It must have been mine and my son’s fourth visit to the park that week. On this particular day, I sat quietly on a little hill overlooking a field while my toddler ran wild and free. That’s when I noticed them. The slight breeze of spring blew through their hair as they talked and laughed happily while their children played. They were mom friends, looking as if they had some real history between the three of them. As I sat there, I wistfully imagined that these women had all crossed paths when their children were just babies. In my mind, they had been there for one another through life’s greatest triumphs and deepest travesties. Their semblance of community was the very thing that seemed to evade me after our recent move to Temecula, CA. I too wanted to find “my people”—or maybe it would be more appropriate to say that I wanted back what I had left behind!
Logically, I know that moving is hard and it takes time to make friends and connect when you are new in town, but I was feeling impatient. Regret may be too strong of a word, but I was starting to wonder if my husband and I had made the right decision moving away from San Diego. Our closest friends were there and had started having babies around the same time as us! I used to be part of “those moms” with the deep friendships. Were we crazy to leave the comfort of those bonds?
“Then Peter…when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” Matthew 14:29-31
In hindsight, I felt like Jesus’ disciple Peter, initially stepping out in faith, and then doubting at the first waves of unrest in my soul. My loneliness was palpable, and perhaps my need for belonging was causing me to grow weary in God’s plan for me and my family.
At the same time, I knew we had moved for good reasons. We moved in search of a place that was more comfortable and affordable to raise our son and soon to-be growing family. Living in our small, one bedroom apartment was no longer practical with a baby on the move! We needed space to breathe and God had very clearly opened up the doors for us to move to our current home. And so move we did, not knowing a soul in this valley!
On my drive home that day, sensing my own discontent, I began to pray. I asked the Lord to help me have faith in His plan for mine and my family’s lives. I asked Him for a friend and for meaningful connections. I poured out my heart, my hurts, and my hopes. It helped to get it all out, and I felt lighter—I always do after I pray. I guess that’s because, in my life, God has always shown me His love and grace. There may be times when I don’t understand what He is doing, but I don’t doubt that His plans are always better than mine. I need only look back on the various stories of my life to find evidence of God’s faithfulness to me.
With that said, later that afternoon the Lord showed me, yet again, just how good He is to His children. The Director of my new MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) group called. She heard I was interested in getting more involved in the ministry and asked if I’d be interested in helping find speakers to come and share with our group for the following year. I tried to stay cool as she spoke, but inside I was elated! I had a feeling that by getting more involved, I was bound to make friends and find that community I desperately wanted. I knew her call was God’s way of showing me that He saw me, and that He cared—the beginning to an answered prayer.
It is now a year and half later since that day in the park and fateful call to serve on the MOPS leadership team. God knew my questions regarding our move and heard my plea for friendship. And, just as He did with Peter on the water that day when doubt crept in, He held out His ever so graceful hand to me as well. It’s still taking time as I slowly get to know new friends amidst loving my husband, and raising my (now two) sons, but the time is sweet. The friends I have made are truly helping me navigate this motherhood journey, and now, when I sit on that little hill at the park, it is often next to one of them.
When you struggle with feeling lonely, do you focus inward or choose to seek the Lord for fulfillment?
Name a specific time God revealed He cared for your heart based on an answered prayer.
Think about your current season of life and the passions God has instilled in your heart. Is there a ministry at your church or in your community where you can step out in faith and begin to serve Him in a new capacity?
By: Erica Johnson