I happened upon a wonderful blog recently that I wanted to share. It’s called “The Glamorous Life of a Housewife” (http://glamlifehousewife.blogspot.com). It’s written by a young wife and mom who loves the Lord and isn’t afraid to show it. Do yourself a favor and check it out. The most recent post I saw was about the group of godly friends she had growing up, and it was very thought-provoking. You see, I really didn’t have one single friend growing up who shared my faith and encouraged me to grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Even at the “Catholic” college I attended, I didn’t find a close group of truly godly friends. Without that support and positive peer pressure, unfortunately, I fell away from my faith, and only by the grace of God was I able to rediscover it.
I was listening to a talk recently by Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly, and he said something which really struck me — that whenever you are trying to decide something, ie. whom to include in your close circle of friends, or whether or not to engage in a certain activity, you should ask yourself one question: Will this person (or this activity) help me to become the best version of myself, the person God wants me to become? It sounds so simplistic, but I wish I had had a grasp of this concept when I was young. It’s so hard, in this culture, to stay focused on living this way. We need each other for support, encouragement, and inspiration.
Jay and I have always tried to stress this with our kids in their choice of friends and activities, but lately I’ve realized something. Since two of my closest friends moved away in the last couple of years, I no longer have any like-minded friends nearby with whom to have a close, supportive, and challenging relationship. I have been convicted that I need to start seeking these kinds of friendships more actively, since I’m home with the kids so much. I need to be intentional about getting out and making friends, not only for my own growth, but also as an example to my children.
One way I have tried to find inspiration is by reading the blogs of other Christian women, and it has been a much-needed shot in the arm for me. But it’s not enough. It’s time to get out. So wish me luck and say a few prayers for me, will ya? It’s not easy for me, as an introvert, to do it, but I’m committed to it. And I’m also re-committing to praying for my kids in this area. I want something better for them than what I grew up with. I’m so appreciative to Whitney at “The Glamorous Life of a Housewife” for painting such a specific picture of the friendships I want my kids to have. It helps to pray with that picture in mind. The other thing I’ve realized is that I need to make sure my kids have the opportunity to be involved in the kinds of activities and groups where they will be likely to meet these kinds of friends. Sports teams are all well and good, but not to the exclusion of activities of a more spiritual nature. We have absolutely nothing going on at our church, so it’s up to us to find other avenues. We’ve been fortunate to find a good Christian camp and youth group that they can attend, but we are still looking for some Catholic stuff.
On a different, but related, topic, I have also been having some great discussions with my older kids about boy-girl relationships, chastity, etc. and I’ve got some great resources for you if you’ve got tweens or teens. The first one is the same blog mentioned above. Check out Whitney’s Love Story on her blog. If you want a real-life example for your kids of a wholesome, godly approach to the whole “dating” issue, her story provides it. I was reading it one night and Maggie joined me. She was floored, as was I. I’ve read all about this type of thing in theory (“I Kissed Dating Good-bye,” and “Boy Meets Girl,” both by Josh Harris) but this was the first time I encountered a real person who actually accomplished it. A word of warning, though — she’s not done putting the story up yet, so we’re waiting for the new chapters. Maggie keeps asking me, “Did she put any more on yet, Mom?” Please hurry, Whitney! 🙂
For a Catholic resource, check out the novel “Arms of Love,” by Carmen Marcoux. Maggie couldn’t put it down, and was very impacted by it, both in her Catholic faith and in her desire to practice chastity. Joe, my 15-year-old, also read it and liked it. Jay and I decided to include it on our required reading list along with the two aforementioned books and some others. I’ll post that list at some point, so stay tuned. Also, check out Carmen’s website www.courtshipnow.com. You’ll find lots of practical and straightforward information about courtship on it. The kids and I went on it and checked out some of the questions we had. As parents, we need all the help we can get instilling the right values in our children. I will post more resources for you as I find them.