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Cliques are never cool…but we are to not give up loving

Did I grab your attention with that title? I thought I might. Okay, you usually get funny Frank stories, crafts, Isaac updates and our daily craziness–but today I was reminded of something…and then refreshed with something else–so I just had to share.

No matter how old you are, every now and again you find yourself reminded that people are people…girls are girls…and truly it’s impossible to love others and put others first completely without the power of the Holy Spirit. And while the Holy Spirit is always stronger–some times we just don’t listen…as it can be easier and faster to just listen to the flesh. Some times I get a bit lost in my mommy/home world–changing diapers, wiping noses, singing songs, carpooling to preschool…and of course (you know me) scurrying through aisle with crazy kids at Hobby Lobby (you all know that’s my second home). In between those moments, I have the privilege and joy of interacting with some of the dearest mommies and friends who the Lord has amazingly brought into my life to encourage, love and do life with. While it’d be safe to stay in my own world, I also love meeting new friends and some times the Lord seems to drop down a gem…a kindred spirit that you feel you’ve known forever and He seems to always provide these at perfect seasons…doesn’t He?!

I’m going to be vulnerable for a moment because I think there are probably other moms out there that feel the same way I do at times–so I want to encourage you with the same encouragement I have received today. I know no other way to say it except to just be vulnerable and say it. A few years ago, I found myself all of the sudden because of my oldest ones ages mingling with a group of moms here and there…and at first it seemed we had everything in common. They were believers…our parenting seemed similar…and when we did run into them–our kids played sweetly together. Something strange though seemed to happen in my heart every time I was around them–I always left feeling bad…or even what I might say sad. Honestly, I just didn’t feel like I “fit”. And really–I didn’t. Ever feel that way?

I thought maybe I was hormonal at first. I mean, I was pregnant half the time OR nursing OR maybe I was just insecure because I’m sure I can be that too as we all can in some area of our lives. I kept it to myself at first writing it off as hormones, but then just started voicing my heart to my hubby to have another to bounce my heart’s feelings off of. If you know me–I’m anything BUT “girly”. I mean—I love ballets and such…not that kind of girly because I’m definitely that…but girly as in “you are my BEST friend” girly or “do you want to be in our club” girly. I love all of the friends the Lord has brought my way–no matter if for a life time or a season. I am also a pretty vulnerable person (if you can’t tell!) so I share my heart often openly with dear friends and there was no exception to this new fun group of moms. I couldn’t put my finger on it–but something was off…and while I have lots of different groups of friends, I always felt something different or interesting or odd or even lonely inside me when I was around this group. As time past and I opened up more, things would even be said to just remind me that I wasn’t in the “club”. Some of you just might know a group like this OR maybe you feel on the outside when around a certain group OR maybe you are on the inside and don’t even know it. My mind really red-flagged one day when one of the moms asked me how I got to be friends with someone in the group, and finished the conversation reminding me of how special their group was. Was it the mob? Was there something I didn’t know? Really…it was just a clique or as Wikipedia would say: an exclusive group of people that share the same interests…and regardless if you have the same interests—um…I don’t think just just anyone is invited.

People will always be tempted to find their identity in other things than the Lord…like their social lives, their friendships, their clubs or cliques, their stuff…even believers who are trying to trust God to be enough for them…

As believers it will be confusing and especially hard when other sisters and brothers in Christ seem to make you feel this way…you know–when you leave feeling worse and can’t put your finger on it…when you’ve been around gossip or cattiness or feel like you need to keep up but just can’t…

While you will want to run from crowds like these–and even not like them (I remember a pastor once saying “We are called to love everyone but we don’t have to like everyone”…I always want to embrace that one–but that isn’t scripture I’m afraid. Running isn’t what we are called to do as believers (although that is my first choice and something that I instintively and must confess some times do…as in the moment I want to say like Jenny in Forest Gump, “Dear God, make me a bird…so I can fly far…far, far away from here…” BUT that only works for awhile…

YES we are called to encourage one another…to edify one another…to build one another up…to love one another…

BUT when that doesn’t happen…do you avoid? Do you continue to love no matter what? You’ll have these experiences in your kids schools, even at church…and even in your own family. This Christmas will be FILLED with joy, laughter, fun, singing, anticipation…but there also be moments where things are hard for you. Maybe someone in your family doesn’t understand you…or says hurtful things. Maybe a friend doesn’t include you in something…or you pass a mom at the store that seems to be kind but every so cleverly says something that feels more like a poke or cut and leaves you standing there scratching your head wondering what that was supposed to mean…or maybe it’s something so small that is said but something about it–because it happens so often makes you feel lonely or like you just don’t fit. Instead of going cross-eyed (please don’t let anyone see that one)…turn to wisdom when your flesh wants to run…and let your heart be filled…let these penetrate your heart and remind you of how to RESPOND…And if you aren’t sure if maybe you could unknowingly be on the other end–reflect on who is regularly in your home…at your parties…in your outreach groups…how welcoming you are of others coming into your “group” if you have one…do you regularly see new faces coming in and staying around…do you have to get clearance from the others in your group before including others randomly…or at least feel like you need to run it by others…or if you actually have a “name” for your group…

Read these verses of wisdom and truth and let these penetrate your heart as well…and remember above all else to love others…life is just too short and too sweet not to.

