When a Friend Thinks Poorly of You

Friends breathe life into my soul, just as I'm sure they do yours. But like romantic relationships, true friendships sometimes have growing pains. There will be moments when there is conflict and we need to figure out what to do in the midst of it, right? How to grow deeper as friends through it, rather than allowing it to break the closeness.

This week, a friend accused me of something that made my heart incredibly heavy. I didn't see it coming and didn't understand how she thought that of me. I literally felt sick all day and went to bed early with a migraine.

My thoughts and prayers swirled through the afternoon and evening hours as I went to first God, and then my husband and dearest friends, placing this person's accusation at their feet to examine.

"Here's the evidence, look at it. Sift through it, dig deeply," I told them. "Did I do this? Am I doing this?"

I asked the Lord and my friends who know me best to share honestly with me so I could grow and ask forgiveness if indeed this thing I was being accused of was true. Because if so, I had some serious heart-searching to do. What I was being accused of was not the type of person I want to be.

I called my best friend to tearfully vent and toward the end of our phone conversation, she said something like this:

"You need to stop and seriously ask God to show you the insides of your heart. Lean into it, even if it's hard and yucky. Who are you at the core, really? Ask Him in a way that You're able to hear His voice. Take time in silence with the Lord and go through everything in your mind like you're unpacking a suitcase...taking items out, one by one."

She finished by saying, "Let Him show you if there is sin here."

Gosh, what wise advice. I just love having friends that are deeper and wiser than I.

I am still devastated. And truthfully, I am really embarrassed that someone would think this thing of me. But I don't believe I did what she has said. I don't pretend to be anyone I'm not. I don't even think I did that very often in high school, let alone now. I'm ok with me. Not that I don't need to grow in areas, of course. We all need to grow, right?

I woke up this morning though, still with a nauseous stomach and a pounding head and prayed that the Lord would release it. I need to be ok with the opinion of other people, even if I don't agree with it.

This person wasn't spewing venom, she was speaking out of her own hurt.

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She was wanting to get to the root of things, too. I still do not believe in my heart of hearts that I did what she believes I have...but that's ok.

I cannot own her feelings, I can only own mine.

How have you worked through a similar situation of hurt with a friend? Did it allow you to get bitter or better??

Take Joy,

Teresa

July (Free Printable) Calendar + Fun Summertime Ideas!

Our kids don't often say "I'm bored!"...but when they do, we often head to Pinterest and pick something fun to get us out of a slump. Whether it's activities with fidget spinners (I still don't get the draw of those things), games with water balloons, or fun and goofy science experiments, there's enough fun stuff in here for every day of summer!

As your kids scroll through these ideas, brainstorm what neighbors and friends you could invite over to take part in the fun!

Maybe you and your kids could even write up a list of children from your neighborhood to invite in so your kids begin understanding how simple it can be to live a life of hospitality. As you print out this month's calendar, write those names into various days, inviting them to take part in these fun and goofy activities.

Not only will no one be bored...you'll be showing your family how to live with an open door!

Note: Head to The Library to download and print out the calendar! The password is at the top of all my emails I send out!

If you don't already follow me on Pinterest, do it here!

Fun Summertime Ideas

(list approved by my kids!)

. . Click here for the board Summertime Fun . .

Do you have any favorite summer activities? Tell us about them below in the comments (or link it)!

 

Take Joy,

Teresa

The Impact of voicing "I'm a Good Mom"

A few days ago, I scrolled past a dear friend's post on Instagram. Her words stopped me because I needed to hear them. I thought perhaps you needed to hear them, too.


I am a great mom. (You must continue reading to see that is not a conceited sentence!)

Last week I was out with a few of my girlfriends and we started talking about parenting, being a mom, and how hard it is. One of my girlfriends then said she sucks at being a mom. Over and over in her head, she hears herself say she is inadequate and not doing a good job. Around the table we all chimed in agreement,

“ Ya, I hear you. I suck at being a mom sometimes too.” .

I even said it. I said, “Yes, I often fall mega short at being a good mom.”

WHY? Why did I say that? That is not true. I do not believe that in my core. I immediately felt my heart tug at me. Why did you say that? You know you are a great mom. You pour your heart and sweat into that
job.

Did I want to make her feel better? Did I want to conform to the group? Yes!

You know what, though?

That friend is an excellent mom.

And so was every girl sitting at that table.

We all love deeply our children and our husbands. We fight for our kids. We delay gratification in hopes to build little human beings that are not entitled. We set boundaries. We protect. We play. And we love.

