“Me too!”

I shared a blog today on Facebook entitled “When you are waiting on God in a lonely season.” It spoke to a deep place in my heart that I have been pondering on, struggling with, and have even had conversations with others about. I figured someone else could be encouraged by it like I was, but I had no idea so many people would resonate with it as much as I did.
The blog was on friendship…
Kristen Strong writes, “From my spot on the gray and white front porch, I never heard them coming until the driver tapped his car horn. My eyes bounced from my laptop to the white car driving by, and I immediately recognized the two friends inside. I sprang up, hooked one arm around my laptop just in time to save it from tumbling to the ground. I pumped my other arm so hard waving I nearly took flight right off the porch.
When the car rounded the corner out of sight, my tears came out of nowhere.
What is your problem? I scolded myself. So now passing cars make you cry?
I plopped down on the wrought iron bench and shook my head.
I knew exactly what my problem was. Once again, I found myself in a season of changing friendships, and it took a mad wave at friends in a passing car to make me realize just how long I’ve gone without solid, in-person girlfriend time.”

“Once again, I found myself in a season of changing friendships”…this stopped me dead in my tracks as I nodded my head in complete agreement.  This is where my head and heart have been lately.  We have been back in SC for over a year now and I still feel like I am in a season of “changing friendships.”  Like Strong said in her blog, this ain’t my first rodeo when it comes to making new friends, so I should be a pro at this right?  Hardly.  When Nick and I moved to Ohio roughly 7 years ago we knew absolutely no one.  Zero. The first two years were the hardest years I believe I have ever experienced.  While there were some absolute blessings in that, like that fact that Nick and I became each others’ best friend, I still missed my friendships back home and longed for friends in this new place God had brought us to.  Something you must know about me, that makes meeting new people and making new friends especially hard, is that I am painfully shy.  Chances are if I am sitting beside you, I am thinking the entire time, “what can I ask her” or “what should I say next.” And then I usually just give up and embrace the awkward silence.  Ugh, the struggle is real for us introverts.

So I was thinking, what are some practical steps that we can all embrace if we ever find ourselves in a “season of changing friendships” and I’ve come up with a few.  I don’t by any means have these nail down, but I do believe that if we practice these truths and embrace them, they could make this season we find ourselves in a little easier.

  1.  Grieve and Embrace 

Whether you are the “new kid on the block” or the one who has been left behind while life circumstances has taken those closest to you away, it’s so important and healthy for you in moving forward to grieve what was and embrace what’s new.  Maybe your husband’s job has moved you hundreds of miles away and you are grieving your friendships you left behind and all that’s familiar .  Maybe you are a new mom and suddenly find yourself among a sea of friends who are still foot loose and fancy free, void of parental responsibilities.  You are grieving what was even though you wouldn’t trade becoming a mom for anything.  Or maybe one day you wake up and realize that the friends that you’ve had for so long, their priorities and values have shifted and changed and you no longer see eye-to-eye.  I encourage you to lean into this grief, press into it, but here’s the thing, you can’t stay there.  You have to embrace the new.  Listen, I am the world’s best pity-party thrower and I can come up with a million reasons why it’s not fair that life happens and friends come and go, but at some point I am going to have to put on my “big girl panties” and embrace the new, whatever that may look like.  Will it be easy to make new friends in a strange, unfamiliar place? Nope.  Will it be hard to venture out and find fellow moms who are in a similar life stage?  Yep.  But here is what I know and what I’ve learned along the way, “great things never come from comfort zones.”  Grieve because it’s necessary, but then be ready to embrace the new and even chase it down if you have to.

2.  The power of “Me too!”

I’ll never forget meeting one of my first friends after moving to Ohio.  We had been there for almost 2 years and I still was lacking in the friend department.  I had been invited to a girl’s night at someone’s house.  We were all chit chatting and eating finger foods (one of my love languages) when I overheard her talking about some frustrations with a certain family member.  I remember whipping my head around and totally butting into her conversation and saying, “ME TOO!”  I kid you not, from that moment on she became one of my dearest friends.  There is so much power in “me too!” and shared experiences.  Whether it’s a shared love for exercise, similar life stages, in-law problems, the fact that they’ve seen you get sick on their front lawn (Emma, I am still sorry about that) or whether you have a shared love for leather earrings and baseball caps.  However significant or trivial, when you find someone who say’s “me too!” pay attention to that.  Shared experiences act like glue, by bringing people together and bonding them.  The next time you hear someone respond, “me too!” you may have just met your new best friend 🙂

3.  That darn “first year”

Here is what I know to be true, the first year of anything new always happens TO YOU.  Whether it’s a new job, a new baby, a new school, or living in a new state.  That darn first year makes you feel like you are paddling upstream but without a paddle.  Here is what I am going to need you to do if you have found yourself in anything new, lower your expectations.  Lower your expectations for finding friends within the first 2 months of being in some place new, lower your expectations for being able to make it through 24 hours without crying, lower your expectations for being able to find a new rhythm and routine quickly.  Let’s just be brutally honest here, the first year of anything new can knock the wind right out of your sails.  Give yourself grace and be patient with yourself and your circumstances.  Good things don’t come quickly or easily, neither do friendships.

If you find yourself in a “season of changing friendships,” rest in the hope that God has created you to be in relationship with others.  He knows your heart’s cry and even now He is aligning circumstances and situations for you to find that other person who says, “me too!”

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as he knows us! {1 Corinthians 13:12, MSG}



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