Better Than “Eat, Pray, Love”?

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Philippians 4:5-9 NLT

I never read the book (or saw the movie) Eat, Pray, Love. I actually recently took a poll with some of my friends to ask if it was worth the listen on Audible. I have to admit that even now, ten years after it was first published, the title still entices me. Any memoir that instructs me to eat, pray and love to find a better life, I’m here for it. Reading through Philippians, though, I stumbled across what I consider to be Paul’s formula for living a God-filled (read, fantastic) life: Pray, Think, Do.

Pray

In Philippians 4:5-7, Paul is writing to the church at Philippi, giving them instructions on how to conduct themselves in his absence. He encourages them that God is near and that they don’t have to worry or be overly anxious about their lives. And neither should we. We should pray instead, he says, giving thanks for what we have and asking God for what we want and need. When we do this, we can expect the peace of God to envelop us. So the first step is to pray. “God, I thank you for blessing me with two wonderful kids. I pray that you would help me figure out how to make them go to sleep at bedtime without having to bribe them with promises of breakfast treats in the morning. Amen.” Ah, I feel the peace coming now.

Think

Then, in Philippians 4:8, Paul instructs the church on how they should be thinking.  If something is true, noble, right and pure, he says, then they should think about that thing. I admittedly add my own interpretive spin to this portion of Paul’s writing.  In the plan for living, I think Paul’s directive on our thoughts also means that we should think, as in formulate a plan of action, for our lives or a specific area of our life that we have been praying to God about. Here is our second instruction: think. Because my kids take so freakin’ long to fall asleep, maybe I should put them down earlier, so they still get a decent amount of sleep at night. This may very well be easier said than done, but remember, I’m still thinking here.

Do

And then finally, in Philippians 4:9, Paul admonishes the church at Philippi that whatever they have learned from him–whether they saw him do it or heard him say it, they should follow his godly example and do those things, too. Thus, we have our third and final instruction: Do. It’s taking everything in me not to insert some corny line that includes the Nike slogan, so let’s just move right right along, shall we? The most important part of the equation (according to James 1:22-25), we have to follow through on the plan that we created while we were thinking. We have to act. Tomorrow evening I won’t scroll through my IG feed while running the kids’ bath water or warming up their food. I will not lock myself in the bathroom (where they can’t get to me) so that I can rummage through my FB feed in peace. I will have a focused, streamlined evening routine so that the children can get their little tails in the bed earlier.

And there you have it: Pray, Think, Do. Thanks Paul. And also, Jesus. (This example may or may not have been taken from my real life. All names and references were changed to protect the innocent. But not really.)

Parenting 101

 

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow. . .   ~Romans 8:38 NLT

 

“Okay guys, I’m going to get dressed really quickly and then we’re going to get read–” I stopped mid-sentence because I had reached out, placed my hand on the brass doorknob to my bedroom only to find that the doorknob wouldn’t give in either direction and the door was tightly shut.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” I said out loud, to no one in particular. I stared blankly at the white door in front of me, in utter disbelief.   My kids and I had just finished an arts and crafts project leaving us with exactly one hour to get dressed, round up our things and arrive on time to a birthday party that started in exactly two hours.  I had left extra room in the schedule to stop and get a gift on our way to the party. And I was trying to be better about being on time because I’m usually not on time, especially if I’m traveling with the kids, and now one of my beloved children had locked me out of my bedroom derailing my whole timeline, not to mention my sanity.

I looked down to the bottom of the staircase where my two year old grinned up at me. “Mommy, I locked the door!” he proudly exclaimed. In that moment, I felt so much rage, it seemed almost unnatural. He was smiling with that toddler look that I think all toddlers must teach each other–that look that says “I know I wasn’t supposed to do that but I’m so cute and innocent-looking in this moment, you wouldn’t dare unleash the fury that you really feel because you love me, and also did I mention that I’m cute?”  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

Fast forward four hours later (and throw in a locksmith, the quickest shower known to man, and scooping up of children, one under each arm), and I am at the party with my kids, having a good time. And no, we did not make it on time. But we weren’t terribly late and there I was pushing that same two year old in a miniature car across the lawn. He was having a blast, which made me smile and I gave him an extra little tickle, because after all, he really is just so cute.

