When the United States was being settled, pioneer women met to work together. Often they lived several miles apart depending on the size of their farms or ranches. There were quilting bees, canning sessions, cheese-making sessions, barn raisings with the men, you name it. There was a lot of work to be done just to survive. But in the midst of the work, there was something more important going on.
Historical records tell us that while there was plenty of work to be had and done, there was also a time of fellowship, often involving food. The pioneers worked hard, but they also worked on relationship building.
Can’t you imagine the women talking while their hands were busy quilting?
Or maybe someone read a book out loud while the others worked on canning the produce from their gardens.
They practiced “many hands make light work.” And in the process of sharing the work, they shared life in all its wonderful joy and struggle. They created their own contentment with life as they knew it.
They built relationships while they were building their community.
Think about it: it’s much more fun to work on a project with someone else, especially a project that seems overwhelming.
In today’s fast-paced culture, I think we’ve lost the art of relationship building.
Sure, we have 800 friends on Facebook and 1,000 Twitter followers. Our Pinterest boards are rapidly growing and we love time on Instagram “staying in touch” with our “friends.” Texts flow back and forth in rapid-fire. We delude ourselves into thinking we have many friends.
But when was the last time you and a girlfriend just sat across from each other, at one of your homes while the kids were playing, looked each other in the eye, and shared your hearts?
When was the last time you knew deep in your being that if you had a heart-wrenching need you could call _______ and she’d be right there no matter what was going on in her life?
Who could you call simply to say, “I need to get this out of my system before I explode” and she would listen without judging you?
Which of your girlfriends is a heart sister?
As a young mom, I remember the days when my frustration level would peak. One of my neighbors would be out in the yard with her kids and I’d wander over to strike up a conversation. Those minutes we spent talking while our kids played together restored my soul.
Adult conversation about ordinary life moments.
Shared mommy experiences divided the frustrations and often resulted in laughter.
Contentment developed while doing life together.
Nothing profound. Simple life discussions and shared mothering challenges.
Among these women, there were a few where the relationship expanded to a deeper level. A very few that really knew me—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Developing deep relationships takes time…together.
While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest posts give us glimpses into another person, they cannot substitute for face-to-face time. Honestly, we tend to only post the best things about our life.
Text messages do not convey the person’s face, tone of voice, or body language. They are simply words that can be interpreted a myriad of ways. It is a low-level way to communicate, especially when you need to discuss something that needs resolution. You know, like those awkward type conversations that get your heart pounding when you think about them.
There are only a few women I consider to be true friends. And the number of heart sisters are even fewer. Why?
Because these friendships take intentionality, time, and authenticity. They take two people who are completely present, totally honest, and always trustworthy.
Not everyone in your circle of friends will rise to this level and that’s okay. You won’t be this person for every friend either. And that’s okay.
You and I need to get over our fear of being seen as imperfect. We are imperfect! No one is perfect, no matter how much they try to appear so.
I believe you and I are starving for deep friendships with other women. Women need women. We crave relationships with other women, even when we say we don’t.
Your husband cannot fill the need for a deep friendship with another woman. Expecting him to do so is unfair to him. It is a false and dangerous expectation. He’s going to fail.
We need other women to:
- Laugh with us over the craziness of ordinary life
- Cry with us when we are frustrated beyond coping
- Speak truth to us when we can’t think straight
- Rejoice with us over milestones
- Sit with us when life hurts
- Admonish us when we’re behaving badly
- Believe in us when we don’t
Here’s my challenge to you and me:
- Identify one or two friends who are heart sisters.
- What can you do today to encourage them?
- How will you set aside time to build into these sisters?
If you take up this challenge, you may not find these heart sisters right away. But when you do, you will be fulfilled, encouraged, and rejuvenated.
Forget trying to have your house perfect, invite a woman you’d like to know over to hang out. Then, watch the contentment that develops in the midst of ordinary life.
Capture the extraordinary in the ordinary today.