"How will I ever find a new community of moms to connect with once we move?" I asked myself over and over as we packed up our first home to move hundreds of miles away. I was 36 weeks pregnant with my second baby, and my first little one was toddling all over the place by this point. I was leaving a city I loved, to move north for a fantastic job opportunity for my husband. "There are no stay-at-home-moms in our new town!" I kept telling myself. "I'll be the ONLY one." Yes, I can be dramatic at times. It all just seemed daunting. We were moving into a new house that seemed like someone else's and not my own. And knowing I would be cooped up in there with two tiny ones for the entire upcoming winter with no friends was overwhelming.
So I prayed for a friend. I prayed for someone to be real with! And I knew that if God designed me with a desire for meaningful friendships, then he would be faithful to provide. It didn't take long before I connected with my local M.O.P.S. group and was literally shown hospitality like I'd never experienced. Total strangers were bringing my family meals after my sweet newborn joined us that Fall. And I knew God was delighting in the plans he had already made for me long before my husband and I ever knew about this move.
So here I am, five years later, in love with this place I now call home. And I finally do have those girlfriends I can call on for anything. Now I suppose you think I'm going to say it was all easy and I just automatically clicked with a group and we're all besties now right?
Because that's not how it works does it? We all know that true friendships take time, and effort, and consistency, and vulnerability and all kinds of things that require intention. And that's exactly the beautiful work that I have put in these past five years. Here's where I want to tell you about my friend, Jamye. Jamye and I connected easily on faith and motherhood and our shared love of creativity in its various forms. But somewhere along the way in those early years, we both made the individual decision to be consistent with making time to hang out.
She has three kids of her own and I have two and they all go to different schools and have different schedules. We could have made excuses why it was too hard to get together. We could have decided to see each other here and there when it worked out, or caught up quickly at our various social events where paths cross. But you know what happened? The more she made the effort to pursue our friendship and to really KNOW ME, the more I wanted to do the same. The more weeks we planned to hang out, the more I looked forward to it. The more we got to know each other, the more I wanted to share. And just like any garden that you tend to with attention and care, the friendship bloomed.
We get together weekly without fail. And as the years and seasons change, it may be a different day of the week or time of day, but we adjust as needed. Sometimes its only for one hour, but we fit it in. Sometimes it's in the midst of five children running amuck and sometimes it's just two or three. Sometimes we laugh the whole time, and sometimes we pour out our hearts and let the tears flow and pray together. She bakes, I eat. I tell her all about my newest creative endeavor, and she listens and gives encouragement. We've seen each others houses messy. We've seen each others character messy. She points me towards Christ. She points me toward the good hard work of marriage and motherhood and family dysfunction. We just do life together. And we allow each other to be known. It takes trust and vulnerability and years of quality time together. But it's so worth it.
I just want to encourage anyone reading who may be hoping and praying and yearning for a friend who really knows you. We are wired to want and need this. But you have to put in the time. Make it a priority on your weekly calendar - rain or shine. And show up ready to talk and build trust and be there for her. Share. Ugly cry. Tell stories. Ask questions. Pray for each other. Be available. Be known.