In that moment, I thought about God. I wondered how many times I had locked him out his bedroom, metaphorically speaking, and how many times he had closed his eyes and taken a deep breath. In that moment I silently and quickly thanked him for being a good, good father. He’s a father who loves me, despite my mistakes. And his posture towards me, towards us, is never one of guilt or shaming. Our Father loves us, and there is nothing that we could ever do that would stop him from loving us or wanting the best for us. That kind of love is awesome.

Just think about your child, or your niece or nephew, or even a younger sibling, and how much you love that person, and would do just about anything for him or her. If we’re human and imperfect, how much more amazing is the love that God has for us, his children? We don’t ever have to wonder if God wants to bless us with an amazing life (John 10:10) or use us to help make someone else’s life a little more amazing (Matthew 7:12). Of course he does. He’s a good, good father and we are loved by him.

 

Love (and some other stuff ) Is Enough

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1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NIV)

“Love is patient,” Paul writes, “love is kind.” (v. 4). But Paul, “Love” just left the toilet seat up for the one hundredth time! “[Love] keeps no record of wrongs,” he says (v. 5). Clearly, Paul has never experienced the feeling that comes over you upon discovering that “Love” has eaten up all the snacks and left the pantry empty, right at the very time you get the urge to munch on something.

1 Corinthians 13 sounds so good in theory. It’s read at so many weddings as a sacred reminder of the commitment that the (usually) naive and unsuspecting couple are making to one another. Paul makes love sound so noble–and it is. It is also painful.

Fulfilling this scripture, continually applying the healing ointment of love over the scabs, bruises, and sometimes even gashes, that arise in a marriage is hard work. It’s not flowery and poetic. Loving someone for real often means doing the hard work of loving them through their faults and allowing them to do the same for you.

One thing that I’ve learned in this married life is that if love is an ointment, then forgiveness is the band-aid. Every married person will offend or hurt their spouse at some point; that’s just the nature of being in a relationship. You’re two different people trying to live one shared life. There are bound to be hurt feelings. Hurt feelings though, if they’re stockpiled and not healed by forgiveness, create blockage.

In talking to my therapist (yup, I have one), I realized that I hadn’t fully forgiven my husband for some of the hurts I’ve experienced over the course of our marriage. What struck me most is that I realized that I was stubbornly and willfully choosing not to forgive. I have been choosing to hold on to my hurt and nurse it because that’s the safe thing to do. There is no risk involved in keeping my husband at arm’s length because of my hurt feelings.

But alas, love is a risk (just ask Jesus). If I let go of my hurt and truly forgive (which is a command from the Lord, by the way), then I fully open my heart back up to my husband again.  This full and open heart allows me to give and receive full and open love, but it also essentially places me in a position of vulnerability again. As risky and intimidating as this vulnerability may seem, this is what the God requires of me if I am choosing to stay in this marriage and be the wife the Lord has called me to be.

And when forgiving seems like it’s just too hard, or like I really just don’t want to do it, I need only to remember Jesus. Ah, my buddy Jesus, who loves me through my faults and forgives me repeatedly for my offenses toward him. If he can do it, then so can I.

Jesus is patient, he is kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. He is not rude, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered, he keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. He never fails. In this life, in our marriages, love (and forgiveness and Jesus) is enough.

 

Image Credit: Susan Adams

A Doubt Like David’s

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In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

                                                                                 ~Psalm 25:1-3 (New Living Translation)

“I totally trust you, God. Well, kinda.” That’s how I interpret the first part of Psalm 25. I love this Psalm (and so many of the Psalms, really) because there is so much humanity found in its verses. In the beginning David, the author, makes this bold proclamation about how much he trusts the Lord.

“In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.”

Notice how David doesn’t just come right out and say “I trust you, God.” If the sentence were written that way, then David would be the subject of the sentence. I’m taking you back to middle school grammar lessons, I know; but the devil is in the details sentence diagramming. (Not to pull the devil into this, but you know what I mean). David’s devotion to God is such that he makes God the subject and the focus of the verse. In you, God, I trust. And I think that this sentence structure, as insignificant as it may seem, is an exact example of the posture and attitude that we have to take in trusting God. He is the focus–not the thing we’re trusting him about, or praying to him about. Just like David, we should make God the sole focus of our trust.

