Friends, I have a beautiful guest post to share today. I had the opportunity to work alongside Stacy Hart in a Perinatal Services Unit and got to know her there. She’s a skilled and compassionate nurse, an invested conversationalist, and she has a peaceful conviction about her that really shows up in her words today. I smiled when I read them, because I’ve never felt anything but support and genuine interest from Stacy. She models the strengths of women well–strengths that sometimes are hidden by the heavy things that burden us. Her post today encourages us to lay down those heavy things and come out from our hiding places. I hope you enjoy it and are encouraged, as I certainly was!
Little girls with string tied between their beds. Hiding giggles in pillows as they pass notes, dolls, and sisterhood back and forth on their homemade contraption. Footsteps coming. Flop down fast, try to trick Daddy; make him believe dreams are the only thing awake in this room. He peeks in the door, sees eyes squeezed too tight, smiles playing at the corner of mouths, and hears the faintest attempt at fake snoring. He grins, closes the door, knowing this is more important than sleep.
It always will be.
This aching. This longing. This need–for each other.
Community. Connection. Sisterhood. Family.
Life is born and the first cries from a sweet new babe’s mouth beg for comfort, to be held close, to be wanted. Needed.
We are women. We were created for community. Designed to do life side by side.
But the world says no. Society screams stop. Experience teaches us to hold others at an arm’s length. View them as a threat. Assume the worst. Give no benefit of the doubt.
Then we turn on ourselves, and become more harsh than any critic would dream of being.
I must have it all together. Be the most successful. Be better than everyone–then I will know success. I must dress flawlessly. Emulate airbrushed lies in magazines. I must devour the right parenting books and produce children who never bite me or throw tantrums in store aisles. I must keep up appearances. Put my best foot forward. No matter what the cost. This is where happiness is found.
Eventually our world screeches to a stop. Life happens around us. And we believe all of its lies.
We know we will never be what SHE is. We will never be that good. That talented. That beautiful. That successful. That carefree. That skinny. That crafty. That funny. That desirable. That intelligent. That perfect.
Comparison is the poison that devastates community.
Does it really matter if you breast feed or use formula? Co-sleep or have separate rooms? Does making my own baby food make me a better person? Does slinging verbal abuse in the comments section of parenting articles mean I win? Does gossiping about the popular girls make you prettier? Does a brand name give me more worth? Does hurting someone else ever make me better? Happier?
No. No. Every time, no.
Defeat threatens. But hope prevails.
I have heard a whisper. Felt a stirring.
And I know that I am not the only one.
The rumbling is off in the distance but it is steadily growing louder, more powerful. I hear the voices, the hearts, the souls, of thousands of women who have decided to say…
Enough is enough.
Comparison will not steal my joy.
Comparison will not poison my sisterhood.
Comparison will not win.
Community is making a comeback.
Possibly one of the greatest and most important comebacks in all of history. Think I’m exaggerating? Think again.
When community thrives, when selflessness and a servant’s heart reign, selfishness dies.
When community is the goal, competition, comparison, and mommy wars lose their sting.
When community exists, lives change.
Where community lives, Love reigns.
Imagine this world.
Open your eyes.
The rumbling is all around us. Community coming back to life. In neighborhoods, in churches, in offices, in blogging communities, on social media: women are realizing we need each other.
Friendship rediscovered. True connection. Life to the full.
When you stop looking at someone, and their talents, and all of their beauty, and their allegedly Pinterest perfect life, as a threat, your eyes are opened to who they really are.
A woman. A wife. A mom. A heart and soul as weary, as exhausted and as lovely as you are.
This movement. This powerful force of women who challenge, encourage, and inspire me every single day. This wave that will change society forevermore. It starts small, nearly too small to notice at first.
It starts with weary moms at Target smiling at each other so we know we’re not alone.
It starts in book clubs, and spinning classes and yoga studios.
It starts when we stop looking at each other through the eyes of comparison.
It starts when a tragedy happens and thousands of women on Instagram reach out to a family experiencing unbelievable loss.
It starts when we ask real questions and have real conversations and discover how desperately our soul was longing for friendship kindred.
It starts when we call out the beauty and the talents and the extraordinary we see in women around us.
It starts when we believe that we are our very best when we do life together.
It starts when a new mom has meals delivered to her door and her toilets scrubbed.
It starts when we introduce ourselves at playgrounds instead of staring at our phones.
It starts when there is no fear of judgement…
In asking for help.
In revealing our weaknesses.
In being vulnerable.
In speaking of the uglier parts of life.
In asking forgiveness when we are wrong.
In dying to the disease of pride.
In asking women we love to journey with us.
In admitting we need each other.
It starts with you. It starts with me.
And it is so time.
We’ve got this.
Stacy is a wife, mother to three beautiful daughters, Labor and Delivery nurse, and in case you couldn’t tell, she’s passionate about the power of community and friendship among women.