Monday, December 2, 2013

RELATIONSHIPS

I received a sweet little note recently and it concluded with, "I'm going to spend my lifetime trying to grow up to be just like you."

Oh my goodness, ya'll! I'm nowhere close to being worthy of this statement. I'm by far an example of who you should be. I try. Really hard. To be the best version of a woman, wife, mother and friend, but that doesn't mean I'm always successful. Rarely, if ever! I just may have chosen the bumpiest road to get where I am today.

But I've come to learn that you'll work way harder when you discover your worth to those around you. (That is, if you're surrounding yourself with the right people.) When you realize you are setting an example for your children. And lastly, immersing yourself in that thing that makes you come alive -- for me, it's being as close to Christ as humanly possible.

Up through my teens and twenties, I didn't really have a lot of positive female guidance and mentorship to grow and learn from. As many of you know, my mother passed away when I was very young, and I was somewhat left to find my way through the world all on my own. Click HERE to read more about that.

Most of the women in my immediate circles were not the best of characters, but they were convenient to spend time with, distance-wise. And they appreciated that I was readily available to them, too -- especially when I was post divorce and single. A problem arises when I think I am strong enough to stay completely true to who I am when I am surrounded by people who do not encourage the better version of me. When you're not living for Him, you will always be more tempted by distractions and coping mechanisms. And over those years, I witnessed these women lose their cool about the pettiest of situations, turn stone cold to those they called friends, or simply use people because they benefited in some way. As much as I hate feeling judgmental, it made me take a second look at the women in my life -- kind and charming on the outside, but dark and destructive on the inside.

More and more, God placed people in my life that made me reevaluate all my relationships. When you see someone show mercy and grace and kindness and patience, it stops you in your tracks. It's not the normal way of the world. These examples changed the trajectory of my life. Was I extending the kind of rare kindness, love, understanding, forgiveness and patience to the people in my life?

Many of my most cherish-able of friendships are long-distance. Life creates miles between people, but the heart is always near. And many of them share a similar trait, but one gal in particular is the kindest, most gracious woman I have ever known. Her once long-time boyfriend and I were neighbors many moons ago and that's how we met. She has a smile a mile wide and the sweetest accent. And I think it is she that changed the way I parent, in fact. With her, I witnessed someone so patient and loving with her kids. So calm during meltdowns and easily able to diffuse the situation; speaking kindly when she corrected her kids. I can't imagine how different my life would be if I hadn't met her.

Only you have the power to change the poor ways in which you treat people. Think about your own relationships for a moment. What word would describe how you relate and live and engage with those in your world?






4 comments:

  1. It's so important to surround yourself with good people that drive you to better yourself. This is so sweet!

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  2. I love this post. It gave me chills! I completely relate to your upbringing. I had many of the same friends. I too, cling to Christ as my example. I am humbled EVERY day but am so thankful for his mercies.

    Your an incredible witness to his love and are a beautiful woman inside and out! Thank you for posting this kind of heartfelt writing. I love your transparency and honesty. :)

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  3. Tiffany! This message...coming from you...well, it's means SO MUCH! I cherish your friendship, and your thoughts on various things really do matter to me. To hear that you sense a witness in me to the beauty of Christ and what his love has done for me, it floors me...completely melts me. I want nothing more than to be a reflection of just that. I give hope to others -- that no matter how dark you feel your life might be, there is a new morning in the arms of Jesus Christ.

    Love you, girl!

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  4. I really agree with this post. I have had to reevaluate relationships recently and it was an eye opening task. Your friend sounds really great :)

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I am incredibly grateful for your comment! I will respond as soon as possible. XOXO, Mandi

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