good friends are honey to the soul

Last night I sat with 11 girl friends catching up on our week. Talking about the week to come. We are a funny group – all so different.

There was me – mom of 5.

There was my sweet friend anxiously awaiting the arrival of her firstborn.

Moms with 1, 2, 3, & 4 kids.

Stay at home moms.

Moms with part time and full time jobs outside the home.

Adoptive moms.

Foster moms.

Moms who frequent fast food joints.

Moms who don’t eat gluten or processed sugar.

Homeschooling moms.

Private school moms.

Public school moms.

Breastfeeding moms.

Formula feeding moms.

Baby wearing moms.

Stroller pushing moms.

Just about every random thing that often sparks debate online and in other places. And yet, every Sunday night I get to sit with these sweet moms and quite frankly none of that fringe stuff matters. It doesn’t even come up. We are there to encourage, support and pray for each other – united by the common thread of Jesus. Despite all our differences, last night one thing was very evident – we are all so alike, we all understand feelings of trying our best and still feeling overwhelmed. Tired. Scrambling against to-do lists that grow faster than we can check items off.

These women, my friends, are incredible mothers. They love their husbands and children. They fight for the good of their families. They understand balance and priorities. They give all they’ve got and more. And yet, like me, they can easily feel overcome by all that is required of them. While we didn’t come to any great conclusions on how to manage all all our stuff, it was so good for me to be in that room. To be with them. To be reminded that I am not alone when I feel like there is more on my plate than I can possibly accomplish well.

Good friends are hard to come by. Friends that encourage and uplift are honey to the soul.

While our calendars will still be full this week and the demands won’t disappear….I am willing to bet there will be some sweet texts sent, surprise dinners dropped off, a favorite coffee delivered and numerous other seeds of kindness planted this week from one mom to another. Moms in the trenches of life committed to supporting each other. I love those girls.

And while we won’t be taking naps, we will be encouraging each other to be easy on ourselves, to sneak in on beautiful babies resting and to give thanks for the high calling of motherhood.

I share that today because I am sure there are many of you reading this that feel like me. That feel like my friends. Overwhelmed. Wondering how that other mom seems to get it all done. Wishing you could spend a day with that one mom that seems to juggle it all with grace while wearing stylish heels. I’ve never met that mom. I am willing to be she doesn’t exist. What I do know is there are so many women, with a million different ways of parenting and living, that are aiming at doing this thing called motherhood well. So whether you feel like you are drowning or in a phase of soaring – might I encourage you to drop off that coffee to a friend or double that dinner recipe and make a special delivery this week….I’ve never met someone who didn’t appreciate a little extra support & encouragement.

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  • Nicole - Just what I needed to hear! Sometimes only a Mum can understand.

  • Rebecca Alexis - This is just the loveliest of posts. What drew me in is how evident it is that you deeply care for these women. I love community…I always say food for the soul, but I think I like honey for the soul better. You can taste the sweetness when you say it. My husband is an episcopal priest & I remember, so distinctly, how I felt to be back at church after my mom died. I wept. It was the weeping that comes with the knowledge that you are safe to grieve and really feel surrounded by the love of your spiritual community as well. It is a gift. thanks so for sharing. xo

  • Liene - Great post. Well said\written. And so easily done, a special delivery! Have a great week!

  • Jodi Leonard - i just had a super long kid-centered weekend {which ones aren’t? HA!}, and spent part of the time beating myself up for not having everything under control. so this post just brought tears to my eyes. thanks for the reminder that i’m not alone! πŸ™‚

  • Dawn - Love this! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Nichole - As I take my kids off to school on this rainy day, I await a phone call concerning my husband’s transmission. I read my Bible, Pray, drink a little more coffee, and prepare for the big weekend cleanup. It is pouring outside, and I am wondering how much a transmission cost anyway….but God loves me! I am a stay at home mom with my RN who prays that I will seek God’s direction on what is best for our family. I am pretty sure it is not money and fancy sneakers :), but love, time, hugs…and A whole lot of Faith in His purpose.

  • Nanna - I just spent the weekend with a group if 30 women at our annual Women’s Retreat. The theme this year was “What is Your Legacy?” This is a diverse group of women also but are like one big family that can share, be in God’s presence and feel safe in His love. Your group sound similar.

  • seriously sassy mama - Well said. I gave up a long time ago thinking I had to do certain things to think I was that mom who got everything done. I mother well, because I have a partner in crime. My Mr. Kell helps me get things done and keep things in some form of order. Teamwork whether it is a friend, spouse, partner, parent etc is the only way to go. I think I know the perfect person to bring a cup of jo to today!