I have had it with this idea of self-deprecation and false humility. There are no perfect mothers. We will make mistakes every day. But as long as we show up, work hard, and love hard, we are doing a dang great job.

So to my girlfriends around the table that evening - I apologize for being anything less than the powerful spirit inside of me. We are fabulous moms and we are going to bask in that sunshine. (written and posted by Abigail Irene Fisher)


As I sat on the couch, taking a few minutes for myself as the kids played outside, I read through my friend Abigail's post again. I remembered how a few weeks prior, I had taken an eight-hour mountain biking workshop here in Colorado.

Toward the end of the day, I was tired and overwhelmed. We were going down a hill that was mega-outside my comfort zone. It was steep, there were rocks in the way of where I wanted my tires to go, and the loose dirt and gravel taunted me with it's instability. When it was my turn and I rode my bike gingerly down, I froze and nearly fell. My coach asked me to go back up and start again.

Over and over, I tried, but I couldn't get over how hard and out of my comfort zone it put me.

It seemed dangerous and I pictured myself plummeting down the mountainside, bloody and injured.

The other girls were patiently waiting for me at the bottom, cheering me on. "They'd done it," I thought frustrated. "Why can't I?!"

As my sweet coach walked up to where I stood with my bike, one foot on a pedal, the other on the dusty ground, she said something profound. Not just something that got me down the hillside, but something that has stayed with me and I recite back to myself all the time in my day-to-day life:

"Look to victory."

"If your eyes are on the rocks and hard places, that's where you'll end up. And we both know the rubble and rocky ground is not your target. Look instead to where you want to be, look at your destination." 

"Where your eyes look directs where you go"

"Look to victory!", she said again. "Look where you want to go and guess what...that's where you'll position yourself to be. You CAN do this...don't allow yourself to dwell on the crags and rocks. Look at the place you want your tires to roll over and that's where they'll roll."

And guess what? I did it. I forced my eyes away from the scary places that would take me from achieving my goal, and recited "look to victory!!" under my breath the whole way, as I hurried down the steep decent I thought I could never successfully make.

I think about this now as a mom. As a writer and creative. I have massive insecurities and fears I have to shove away a million times every day. But I'm learning to look to victory and set my sights on where I want to be instead.

If we allow ourselves to listen to the lie that we suck as moms, or are horrible in our careers, or will never be a good enough Christian or wife or friend...that's where we'll end up.

Look to victory, friends. Set your eyes on Christ and don't let lies of inadequacy and weakness dictate where you steer your day. And remember...

Look where you want to go and guess what...that's where you'll position yourself to be.

Take Joy,

Teresa

How to Start Your Own Prayer Group (6 tips)

Ok ok, so starting a prayer group isn't that hard. Have people over. Pray. Done-and-done.

Right? Wrong.

There are a lot of preconceived notions surrounding a group of ladies coming together to pray.

1. It sounds like a snooze-fest.

It's ok...I know you're thinking it, so we may as well get it out into the open. Let's talk about that elephant in the room. You think praying for hours on end sounds boring.

I often fall asleep after praying for five minutes at bedtime! How on EARTH am I going to pray for an hour or two (or in our group's case...five or six)?!

It's ok to be nervous, and even maybe a little intimidated or insecure about the idea. But get over it. If you like to talk (and if you're a woman, you probably do!) then keep reading and you'll see how talking and sharing is a big portion of praying (aside from the obvious talking to God part).

I promise.

2. Who would I invite?

When my friend Jamie and I first begun talking about starting a group, we came together with a list of names.

We knew we wanted to keep the group small. Intimate. We wanted a core group of women who loved Jesus fiercely. Were these our best friends? No. In fact, some of the ladies were only acquaintances, women we knew by reputation more than anything.

What was their reputation?

Jamie and I knew each woman on our lists to be bold women who lived in expectation that Jesus would move. Many had been through junk and hard-things and came out shimmering.

They're the ladies who talk about God in normal every-day conversation with whomever, simply because He's so important in their lives that they can't help but talk about Him.

The funny thing is that because Jamie and I sat down separately, but with the same deep petition to Christ...He answered very clearly. Our lists were very similar. I tacked a few names on that she didn't know...she added a few whom I didn't yet know.

And then we sent invitations.

NOTE: I'm not saying these are the only INCREDIBLE, Jesus loving friends we know. Our lists could have been much, much longer. But because we asked God to put the group together and to give us names HE wanted on it, He made it very clear what six women (plus Jamie and I) He wanted to form a group with.

