Alongside

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“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” Unknown

I spent a few days coming alongside my lifelong friend who is now the radiant mother of three. She now mothers a gaggle of littles. After a decade plus of juggling both work and kids, she is pioneering a season of stay-at-home motherhood. It was a pure delight to gain insight into her tenderhearted, creative, and joyful 4yr old boy, as well as, her exuberant, captivating, resolute, 2yr old daughter. I was also afforded the gift of lulling her 8 week old infant to sleep in my cradled arms. Most brilliantly, I relished the ability to confirm exactly what I knew about my friend and wanted her to know about herself. She was stronger than she thought, more capable than she knew and perfectly suited for this beautifully, challenging, task of mothering the three specific littles God entrusted to her care. I was that same, doggy paddling, unsure of myself, yet more capable than I knew, momma of littles several years ago.

I began this new preschool year with a co-teacher who was uncertain of what to do and how it should be done in a classroom with our given age of children. She looked at me with grit while I flooded her with more info than she could soak in. Later in the work week as we were walking to our cars, she stated, “I’m going to have to lean on you quite a bit, at first, before I can be the efficient help you need.” I stopped, turned around, faced her and affirmed that she was going to do great. She would pick up faster than she anticipated and it would make complete sense once the days got underway. I reminded her that I don’t have it all figured out either and that I was wearing her shoes this same time last year.

Arriving on the scene for my first day functioning as Associate Teaching Director for our South Tulsa Community Bible Study, the Teaching Director made eye contact with me and bolted in my direction.

We had spoken on the phone the night before, sorting through the details of the day ahead, when our conversation concluded with her inquiring, “How did you spend your weekend?” I explained that I had invested the weekend with one of my dearest friends reminding her that she wasn’t only capable of the task God had given her, but that He had indeed equipped her with every tool she needed to successfully endure and complete the task placed within her care; even if she didn’t always feel like she could.

When my Teaching Director came face to face with me that next morning, she placed her hands on my shoulders, looked me deep into the eyes and said with an “I’ve been in your shoes before” tone, “Amber, you are more capable than you know. You have been equipped with every tool that you need. You can do this, even if you don’t always feel like you can.”

It’s important to surround ourselves with people who encourage us, who have been before us, and who see us in a different, encouraging and heroic view than we see ourselves. They will spur us to greater accomplishment and impact us so deeply that we will remember to extend a hand to the one behind us.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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