Often, we need our friends to say what we can’t see ourselves. In the #BeBoldGirl series, my new friend, Kristin Milner, shares how her bold friends had a huge impact in a difficult season.
As we drove from San Francisco to Huntsville, AL, we envisioned what the new church we were starting would be like. Would anyone come? What would they be like? Would they have kids? We had no idea what was in store for us.
As we drove, I also envisioned what my role would be. I planned to immediately begin meeting other moms, and when it came time, lead a weekday Bible study for moms at our house. I was excited about my new role. Studying scripture and encouraging other women is one of my favorite things. I was excited about the opportunity to do this as a pastor’s wife.
I never expected to not meet my expectations for myself. After arriving, one of our daughters had a difficult time adjusting to our cross-country move. We began the journey of getting her the extra help she needed. I made attempts to host Bible studies, but they were over-taken by our daughter’s nervous cries. My dreams of being a great Bible study leader began to fade. So did my confidence, and all thoughts that I could ever be a good pastor’s wife.
I was consumed with anxiety from parenting a very anxious, highly-emotional child. I immediately felt the weight of parenting a child who wasn’t thriving, and trying to keep up with our growing church. The exhaustion from balancing it all was too much. I no longer knew how to meet my own expectations of being a mom, wife or pastor’s wife. How was I going to meet everyone else’s?
We didn’t realize what was going on at the time. My husband and I had pictures in our minds of what we wanted for our kids’ childhood. It wasn’t going how we imagined. Was it the move? Was it a stage? Would she outgrow these emotions and behaviors?
Doctors finally gave us a diagnosis. With that came answers and more questions. What do we do now? What should we expect from here? How do we parent now? What should my involvement at the church look like?
For months, we resumed life at the same pace. Then finally, a friend called and had a difficult conversation with me. She gently reminded me that our daughter needs me more than most children this age. I was still holding on to my expectations for myself of an amazing pastor’s wife. With that, I wanted to be a seemingly great mom. My friend boldly explained that the best way I could do this was to go first in showing others the difficulties of parenting a child with special needs.
Parenting is hard. A lot of days are filled with both laughter and tears. I haven’t become a great pastor’s wife. Not even close. I’m still becoming what God wants from me. The last two years have been much better yet much harder than I ever envisioned on that drive from San Francisco. The friends who helped me through it all were the bold friends. The friends who stayed through all the tears. The friends who did whatever it took to provide help to me or our girls when we needed it. The friends who helped me on Sunday mornings. The friends who called on Monday mornings to check on me, support me, and have hard conversations with me.
Bold friends often go unseen. Their actions have huge impacts which are rarely known to them. They often don’t have large platforms. Their actions are meant to enable others and their words are spoken to encourage. The conversations they have are usually difficult and uncomfortable, but spoken in love. I moved here thinking I would teach and lead others. What I didn’t expect was for God to put bold friends in my life to teach and lead me.
Do you have a friend who boldly shares life with you?
Kristin is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a B.A. in Public Relations and a minor in Business. She has been married for nine years to her best friend and biggest fan, Tim. Together they have two beautiful girls: Sophia 5, and Selah 3.
Before motherhood, Kristin was a Mary Kay director and an aspiring business woman. Kristin now understands our value doesn’t come from the titles or careers we have and is a stay-at-home mom who seeks to give her children an ordinary, happy childhood. She loves running, reading, writing, being outdoors, and hiking with her family.