Thursday, January 29, 2015

Girlfriends are important, no matter if you’re 5 or 95! There is just something special between friends who can rely on one another for support and encouragement and just plain good fellowship! At the age of 38 I find myself in a place that at one point in my life I thought that I would never be.

During my early-mid twenties I was married, had 2 daughters and to top it off I had a job that I LOVED. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It truly was, but something was missing…girlfriends. My husband is first and foremost my best friend. He is a great listener and thoughtful and is the person I have the most fun spending my time with compared to anyone else. But even with all those blessings, I longed for a close girlfriend to share my “girl talk and giggles” with from day to day. I actually worked at a job where I was surrounded by women, they called themselves Godly women. But, that wasn’t my experience. I was the one that wasn’t in the group at work and I was ok with it to a point. Eventually, though,  the loneliness set in. My job that I loved so much became a place that hurt to be there. I would often come home and have to cry it out for a bit before I could head back the next day. I wanted a friend and as time went by I began to believe that I was not friend material. I began to believe that there was something about me that made those around me not like me.

I prayed all the time that God would send me just one friend. I begged for just one woman that would accept me and let me feel worthy to be a friend to.  I tried very hard to show my heart at work, be sincere, kind, upbeat, and most of all not say anything negative about anyone. It felt that the harder I did that, the more they didn’t like me. We moved to a new town and I continued to work at the same place. I finally just accepted that the way things were was just how things were gonna be and I needed to be thankful for my family and have my focus on them.

Then I got invited to go to gathering at a home in my new town. The lady that was hosting and I had a mutual acquaintance, Jen. When Jen asked me to go to the get together of moms I said yes. The day of the get together, Jen called and said that she couldn’t make it, but she had told the lady that I was still coming and if I changed my mind I would have to call her. Unbelievable! I had been praying for such and opportunity….BEGGING God to send me such an opportunity and now I would have to cancel. I mean, if the one person I knew wasn’t going there was no way that I could still go. And I called to cancel. The voice on the other end of the phone was warm and sweet and encouraged me several times to come anyway, but I rolled out every pathetic excuse I could think of not to go. Looking back now, I know that warm voice on the other end knew that my real reason for not coming was fear. The fear of further rejection and even though she did her part to make me feel welcome, I closed that door.

And that was that.

The one thing that I had prayed to God to put in my life was right in front of me and it was I who shut the door. He provides us with our desires…in His time. And when He hands them to us, we still have to accept. We can ask for things and never receive those things….not because He didn’t provide them, but because we would not accept them. For another 18 months I stayed in my bubble, friendless, in a job that tugged at my heart to be there because I loved the work I did but felt emotionally beat up at the end of every day. EIGHTEEN months went by….that’s a long time to believe Satan’s lies of not being enough for those around me. Satan was feeding me the lies that I wasn’t fun enough, pretty enough, smart enough, didn’t wear the right clothes…everything about me made me sad. I continued to ask why I couldn’t change and be what others around me wanted so I could feel accepted. And then the tide began to change…
When I became pregnant with my third child, I couldn’t wait for him to arrive….it meant I was done with that place. About a month before he was born, we began attending church in the town we were living. Before we drove about 30 min to the church we attended before we had moved. It was our small attempt to meet people. I say small because we showed up right when the service began, dropped the girls off with children’s church, sat in the seats closest to the back and made a beeline to pick up the girls as soon as the service was over. Oh WOW….what a major effort! (insert lots of eye rolling and sarcasm at my ridiculous lack of effort!) And even with as much effort as I made to not be noticed, we were. We went to church one Sunday, our son was born on the following Wednesday and we all went to church that next Sunday. Our youth pastor's wife says to me, "Wow! When was he born? I know last week he wasn't here yet!" Now, the realistic side of me now understands how of course she would notice a giant prego woman one week and a woman carrying a newborn the very next week, but this floored me. She remembered me, she noticed me....and she CHOSE to talk to me. I was so confused. I had believed the lies that I allowed to take residence in my brain for so long that I couldn't process how she knew that I had had a baby that week. That moment was the first time in a very long time that I felt welcomed.

I went home from church that day and decided that I was really going to make a concerted effort to meet other moms. I decided that if the youth pastor's wife was going to make the mistake of reaching out to me, then I was going to reach back. I committed to accepting any and all invites for the next year. As long as my schedule allowed, I would say yes. And I was sure that I wouldn't get that many invites once I started accepting them, after all I was the woman not worthy of friendship. It started with being invited to scrapbook with some ladies from my new church. I went. I even rearranged the family schedules to go. Next, it was Bible Study. And then it was to hang out with a group for coffee. And before I knew it, I was surrounded by new friendships.

A few months into my year long venture of saying yes, I found myself at a scrapbooking get together with my new friends. There was a new lady there that everyone knew really well, except me. As she sat across from me (my little guy of about 4months snoozing in his carseat) with her new little one in her arms, she began to talk about her most recent scrapbooking get together at her house and then went on to say something about how she could not imagine the renovations on her house ever being completed. I thought I was going to fall out of my chair. Immediately I flashed back to that day I had to call this person I had never met and through my flimsy excuses tell her I wasn't coming over. I asked her if she knew my friend, Jen. She looked at me, smiled and said, "You were suppose to come to my house." That warm voice from that day nearly 2 years earlier was sitting across from me! She laughed and recalled how she knew I was meant to be there, but there was nothing she could say to convince me to go. She was right. My fear was greater than my trust in God's promises. God promises that if we ask in a faithful way, he will provide. When he handed me what I had wanted for so long, I rejected his gift. I said no. I allowed the lies to reject God's blessing. EEEK! Talk about a bad decision! I did not trust fully in allowing God to really work in my life.

As I'm typing this, nearly 11 years later, I can still see all those ladies in that room that day, my son in his car seat, and my dear friend Julie with her little one in her arms. I have held on to that moment ever since as a reminder that God never breaks his promise and sometimes we think our prayers are not being answered, when in reality we are the ones rejecting the gift and not trusting fully in who God is. In the time since that day so much has changed, as the way things go in life. Those women have held some of the most important relationships in my life. I have learned so much from them. Some are still very much a part of my life, some are there if I need them, and one simply took herself directly from being a part of my life. The joys and the pain that has come from my determination to say yes to God's blessings all those years ago, are priceless to me in so many ways. I love those women in such a Godly way....all of them. And I hold all of my sweet memories of them close to me. Don't be afraid to accept what God has in His plan for you. It will leave you in awe of who He truly is!


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