This post is part of our series of Lenten reflections for 2013, focusing on ways that we can nourish ourselves as mothers so that we are better able to serve and bring light to our families, friends, and all the others we come in contact with.
"If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing."
We are not alone. As much as it can feel that way on a long winter day in the house, for every high and low we experience as mothers, someone has been there before and someone will be there after. It's liberating and healthy to share the joys as well as the challenges with someone who understands. For this reason, we need other women friends on the journey, and in particular other mothers. There are so many aspects to parenting that are taboo in normal adult conversation (labor, delivery, breastfeeding, diapers...). I've found that if I can't make light of these things with someone who gets it, I will start to resent my role as a mom.
What's more, becoming "united in heart" with other mothers elevates our call to raising a generation of faithful people. Without good friendships to hold me accountable, I would undoubtedly grow complacent in my vocation. Even if it's just a phone call, text, or email of encouragement, my day suddenly has more meaning when it involves communicating with a good friend. Fellowship refers to this accountability-friendship with others pursuing the same goal. Make it a priority! Check in often and take the time to maintain communication, however small it may be. Getting all wrapped up in motherhood is so much more of a joy when it's shared. Having women friends to lean on is so good for our sanity.
Vocation is a paradox, how it's both personal and communal. What starts in the small unit of the family has the potential to reach so much farther, if we allow it to. One way to nourish our vocations and ourselves is by staying connected to others on the same path. So this Lent and in the years ahead, let us allow ourselves to be revived and replenished by the fellowship in our lives.
"But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self-control."
1 Timothy 2:15