Yesterday I was thinking about cake & cotton, the other little blog I write with my friend Shauna. If you follow cake & cotton, maybe you saw this series of posts we did where we basically took the time to appreciate one another for what we value in our friendship. We have a beautiful friendship. God has really provided so many things in my life through her. We and our children are a part of each other's lives on at least a weekly basis. And in addition to all the crafting and fun things we do, our friendship is very practical.
It's all reminded me of how much women need other women. Moms need other moms. We are not meant to do this alone. You may think that Shauna and I are lucky to have each other, and that is true. I know it's rare to find a good friend. But we haven't known each other forever. Our friendship did not always exist. And that's the story I wanted to tell (from my perspective, since I'm sure she has her own).
I remembered back to when my husband and I moved to the area we live in now, about 11 years ago. We moved roughly thirty minutes away from our old friends and I was kind of lonely. I started praying that God would bring me a friend in our area. I wasn't asking for a herd of people. I just wanted one person. One with whom I could laugh and cry and get a pot of soup from when I was really sick. I wanted support and a listening ear through my daily ups and downs. I wanted someone to talk to about starting our family (this was before I had kids), and I wanted to know I wasn't alone in my struggles.
Listen friends. I prayed this for five years. Five years it took for God's timing. Five years of feeling fairly disconnected. I had some friends, I guess you'd say. Neighbors here and there. Old friends who lived far away that I talked to on the phone. But I didn't have a person I could depend on to support and encourage me, practically as well as emotionally, in my daily life. And even after I met Shauna, she wasn't this person in my life for quite a while.
When we met, I had a baby girl and I was really hurting for some regular companionship. I needed something to get me out of the house with my baby, provide some grown-up interaction, and give me something to look forward to. And even though I was praying for a friend, I knew I needed to do my part. I needed to courageously pursue friendship if I were to find it; it wasn't just going to drop into my lap. So since she lived in my area, I asked Shauna if she wanted to start getting together once a week for bagels or something. She gave me a handful of polite reasons when she told me she couldn't. Pregnant with her first baby, she didn't really understand how it felt to be a new mom yet. But she also had a lot on her plate. At the same time, her mom was dying. I equally had no idea what she needed, as she went through that devastating time with her family. A small foundation for our friendship had been laid, but the timing was still not right.
I think it took another year or so before we began to regularly hang out with our babies in tow. Our common love for the local mall helped; it was an easy place to meet up with the strollers. And slowly, very slowly, we became the kind of friend to each other that one rarely finds. During the rough seasons we've both had in our individual families, our friendship gained some serious ground, as we chose to speak words of truth to each other when necessary, instead of just shopping, lunching, and placating our egos (though we did and do that a lot too). Our windows of time together became critical times to pick each other up, and soothe hurt and confusion with grace and truth. Good thing we weren't both going through our hard seasons at the same time (coincidence?). I don't know what I would have done without Shauna's input in my life over the last couple years. She has been God's way of caring for me many, many times.
And I wonder if you have a friend like this. I want you to. I believe having a good friend, and also being one, is something for which each of us was created. Do you know friendship is very, very important to God? And seasons change. In earlier seasons, I had different friends for different reasons, each contributing to my growth and who I was becoming. But if you are in a lonely season, and many of us are when we have young children, I encourage you to start praying for God to bring you a friend. He knows exactly what and who you need. I cannot TELL you the number of ways God has made Shauna the right friend for this time of my life. Handpicked by my loving Father.
Is there a place in your life where can you courageously pursue friendship? With whom do you have some common ground, in life-stage, or love for shoes, or what?? Pray for friendship. Ask someone to coffee. Keep asking after they say No. And most importantly, open up. A little vulnerability goes a long way in a growing friendship. You need this. Really you do.
Then wait, trust, and watch for God's provision.
and then enjoy coffee with Amy
and all the other pretty ladies linking up today at Virtual Coffee}