One of the themes I try to impress upon the students in my prenatal and fertility workshops is the importance of community. While we all are ultimately responsible for our own well being, we need not (and should not) go through life alone. Whether a partner, friend, or family member, we all have access to someone who can help us navigate unfamiliar and challenging territory and share the joys we encounter along the way.
While preparing a class on this very topic over the past week, I have had three serendipitous opportunities to connect with dear friends who have provided incredible support as my own path has taken numerous twists and turns. As I navigated the journey to becoming a mother, leaving my career, and leaping into the unknown, my formerly orderly, meticulously planned existence was rendered nearly unrecognizable. At times during this transition, I pulled inward - stepping back from book club commitments, Bible study groups, and countless social engagements. I cancelled plans on more than one occasion and made last-minute requests to change venues or times based on the babe's rhythms (or lack thereof) and my own exhaustion.
If I had been on the receiving end of such behavior, I may have given up on the friendship, but these ladies never let go of my hand. They continued to reach out with invitations no matter how many times I said no and were ultimately successful in motivating me to sign up for races, lectures, volunteer opportunities, and family road trips. They showed up at my workshops, asked how they could pray for me, and followed through - even as they weathered their own challenges. By meeting me where I was, these women inspired me to be a better friend and equipped me to reach out my own hand to others in need of support. And for that I am grateful.
We all have times when we need support - and times when we can be an encouragement. Where are you right now? Whose hand do you need to reach out for today?