topics:
Friendship
Voyage girls at party

“We’ve been really busy.” “We should get together, sometime, when things slow down.” “I just don’t feel like I have really connected with anyone at church.” “I feel so alone being home with my kids all day!” “I don’t have any real life friends nearby, just friends I talk to online.” “I’d love to help you out, but things are pretty busy for us right now.”

Do you ever say any of those words?

Do you ever hear people say those words?

I know I’ve said them.

Many of us seem to be spinning our wheels and busier than ever, and sadly, we are missing out on the blessing of connecting with others.

Recently, a few of the ladies at our small brand new church were discussing starting a women’s group. At first, I’ll admit, I was worried that it might be just one more thing to do. I run myself ragged with “things to do.” Yet, I was impressed that these ladies were being proactive and willing to step out of their comfort zone to seek out real connections within the church. That is a rare and precious thing!

I immediately invited these ladies into my home for a brainstorming session. Before we even began our meeting, one woman cheerfully volunteered to help me paint my walls (after I casually shared that I wasn’t finding time to paint!). She told me I had done so much for our new church, she wanted to help me out. I nearly fainted dead away! She became my new best friend. Her heart to serve me opened up the conversation of serving others and meeting needs.

As the women gathered around my family room, we began sharing our own needs. A few women said they wished they had someone to go walking with and keep them motivated to exercise. Others said they wished they could learn how to sew. Another wanted someone to help her practice for her speech class. Some women wanted a bible study and some felt isolated at home with their kids all day. It was evident we all needed people to connect with. The needs came pouring out. The offers to help covered every need. These women didn’t know each other yet, but they were willing to reach out.

As we talked, we thought of other women in the church or our neighborhoods that we could personally encourage to come to our group or that we could serve in some way. It was clear these women didn’t want to form an exclusive clique or club, they wanted to reach out!  And they didn’t want to start a group that wasn’t productive, they were ready to GET THINGS DONE! Each of us had something to offer someone else.

The direction and heart beat of our group became pretty obvious.

Voyage girls at paint party

Several days later, bless their hearts, all of these women came over to help me paint! My furniture was pulled every which way and dust bunnies flew freely. They came ready to serve. No perfect home, makeup, fancy clothes or quiet church voices were needed to paint an illusion of who we were that day. Imperfection was welcome and expected.

As we picked up brushes, the conversations started. We talked about our lives, our families, how we spend our days. We are all so different, but that didn’t matter. We are all women with hearts and stories. We laughed. We reminisced as 80’s music blared from the speakers. The kids played around us and my dog tried to step in wet paint. It was real life. Right there, in the midst of them helping me, conversation took place and seeds of friendships began.

We planned our next meeting together to help each other sew. I don’t know how to sew, but I’ll be there to talk and laugh and listen. And maybe learn a stitch or two.

As a church planter/pastor’s wife who is often times overwhelmed trying to motivate and encourage our young church goers to connect with each other and serve God in meaningful ways, I am humbled to see the heart of Jesus being poured out from these women as they live out this verse:

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

As we do real life together, I know God is going to use this amazing group in more ways than I can imagine.

Do you have a group of women to do life with?

by Melissa Michaels, The Inspired Room

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  • http://www.future-smiling.com Deb Owen

    I do have a great group of women I do life with, but only after hitting a time in my life when I realized that had been missing. After that, it was completely intentional in building my own small band of sisters. (And even still, I will think I need to touch base or get together and get pulled into that ‘after I get these things done/I’m busy’ trap.)
    As I started talking to others, I noticed it seemed to be missing for a lot of women, and so I started reaching out to ‘build a sisterhood’ for others as well.
    I’m so glad I learned to make the time to build great friendships. It’s one of the most cherished things of my life.
    Thanks for the reminder in this post! I’ll be making a couple of calls today. ;-)
    Love,
    deb