“I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame…”

He says the same thing again, “Lord, I trust you.” It’s almost like he’s trying to convince himself. He repeats this phrase so many times in this Psalm. And therein lies the humanity in what he’s saying. It’s not always easy to trust God.  Sometimes it’s downright frightening. Sometimes we have to repeat it out loud to God, to ourselves and to the people around us–over and over, until we believe it.  I mean, essentially we fake it ’til we make it, right? If our trust can start with just the simple act of boldly expressing our belief, God will give us the strength to confidently believe him and believe that he is at work in our lives. Even if it takes us a little while to fully engage with this thought and fully and completely trust God (it took David a lifetime of this, and a full 22 verses here), God sees our efforts and is pleased with our earnest attempts to trust him completely.

Now comes my favorite line of these first two versus: “do not let me be put to shame.” This is my favorite line because it’s just so real.  “I trust in you” is a statement of confidence. David knows who his God is and what he’s able to do. David is proclaiming his confidence in God’s ability to take care of him. But in the same breath, David almost pleads “don’t let me be put to shame.” If the confidence of the first phrase had followed through the entire sentence wouldn’t it read more like “I trust in you; I know that I will never be put to shame”? But it doesn’t read that way. Instead, David’s words reflect what I think is closer to our everyday experience: we trust God…kinda.

“No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame…” 

Jesus calls us to trust in him (See, e.g. John 14:1). Trusting God means acknowledging him and asking direction regarding major decisions in our lives, obeying him when we feel that he is speaking to us or telling us what we should do. Trusting the Lord also means that in tough situations, we believe that he has our back and that he will protect us and see us through the challenges that arise in our lives. He wants us to trust him wholly and completely. Getting there, to the point of complete trust is where the hard work takes place, especially when we face major challenges in our lives.

This Psalm and these two little versus show us that it’s okay, and normal, to trust God, kinda, so long as we’re continuing to move towards trusting God totally.  Each day provides us with an opportunity to trust God a little bit more–with our money, our jobs, our parenting decisions, even our interactions with others. And as we continue to trust him more, he will continue to show up and show us his will for our daily lives.  Before we know it, we will have become verse 3 David and boldly proclaim, “[n]o one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assistance with the Juggling Act

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31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

~Matthew 6:31-33

 

At times, life is too much. Like, it just is. For people trying to live a decent life, which I think is most us, trying to fluidly juggle the balls of spouse, children, career, house, civic engagement and whatever else, is often difficult to do. God forbid you lose your balance, and let the “children” ball fall, and now your looking at your babies falling on their heads. Or you take your eyes off of the “spouse” ball and it ends up ricocheting off of your head and rolling off somewhere, and now you don’t know where your spouse went.

The personal challenge of juggling these balls often drives us closer to God, or at least, I’m suggesting that it should.  He is the only one who can help us manage it all. But sometimes  as we draw closer to Jesus, the problem that draws us closer, the juggling act, still remains our focus. We come to the Lord saying “help me keep all these balls in the air” and we keep our eyes on the balls and never even make eye contact with God. Can you see this image? Us, the jugglers, standing at the feet of this huge, immense, giant of a God while he looks down at us, mildly amused.

All the while, our hands are getting tired, our shoulders are cramping from holding up our arms, our palms are sweaty from the nervous energy of trying not to drop the balls. But to really receive the help we need from God, we have to focus our eyes on Him. This focus requires that we drop all the balls (figuratively speaking). Scary, I know.

If we are to go to God, we have to seek him for who He is–the great and everlasting God. We can’t go to God and still be consumed with the balancing all of the balls. We go to God not only because he can help us juggle, but because he is majestic and mighty and gracious and good and kind and holy. The Beginning and the End. The one true and living King. Going to God and really seeking him and worshipping him, getting distracted if you will, by his glory and power, it makes us want to take our focus off the balls and direct it all toward God. Once we really focus on the Lord and learn more about who he is in all of his wonder, all of our other responsibilities, while still important, pale in comparison to giving our time and attention to the great and mighty God.