  • Ann Bennett - I love this post! JP & I have a couple’s small group but you’ve convinced me that I definitely need to get hooked up with a women’s group also. Thank for sharing! <3

  • Paula S. - I feel like I was just given permission to exhale. Or maybe I was given a virtual hug. Either way I give it right back to you! Thanks for sharing your heart. It sure is a beauty!

  • Kari - Thank you!

  • jenny - lovely, lovely post Ashley! πŸ™‚

  • Amy - Thank you for that sweet encouragement to encourage others. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in everything I need to do, that I forget about looking outside my immediate demands, and searching for ways to help others.

  • Molly - Such a great post and wonderful perspective!!! Thank you so much for sharing what I needed to hear:)

  • ranee - what a great post…and such a good encouragement to BE an encourager!

  • kiley - what a blessing it is to have a group of friends like this, i know. community is so good. it’s so easy to feel like we are alone in our struggles and busy lives. only wish that my friends and i had a regular meet-up to encourage and pray for one another! now that would be the icing on one very busy, crazy, overwhelmed, and blessed life, indeed!

  • Paige Rodriguez - This is probably one of my very favorite posts you’ve ever written. And I like all of your posts a LOT. But this one. I think I’m going to go read it again. Perfectly worded. Dead on! Thanks for articulating all of those thoughts that swirl in my head, constantly.

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - Thanks for your special delivery – a little boost of encouragement today. We moms are lucky to enjoy and struggle through this most important of jobs.

    P.S. Firecracker is adorable even when she sleeps! πŸ™‚

  • Moriah - So true! I couldn’t have said it better myself. We are all struggling with balance, no matter what is on our plate. Sending great thoughts your way today. I have never met you, but I am sure we would be friends. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the uplifting post!

  • Karen - So good to read and be reminded that we don’t all have it together all the time and we don’t have to feel bad about it. Sounds like a special group of woman you are surrounded by. What a blessing!

  • maggie - Friends are a true blessing~ and motherhood is a forever job, I find its harder with them getting older & wasn’t prepared for that. It is easier when they are little. πŸ™‚ keep doing exactly what you are doing. You soak in every minute in the most beautiful way & share it ~ hope someone brings you a coffee today πŸ™‚ (secretly wishing the same would happen to me) xo

  • Katie - Amen. Loved this.

  • Juli - You are extremely blessed to love & be loved like that.

  • kate - thank you… i, like you, needed to know i wasn’t alone. seed planted. thank you

  • Jen - Wow. You are speaking straight to my heart. Thanks for the encouragement. πŸ™‚

  • Lars Gwartney - Loved that post, Ash! Thank you for sharing.

  • Teresa - Such a lovely post. Thank you.

  • Amy @ Fig Milkshakes - Thanks, Ashley! Just simply: Thanks.

  • the inadvertent farmer - Thanks for the reminder, I just made bread and am taking time this afternoon to deliver to a friend that has a son with leukemia. It It was not on my schedule and some homeschooling will have to be pushed off till tomorrow. Friends are such a blessing to a woman’s heart, it is more important today than world history. When I ring her bell I’ll tell her “Ashley sent me!”

    On a different not, if you and your girlfriends ever want to make a VERY fun mini-vacation together you might want to check this out…the perfect outing for thrift/junk shop, repurposing, creative types! Its the Farm Chicks Antique Show! (I am not associated with this, just a big fan!) Kim

  • Tracie - I am a BIG supporter of other moms. If it works for you and your family, then DO IT! I may have questions to ask, but I will not judge you. I was judged plenty for not breastfeeding (totally wanted to, kids did not), working while my firstborn was a baby, deciding to stay home when my second was born, etc. I got really frustrated with always having to justify my decisions. I think if all moms supported one another, it would be amazing. I too, have a great group of women that I hang out with who also love Jesus. What a great commonality that binds us in fellowship!

  • Nancy - Amen, sista! Luv that you and your friends get together and just be. Friendships can hide back in the corner when the babies come. Good for you to not let that happen. We will bet better women and mothers because of the friends in our lives.

  • Emily - sing it. πŸ™‚

  • Jen - Very well put!I may have a very small tribe of good friends, but I treasure each of them – we are all in this motherhood gig together, right?!

  • heather - Great post. Blessings!

  • Devon - Well said Ashley, well said. Across the country women are penciling in reminders in their calendars of ways to care for dear friends. I am doing it right now in California πŸ™‚

  • Tami Parr - I just came across your blog last Sunday and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through your journey of adoption as well as everything else. You are so inspiring!!! This post today was just what I needed to read as a mother of three 5 years and under. Thank you.

  • Josephine - Wow. Totally needed to read this today. Thank you Ashely Ann.