  • http://www.future-smiling.com Deb Owen

    I do have a great group of women I do life with, but only after hitting a time in my life when I realized that had been missing. After that, it was completely intentional in building my own small band of sisters. (And even still, I will think I need to touch base or get together and get pulled into that ‘after I get these things done/I’m busy’ trap.)
    As I started talking to others, I noticed it seemed to be missing for a lot of women, and so I started reaching out to ‘build a sisterhood’ for others as well.
    I’m so glad I learned to make the time to build great friendships. It’s one of the most cherished things of my life.
    Thanks for the reminder in this post! I’ll be making a couple of calls today. ;-)
    Love,
    deb

  • http://lifeingraceblog.com edie

    Love this Melissa!

  • http://lifeingraceblog.com edie

    Love this Melissa!

  • http://Www.Janmary.com janmary, N Ireland

    Love this idea. Been searching for a way to connect with others in church. – so we can help, support and encourage eachother and reach out to more. Will share this idea and let you know how it goes.

  • http://Www.Janmary.com janmary, N Ireland

    Love this idea. Been searching for a way to connect with others in church. – so we can help, support and encourage eachother and reach out to more. Will share this idea and let you know how it goes.

  • http://simplysimonsisters.blogspot.com Desiree

    Our church offers a ministry to mothers through Linda Andersons mom to mom. As a new mom it was a blessing to become a part of the group. After a long summer with a colicky new born it was refressing to hear that I was not alone & there are other mothers struggling too. Even on days when I did not feel like going I knew that I needed to, to have that community and be connected to others and the Lord. Over this year I have formed an amazing friendship with many women in my group. Good luck with starting a group of your own, sounds like you guys already have a great one.
    For more info on mom to mom go here:
    http://www.momtomom.org/

  • http://thegoatandthekid.blogspot.com Nancy

    I love this… I am all about having a group to connect with to support each other. I think as women we are givers and never really stop and say that four letter word (help). I love your story. love the inspiration.

  • http://www.thesimasek-kiblerproject.blogspot.com sheri

    What a post. I would like to link back to it if i can in the post i’m doing for this week on “His girls”. Friendships are so very important and they can get pushed aside for ‘more important things’ like, well, life, like you said. This post so truly touched my heart today. Thank you.

  • http://www.penn-fam.blogspot.com Missy June

    Yay for girlfriends! When my life hit a HUGE challenge, I was a remain so blessed by my female friends. I suddenly became a single mother and women volunteered babysit, help me clean, mow grass, etc. An army of supportive and encouraging women circled and lifted me. It when we are real and allow ourselves to say “help” that we activate the power of Christ through people.
    I cannot imagine life without friends.

  • Kim W.

    I think we all get caught up in our world around us and sometimes forget to look for ways to help others or think “Oh they are fine, they don’t need any help from me.” When most of the time we as moms, wives, daughters, sisters, etc forget to ask for help because we don’t want to appear weak and that we don’t have our act together or we think our friends and those around us don’t have time to help us because they are so busy with their own lives. I know I struggle with that at times. Thanks Melissa for posting this. It was great to read it this morning. I totally love the idea!

  • http://thebeverlybuzz.blogspot.com Beverly @ The Buzz

    This post makes me sad. I don’t have a group of girlfriends and so very much wish I did. There are several groups at church–kind of like high school. So far I haven’t found one I click with. Here’s hoping…

  • http://www.kellylangnersauer.com/ Kelly Langner Sauer

    My sister and I were just talking about this kind of thing last night. WHAT a cool answer to our question of “where?” do Christians make room for others? How often do we really consider others before ourselves, especially when it comes to needs? How often do we miss out on the joy of being one in Christ when we’re pushing people off because of our own schedules, our own limitations, our own insecurities?
    Love. This.

  • http://www.jennyrain.com Jenny

    Oh my gosh I LOVE this strategy! It is so easy in big cities to feel disconnected… this is such a great idea! I’m going to send it on to our women’s ministry leaders. thanks!

