Last week, one of my friends posted on her Facebook status that she wished motherhood wasn't so isolating. She has three kids who are under the age of 6 and a teenager.
I've been pondering that post ever since. I never really thought about motherhood as isolating until I read that. I'm at a place in my career as a mother where I get out a lot. I chase my kids through three nights a week of practice, one day a week of Girl Scouts and guitar lessons and several games every weekend. I see lots of other parents.
But what I don't have a lot of time for is cups of coffee with a friend, a trip to the movies or lunch. Squeezing in time to meet with my accountability girls is difficult. It seems like we miss more often than we meet. Between working, blogging, speaking, writing and being a mom, those moments of refreshment with girlfriends are few and far between. There are weeks when I don't leave the house except to take a child somewhere or run the household errands.
I remember when my girls were little experiencing a different type of isolation. Having a toddler and an infant made getting out and about a challenge. Between competing naptimes and my own exhaustion there were a lot of days that it just wasn't worth it. Even though I was leading a Bible study, there would be months when it would seem like I never got to go because one child or the other was always sick. There were days that I would have given a lot of money just to be able to go out for an evening.
Here's the thing, though, God didn't create us to go on this parenthood journey alone. He didn't create us to walk through life alone. He created us to need one another. When we're feeling isolated, it's time to figure out a way to get out of our isolation, at least for a moment.
No one person in the Bible was more isolated than Paul. He spent a lot of years in prison, away from the churches he loved ministering to and the friends he had made. Yet, over and over again in his letters to the churches, he tells them how encouraged he is by hearing of their work. 2 Corinthians 7:4 says "I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds."
Despite his isolation, Paul was encouraged by the letters and emissaries sent by the churches. He loved hearing about their work. It kept him connected.
It's up to us to encourage one another. If you're in that stage of motherhood where you feel isolated, look for ways to stay connected with others, whether it's through the Internet, phone calls or even a once-a-month mom's group. Go to the trouble of planning an evening out every couple of months with some girlfriends. It takes a lot more work to stay connected when you have little ones at home than it does as they get older.
If you're in a place in your life where you have some extra hours in your day, encourage a mom who is feeling overwhelmed. Give them a few hours of your day. Watch her kids so she can go out with a friend. Send a note or pick up the phone and offer some encouragement.
Motherhood can be isolating, but we can break up that isolation by encouraging one another. That note or phone call to another mom can be the difference between a good day and a bad one. Take time today to follow the instructions of 1 Thessalonians 5:11: "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." Strip away some of the isolation of motherhood for another mom.