Just recently I had coffee for the first time with a friend that just moved into the city. She was explaining that on her way to meet me she was praying that our time together would be filled with meaningful conversation and not just about the weather. I thought it was so funny because I knew exactly how she felt. Finding friends can be both funny and hard. I too knew how it felt to move into a new city and completely start over when it came to community. It’s exciting, but it’s an uneasy feeling to say the least.
I began to share with her how a little over a year ago our little family of four left an incredible city full of community. It was full of comfortable, established, and deep friendships. We were crazy for leaving, but we knew God was telling us to GO. I mistakenly came in with the expectation that I would be able to duplicate the friendships in Asheville that I had in Charleston. Boy, was I wrong. I learned quickly that this could never happen. It just wasn’t realistic. My first year was hard because of it and felt like a blur. I wanted what I had in Charleston so badly. I mourned over the loss of the easy, deep, life-giving friendships that were there and I didn’t want to put in the “work” it took to find friends in a new town.
I remember one day it hit me. I was having a pity party with God and he told me very clearly to own where I was at and to quit moping. He reminded me that I was called here for a purpose. It wasn’t about me. My purpose was to stay obedient to the calling, be present where he had me, and he would provide the friendships I desired in His timing. I needed a wake up call and I finally did what was asked of me. I stopped moping around, feverently prayed for life-giving friendships, and started to make an intentional effort to meet new people wherever I went. I went in headfirst trusting that God would provide.
If you were to ask me if my expectations were met now a year later? I would say not exactly but I would also say that I am finding contentment. Slowly over our first year some of our family and closest friends moved to the city too and it has been such a blessing! I also slowly started to get connected with other church planter’s wives, met friends through my children’s preschool, met fellow mamas at parks, got connected with people that I have met through our church, and have even connected with other women out of state through different networks. I can never duplicate what I had in Charleston but I am so grateful for those that he has brought into my life recently. They each bring something so unique and irreplaceable to my life.
Christine Hoover hits the nail on the head in regards to friendship in her book, The Church Planting Wife, “….continue on, keep trying, intimate, remain open, persevere. If I cast aside my insecurities and refuse to give up, in due time, friendship will happen. And it has. But I’ve learned that it will never be easy. Friendship will always require my effort….If we wait around for it to just happen, it probably won’t. If we expect friendships to be perfect, we will be disappointed. If we search for that one friend, who will meet all of our friendship needs, we will never have any. So it is important, if we desire friendship, that we work at it, moving against the current toward connection.”
As it turned out that morning, my new friend and I engaged in a sweet conversation about our dreams, the future, friendship and thankfully not just about the weather. I left that morning with a sense of peace. I was reminded that God is always working in the background and He is strengthening me through new friendships. He is so funny and gracious in how He provides. It’s clear to me now that when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones, pursue others, and trust God we will in due time discover friendship.