We truly live life together. Each week when we sit around the dinner table we dive into each other's lives and talk about our day, our struggles, our praises, our work, our families...
This, in and of itself, is very special, but Josh and I frequently talk about one thing, specifically, that stands out about our group.
When one person is struggling with something nobody chimes in to express their opinions on the matter or to share their own experiences. Nobody acts like a know-it-all. They actually listen. They actually pray with the individual about the issue and, if asked, give advice, but only if it is truly relevant.
Let's say I've had a rough day with Zeke. He has been throwing tantrums all day! I've been with the kids all day and I just need to talk it out sometimes, you know? Nothing is worse than someone saying, "Oh man, when my third one did that we had to ___________", or "You know what worked for us?" Sometimes it's just nice to have a listening ear, unless you really are seeking answers. You don't need people telling you that they've been through the exact same thing, you just need people to pray with you through it.
Here's another example. Imagine being 2 months pregnant and you are super sick, all day, every day. You are having a really "sick" day and everyone is asking how you are feeling. You are honest enough to say that you don't feel so good and then the other ladies go into the stories of each of their pregnancies and how sick they were and they had to have been worse off than you are. "So, don't worry, it will be over soon."
See, I'm working on this myself.
So, often I want to interject my "knowledge" on an issue, which is hardly God-given most of the time, just to feel like I've "helped", when sometimes I just need to shut up and listen. To be quiet. To sympathise.
The other cool thing about our group is that, because of this, I am more prone to ask questions...A LOT of questions.
We have the youngest kids in the group. We have parents of kids all the way up to seniors in high school and the things they come to group heart-broken over are things I am not looking forward to, in the least, much less have experience with. You better believe I spend lots of time with these moms asking specific questions on how they handle situations like attitudes, cussing, sexuality, boyfriends/girlfriends, makeup, etc.
So today, just try listening. Believe me, I know it's hard, but it can be more encouraging than you realize! Because, nobody likes a know-it-all.