In February I read a book called “Never Unfriended” by Lisa Jo Baker. The subtitle is “The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships”. Most of my life I have been blessed with a great community and group of girls supporting me from a young age. Listening to this audio book got me looking back on significant friendships throughout my life.
My very first best friend, and eventually the maid of honor in my wedding, was my next door neighbor when I was a kid.
We moved away from Kentucky to Georgia when I was 11. I struggled with fitting in there because I was small town girl going from a private christian school to a public school in the Atlanta suburbs. I was innocent, niave and I didn’t care about boys or makeup like a lot of the other girls. I got plugged in at church though and eventually saw a girl from my church at school. I said “Hey, were you at RCG on Sunday?” and she said “Yeah that was me”. I told her “I could tell, because I recognize your shoes.” How awkward is that?
Anyway, we became very close friends and eventually she would also be a bridesmaid in my wedding. Then we moved AGAIN. This time from Atlanta to Dallas my freshman year. I hated it. I didn’t want to be there and I was going into that angsty punk teenage stage. I didn’t dress gothic or anything but I did listen to punk music. A Christian punk band that I liked was coming to town and because I couldn’t drive and had no friends I went with my dad. First of all, LAME. Second, I realize now how awesome my dad is that he would take the time to go to a punk rock show with his daughter. He hated the music and everything about that scene but he knew how hard this move was for me. The next day at school a girl named Heather said “Hey, did I see you at the Value Pac concert last night?” I was like “YES! You were there? Wasn’t it awesome?” and a friendship was born.
Fast forward many many years later to when I was a mother of three once again living in a new state feeling very alone. This time it was Ohio. This time it wasn’t so easy to get connected. Women my age seemed to already have their circle established and I was busy tending to the needs of three young children 24/7. It was one the loneliest, most challenging seasons of my life. I had no one close to turn to. It wasn’t until I started going to a moms’ group at my church that I really started to form friendships and feel like I had a community. As I was reminiscing all of these milestones of relationships in my life God really started to tug on my heart and it was undeniable. I was feeling called to start up a moms’ group.
Our pastor sent out emails about life groups and although I had the opportunity to be a leader, I never signed up. I was homeschooling and I had no money to do anything fun or special with the group. I couldn’t shake this feeling though. All of the groups and rooms were assigned and the meeting for the group leaders was already scheduled. I went ahead and asked my pastor if it was possible for me to come to this informational life group meeting even though I wasn’t signed up to be a leader. Of course he said yes.
At the meeting he shared what life groups were about the Lord began to tug on my heart even more. I knew that there would be women in what I call “the trenches of motherhood” just like I was at that point in my life that need a community, a prayer partner, or a friend. Motherhood is beautiful but it can also be overwhelming. Moms are NEVER alone, not even to pee, and yet it can be an extremely isolating season. I couldn’t ignore the call anymore and I did a late sign up to start a group.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)
That was my vision for the group. In my dream world there would be decorations, child care, cutesy snacks, and COFFEE. I didn’t have any of that though. I was totally winging it, but I believed that God could use this little group to reach out to moms who needed encouragement.
We met up weekly that spring and I am happy to report that God showed up! It was so great that we are going to start again this fall!
Most of the time we met up in the preschool room with all of the kiddos running around and playing while we talked, did a Bible study, and prayed for specific needs.
We had a few “excursions” and those were a lot of fun too.
One cool opportunity that we had was to get carseats for some local teens that were pregnant and aging out of foster care. I got to go to the shower for these teen moms and we all prayed for them and wrote words of encouragement from one mom to another.
Maybe someday we will have more resources for our group to have childcare or even more elaborate gatherings, but I am so glad I didn’t wait for the perfect timing or circumstances to actually take that step of faith. I hope that my story is a reminder that sometimes you have to just go for it! It’s not too late! I also pray that if you are a mom looking to connect you
don’t give up. There are MOPS groups, churches, and playdates available almost everywhere. God doesn’t want you to be alone. For those moms who have a great group already (like I felt) be on the look out for those who don’t. Be the one who invites others in! Friendliness goes a long way.