We go to God with our problems, but as we learn more about him, pray to him more, worship him more, our focus begins to shift and all of a sudden, we realize that we don’t want to just seek God because he has the answer to our problems, but we want to seek him because he is beautiful and glorious. Spending time at the feet of God, with hands upraised in worship (and not juggling) helps us tap into who he really is–our hope, our peace, our lifeline. Once we lift up our eyes and realize that we are looking into the face of the great and everlasting God, everything else rolls away. The balls, they figuratively roll away.

As we continue to focus on God, he shows us how to handle it all, he guides us in our responsibilities. He teaches us telekenesis, let’s say–a way to keep the balls moving with much less effort. I realize I may have taken this metaphor a little too far, but the point is, when we go to God for who He is, and not just for what He can do for us, when we seek his face and not his hand, we truly connect with God and we are the better for it.

God Loves Jury Selection

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For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

~Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)

 

Waiting on God is like jury selection. And who, I ask you, likes to sit and wait to find out if they are going to be selected as a juror for a trial?! Exactly. No one. (As an aside, I must say that this is an unfortunate sentiment since serving on a jury is such a vital part of our justice system and an important civic duty).

As a potential juror, you do so much sitting and waiting. You wait to be questioned by the lawyers from both sides. You wait until all the other potential jurors have been questioned as well.  You wait for the lawyers to confer with their teams about which jurors they will strike or keep. I’ll admit there is just so much waiting.

As the person who has done the questioning and selecting, I have never felt the full brunt of the boredom that comes with all the sitting and waiting, but I can see it on the jurors’ faces. They are not happy campers. All they want to do is leave from the place they are in. I think some are genuinely happy to be selected for jury duty, while others are as equally happy to go home. Either way, everyone just wants to get through with it already, for crying out loud. That’s what their faces say.

And that’s what I say too, only my exasperation is directed toward God. I just want to get through it already, for crying out loud. At this moment in my life, I am waiting for God to give me specific direction for specific areas of my life, and I am not a happy camper. I really wish that I could say in the most sage of voices that I am yet waiting on the Lord, and that I’m taking in all of his goodness as I wait patiently at his feet for his direction for my life.

Yeah, no. I’m tired. I’m restless and I want to get on with it already. Like, for real, God. Let me know if I am selected for the jury or if I get to go home. It’s not hard, really it’s not. I know how you speak to me, you’ve given me clear direction before. But for some reason, right now, you’re making me sit and wait.

And yes I know there’s virtue in waiting. I know that I will probably learn more about God if I am still and quiet and actively listening to sermons and reading my Bible, than if He rushes and gives me direction right away. I know that waiting on God will give him a chance to prepare or work on opportunities and events that I  know nothing about nor could prepare myself.  Yes, I know God loves me and wants the best for me.

Ugh. Fine, God. I surrender. I will sit and wait for You. And even though I’m not happy about it right now, I know that you’ll make it alright with me. Whether you pick me for the jury or tell me to go home, it will be your decision, and it will be alright with me.

 

 

Doing the Hard Thing

 

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This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

~Hebrews 4:15-16 (New Living Translation)

 

So, last week we had a day off of work to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My children’s daycare was closed, as was my office, so I was tasked with trying to figure out what to do with my children all day long.

As I sat trying to put a plan together on Sunday night (I always have to have a plan with these little ones), I found myself at a crossroads. My best self wanted to plan a MLK Day activity for them: read a Civil Rights-themed book (We March), talk about the importance of Dr. King’s work, and maybe finish up with a craft—Dr. King coloring sheets perhaps.

My tired-mommy self wanted to just find some age-appropriate kid movie on Netflix and not have to figure out a creative and gentle way to tell my kids that they will encounter people who hate them simply because of how they look.  And then make them take a nap that stretched long into the afternoon.

It was a day off. I was tired. I wanted and needed a break. I had a jam-packed week ahead, even though it was only four days long. I work hard. I deserve a break, I told myself. And then I felt that gentle tug at my heart that I was trying so desperately to ignore. I knew the right thing to do. It was the hard thing, but it was the right thing. With a small sigh of resignation and a quick prayer for energy and strength, I propped myself up on the sofa, cracked open my MacBook and started combing through Pinterest pages, looking for a meaningful, but manageable MLK craft project for my kids.