  • amy jupin - sometimes i despise that “fringe” stuff.
    so many times it can cloud our judgments, make us forget how alike we all really are.
    we all try.
    we all fail.
    but we all keep going.

  • Colleen - LOVE all of this and you are sooo right on!

  • gale - Amen and amen!!

  • Jules - Wow! What a great thing. You have a great group to support each other. LOVE IT! You see the many good things in each other. You find ways to give love on days when someone just needs a little something. Your post was exactly what I needed today. I have a friend who is ‘honey to the soul’ & I’m going to let her know that!

  • Raimie Harrison - Dear Ashley,
    This sounds a lot like my MOPS group. We avoid the “touchy” subjects because we want to be motivated by more than food for debate and human opinion. We want to give love, be loved, share support and marvel at one-another’s wisdom. In a group like that is a great place to be. I was raised inside the circle of such a group – one that embraced my mother and therefore me and my siblings. At age 28, I still find those women to be some of the most precious and inspiring mentor-moms.

    Glad to be A MOPS Groupie

    P.S. Sent you a package today. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Amen! I love how God created us to nurture one another. Thank you, thank you for such an encouraging post!

  • Julia - Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this post. I needed this so much. Thank you!

  • McKenzie A. - Thank you so much for sharing! This is just what I needed to read.

  • Eva - Beautifully said! And it’s awesome that you have such a great group of ladies to encourage each other along this path of motherhood…our greatest calling!

  • meg duerksen - i am on my third snow day and my fifth day stuck in the house with my kids. i stink. i need sleep and i am climbing the walls desperate for a Target run with a latte in my hand. So i can PROMISE that i am not that mom this week for sure. or ever….even with out snow.
    you are so right about friends who lift you up. being in a group of women who care for you and your family is such gift.
    miss you girlie.

  • Kelly - We quite naively (since it’s our first) took on potty training this weekend. Oh me oh my. I don’t really remember the last time I felt so beat down and discouraged and exhausted! I have had some long distance mama friends lifting me up in prayer, gently sharing encouragement and being all around wonderful friends. It has made all the difference! Kelly

  • Jenna - Thanks for the encouragement Ashley! I needed this today! I read this post and cried! I want to be THAT friend that is encouraging and dropping of coffee (mom fuel) just because I care and love! Less of me and more of HIM!

  • Julie Jones - Thank you. Just thank you :).

  • Carly - Oh, how I feel what you are saying. Thank you. I’d love to find a group like yours…they sound like such a blessing.

  • Jenni Mammola - Ashley, I think this is the fourth or fifth time you’ve spoken directly to my feelings. I am so overwhelmed. I feel Ike a hamster on a wheel that will never stop. I do not have many mom friends, though, which is what I deeply desire and pray for. Thanks for sharing your insights, as always.

  • kelleyn - What a sweet post! So glad you have a wonderful group of woman you can hang out with and pray with!

  • Gabriela L. - I am the first of my friends to have a child, and what you are writting speaks directly to me. I must say that I let myself feel overwhelmed too many times, and thoughts of my shortcomings are a constant.
    You wrote once that Comparison is a thief of joy. And it is so true. It is never a good idea to compare yourself to other mothers, -specially your parents or grandparents, who are often idealized- because you don’t always know what actually happens to them.
    I strive to build a caring, nurturing and funny home for my little girl, and sometimes I would need one friend running the same race. I just only desire to be that friend to the first of my friends to have a child.

    You are so inspiring, thank you for sharing you family and your feelings with us.
    P.S: Firecracker is so very beautiful. She reminds me of my own daughter. The same pucker πŸ™‚

  • Barbara - Great timing on this post! Lately I’ve been completely overwhelmed and drowning!! Everyone at home has a cold, nobody sleeps, we are in the process of moving and I am pregnant! So your kind words really gave me a little hint of hope and the feeling of not being all alone out there! Thank you!!

  • amber - I think the Lord just used this little post to remind me of something I’ve been struggling for after a hard week. Thank you. Now, let’s see what I can do!

  • julieta - hi ashley!! thank you for this post!! itΒ΄s just what i needed to read!! thank you as always for your beautiful words!!

  • Alicia Millis - love this post. I agree, we are all different mamas doing our thing the best we know how, we need support from each other, not judgement. love that you have a group of girls that gets that.

  • Jenny - This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I have been having this thought that I need more friends who are ” like me”, when in reality all I need is to support and be supported. Thanks lady.

  • Ingrid - LOVE this post! I’m a Mumma and can sooo relate!

  • Alida - You should write a book. Really, it would be the best book ever. πŸ™‚

  • Whitney - Love this!