Loneliness is oppressive. The funny thing is, a mom can be surrounded with children and still be lonely at times.
It’s not that you don’t LOVE your children. But something in a mom’s heart longs to connect with others going through the same challenges. You need to know you aren’t going crazy when you put the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge. And you want someone to remind you that your child will NOT be in diapers forever. And to tell you that even the most wonderful children will make stupid choices … and they can still grow up to love and serve Jesus.
When my husband’s job took us across the country, loneliness felt like a vice around my heart. Josh was in 2nd grade, Dylan in kindergarten and it was just Robbie and me during the day. (Our daughters didn’t join our family until a few years later). And though I loved the together-time with Robbie, I was really lonely.
Back then I didn’t know anything about MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) or Mom’s in Touch (now Mom’s in Prayer). We were still looking for a church, and I had met any neighbors. I remember walking around my new house crying and praying for a friend. Just one friend! Someone to have a cup of coffee with or go to McDonald’s with. I’d even exercise with someone, I was that desperate!
God didn’t immediately answer my prayer. But He used that time of loneliness to not only connect me with Robbie, but to connect me with Himself. I reached out to God like I never had before. I was desperate for His companionship and His help. And He did not disappoint. God started speaking to me in my spirit. I “heard” His voice in my head, speaking words of encouragement, bringing Scriptures to mind I didn’t even know I had memorized and even giving me direction on things to do.
Then, it took about a month, but we found a church. And a few weeks after that I saw a small group with child care listed in the bulletin, and showed up at the first meeting with tears of gratitude in my eyes. At that meeting I met another mom who also liked McDonald’s and we became friends. The week of that first meeting, I got a knock on my door. It was a mom from Dylan’s classroom who was wondering if I’d like to get together with her. Would I ever! I replied … trying hard not to appear too needy.
Then God specifically told me to call Lysa TerKeurst (I just so happened to show up at her church) and volunteer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. I never in a million years could have envisioned how many fabulous friends God would bring my way as a result of obeying that one request of His. It’s been 15 years since then!
I guess what I want to say today is I know what loneliness feels like. And I know that as painful as it is, God can use it to bring good out of your life. It’s important to turn to God first, allowing Him to meet your needs before trying to connect with others though. The reason? An overly-needy friend can be draining … and we don’t want to drain the life out of our friends. We want to be a blessing as much as we want to be blessed.
Then, as you pray for a friend, don’t just sit in your house waiting for someone to show up. Now I know that actually happened to me, but I also took the initiative to attend a small group and call someone. Since that time, I moved back home (to Glendale AZ) and had to look for new friends. This time I actually started a small group with child care and made some great friends that I still have.
I know making friends is hard. But with God it is possible. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t yield a BFF. Try again. And I wish I could invite all of you to come to McDonald’s with me (or for coffee). What a great time we would have!
John 15: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
My tip today has to do with organizing children’s closets but it also can help you make friends. First the tip. I’ve discovered if I don’t remove outgrown or badly damaged clothing, they will at some point end up on a child at the most inappropriate time. And that child will insist that the pants legs are long enough,the shorts aren’t too tight, and everyone wears cothes with lots of rips in them.
So if I don’t want to get into an argument, it’s best to remove clothes at the start of the school year that don’t fit, need repair, or need to be re-purposed (rags, quilting scraps, etc). One of the best parenting tips I ever got was to remove things I have to say “no” to. And as my children get older, clothing tops the list.
This is a great project to do with a friend. Or you can even use this as a way to make new friends. What if you invited a group of moms in the neighborhood to a clothing swap? You might get some size-appropriate clothes for free and a new friend at the same time!
When you are working on your child’s closet, and remove items, put them in a dark colored bag or box so your child can’t see it. As you reorganize the closet, remember to use vertical space wisely. Use stacking shelves above and below hanging clothes. If space is limited, remove out-of-season clothes and store under the bed, in the garage or attic. Then, maybe you’ll be so inspired, you’ll tackle your closet … or maybe not.
Well, we’ve made it to day nine of my back-to-school series. We’ll end the series tomorrow with my friend Karen Ehman, and a fabulous message on how to encourage your children. Plus, my oh-so-generous friend has another giveaway.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on friendship. How did God bring a friend into your life? Any tips you can share with others?
Thanks for joining me today!
In His love,