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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yesterday I wrote a post about how to help your child make friends. After reading the comments, I realized that most were from women who are experiencing loneliness. One woman asked me how I found friends, so I decided to share some more of my own experience during that lonely time.

First, let me say that I am in introvert by nature. I can play the extrovert role in certain situations (like She Speaks, or when I'm speaking somewhere). But by nature, I'm quiet. All I really need is a few good friends, and I'm content.

But when we moved, I didn't even have that. While I'm not shy at all, my tendency is to not invite myself into pre-existing groups. So one of the best things we did was to attend a church that was relatively new and growing. That way, there were very few groups already formed, and lots of women who had recently relocated just like me.

Then, I started attending a Bible study. At that time, my son Robbie was three. So I had to find a group where there was childcare. It was in that group that I found one of my closest friends.

I also made friends by volunteering. I love to tell the story of how I connected with Proverbs 31. Soon after we started attending our church, Lysa TerKeurst gave her testimony one Sunday. I didn't know who she was, but I was moved by her story. That very same week, I heard her on the radio talking about Proverbs 31 Ministries. Then I heard God tell me to call her and volunteer. Somehow I tracked her phone number down, and called her. I told her how I had just moved, had a degree in journalism and was wondering if she needed any volunteers. She paused and said, "We've been praying for someone with a degree in journalism."

Being obedient to God's gentle nudge changed my life and has given the best friends a woman can have. Even though most of them are extroverts, they've found a place in their hearts for me.

Finally, I tended to look for women who looked as lonely as me. I'm touched by Jesus' heart for those on the fringes of a group. I want to have a heart for those who feel left out too.

But most importantly, I prayed for a friend. And God answered, abundantly.

Even though God eventually provided me with friends, He also allowed me to go through a time where (other than my family) I had no one. During that time, He revealed Himself to me in new ways. Although I'd been a Christian all my life, I'd never really heard God speak directly to me. When I was lonely, I started hearing His voice in my spirit. God put scripture verses into my mind I didn't know I had memorized. It was an amazing time of renewal for me, and it continues to this day.

I think God had to strip all my self-dependency away for me to see how much I needed Him. And it took an extended time of loneliness for me to truly understand the depth of that need.

If you are lonely today, I invite you to lean into Jesus. Let Him know of the pain you are feeling and allow Him to fill you up. Grab a cup of coffee, go sit at your kitchen table and imagine Jesus sitting across from you. I promise you that your loneliness will ease.

In His Love,



Amy Wilkinson said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I felt as though I was reading my own thoughts as you described yourself and your introverted but not shy nature. We have just moved and I am trying harder than I have ever tried to make friends for myself and our children. I had a little breakdown moment last week when the frustration of trying to break into the Christian circles without seeing anyone take a step towards me overwhelmed me. Your post today gave me some peace and insight into the thought that there is joy in this time as well. God has been talking to me in amazing ways and I may not have heard if I was busy talking to others. Hard but necessary maybe. Thanks again.
Amy W.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your devotion on loneliness has given me much to think about. We moved to a new country leaving behind life-long friends and all thinks familiar. It has been a difficult transition filled with loneliness even after two years. Finding true Christian friends here may still be way in the future so I am going to focus on Him. What great advice! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I know what it's like I've lived here 3 yrs. this coming feb. and don't have any (friends)it's true some have crossed my path but never stayed long enough to build those real friendships I always hear about.It can get lonely and I forgot to mention no family here either(just the 5 of us)but I keep beleiving for some true friendships to come into my life.Don't loose hope!

Nancy M. said...

Hi Glynnis... I'm 46 & have never had a best girl. I started praying for a BFF earlier this year, & it's been rather comical - every time I meet someone new, I ask God "Is this her?" It reminds me of when I was dating & wondering if this was my future husband!

I've been hurt be friends in the past, so I think I've built up that brick wall that many of us lug around w/ us, keeping people from getting too close. And, like in your experience, God has been revealing himself to me, too. He can fill that void in my life better than any flesh & blood woman can. But as I'm learning to trust Him more & more, & as I'm learning to submit to Him more & more, I am finding he is bringing wonderful women into my life that I can be real with.

I'm still playing hard-to-get w/ them (like I did when I was dating) b/c I don't want to scare them off, but I am also gaining to courage to trust Him w/ all my heart & lean not on my own understanding (in oh, so many areas of my life!).

Hmmm... btw... I (almost) have a degree in broadcast communication & majored in journalism 20-something yrs ago (wow!) before I changed majors to B'cast. Does P31 need anybody in Western Canada?? (doesn't hurt to ask...) Ha!

Sue said...

The timing of your devotion...I'm in awe of God! Thank you for your inspirational devotion. I wept as I read it. I'm at a point in my life where I'm going thru a metamorphosis of sorts, which in turn lead to loneliness over the past months. At times feeling overwhelmed, unable to understand the circumstances that directly or indirectly resulted in loneliness.

Your devotion has given me much to think about. God has not forsaken me. To focus my attention on Him , His power and not on myself. To draw closer to Him thru his word, and daily devotional with Him.

I thank all who posted comments here. Your comments have resulted in greater understanding on how God works thru us during a time of loneliness.
God bless!

Anonymous said...

We just recently moved to North Carolina, and your story sounds so familiar. I too sat and watched my small child wish for a playmate. We were renting an apartment, and we knew no one. my daughter named the tree outside our window, and would actually go outside to "talk" and "play" with it. It was one of the hardest times that I have ever experienced. But praise be to God for not only getting us through it, but blessing us through the process. We became closer as a family. When your kids only have each other, they began to appreciate each other a little more! Now, a year and a half later, my daughter has more friends than she knows what to do with! God has blessed us with a wonderful church family and amazing friends. It doesn't happen quickly, and it is not easy. and sometimes it helps to know that we are not alone in what we are feeling. thanks for sharing!

Amy W. said...

It's me again (Amy W.). I think it is so sad that there are so many of us Christian women that don't have good Christian friends. As I said, I had a moment last week where frustration got the best of me as I have been attending a mom's group at the church we've been attending for three months, three months, and no one has reached out to me. I know that as the one moving in, I have to be the one to make the effort because the others have been living life just fine without me but it it sad to me that no one after three months recognizes that there is a need to reach out to the new girl. Should it be so hard to make friends in Christian circles? How can we expect people that don't know God's love to feel welcome and invited in Christian circles if we don't even welcome one-another? Sorry if I sound negative but this is really bothering me. Where is the love amongst Christians?