encouraged and been a brother like no other.  Hudson is a charmer and his grin and curls kill me. Don't even get me started on Allison - a friend who has listened to me hour after hour and prayed for me, spoken promises over me and allowed me into her life as well.

OH and how about this family:


My pastor Jarrod, Jen and their boys Liam, Gladden and Rocco.  I don't know if it hurts parent's feelings if you have favorites of their kids, but I have to say that little Gladden (blonde) stole my heart.  He's so sweet.  He was trying to put me in "jail" and so kindly looked up and said with a lisp, "Der are toythz."  Gotta watch my back with that one. He's a charmer and coercive and he doesn't even know it.  I love watching the Justice's parent.  They give such freedom and they don't fall into the trap of pressure to parent someway just because a book or other people think they should  They are AMAZING parent's.  I have learned a ton.

And new friends:

I have a new friendship with Arehearts.  I love being around them.  They are hilarious and easy to be with.  I know their oldest, Carolina, the most.  She stands and sings with me sometimes in church.  She can also do a kick tail version of "Let It Go" with the most passion and pure heart.  I love that the Arehearts invited me to Carolina's birthday party even though I don't have kids. I think I will have more fun than the rest of them. :)

Last but not least:


Everyone needs to have a Marshman family in their lives.  Chrisy is one of my best friends and Hank is too young to be my dad, but too old to be my brother. He's just the best.  Brett and Blake have taught me what it's like to be a big sister to little brothers.  I have learned about seasons of life, prayer, laughter, sacrifice and showing up in all things from the Marshman's.  I love them dearly.


These are just a few of the families that I could highlight.  Don't miss out on investing in families.  It really is selfish in some ways, because of what you gain.  So, go be selfish and invite a family of 8 over for dinner. 

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