3. What did the invitations say?

Since even godly women sometimes get freaked out about praying as as group (especially since it's a group of randoms...we didn't all know one another!), we wanted to share our hearts and purpose.

I can't find the actual invitation but it said something like this:

We've been so busy living life that somehow community was left behind. You too? We are desperate for Pause and for Prayer. Not rushed time with the Lord, but on our face time with Him. We know you to be a woman who is desperate for Him, as well. Your relationship with Christ is captivating and we want to be like you. Maybe you want to be a little like us, too.
We are inviting you to be part of an intimate group of women who love Jesus passionately. Fervently. And who want to grow deeply. Want to meet over dinner once a month and just pray your guts out with us?

And guess what. They were in. Not only were they interested, but each of them was praying for this very thing!!

4. How DO you pray for that long?

Though praying for hours and hours sounds daunting, intimidating, and well...kind of exhausting, it's totally not. Before you think that we're all sitting cross-legged in a circle, eyes closed, and heads bowed for what feels like centuries, here's the reality:

There's a lot of laughing. And often crying.

Each of us goes around and shares what's going on in life. Sometimes it's day-to-day kid struggles or job stuff. But we've also gone through cancer, divorce, job loss, miscarriages, relationship devastation, and tons more.

One woman will talk and share what's going on in life, highlighting specific prayers she'd love to have...then one (or more) of us will stop and pray for her. Once the prayer is done, the next girl begins sharing. Uninterrupted.

Questions are fine, but the other ladies are not allowed to chime in and give their experiences, etc. This is not social hour. Not that this is an actual rule...it's just an unspoken and assumed one.

6. Where do you gather?

Sometimes we're inside at the dining table or lounging on the couches in the family room. Other times, on beautifully warm evenings, we'll head outdoors. Sometimes we'll have dinner, other times just snacks, dessert, or wine.

It's not so much what we serve...

but what we bring to the table in the way of conversation, honesty, and an open heart for God to do big things.

This photo above and text below is from just after my girls left for the night (May 2016) and I was starting the dishwasher and turning off lights:

See this living room right here? God anointed it tonight...if it wasn't anointed already. #petraprayergroup met here this evening for 4 hours. That's right, we prayed for four hours.

We shared life and bread and wine and prayed over one another.

We have cancer. We have marital issues.

We have work issues and kid issues.

We have friends and family who are struggling.

We have praises and joys and miracles and answered prayers.

We have all this because HE LOVES US and is actively part of our lives. Our God is not one who watches from afar. He does not let us flounder on our own. No. He walks with us. He carries us.

And ohhhhhhh I'm so thankful it's this kind of God that we serve.

Lord, thank you so much for this amazing group of women who want so desperately to put You first, love You wholeheartedly, and be the women You've created us to be. 💛💕

5. I can just pray on my own. What's the point?

The point is that we don't live life alone but in community. The point is to remember Matthew 18:20.

When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action.
And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.
— Matt 18:20 . The Message

It's been several years now that we've been met once a month to pray over each other. But few short months after we began, I posted a photo on Instagram. Beneath it, I wrote these words:

Just finished our Prayer Group. As my sweet friend closed us in the most beautiful time before the Throne, I felt God whispering..."These girls. They're your Rock. They're your Peter. Trust them. Love them. They're Mine."

So thankful for reaching out to a bunch of Godly women I didn't know well...but wanted to know better. Ladies I knew love Jesus deeply.

I had no idea if they had a community of women they already embraced in prayer. And you know what?! They didn't either. So now we are. Two months in and HE is so very present.

And so we became Petra.

This is why I have called you Peter (rock): for on this rock I will build My church. The church will reign triumphant even at the gates of hell.
— Matt 16:18 . The Voice

This is what some of my Petra girls are saying...

"It's a place where I'm not too much or too little. Where I can be myself even before I've figured out who that is exactly ; ) in the bond of Christ." -- AnneMarie

"When I think of Petra, the first word that comes to mind is Lifeline." --Tamara

"I love this group so much! I just picture when Moses was holding his arms up to part the Red Sea. Remember when he got so tired and his brother Aaron and (who else -Joshua??) came behind him and held his arms up? That's what you girls are to me. When I'm fighting, clawing through life to hang on to God by my fingernails and navigating the hard of life, you girls hold me up." --Amy

Think you might start your own prayer group? What makes you want to...or NOT want to?

Take Joy,

Teresa