  • http://theinspiredroom.net melissa @ the inspired room

    Hi Beverly, I don’t want you to feel sad! So many women are in that boat of wishing they could “click” with a group. I’d say all of the women in this new group were probably exactly as you described prior to starting this, wishing they had a group to click with. Most of these ladies are military women who move all the time, they have to start over every where they go! That is tough, but it does present the opportunity to become women who reach out!
    It is so common for women to bond together in groups that become closed off, just like high school and other women get left out. I’ve seen that a lot! They probably are not intentionally leaving women out but the mindset of some groups is not really focused on reaching out, rather to build within. There is a real need for groups that reach out and want to include everyone!
    One of the goals we have for this group is that we will become women who go out of our way to approach other women that we meet or already know to show great love and care. We want to surround women at our church and in our neighborhoods with invitations to join us and not leave them alone until we get a flat out NO I don’t want to come!
    I know women can so easily turn down invitations until they feel they are REALLY wanted and cared for! And that is how we feel as a group, we REALLY want to include everyone and don’t want to take no for an answer, at least right away! :-)
    Perhaps there are some other women in your church who also feel alone and left out that would love a brand new group where they would feel welcomed! New groups and new churches can be the best at reaching out if they realize the need is there and they can meet it by simply extending the invitation (sometimes repeatedly!).
    I’ll pray for you on this Beverly! Whether this is something you could start on your own or you could reach out to another woman who might feel led to get something going, sometimes the first step is just admitting the need.

  • http://melindatoad.com Mel

    I am blessed to have a wonderful group of women but I still find myself lonely! We don’t get together like we used to and it has now been several years since we planned a girls retreat. I am deeply longing for that closeness again and I am determined to get our girls trip planned, even if I have to do it all! I think we lose ourselves in being busy – I have made a very conscious effort to not be one of those busy moms but that means, I’m alone a lot with my kids because all of the women I know are constantly running from here to there. Let’s slow it down folks! Your kids do NOT need to be in every sport or activity. They will not suffer from it, I promise!

  • http://beckykeife.blogspot.com Becky K.

    Every phrase you started this post with is exactly what I feel like right now. You have no idea how much this resonates with me. I’ve always been a people person, but since transitioning out of the working world into full-time mommmyhood (while still juggling a part-time job from home) I’ve found myself with a lot of quality women on the periphery of my life but not a lot of quality connection.
    I feel lost and alone. I don’t know whether to try harder at pursuing friendships I already have but aren’t what they used to be due to physical distance or difference in life stages, or seek out new friends in my community who are in a similar place in life.
    With a toddler and baby #2 due in two months I feel overwhelmed that now that I am accutely aware of my need for community and “soul sisters”…someone to regularly ask who are you REALLY doing and someone to ask me and really listen…that I don’t have enough time before the baby to cultivate new relationships and after the baby I won’t have much of myself to give for a while.
    I know one of the big problems is that my husband and I have been church hopping (I hate that term and that’s not our heart, but our reality), so there’s not a body of believers that I feel like I can really get plugged in with because I don’t know if that’s where we’ll stay as a family. Are these just excuses? I need the Lord to lead me and give me strength and clarity.
    Sorry this was so long…thanks for letting me vent. I appreciate your prayers. Blessings to you and your new sisters/BFFs/painting-buddies…I know you will bless many other women in your pursuits to love and include others like Jesus did. :)

  • http://www.butterbeanandpeanut.com Christi

    Oh this is so wonderful! I recently have had some big changes in my life that have made me realize how much I need my friends. They have all reached out to me in support even though some I haven’t talked to in a while. It is so good to have women you can be with and enjoy good conversations, and help each other. I love it!

  • http://tiffluvslife.typepad.com Tiffany

    Oh my gosh Melissa. I just wrote a post a few days ago about my need for a few gals to do life with. I loved this post. Thank you for writing this.

  • http://theblessednest.blogspot.com Stacey @ The Blessed Nest

    Love this!!!

