Think of family or friends to have be a part of this journey with you.
Genesis 2:18 "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.'
Think of a few family members or friends that help and care for you. Ask them to be a part of this journey with you. Ask them to hold you accountable and encourage you along the way.
A few years ago, I was so, so lonely. I was a young mom but unable to join mothers groups or do playdates at the park due to working fulltime. Playdates at the park at 10am was the kind of mom I thought I would be and it was hard navigating the young years with a strong-willed toddler without any other moms doing the same around me. This is not to say that I didn’t have great people in my life. At the time I had wonderful coworkers while working at a nonprofit. We handled difficult phone calls and letters and so everyone in our dept was hired because they had skills in discernment and empathy. I received daily encouragement and prayer from them. But something was still missing.
I knew this when I was cleaning out my library one day and discovered three copies of the book The Friendships of Women. Uh, hello. Yeah, when I collect books on the same theme (or even the same book in this case!), there is clearly something lurking beneath the bookshelves. Not long after that, I remember running into a woman from church named Barb and in the course of our conversation, saying to her, “I’m just so lonely.” She replied that she would be my friend if I need and gave me a big hug. She and I couldn’t have been more opposite in life stage, she being a single in middle age and me a young mom. But I was so grateful for the hug and it was a relief to verbalize that feeling.
I began praying and praying and praying for deep friendships. For people to do life with me. I longed for people to really know me enough to laugh and cry and understand why I might be upset from everything including losing a coupon for Target to Jeff’s loooong ordination process that took us years to walk through.
God answered these prayers. He really did. I look back and see the handful of my people God sent in that time since declaring my loneliness aloud. They joined my journey at different times. They know me. All I have to do is text and they come running (or texting back). While I was in Kansas for a year, God gave me a huge gift in my friend Jessica. I did some of those playdates and we shared meals together with our families on pretty much a weekly basis. Okay, you bring the meat this week; I’ll bring the beer. Out of this or that before we grill? We’ll go get those things together. Load the kids in the minivan. Also, have you seen the newest product at Trader Joe’s?
Even though I’ve been back in CO for three years, Jess and I still talk on almost a weekly basis and text several times a week. If I’m cracking up over a text, it’s usually her. She is also fantastically indignant on my behalf over mostly everything. She has fought for me when I was attacked on Facebook and she sends the best articles. She lets me rail about authors and books and joins sometimes too. Last week one of her texts began with these words: “Feminist win of the day!” and then she proceeded with an awesome story about telling off a misogynistic plumber. You go, sister! All the emoticons coming your way.
Another person I’m likely to text regularly is Christy. Christy is my fashion consultant who took me shopping when I was going through my Wear I Am crisis last year. She helped me find clothing that say ME and she even created a personal color pallet based on my fashion board on Pinterest. Christy attends our church and lives in our neighborhood, which is fun. She brings me snacks in the form of Pringles, texts me when she’s on her way to Target midweek in case I need anything, and encourages me in my job. Her gifts in leadership and creativity are off the charts and I am blessed by her regular presence in my life.
There are others: Rebekah patiently listens to my journey of church planting and banters with me about who is winning in MasterChef. Jenna regularly texts just: “How are you?” and watched Keller for us last spring. Vicki helps me watch out for my kids too. She knows my little ones inside and out (having taught my oldest child in those strong-willed years) and encourages me as a mom. I’m blessed once again with wonderful, understanding coworkers too. I already know these people will be with me on this Faith Challenge journey because they are there in my life.
I believe there was something important about verbalizing my loneliness that day to Barb. God heard me. Barb and I didn’t become best friends but I see her from time to time. She still offers me hugs when I do.
I also got rid of all my copies of The Friendships of Women.