I think that this principle also applies to living life on Jesus’ terms. So often, being our best selves, being the person the Lord has called us to be, requires us to do the hard thing. It requires us to apologize, when our pride wants us to sit silent.  It forces us to look at the not-so-pretty parts of ourselves so that we can let God fix us up. This principle requires us to stop and consider others, when it’s easier to busily brush past someone else’s needs to get to the next thing on our to-do list. Sometimes, it even requires us to stand up for ourselves, when it would just be easier to let our legitimate needs go unnoticed.

The thing is, though, we don’t have to do that hard thing alone. The Lord offers us help. He invites us to give the hard stuff to him. He has promised to shoulder our burdens, to help us do the hard thing. We need only to acknowledge that we can’t do the hard thing alone, in our own strength, and pray and earnestly ask for his help in doing what we know is right, even when it’s hard to do. With God’s help, we can do the hard thing, the right thing, and live each day knowing that our life and efforts are pleasing to our Heavenly Father–a really good thing.

That One Time at Ellis Island

 

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 

~Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

In the movie Hitch, (which is apparently my favorite rom-com ever because I keep finding random ways to analogize it to my life), Will Smith’s character Alex “Hitch” Hitchins takes Eva Mendes’ character, Sara Melas, on a first date, which includes a trip to Ellis Island. Hitch eventually ends up showing Sara the signature of her distant relative, and she becomes highly emotional and starts into a weird, panicked crying spasm of sorts. It was a strange, albeit funny, reaction to Hitch’s plan. And for the perfect comedic punchline effect, as Sara runs away in a fit of semi-hysteria, Hitch remarks, “I saw that going differently in my head.”

And that phrase is the perfect response to my life in its present condition. My personal and professional worlds have been simultaneously colliding and unraveling in front of my very eyes. Or at least, it feels that way. I am not as sharp as I once was, as an attorney, and I am not sure why. At home, I am out of place and out of sorts, with no clear path back to normal. The funny thing is, the more effort and energy I exert in trying to keep these planets of my life in orbit, the more they seem to want to crash and fall. I am in my 30s, a wife, a mother, an attorney. I have checked off all of the boxes that I wanted to have checked by this time in my life, and yet I am faced with the undeniable feeling that nothing is as it should be. Just like Hitch, I saw this going differently in my head.

So what do I do now? What do I do now that I find the vision of my life and what I thought I wanted lying at my feet? I pray, that’s what I do. Because in spite of all of the confusion around me, I know that the Lord promised to give me guidance if I acknowledged Him. He also instructed me not to rely on my own understanding of things. Not to worry God, because I can’t tell my up from my down right now, so no need to pretend like I understand anything about my life right at this moment.

And yet, I have an inkling, a feeling that God has me right where He wants me: confused, unsure, and ready to rely totally on Him. There’s a lesson to be learned here, and I want to grasp it, in part, so that I hopefully don’t have to come back to this place. But I also want to learn this lesson because I believe that the Lord is really trying to show me something. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but I sit with open ears and an open heart. And I believe that He will direct me. He will show me which way to go. I know the Lord will reach me to guide and give me direction–even if He has to go to Ellis Island.

Doing What Needs to Be Done

 

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For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  ~Isaiah 9:6 NLT

 

Ugh, I just need to write something down. I totally just need to take the time to write down my thoughts. But what am I going to say? And actually, when do I actually have time to write down anything besides a grocery list? Or a to do list? Which reminds me, did I add bananas to the grocery list? I mean, I should be able to remember them, we get them every week. But I should put it on the list just in case. And speaking of lists, I really need to redo mine. I don’t think the multiple to do lists are working. Or maybe I should make printed to do lists with graphics and highlights and pretty colors so I’ll be more attentive to the lists. Oh, and I need to add the kids’ dentist appointments to the list because I have to check and make sure our new dental insurance is accepted at the old dentist place. Which reminds me, have I finished doing all of the Christmas shopping for the kids? I gotta remember to check the budget. How far off are we on our spending, I mean, cause I know we’re off. Hopefully it’s not by too much though. I totally have been meaning to check our mint.com account. I think something funky is going on with the bank accounts it’s connected to. For some reason, there are duplicate accounts showing up, and I can’t figure out why. This is totally hindering my plans for budgeting because I need Mint to track my spending. I do so good at the beginning of the month, but then fall off with keeping up with everything. Keeping up, man I totally felt like I could not keep up in spin class the other day…wait, I have spin tomorrow. Ugh, I have spin tomorrow. (Expletive.) If I could just stop eating a whole bag of Annie’s Bunnies in one sitting, maybe I wouldn’t need spin class so much. 5:45 is just so early. But I need to be getting up early anyway. It’s better for me. On my off  gym days I really need to get up early to have some devotional time. When was the last time I had devotional time? Maybe early isn’t really my thing. I should probably do quiet time at lunch time instead. But then I’d have to leave the office. Oh shoot, I forgot to call my client back. And I need to order that subpoena. I have to get that subpoena out, that court date is coming up. I need to add that to my work to do list.

