Wednesday, September 5, 2012

belonging



I come from the fast pace and transition that is life in California.  My husband comes from a tiny town on a Tennessee mountain where the land is in your soul.  This place we now call home is just right for both of us in so many ways.  For us it is a via media if you will. 

One of the hardest transitions for me as a “newcomer” was figuring out how to fit into this new community.  I had tried all “the” things to make new friends.  

Art classes.  

Hanging out at the coffee shop.  

Volunteering with an agency that does amazing things for children.  

Reaching out to other newbies.  

Yet still I felt lonely.  This friend thing with other women is still a bit new to this tomboy me and seminary brought me the bestest of best.  Having lost physical proximity with those relationships left a gaping hole. 

I likely came off as needy and insecure in my desire to build relationships which may have pushed folks even further away.  After a few hurtful attempts at making new friends I withdrew into my own world of art and family and solitary pursuits. 

See, it is so hard to “break into” a community when you are new and those you meet have lived their whole life there.  

On top of that I am California through and through… I didn’t grow up at the beach, yet the lifestyle of a place forms so much of who we become...how we talk, how we dress, how we interact with others...so many things we just don't think about until we no longer have it.  

Oh and did I mention I am a female in ordained ministry? 

A part of me began to wither.  I spent much time praying to God about feeling lonely and stranded.

Then I “stumbled” upon this amazing book with words I could have written or if not written have thought once or twice.  

That book led me to this incredible on line community.  

This community has led me to a place I am beginning to form authentic relationships in new ways.  

Many of these women I will likely never meet face to face.  Yet many of them have been walking with me through a difficult time.  

They help me be brave.  

They help me find my voice when I lose it.

They have brought much joy into my heart and life.  

Yet mostly?  They helped me to find God in the desert again. 

There are some who blog words I know God meant just for me. 

There are some who take pictures that feed my soul.

There are some who create things I see when I close my eyes.

There are some who write books about being a woman, a child of God, a mom, a wife, a sister, or a friend that remind me I am not alone.

These women may never know how much I needed just what God gave them to share yet each one has helped me to find my way back to that place of feeling connected to other women.  Of reminding me that I belong.    

I thank God for this community and for leading me here as I searched for friendship.  

I pray it blesses you as it has blessed me.  



6 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful and so wonderful, Julie! I am so happy you have been blessed by the (in)courage community. So many amazing souls!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. indeed and thanks for being one of them!

      Delete
  2. This is beautiful - I have also found such community at (in)courage - they do such a great job of making us feel like we're not alone! Praying that God will lead you to in-real-life friendships in His time. I know how frustrating it can be to try and try and not see friendships develop. Sometimes I think God allows those dry spells to help us rely on Him... but it's not easy. Don't give up... I am sure there are amazing ladies out there who need a friend like you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved reading your words because they resonated with my soul. I feel like I could identify with you. I recently moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco. And I'm searching for like-souls and trying to make new friends. It's been hard for me to go from having tons of friends in LA to knowing hardly anyone in San Fran. (in)courage has been the best community for me too. I don't know where you are in California but you have another friend in Cali - me! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am actually now in TN. (but i still welcome friends from CA!!!)

      Delete