Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

“Is that the best you can do?” 

I overhead this question a few Sundays ago when I was passing by two men from our church on my way to the coffee bar.

“Is that the best you can do?” was part of an exchange that went like this:

Man 1: “How are you?”
Man 2: “OK.”
Man 1: “OK? Is that the best you can do?”
Man 2: “Today it is, yes.”

Indeed, “OK” was the best he could do that day. It was better than he could do some days. It was an honest answer. 

But it did not play by the unwritten rules of social interaction, which maintain that “fine” or, preferably, “good” or, ideally, “great” are the expected responses to the standard question, “How are you?” 

“Most people aren’t comfortable with a perceived problem (your feelings) until they feel like it’s close to being solved,” wrote Akilah S. Richards on Everyday Feminism.

Of course, we do not want to stay mired in despair. Of course, we don’t want to make a pit our permanent home. If we must be in a battle, we want to fight it and win. If we must be going through a struggle, we want to do just that: go through it and come out on the other side. 

But while we’re living in this messy world, there are some battles that don’t get won in ways that make anyone cheer. 

There are diseases that don’t get healed. 
There are broken relationships that don’t get repaired. 
There are losses that never stop hurting. 
There are wrongs that don’t get righted. 

This is part of the reality of life, but it is not the part that makes for good Sunday morning banter.

When we know someone in these realities, we may get used to their problem or tired of hearing about it. They’re doubtlessly tired of it, too, but they’re probably not used to it. 

And so, to my friends who are living (maybe as permanent residents) in seasons where some days “OK” is the best—or better than—you can do, I make this pledge . . . and hope with all my heart I keep it more than I break it.

When healing doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the sickness.

When joy doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the sorrow.

When provision doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the want.

When reconciliation doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the estrangement.

When answers don’t come, I will stay with you in the questioning.

When clarity doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the uncertainty.

And when morning doesn’t come, I will stay with you in the night, trusting that together in the darkness, we will fan hope’s flame.

You may also like:

It’s OK Not to be OK—But It’s Not OK to Stay There

God Meets Us In the Mess

Sometimes Church is Hard

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two daughters (one teen and one young adult) who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter.

Moving Away from Family and Friends Made Us Stronger

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Family photo of parents and three children, black-and-white

In the fall of 2021, my husband and I started exploring the idea of moving out of the Midwest. We had talked about moving for years, especially during the winter months, but we didn’t know where we wanted to move. I distinctly remember asking my husband one week what he wanted to do with the kids over the weekend, and that’s where it all started. We looked at job opportunities and decided to fly to Kentucky the next day and explore the area. After we visited Kentucky, we felt defeated. It didn’t feel right. We wanted it to work, but...

Keep Reading

If Someone Needs a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Three kids with backpacks, color photo

“If someone needs a friend, be a friend” it’s the running joke in our family. My husband will say the phrase to our four kids when discussing certain life situations in a lovingly mocking type way. They’ll all look at me and chuckle. I giggle a little myself at the corniness of it. But I always add, “It’s true.” It’s a phrase I’ve used more times than I can count. To teach them all to be includers—the kind of kids who look for the kid having a bad day and seek to brighten it, the kind of kids who stand...

Keep Reading

Let Them In: The Secret to Making Friendships That Last

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Friends sitting by water making hearts with hands

I was never one of those women with a throng of long-standing girlfriends. You know the ones I mean. The type who vacation together. Who have annual holiday traditions or progressive dinners. Who have been through most of life together because maybe they all grew up in the same town or went to high school in the same place. And no, this isn’t some cool girl narrative I’m winding my way toward because I always thought my lack of a decades-old, female friend group was some type of personal failing. I was envious of those groups. I watched them closely,...

Keep Reading

Dear Neighbors, I Don’t Want To Be In Charge of Your Kids Too

In: Friendship, Motherhood
toddler boy and girl draw with sidewalk chalk

I have three young kids, and, reader, I am tired. My youngest child is a toddler, and my life right now is basically following him around, making sure he doesn’t hurt himself. There’s no downtime. When I go outside with them, there are no moments when I’m sitting in a lawn chair, passively watching their play. I’m chasing the toddler down the street. Or I’m hunched over, climbing to the third level of the backyard playset because the toddler hasn’t learned how to go down the ladder yet. We live in a neighborhood with lots of kids, which is so...

Keep Reading

Being a New Mom Is Hard and It’s Okay To Say It Out Loud

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Mother by window with newborn baby

Years ago I had someone tell me how bad they felt for my generation of moms. “You’ve got too much information,” they said, “and it makes you worry too much.” I sat there mulling over that statement and feeling small. I did feel worried, but I couldn’t say what I really felt. I didn’t have the guts to talk about the root of it all. Sure, the information age is a difficult time to parent in, but that wasn’t my issue—the truth is I felt like I was drowning under the weight of expectations from the generations before me. I...

Keep Reading

Find Your People—It’s Worth It

In: Friendship, Living
Group of friends under tent, color photo

There are two things I know for certain about life: Part of it will be hard. So incredibly hard you won’t be sure about how you’ll make it through some days. You can’t survive it alone. I don’t think you’d want to try either. You need other people. RELATED: It’s Lonely Being the B-List Friend We’ve all heard about a “village.” I’m sincerely happy for you if you’ve found yours. But for others, it almost seems like a mythical idea. You might be a person who never really felt like you fit in or connected with a group. You might...

Keep Reading

Glimpses of What’s Ahead Help Guide Us in Motherhood

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Mom and kids hold hands silhouetted in field

As moms, it’s hard to imagine when our child reaches the next stage of life when you’re in the thick of one stage. When you’re changing diapers, it’s difficult to picture them getting on a school bus. Or when you’re chauffeuring them from one activity to another, it’s hard to imagine them driving themselves. Recently, two of my friends— both of whom have 16-year-olds—shared their experiences with me during their child’s milestone year. Their stories are remarkably different and made me pause, reflect, and envision what my family’s life may look like six short years from now. Sixteen is a...

Keep Reading

I Want Friends Who Grow Old with Me

In: Friendship, Living
Friends laughing

When I grow older, I want my friends to come with me. I want us to sit on porches sipping tea and watching the young walk by. I want us to scoot around on our scooters or on golf carts because none of us want to walk back home from the beach. I want us to sit in restaurants and order whatever we want because life has become too short and we know it, so cheesecake it is. RELATE: Life is Too Short for Fake Cheese and Fake Friends I want morning strolls together to get the willies out, and...

Keep Reading

Not Everyone Is Meant to Stay In Your Life Forever. . . And That’s Okay

In: Friendship, Living
black and white shot from behind of a woman

It’s so weird how someone can be in your life, every single day, and then one day not be there anymore. Whether it’s a friend, significant other, or family member. Maybe the relationship ended on good terms. Maybe it was an “I think our time together is done, I wish you the best” type of thing. Or maybe it was completely devastating. Regardless, it’s so strange that relationships can change so immensely and quickly. You may not be at a place of peace with it yet, and that’s okay. Sometimes the end of a relationship can literally be one of...

Keep Reading

Dear Moms, Keep Your Table Open

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Women smiling

The old Girl Scouts saying “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold” couldn’t ring truer than it does in mom friendships. We all know this time of having young children and motherhood gives us very little opportunity to catch up with old friends or even make new friends, but I say keep your table open to both. You know the old lunch table from our childhood days where you got nervous going back to school not knowing who you were going to sit with? Now as an adult, I always keep my table...

Keep Reading