This is my brain. It’s not even my brain on drugs. It’s just my brain. And I know I’m not the only one. This time of year, and every other month if I’m being completely honest, sends my head swirling. But I’m grateful that I know the Prince of Peace who reminds me to stop and breathe and remember my reason for being: Him. And because I was reminded today, I remind you. During the hectic rush up to the holidays while we’re rushing to complete work projects, last minute shopping, or late night baking or cooking, take a minute to stop, breathe, and remember Jesus. It’s so centering. I should really try to do it more often. Maybe I’ll put it on my to do list…

Pompoms Revisited

 

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As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

~Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

 

The thing is, I’ve never really liked cheerleaders. Maybe it was my all-girls-school upbringing where we were always encouraged to play the sport, rather than cheer on other, presumably male, athletes. Or maybe I just took one too many Women’s Studies classes in undergrad. Either way, I’ve never really been wild about the clapping, dancing, waving, pom-pom-wielding folks on the sidelines.

Until recently. The past couple of months have been fairly trying for me. I have been adjusting to a new work environment, learning a new area of law, and just not feeling so great about my ability to pull off the daily balancing act of being a working woman, a wife, mother and general co-manager of my household. On one particular day, I called my mother and was just in tears about one particular struggle I was having. After a brief “Mom?” to ensure it was her, I proceeded to unload all my heart’s trouble on her– brave, brave soul. After listening to an earful of my sobs and slobberings, my mother took a deep breath, and dived into the morass of my life.

With the skill of a trained therapist, my mother began to methodically ask questions, brainstorm, and make suggestions. She walked me through each possible solution step by step. She listened to my feedback, and gave additional suggestions and feedback of her own. She repeatedly told me that I was capable, that I could tackle this problem, that I could do it. By the end of the conversation, I had a plan and my confidence was restored. I felt so much better. (Thanks mom).

The other day, I was talking to one of my best friends about another challenge that seemed fairly insurmountable at the time. (I promise y’all, I have happy days and am usually fairly pleasant in my disposition!) She suggested prayer and fasting and said she would join along with me in doing so. Walking with me step by step.

There is so much value in having someone’s back. I wouldn’t know what to do if there weren’t people in my life who had mine. So often we all put on this tough exterior for the outside world. We put on this face that says we’re unflappable, unbothered, and tough as nails, and can get the job done. And there is certainly a place for that, I think. But there are definitely times when I’ve appreciated my cheerleaders, whether it’s been my husband, my mom or my best friends, who have come alongside and gave a rallying cry and encouraged me to keep it moving.

So, as it turns out, there is value in cheerleading. Who knew? Sending an encouraging text, a thoughtful email, or just a poignant conversation can help someone along the way. And why else are we here, if not to help each other?  Who have you done splits and a backflip for recently? Next time you think about it, or someone comes to mind, take a minute to mentally, (emphasis on mentally) put on your short little skirt and mid drift top and do back flips for someone. Tell your spouse they can achieve the goal they’ve set. Talk to your friends and make sure they’re not discouraged about whatever endeavor they’re participating in. Walk with a friend through their issues step by step. Tell them they can do it. Rah, rah, sis boom bah, and all that. It makes a world of a difference. 2,4, 6, 8, whom do we appreciate? (And I can’t believe I’m saying this): cheerleaders.