For the first time in several years, I have friends. Yeah, I know that sounds super dramatic, but it is actually true. Let’s be real—unless you live in the same town you grew up in, making friends, and building relationships is tough. The normal ways you meet people, when you are in college, or just getting started after college aren’t really either an option or appropriate when you are pregnant with your first kid! Right?!?
Four years ago my husband and I were sent to the little town we are getting ready to leave. Yeah, that’s the life of a Methodist pastor and family.
When we arrived, our son was just 8 months old. I still considered myself a new momma who was pretty much clueless on everything, except I was pretty sure I was screwing everything up when it came to mothering.
You would think, perhaps, that being at a larger church with younger people around, that it may be easier to build relationships…but not really. Life with kids is hard—they pretty much take precedence, and when they are super little they are literally in charge of everything—including your schedule.
When you are a new parent, building a family, entering into a new community—you sometimes need a little push. I got my push from a discipleship program called Wellspring. I completed the year long program twice with two different groups of women. This was the push I needed to open up—to allow myself be vulnerable—to let people know me and love me.
My first group was made up of strong, professional, and independent women. They loved me so well—they celebrated with me when we welcomed our second child to our family and they supported me when I had no idea how to get two kids anywhere. This group of women shared their wisdom with me, and helped me to see beyond the crazy that I was living in with two under two.
During my first year of this program I realized that in order to protect myself from being rejected I would often avoid social situations with women of my own age. I deeply desired relationships with people my own age, in my similar stage of life—but because of fear, I sabotaged myself and never allowed people into my life.
Uncovering this, was transformational in my journey of faith, and it is what pushed me to enter the process again with another group of women—women who were just like me—they were moms. During our weekly meetings, while we prayed together, read Scripture together, shared our struggles and triumphs, our kids played together in the church nursery.
These women loved me so well—they empowered me, and encouraged me. I would like to think we empowered and encouraged each other. They celebrated with me when I felt called to lead the young mom’s group at the church and they grieved with me when we found out our family was being moved to another church. We walked with each other in the big and in the small of every day life.
And just like that, I had friends. I know…still a little dramatic. But it’s the friendships—the relationships that I will remember the most. It is a discipleship process that ushered me into seeing a clearer vision of God’s heart for my life that I will remember the most. It is being authentic and brave and vulnerable and pursued that I will remember the most. It is the beauty that I will remember the most.