We were only living there for five months. Five months of unknown, five months of transition, five months of waiting for my husband’s next career move to fall into place. We had taken big steps of faith, and Colorado Springs was the intermission connecting where we had been and where we were going.
Five months that threatened loneliness, living there long enough to sense the emptiness without friends but too short to actually walk the long road that real relationships require.
I ran into her at an event we went to one Thursday evening. An acquaintance, more a friend of my sister’s than my own. But we crossed paths and immediately she said, “We are having y’all over for dinner. What are you doing Tuesday night? Come over.”
And so we shared a meal that Tuesday. One of those meals where you linger at the table long after you’ve finished. One of those meals where at the beginning you hardly knew each other and at the end all four of you have shed tears at some point. One of those meals.
And before we left that night she told me that I had to come to the women’s Bible study the next week. I told her, “Julie, I’m outgoing and I still chickened out last week. You have to be so brave to walk into a room when you’re the new girl.”
She wouldn’t have it.
And so I went the next Tuesday to the Bible study and there she was, waiting at the entrance for me. She had waited to greet me, walk me in, and show me to our table. In her hands was a book for me to borrow as a follow up from our conversation over dinner.
And then she called me the next week to check up on me. She told me she was with me in this… and then she was with me in this.
See, she had her friends and her three kids and their busy world and her husband’s job that blurred boundaries between work and family. Julie knew she didn’t have a lot to give me. But she gave me what she could. A dinner over. A book to borrow. Phone calls and texts to follow up on our talks. Grace and love and compassion and more grace.
She showed me that always, no matter what, there is room at the table.
I’ve been on the side where I felt my table was too full to add another place. I had my friends and my schedule and my kids and my husband and my job and my exhaustion and my busy.
But this time, on the other side of the table, the side that needed someone to open up their heart even just a little bit, I witnessed how loudly the small whispers of love could sing. I saw that little, consistent acts of love could build a bridge over any amount of hurt.
Julie would probably say that she didn’t do nearly as much as she wished. But to me, to the new girl, the one going through a hard season, the one on the other side of the table, her acts painted love over my weary heart. Because Jesus shows up at the dinner table just as much as He does on Sunday mornings. He shows up in a phone call just as much as a sermon.
And so now, as I will surely encounter women in shoes similar to mine, ones I don’t know well, ones who need a friend, ones who might be new, I will remember what Julie did for me. I will remember the little acts that are not so little. I will remember how very much it restored me when she went just a little out of her way to get in mine.
She saw and she acted and she made room for me at the table. And so now I know how to make room at mine.
Have you experienced a friendship that helped renew your spirit? Has someone gone above and beyond for you? I would love to hear about it in the comments!Leave a Comment
Great story Sarah. I too have been on both sides of that table. It seems my life is full of friends that I welcomed for the short term and then they moved on. Never making a long term friend. Then a year and a half ago, I reached out to be a friend to someone with cancer. This seemed to be a guaranteed short term friendship. Well, she is 6 months cancer free and a miracle. She is my encourage now and we talk and walk together. No guarentee, only a hope and future with Jesus and His grace sufficient for each day.
What a beautiful display of God’s love you have been to these friends, Deena- loving them unconditionally and despite some of them being with you for only a season. And then, to continue to love and find this new sweet friendship and to be able to walk with her (literally!) through cancer. What an encouragement to not give up on people.
Ifeoma Samuel says
Thank God for such a beautiful-hearted friend you’ve got here. Of a truth they are rare.
I have a few Godly friends that have blessed my life.
God Bless you for sharing.
Such sweet spirits are rare, I’m so glad that you’ve gotten to experience a few too. xoxo
Sarah, I love this. I am also going through a rough season and just last week had a friend go above and beyond. My husband just made a change in career. His previous job provided him with a truck to drive. He used it as a personal vehicle as well. When he gave his two weeks they let him go. He was allowed to start his new job earlier than expected but we were left without a car for him. We were under pressure as I need my vehicle to get to work also! My friend knew of our troubles. I never told her that money was a little tight and we were pressed for what we would do. After shopping for a car and not being able to find something we wanted and praying over our situation the very the same day ahe offered we husbands side truck for out family to use. I was so blown away not only by our friendship but by God coming through for us. She didn’t know everything that was going on but she knew we were in a right spot. I’m not only greatful to her and her friendship but to God for putting her in my life!
Wow- Nicole! What an incredible story! I love how God holds things together in his perfect way.
This story really speaks to me. I’m not in a new place physically but seem to be mentally and could really use an invitation, to feel that someone out there sees me and cares. Somehow with Christmas ending and everyone going back to their everyday lives is amplifying these feelings of loneliness and invisibleness.
Gosh, Terri, I so get what you’re saying. That is a hard spot to be in. I will pray right now for someone to step into your situation with you.
What a beautiful example of being Jesus in this world…to the person right in front of you! Thank you for sharing. I love this!!
Thanks, Mary. So true- so often it’s the little things with the people right there in front of us that we can share Jesus’ love with. We don’t need to complicate it as I so often do!
Kelly S says
I enjoyed this so much! I am an introvert so small acts make such a difference for me. And, as an introvert, beautiful stories of friendship, no matter how small or brief, encourage me to reach out to others. Thank you for sharing!
I think that’s what I learned too, Kelly- that it doesn’t have to be these huge, sacrificial, time-commitment acts. It’s the little, consistent things that speak love too.
Thank you for sharing. This insecurity has too burdened my head and heart for so long. Grateful for my all-knowing, grace-giving and loving God. And because of Him, it’s getting better. May you be blessed with that kind of friend through all seasons of your life.
Thanks so much, Roz. I love that we can always fall back on the sweet friendship of Jesus.