  • http://www.andersenseven.typepad.com teresa

    I have several different women groups. One that I serve with in Church…we learn and serve each other. I also have a small group of girlfriends we paint each others homes etc, cry, laugh and shop together.
    Both these groups are a huge support to me.
    Thanks for your article.

  • Marla

    We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:2, NLT
    Although I don’t know who to call to get a group started…I can start here. In prayer. First, thanking God for women who care enough to be transparent, vulnerable, and reach out (even in our shortcomings) to make a difference on one another’s lives. Second, to ask God to help me to be the doer and get a ‘livin-life’ group started in my area. Who to call, what to do, etc.
    Melissa, thank you for bringing up the fact that as Sisters in the Lord, we have need of one another. Each of us brings to the Body strengths that can minister to someone else. It doesn’t matter if we feel inadequate…if we didn’t feel this way we would have no need for God and His strength at work in/through us.
    Ladies, God bless each one of you with fellowship and Sisterhood.
    Hmmm, Melissa, ever thought about being a ‘matchmaker’ for ‘living life’-type ladies groups? You are a natural!LOL;) Thanks for being open. We love you.

  • http://krysworld.blogspot.com Krys72599

    I have “starred” so many of your posts, Melissa, but I think this one should be able to get FIVE stars! What a tremendous idea! I think the key, though, is that we have to make time to do this.
    We’re all SO VERY BUSY. I would LOVE to implement something like this in my neighborhood, if not in my church; I live in a different area than either of the two churches I attend (we’re blessed to have a vacation home for weekends so we go to church there 1/2 the year and in our hometown the other 1/2 of the year). My neighbors spend a lot of time outside with their children, and we spend a lot of that quality conversation complaining about how much we have to do! We should just get it done!

  • http://www.PhotoGreetings.etsy.com Angie

    I’m so encouraged by this article! I have been craving the friendships of women. Since October, I have pretty much been “stuck” at home with my husband taking the working vehicle to work. Granted, I could get up early every morning, pile the kids into the car, drop him off at work, and then do the same in the evening to pick him up, but sometimes that’s not so easy. So, I think I miss out on opportunities to really connect with people. Plus, I’m a homebody anyways, and like to stay in my comfort zone. But I don’t feel like that’s where God wants me anymore. I think He wants me to step out of my comfort zone and become a friend to other women who are desperately craving friendship too!
    Thank you for sharing this!

  • http://www.PhotoGreetings.etsy.com Angie

    I’m so encouraged by this article! I have been craving the friendships of women. Since October, I have pretty much been “stuck” at home with my husband taking the working vehicle to work. Granted, I could get up early every morning, pile the kids into the car, drop him off at work, and then do the same in the evening to pick him up, but sometimes that’s not so easy. So, I think I miss out on opportunities to really connect with people. Plus, I’m a homebody anyways, and like to stay in my comfort zone. But I don’t feel like that’s where God wants me anymore. I think He wants me to step out of my comfort zone and become a friend to other women who are desperately craving friendship too!
    Thank you for sharing this!

  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy at Joy in This Journey

    Thank for sharing this wonderful idea for connecting and building into one another. I’m going to share this and try to practice it.

  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy at Joy in This Journey

    Thank for sharing this wonderful idea for connecting and building into one another. I’m going to share this and try to practice it.