Romans 15:7 “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” (NASB)

1 Samuel 16:7b “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’ (NKJV)

Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (NKJV)

Psalm 118:8“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”

Proverbs 17:9 “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”

Proverbs 25:21-22 “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Luke 6:27-35 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Romans 12:9-10 “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 John 4:7-21 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Remember that HE is enough. He calls us to love no matter what. And while it may be wise to guard your heart and your family and not join the exclusive groups…never give up being kind and loving them…

Much love to you ALL…and I have a really fun announcement to make…a last minute Christmas happy that you need to know about:)



Anna - December 17, 2010 - 3:50 pm

Needed that today Andrea. Thank you.

Lara - December 17, 2010 - 4:00 pm

I am so far removed from clique-yness. In our community there is a bit of snobbery that goes around the farming community (i.e. wealthy landowner’s wives) I have a girlfriend who is a farmer’s wife like me and she tries so hard to keep up with all of them. I have this liberated feeling that they are all running a race I’m not. It’s so freeing to remove yourself from any of that!

Alison - December 17, 2010 - 4:25 pm

When we moved back to MS, I just had to separate myself from groups like this. I just didn’t want to be a part of it anymore…it is so freeing. I don’t even think about it anymore…praise God!

Bonnie Nieuwstraten - December 17, 2010 - 4:28 pm

This really speaks to my heart. The Lord has been reminding me this week that forgiveness and loving people who don’t love us can be tough, but then again, so was dying for all my sins. I let go of some things and have felt amazing freedom and joy. And…as afar as not fitting in….I was at my neighborhood Bunco the other night, and although everyone was nice, I didn’t fit in. I can’t join in with the chatter about what happened at the gym, or what new clothes I’d bought or what I’m doing to my house. I wanted to chat about adoption and my passion to return to Africa. Polite smiles all around…..

Have a blessed Christmas!

admin - December 17, 2010 - 4:32 pm

BUT are we to remove ourselves from them completely??? This is my instinct and what I want to do…but not what we are called to always do. RIGHT?

Alison - December 17, 2010 - 5:47 pm

Oh, heavens no…hope it didn’t sound like I don’t still love these girls. Some of them are still my closest friends. It was just too tempting for me to be involved and not get so caught up in “keeping up”…Unfortunately, I was probably, although not on purpose, in a lot of cliques in high school and college…I know God doesn’t want that for me anymore…He wants me to love others around me, no matter what!

Sandi H. - December 17, 2010 - 6:24 pm

We moved to an area where everyone goes to church every Sunday but this clique mentality is so prevalent. So many “let’s get together’s” & so few true friendships, it’s sad. I have learned that God wants us to be who he created us to be and to be kind to everyone. You never know how God is using you to change other’s hearts. I have adoption on the brain & I’m not afraid to say it or to talk about Wiphan. We’ve had a few joking comments about “drinking the Koolaid”. Yet those same folks have since donated to adoptive families & families in need when I send my e-mail blitz’s about a new cause/family that God puts on my heart. I truly believe that Jesus went straight to the folks who were perceived as “sinners” & if we are truly living in Christ, we will too. God bless!

Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - December 17, 2010 - 9:05 pm

This is an absolutely beautiful reminder. Thank you.

Bobi Bobbitt - December 17, 2010 - 9:55 pm

WOW, Andrea! (I know I always say that)… but God has certainly used you again to speak to my heart! I was JUST having this EXACT SAME conversation with my husband last night after leaving a party where many of the “elite” in our community were there. I just leave parties like that feeling like I just don’t fit it.. sometimes it is lonely and disheartening, but how amazing that God knew exactly what was on my heart and used YOU to speak to me! There is so much cliqueness in this small southern town I live in, it can be really hard sometimes feeling like an outsider… it is comforting knowing that I am not alone in my feelings on this!

Andrea - December 17, 2010 - 9:57 pm

I love, Alison, that you came back to chime in again:). Wish you lived closer sister–you are one precious momma. And thank you ladies for sharing your words of encouragement! Sandi H…hoping and praying for sweet connections and deep friendships in your new area!!!

Shannon - December 17, 2010 - 11:12 pm

Thank you, Andrea. Much comfort in knowing I’m not the only one.
Merry Christmas!