Winifred SHOKPEKA says
I was posted to a new work station, some 4 hours drive from my old station. On the day I reported to resume, I had no idea where I will spend the night as my organisation has no official residence. A lady I knew from afar because we had met in course of the work during various workshops but never got close. Being that she was only one I’d met in the past, I left my luggage in her custody. I was in for honour that I absolutely did not deserve. At close of work without my asking, she put my bag in her car & offered to take me home & if I didn’t mind I could stay in her apartment, a three bedroom flat fully serviced. In her, I have a sister, prayer partner & an encourager. Our families are inter twined today by reason of this friendship. I am grateful to God for Lady Bona Addie Fasakin. I covet her quiet & gentle spirit.
Wow. What a beautiful story. She really did go above and beyond. So neat that y’all are still connected!
When I first moved to a new town, new state, there was a group of women that opened their hearts to me and encouraged me to be brave. They were a gift from God to this scared, sad heart.
This speaks to my heart; I have some dear sisters who have called out bravery and truth in me as well. What a beautiful gift!
I am reading this and tears are streaming down my face. I’M the new girl here and in my stage of life…an older stay-at-home wife with older children, one with special needs who lives with us…it’s HARD in this new place. What little bit of connecting that has occurred, with one exception, has been at my initiation…and that’s okay, but it would be a great feeling to be pursued and checked on by the women in my church. I’ve had great friends who have invested in my life no matter how long we lived in a place, and I’ve also been one of those friends who has reached out to the new ones.
But where I live now? I am you…and I need a Julie.
Oh Marty. My heart is right there with you. When you said- I am you… and I need a Julie- it brought me right back to that place of loneliness and need, and now I have tears on my face too. It is such a tender, tender place to be. Praying that the God of mercy and grace and all-sufficiency would provide a friend who can be with you in this and step into your place of need. He’s holding your heart together until then, and well after, my friend. I do know that.
Beth Williams says
Prayers that God will quickly bring a good soul friend for you to connect with. I know it’s hard when you taking care of children and can’t leave home all the time. I feel your pain and am praying for you now!
This is wonderful. Reminding me to reach out to some new friends. 🙂
I too am you in desperate need of a Julie and have been for years. I’ve pleaded with Him to send true, deep friendship my way but so far nothing. I’ve tried to take the initiative and put myself out there and have come up with nothing but avoidance. I don’t understand why this is so hard for me. I was up for way too long last night asking Him again what’s wrong with me, what have I done or said, why am I so unaccepted and unacceptable. I feel like I’m the chocolate in the box that looks like it will be good until you take a small bite and realize that it’s not the fun caramel or one with nuts, it’s one of those weird gooey ones that you put back. The Bible speaks of community and fellowship, we’re made for relationships, so why am I not pursued or embraced? It’s not because I don’t try. I don’t stalk people or harass them. I need good, true, deep, God loving friends not only for me but also for my daughter. To have them as a model for her, to have them speak over and into her life. This subject usually drags me down deep into a very dark pit for weeks. It’s such a hard thing for me. I mean I’m on 3 tennis teams, I go to church and volunteer, I’m not being a hermit. Please God help me
I’ve never posted a comment–ever or anywhere. I apologize if this is too lengthy or ugly and weird, I just had to get it out of my head.
What a tough place to be in, Jamie. I can feel the hurt in your words. I am so glad that you felt safe enough to share your feelings here. Until things start to feel like they’re coming together in your day-to-day life I encourage you to keep coming back here to this community of sisters. They have offered me nothing but authenticity and love and acceptance and I hope you might find the same.
Sadly, I can say ‘me too’ to your post…I wish those of us who are ‘friends in need’ lived near each other…
Your reply is beautiful, sensitive and bittersweet…I love that you are seeking God and I pray that he will send that perfect blessing to you in the package of a sweet friend.
Beth Williams says
You are loved by God! Prayers that God will answer your requests soon! Try going to women’s Bible study or getting involved in some small group activity at your church.
Please bring a good soul friend to Jamie. Help her to realize that she is valuable and worthy not unwanted/unacceptable. What you made is perfect! Shower her with blessing to make her realize that she is beautiful!
What a beautiful story. When I was going through a divorce that was unwanted and completely shocking over 20 years ago, I was beginning a friendship with a colleague at work. She completely embraced me and welcomed me not only into her family which included three children at the time (now five), but also her extended family. Her parents treated me like another daughter. I spent every holiday with them, when I wasn’t able to go to my parents’ home. She is
still one of my best friends and her kids are like my own. I have always been so grateful. I’m very outgoing and yet I’m sure this experience has caused me to even more frequently reach out to new people at church and other places.
I have a few friendships like that- forged in some of the toughest fires of life and therefore you just know in your heart they are going to last forever. So neat that you have allowed experiences like that to open your eyes to those who need a little love too.
Beth Williams says
Around 11 years ago I was the new girl in town, so to speak. I was visiting church with my then boyfriend. As church was over one of the ladies came up to me introduced herself and made me feel welcome. They all kinda did that. Since that time the people of that church have gone over and above “the call of duty”. They’ve visited my parents in hospital, gone to talk with my dad, re baptize my dad, and the list goes on.
I have taken up their cue and done stuff for people there. In the last few years one family had medical problem and husband was out of work for a while. I sent some money anonymously. I did the same for a friend going through cancer whose hubby lost his job. I send e-cards. call friends. I have one good friend who when she’s going through stuff with her parents–like I am–I prepare meals for her and her husband. I get such joy out of doing for others. Many have done for me in the past and it is time to pay it forward.!
How beautiful, Beth. I agree with you- because people have loved me so well in the past when I have been hurting, I know the value and love it shows to the person so I try to do the same. Love hearing how you have been able to take this up and “pay it forward”- what love it speaks!