Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. Mark 10:29-30 NASB
I was enjoying a warm day at the park with my boys recently, enjoying the cooler air when I saw it – the Circle of Moms. There they were huddled together, two with coffees and one with a newborn in an Ergo. I immediately felt a pang of insecurity. Though I am immensely grateful for my dear group of “mom friends” with children the same age as my own, few of them live nearby.
I always hoped and longed for a community of women I could call spur of the moment for a “playdate” for the kids that we would know really meant a time of “resuscitation” for the moms. Between having our kids close in age, moving, having several friends that moved away, and a pandemic that required social isolation, this “tribe” I hear everyone talking about has been difficult to find. Add on the fact that we are a family in ministry and things get far more complex (in case you missed it, it’s not necessarily popular to be a Christian in the larger Seattle area right now).
It reminded me of mid-March when Mark needed to be in Chicago for a few days. I decided to brave the neighborhood park with all three boys knowing that the two older ones would have a blast and the youngest would spend the whole time trying to elope. The park is nearly always empty of children, but on this day there were approximately 1,326 kids there with their moms. I told Tommy and Josh to stick together because I would inevitably be spending my time hunting Andrew (we dress him in red so he’s easier to track). In the throes of the chaos and the surplus of children, and the outdoor mask dilemma, I didn’t bother to really look when Josh said, “can we go play over there?” I glanced at the grassy area knowing it can get a bit muddy, gave him a distracted “sure”, and kept on the hot pursuit of Andrew. Andrew had of course also been eyeing the muddy area and quickly joined his brothers.
Before I knew it, Andrew had nearly been sucked into a deep mud pit of epic proportions- we both narrowly escaped with our lives. And then suddenly, I was the mom at the park with the whining 5-year-old that doesn’t want to leave, the thirsty 4-year-old that is upset I brought the “wrong” water bottle, and a raging mad 2-year-old that is covered head to toe in thick, wet, cold mud. Right when I was feeling like I might cry right then and there, I looked up and saw Susan and Sarah Carollo. Susan walked over to me, commented very sincerely that it looked like the kids were having a good time, said, “that’s what washing machines are for I guess”, and then invited us all over later to listen to Irish music. Suddenly it didn’t matter what a hot mess we all were because we had a friend at the park to laugh with (thank you, Susan!).
Fast forward a few months later and the boys and I were standing in the back of a Creekside service singing along with the worship team. It’s always a delicate balance with our boys in encouraging their enthusiasm for worship while tempering their impulsive need to play dino chase during the Doxology. In the middle of one song I looked over to see Josh grab Keith Ferrin’s hand as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I nearly cried because to Josh, it was in fact natural to grab a “Creekside Friend’s” hand.
This last Sunday Tommy ran eagerly up to me and said, “Mommy, if the big kids go down to their youth room, can I go?” My heart was full as I knew I could easily say yes to him. Because the “big kids” are also wonderful kids for mine to be around.
Where am I going with all this you wonder? Me too. I suppose it’s my way of processing that God doesn’t give us what we want. He gives us what we need. No, I don’t have a huge “tribe” of mom friends. I have something better. I have a Creekside Family.