The Joy of Loveliness

Today was a test. And by that I mean I almost put the kids up for sale on the black market – lost my patience.

Ahem.

For some reason unbeknownst to me (and to my abhorrent dismay) my sweet, beautiful, dainty princesses are obsessed with poop. Their own poop, that is. Smearing their own poop all over their bedroom, if you want to get really specific. The first time it’s kind of horrifically amazing, like a train crashing into a nitroglycerin plant, and you’re almost too shocked to have an emotional response to it.  The second time it’s “Oh no, not again!” but you cringe and get through it with your sanity mostly unscathed. By the 637th time, however, it’s just daring you to have a mental breakdown which leaves you rocking back and forth on your knees, wide eyed, and mumbling something about the poop coming for you. Or so I hear. 

We’ve gotten to the point where I hold my breath every time I open their bedroom door and pray that I’ve been spared. So you see today must have been a test, because when I went to retrieve my angel babies from their nap I let my guard down and was slammed in the face with the overpowering smell of yesterday’s-dinner-gone-wrong. Looberry, covered in her own essence of putrid, shrugged and headed to the bathroom calling her sister behind her, “Come on, sissy, in the tub!”

It must have been a test.

Now I have just returned from my children’s room where I separated two far-too-awake-for-this-time-of-night toddlers for the umpteenth time; “Stop kicking your sister” and “Leave her blankets alone” were reiterated – again – as I closed the door behind me. I sighed as I languidly made my way down the stairs and back to the kitchen where the glass of wine I poured an hour ago sits untouched; condensation has now enveloped the glass so the contents are most likely room temperature at best. This night certainly hasn’t gone the way I had hoped. I had planned to nurse my treat beneath a sunset sky and watch as the stars awoke from their slumber while being enveloped in the peaceful melody of worship music. Now I’m considering ditching the glass in favor of the bottle. (I’m kidding… kind of.)

I’m tempted to say that I don’t know how I made it through the day, but I do.

You see, life is better when done together. Jesus, though he loved everyone equally as deeply, chose certain men to surround himself with – to do life with. When He would send the masses away for a time He would retain their company; save a few poignant moments when He sought to be alone with His (our) Father.

The fellowship of cherished friends is the sweet nectar of life. They are usually not easy to find and, if they are true, they are nearly impossible to lose  – no matter how hard you might try.

They let you cry about poop stained walls and potty training failures, they share with you their own child-rearing disaster moments, and remind you that this too shall pass.

I have a group of such friends; my Lovelies. So aptly named – for they are lovely. A precious collection of women with the most beautiful souls I have ever seen; a cherished group that I hold tightly to my heart.

Originally we were pulled together by our favorite Kingdom Mama to help with her project that our Father gave her;  we sought to provide feedback and that sort of thing. But, as my dear sister Renee at Mi Quierda Familia so perfectly said, we fell in love with these women who would become our sisters. So when Sarah’s book, 31 Days to Lovelywas printed and pressed, she changed the name of the group to a concept we had all become deeply attached to; Lovely.

If our group had a motto it would, I think, be a line pulled straight from the introduction of the book that started it all;

“We are not the bitter ones; we are not the world-worn gossips. We know who we are, and we know that no weapon formed against us will prosper unless we let it. We are daughters of the King of Kings. We are loving, we are loved, we are lovely.”

They are most of my best friends, and I love that we will be sisters from now until eternity, but better than that is that we are all those things with a purpose.

Within the warm walls of this group there is more than encouragement for our respective mothering/womanly hearts. We laugh together, drink wine together, and sometimes cry together, but above all we walk together. Hands clasped tightly we choose to follow in our Savior’s footsteps and walk through this world with our eyes fixed on living the way He has asked us to.

“Whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise” these are the things we dwell on and seek to emulate. This ground is where we choose to set our feet.

My only complaint about this group is the location; I hate that we are all separated by hundreds to thousands of miles. I lean on these women for support, encouragement, and love – sometimes tough love, but love just the same, and I love so many things about them. I love that they are passionate about serving Yahweh through their own callings. Tiff from Still Seeking Sanity is passionate about her missions kids in Kenya, Sarah is passionate about writing for HIS glory, Renee is passionate about her role in the Mary Kay business and being a voice of truthful love to her friends and family. Ellyn from Profoundly Seth is passionate about her beautiful kids and being an advocate for the deaf community. Cindy from The Picket List is passionate about making deliberate decisions in life to better serve our LORD. Sarah, Christi, and Beth are passionate about diving deeper into our Hebraic roots and helping the rest of us discover who the bible says we are. Danielle is passionate about upholding the sacred view of life and mothering her sweet children. Every member of the group brings something unique and precious. They inspire me to grow in Christ and not to accept complacency.

The existence of this group has been an invaluable blessing and gift, because in the moments when my clothes are covered in someone else’s poop, or my kids won’t sleep after the longest day in history – or when Satan tries to convince me that nothing about me is good enough – they’re there, holding my arms up in prayer, covering me with loveliness when I am too weak to find the strength on my own. They help me hold on to my joy.

(Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, for love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8)

If you don’t have a group of friends like this pray that the Lord would lead you to them, and once you find them don’t ever let them go. Few things in this world are so great a treasure.

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. – Proverbs 27:17

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