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,