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com Courtney(Women Living Well)

    My favorite group of girls are my Good Morning Girls. Every morning we email each other and say good morning and share what we learned in our quiet time. After 3 years of emailing daily – God has knit our hearts together and helped us through parenting, marriage, and all kinds of other problems! What a blessing they have been to me. We get together regularly over coffee and just enjoy one another so much.
    It has gone so well that I started a blog/website just about 3 weeks ago to encourage other women to start their own good morning girls groups (at http://www.goodmorninggirls.org) and guess what? 91 groups with 600 women from 31 states and 5 countries signed up! I am humbled and so excited!
    If you don’t have a group – come see what it’s all about – this doesn’t take any time away from home because you can connect on the computer – it’s tech accountability and SO fun!
    Here’s the link to a Vlog with all the details:
    http://goodmorninggirls.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/24/welcome-to-good-morning-girls.html
    Much Love,
    Courtney

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com Courtney(Women Living Well)

    My favorite group of girls are my Good Morning Girls. Every morning we email each other and say good morning and share what we learned in our quiet time. After 3 years of emailing daily – God has knit our hearts together and helped us through parenting, marriage, and all kinds of other problems! What a blessing they have been to me. We get together regularly over coffee and just enjoy one another so much.
    It has gone so well that I started a blog/website just about 3 weeks ago to encourage other women to start their own good morning girls groups (at http://www.goodmorninggirls.org) and guess what? 91 groups with 600 women from 31 states and 5 countries signed up! I am humbled and so excited!
    If you don’t have a group – come see what it’s all about – this doesn’t take any time away from home because you can connect on the computer – it’s tech accountability and SO fun!
    Here’s the link to a Vlog with all the details:
    http://goodmorninggirls.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/24/welcome-to-good-morning-girls.html
    Much Love,
    Courtney

  • http://profile.typepad.com/gitzengirl Sara

    I love this. It sounds a bit like the friends I made in college… When everyone loved diving in to every project and the people I thought would be the most different from me turned out to be my soul sisters. College was like that because we were all trying to find ourselves rather than impress each other. If only we could learn that’s who we really are in every step of our lives… Continuing to find out who we are.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/gitzengirl Sara

    I love this. It sounds a bit like the friends I made in college… When everyone loved diving in to every project and the people I thought would be the most different from me turned out to be my soul sisters. College was like that because we were all trying to find ourselves rather than impress each other. If only we could learn that’s who we really are in every step of our lives… Continuing to find out who we are.

  • http://hoperoadblog.com Anna

    This is a great reminder – I think especially to reach out and not let online relationships replace real relationships… because they just can’t!

  • http://hoperoadblog.com Anna

    This is a great reminder – I think especially to reach out and not let online relationships replace real relationships… because they just can’t!

  • http://www.snotw.com Rachael

    I had a group of women down in Seattle who are still my ladies. I have not found a new group of people who are really there for each other in the same way since we moved 1.5 hours north. I miss it a lot, and I feel sad that I haven’t been able to make that kind of connection with anyone up here. Great post.

  • http://www.snotw.com Rachael

    I had a group of women down in Seattle who are still my ladies. I have not found a new group of people who are really there for each other in the same way since we moved 1.5 hours north. I miss it a lot, and I feel sad that I haven’t been able to make that kind of connection with anyone up here. Great post.

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience

    You write inspired words, Melissa — and little worlds all over the world change.
    *Thank you.*
    All’s grace,
    Ann

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience

    You write inspired words, Melissa — and little worlds all over the world change.
    *Thank you.*
    All’s grace,
    Ann

  • http://got2havefaith.wordpress.com jeri

    I really needed this little pep-talk. I was invited to go to celebrate a birthday with a woman I don’t know well…needless to say I was debating whether or not to go…I have too much to do already, etc., etc. But I will go and rather than look at it as an obligation I will look at it as what it is…a celebration! Who knows, maybe I will make a lifelong girl friend tomorrow.

  • http://got2havefaith.wordpress.com jeri

    I really needed this little pep-talk. I was invited to go to celebrate a birthday with a woman I don’t know well…needless to say I was debating whether or not to go…I have too much to do already, etc., etc. But I will go and rather than look at it as an obligation I will look at it as what it is…a celebration! Who knows, maybe I will make a lifelong girl friend tomorrow.

  • http://ittybittyblog.wordpress.com Darcy

    This is a great idea! I don’t have a group to do life with and really need it even though I don’t think I do…Does that make sense?
    I have just recently relocated to a new town with my husband and two young children so finding that special group of ladies is important!

