I spoke to a friend after my talk with my daughter and we both agreed that parenting our daughters, while full of great joy, was also full of heartache. Our hearts are so tightly knit to their hearts. When they hurt, the strings on our hearts tighten and we feel the pain as well. And for some reason, that pain is even deeper than the pain we felt as youth. Maybe it's because we recall that pain so vividly. But another reason, I believe, is that we still deal with those pains.
How do I give hope to my sweet girl when the insecurities I felt as a young girl still creep up? What is it about the friendships of women that are so difficult? I have heard so often from women that they prefer friendships with men because they are less complicated. I have been there. I remember in my college years shying away from deep relationships with women for fear of being hurt. Yet somehow between then and now, I have learned that there is nothing sweeter than the fellowship of another woman. Because we feel so deeply, we sometimes hurt each other deeply. More often than naught, we do this unintentionally. Perhaps it's something left unsaid. Maybe we spent time with someone else and didn't realize another friend was hurting. We may have said something jokingly that struck a nerve that day. Perhaps we spoke the truth, in love, but the perception was different on the receiving end. So I am left with either moving forward, knowing more hurt will be down the road, or I can shut down and place an invisible bubble around my heart. I choose to continue to grow these friendships. Why? Because there is no one that can understand a woman, other that our Heavenly Father, like another woman. Who else can you comfortably share the pains of your first broken heart, your childbirth experience (come on, we love to tell it!), the journey of motherhood and the ups and downs of marriage? With all of this, I think I'll encourage my daughters to do the following:
- Don't be afraid to love too much. There will be heartaches, but the heartjoys are much greater!
- Remember that no one is responsible for your happiness. God is the only one who can completely fulfill. Friendship can never take His place.
- Be gentle in your approach to conflicts. Never speak out of deep hurt. Take your time. Pray and process and then speak when you are sure you have a clear heart.
- Expect the best in others. Too often we jump to the worst. Instead, keep in mind that the other person loves you, and while they may have hurt you, their intentions were most likely honorable.
- When seeds of jealousy creep up, look at this as an opportunity to pray and ask God to fill the places in your heart that are hurting and that He would give you a spirit of rejoicing for your friends joys, even when it doesn't include you.
- Remember that you cannot have a deep connection with everyone. Pray about the friendships you have and who you want to share your deepest thoughts, dreams and hurts with.