Loneliness. So many of us struggle silently with the realization of it, too ashamed to admit it. We may think: Why should I be lonely? I choose to be home with my kids all day, or I have co-workers I can talk to and /or a spouse. We excuse away the time to invest in friendships. I don’t have time to get together with friends. I can’t afford to hire a babysitter. I have thought most of those same thoughts as well. Well today I am putting it out there. I’m admitting it.
I am lonely. I need some friends. (Local friends)
If you’re new, let me tell you a little about myself and my family. We just recently moved to Wisconsin, we homeschool, we live out in the country and most school activities have ended for the summer. We found a new church that we love, but it is quite large and it’s easy to get swallowed up in the vast number of people. Here lies the cause of my present condition.
A few weeks ago, our children’s pastor helped make arrangements for my daughter to meet up with one of the girls from youth group. On the following Wednesday, we pulled up to our prearranged meeting spot and got out of our respective vehicles. I knew right away I liked the woman standing before me. She greeted me with a warmness and familiarity that made Wisconsin almost feel like home. We made introductions under the church awning surrounded by the driving rain. The girls immediately started chatting and rushed into the church building together. The mom and I visited for a few moments before my husband pointed out that we were blocking the drop off spot for all the teens trying to avoid the downpour.
As we parted ways I found my friendship-starved self wanting to grab this woman by the arm and drag her away from her minivan and be my forever friend.
Friendship – what I know.
I have moved numerous times in my life. Each move has taught me more about the importance of relationships. Investing in friendship is worth the time and effort. Putting friendships on the backburner doesn’t create balance. It actually leaves us fragmented. We hunger for those connections even though demanding schedules tell us otherwise.
How can I be so sure?
Throughout my marriage there have been three “major” moves amongst the small shufflings around from town to town or house to house. In each of these three moves my husband took a work position that put him anywhere from 3-15 hours away from the kids and I while we waited for our house to sell. In total these separations equaled a year and a half of our marriage and all three of these transitions were tough in different ways. Yet, each of these times God miraculously put incredible friendships in my path.
One friend would text me at 9:00 at night and tell me she was coming over and she would not take no for an answer. Somehow, she knew how to read my seclusion better than I did. The other woman set up weekly meals at her home where we took turns cooking and coming up with recipes to try. She and her husband love and care for our two children as if they were their own.
The third woman, I tear up just writing about. Never before have I possessed a friend that encompasses everything she is to me. We share our deepest fears and anxieties, and we vent our frustrations when people behave badly. We know about each other’s shameful mistakes and there isn’t an ounce of judgement between us. Also, we laugh A LOT, mostly at each other’s crazy Snapchat videos, because that’s the level of our friendship. We are allowed to be stupidly funny with each other. But, I think the most beautiful thing about our friendship is that it wasn’t always so. We went through a rough patch, but we did the work and came out much stronger and more understanding of each other.
These women, they fill my cup and have carried me through some tough times. I hope that they can say the same about me.
Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight,
a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
Proverbs 27:9 The Message
A word of caution on isolation.
Isolation. Sometimes we choose it. Sometimes like in my present situation, it chooses you. Either way it’s where the enemy likes us and he prefers we remain there. I have to admit there are times in my life that I have been willing to oblige him. I am an introvert. Busyness easily overwhelms me, and I have a tendency to check out of social things that aren’t a necessary part of my day. I excuse it as finding “balance,” but if I’m not careful my tendencies lead me to a sea of seclusion.
Girlfriend, go get some friends!
The point is that whether you’re choosing isolation or it has chosen you, take the time to invest in relationships. Make eye contact with that other mom at the park, go to lunch with a co-worker, join a Bible study. Make the steps to connect. Who knows perhaps you will meet the woman who carries you through your trials and vice versa. You may just avoid the desperate urge to grab some stranger by the arm and drag her off for a cup of coffee.
How do you stay connected? What struggles do you face with friendships? I would love to hear from you!
Until next time,