  • http://ittybittyblog.wordpress.com Darcy

    This is a great idea! I don’t have a group to do life with and really need it even though I don’t think I do…Does that make sense?
    I have just recently relocated to a new town with my husband and two young children so finding that special group of ladies is important!

  • Tiffany

    Since moving to Maryland I have yet to meet anyone and make friends. My life has been very lonely. I have just begun to connect with a good church and you have inspired me to try to reach out and make some friends. Maybe in the next few weeks I can invite a few women over and start a group. Thank you.

  • Tiffany

    Since moving to Maryland I have yet to meet anyone and make friends. My life has been very lonely. I have just begun to connect with a good church and you have inspired me to try to reach out and make some friends. Maybe in the next few weeks I can invite a few women over and start a group. Thank you.

  • http://www.MelissaMashburn.com Mel’s World with Melissa Mashburn

    Melissa girl, you continue to bless, encourage, and inspire me even though we don’t get a chance to chat as we used to.
    Thank you for being a light and sharing your heart with so many!
    xoxo,
    Mel

  • http://www.MelissaMashburn.com Mel’s World with Melissa Mashburn

    Melissa girl, you continue to bless, encourage, and inspire me even though we don’t get a chance to chat as we used to.
    Thank you for being a light and sharing your heart with so many!
    xoxo,
    Mel

  • http://storybookwoods.typepad.com/storybook_woods/ clarice

    Dear Melissa,
    I would say you are very blessed to have found such a committed, like-minded group of ladies. They are not easy to come by (I HATE painting, soo I am impressed with these ladies!!!) and when one finds it, they should hold on. I know I am blessed by the godly women in my life xoxoxox Clarice

  • http://storybookwoods.typepad.com/storybook_woods/ clarice

    Dear Melissa,
    I would say you are very blessed to have found such a committed, like-minded group of ladies. They are not easy to come by (I HATE painting, soo I am impressed with these ladies!!!) and when one finds it, they should hold on. I know I am blessed by the godly women in my life xoxoxox Clarice

  • Alicia

    I loved all your comments they really spoke to me. I am struggling with a lot lately and all of my close friends i lean on are going through their own crisis . We all are struggling to meet are girlfriends needs . I love it sometimes i will start to complain with my Husband and he will say ” you need to call one of your girlfriends- I ma not a woman, I am your husband”. Got to love him he is honest- Woman need woman. I love my girlfriend Christina we would get together make a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, drink a bottle of wine, Bitch about our problems, and laugh out loud ,cry with each other- sorry we could not fix them, and pray. I miss her she had to move out of state. My friends here are great but that one friend you can bitch to with a bottle of wine priceless. Don’t take your special friends for granted they will be gone before you know it. God bless!

  • Alicia

    I loved all your comments they really spoke to me. I am struggling with a lot lately and all of my close friends i lean on are going through their own crisis . We all are struggling to meet are girlfriends needs . I love it sometimes i will start to complain with my Husband and he will say ” you need to call one of your girlfriends- I ma not a woman, I am your husband”. Got to love him he is honest- Woman need woman. I love my girlfriend Christina we would get together make a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, drink a bottle of wine, Bitch about our problems, and laugh out loud ,cry with each other- sorry we could not fix them, and pray. I miss her she had to move out of state. My friends here are great but that one friend you can bitch to with a bottle of wine priceless. Don’t take your special friends for granted they will be gone before you know it. God bless!

  • http://www.decoradventures.com/ Jessica

    This is my favorite post in a long time and just the description for something I’ve been needing/thinking about/craving for along time.
    I’m going to look into doing this in my town and hope to hear from others who have done the same.

  • http://www.decoradventures.com/ Jessica

    This is my favorite post in a long time and just the description for something I’ve been needing/thinking about/craving for along time.
    I’m going to look into doing this in my town and hope to hear from others who have done the same.

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