We were on our way to a neighborhood barbecue, and I could feel my heart starting to race. I pulled down the mirror to double-check my hair, my growing belly bouncing with every bump we hit in the road. I reached across the console and held my husband’s hand, nervously taking a deep breath. We had just moved to our new town six months prior, and I still felt like an outsider. But this barbecue was going to change everything.
Tonight, I was finally going to get out and make some new friends.
Tonight, I was going to end my streak of feeling alone.
You know how these kinds of get-togethers go, right? You all stand around in somebody’s kitchen, meet person after person, ask yourself if they like you, then ask yourself if you said something stupid, and then wonder if someone there will be your new “person”. It’s like speed dating, but for mom friends. These interactions had been going on for months now, and despite my best attempts, I hadn’t made a solid connection with anyone. I was truly struggling to find the joy in that season of my life, and loneliness was owning my heart.
It can be hard to learn how to make new friends as a mom. Most of the time, our interactions involve going to the grocery store, having conversations at work, or scrolling through social media. And it can be more than disappointing when all we really find in those interactions are conversations that barely skim the surface, when what we really crave are intimate friendships and honest conversation outside of what we are making for dinner or what the baby’s poop looks like. What we are truly desperate for is something more. For someone to look at us and really see us exactly as we are, right where we are at, and love us. For us to be able to find just one person who gets us. I think to a certain extent that we all want that as women, don’t we? To find our people, love them well, and live authentically together.
To be loved and be known.
For most of us, it’s what we want more than anything: real friends. But for some reason, it can be hard for us to find just one. And as time goes by while we continue to seek out these friendships but come up empty-handed, feelings of loneliness continue to chip away at our hearts, robbing us of our peace and joy. And the longer we try to hold it together, the more distressed we become.
You see, the thing about trying to contain these big emotions of loneliness is that they often turn into insecurity. And insecurity always shifts the sense of peace in a woman’s heart and weakens her spirit. Loneliness whispers to me that I’m not good enough. Loneliness causes me to look at my emotions through the lens of rejection. Loneliness steals my peace and leaves me barren.
And loneliness is a lie.
In these seasons of loneliness in motherhood, the first thing that we want to do is look for friends. And while we were created for relationship, how is it that we so easily get distracted by seeking out these friendships with other women that we forget that the Most Faithful Friend longs to meet with us right now? We spend so much time waiting for God to show up that we forget that he’s been right here with us all along. Sweet mama, God desires friendship with you, in seasons of plenty and in seasons of great loneliness. But in our need to feel secure in relationships with other people, we forget that we were created with a desire to belong to him first. And when we recognize that, it is the greatest weapon we have when the enemy tells us we are alone and aren’t enough.
As the psalmist so beautifully states, we are continually with him and he is with us.
Loneliness on earth is not rejection by the Father, but rather an invitation for us to lean into him and be loved and known. You are worthy of those things. He is pursuing you today. Let’s lean into him together and embrace the peace of his friendship and allow it to break the chains of our loneliness in motherhood.
As for that barbecue? Well, I walked away with an exchange of cell phone numbers and an invitation to coffee the next week. And the funny thing is, even though that coffee date never happened, that woman picked up her phone a few years later and now is one of the closest friends I have. Talk about God working all things together for my good in his perfect timing.
“Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
This blog post is an excerpt from Lauren Eberspacher’s NEW devotional, Midnight Lullabies, Moments of Peace for Moms. You can order her book here.