In all the different stages of life there are times when we don’t fit in.
We just can’t seem to find our place, where we belong or who we belong with. There is awkwardness and frustration. Others may not understand or know. It’s not what we planned, it’s where we find ourselves. Could it even be where God has placed us?
I remember when my husband and I were newlyweds living in a new state, going to a new church, starting new jobs in a new city, and we knew almost no one.
I loved being married to my best friend, but it was tough living far away from everyone and everything that was familiar. My grandfather passed away just a couple of weeks after I married and moved off. My heart felt heavy.
This was not how I envisioned my first year of marriage. It’s not how any of us envision particular seasons of our lives.
It took a while, but I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and got intentional about reaching out in friendship to others. This came through trial and error and seeing others make a difference in my life by reaching out to me.
It’s never easy putting yourself out there, trying over and over again with some failed attempts. Pursuing and persevering through friendships long enough to break down the walls we put up takes time and determination. However, if you want friends you have to be a friend that does not give up easily. Sometimes it works and sometimes it backfires. It’s a vulnerably place to be.
The friendships that stood the test of time became like family. Our time in St. Louis, Missouri became oh so much sweeter with close friends showing up to do life with us.
“Maybe the most intimate, radical thing we can do for our friends is to show up.” – Lisa-Jo Baker from her book, Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships. By the way, I absolutely love this book in case you were wondering.
Friendships aren’t easy, they can be uncomfortable at times, but years down the road you will be thankful you fought for them.
We had children, they had children and our kids played together. This was how it was meant to be until it all changed. Some of our friends moved out of state. Then our life took an unexpected turn and we found ourselves moving out of state too. This was not what we envisioned or planned or thought would happen.
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
Fast forward to now, where we have been in a long season of not living close to good friends, after two major moves over a ten year span of time. New “old friends” are difficult to make.
Our hearts can only handle so much change at a time. We get weary. Our kids become teenagers. Our circumstances change. Our priorities change. Life is different. We are different. It’s tougher to do what we once did. Life can send limitations that appear to box us in.
God is faithful through it all and we have to decide to be intentional. Scheduled phone calls with friends can keep us sane, bring comfort, and help us remember that we aren’t alone.
During this season I have learned to depend on God in new ways. Yes, he’s our provision. He’s our source for everything in this life, but He’s also a friend that sticks closer than a brother or a sister when we find ourselves alone (Proverbs 18:24) for whatever reason.
If you feel boxed in, if you’re feeling a little lost in the season you are in know that you are not alone.
This is what I know that I know, my friend, God uses all of our disappointments and brokenness to strengthen and grow us in ways we never expected – if we let him.
I don’t like these times as much as I’m sure you don’t either. However, it’s amazing the compassion I now have for others when their life disappoints and breaks too. When I’m authentic and I share those lonely places of hurt with others, it’s often the very thing that gives us common ground. People relate to our failures, our disappointments, and our dark places far faster than relating to any success we may have.
That common ground can be the start of new life and the very seed of a new friendship, if we don’t harden our hearts.
Seasons are not meant to look the same. What you worked hard for in one season can sustain you in the next. I’m thankful today for the “forever friends” who I CAN call. Without the season of persevering to make friends, I wouldn’t have good friends I can now lean on, even if we live miles apart. There is always a bright side, right? Not only that, this is a season and seasons change. Maybe we can all breathe a sigh of relief here.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10).
So I’m choosing to trust in the God who restores, rebuilds, and makes all things new. Will you trust Him with me? Will you keep your heart open to all He has for you? It’s not easy friend, but it’s worth it.
In It With You!
With much grace and love,
P.S. If you enjoyed this writing you may enjoy the post, You Are Brave Even When. Thank you for allowing me to encourage you in some small way. Blessings to you!
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