“Are you sure you want to go?” I asked my daughter again. “You don’t have to go.”

She nodded confidently but the catch in her voice told me otherwise, “Will you go with me?”

It was three days before my oldest child headed to junior high school and if that’s not big enough in our little world, it was a new school in a new town and she didn’t know a soul. When we read about the Back to School Band Pool Party at her orientation, we thought it would be a great place to meet new friends before the big day.

So she gathered towel and tote and I pulled up the van to the Natatorium and the little-girl-look on her worried face was enough to send me back to the security of home. Instead I watched her take a deep breath and open the door and take the first step into the unknown. Her hope outweighed her fear.

She sat her things down and got in line  for the diving board. I sat in the bleachers and wrung my hands. I watched a big group of laughing girls walk past her without a second glance. She dove in and I prayed. I looked around for other lone moms of possible new girls and tried to work it from that angle.

She swam over to a smaller group and stood there nervously at the edge. I silently begged just one girl to acknowledge my beautiful daughter.  She finally made eye contact, gave a half wave and I watched her mouth a shy, “hi.” The girls didn’t even look up and then they swam away.

She turned, shoulders slumped. And I remembered how it felt to be on the edge.

My eyes filled. I quickly swiped away stupid tears and saw her searching for me in the stands. Her audience of one. With a smile, I silently sent her the look only a mother can give. The kind that said, “I’m proud of you for trying, this will get better, being the new girl is so hard, but you are enough.” And I tried to believe my own words.

I didn’t want her to see how hard this was for me to watch her live this moment. How could she know I still run away from the new girl in me?

She stood before me shivering and her eyes reflected disappointment instead of hope. I watched her fight tears and I asked, “Do you want to go home?”

She wasn’t ready to give up and when she stepped back in the water for the second time, I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder, knowing I would have run.

For another painful 30 minutes she did everything in her power to meet people. No one responded. It was all I could do not to stand up and scream, “SOMEONE, ANYONE, PLEASE SEE ME. I mean, HER. Look at her.” And then all the years of junior high and high school and college and first job and church women’s groups and blogging conferences, all my own pent-up new girl angst was there with me in the stands.

We left without her meeting one person. We dumped our sorrow into chocolate milkshakes and we talked long into the night.

Even in her disappointment, she kept thanking me for being there, for not leaving her alone. I told her of all my “new girl” experiences, we laughed until we cried. My wise little girl who now stands taller then me, held my hand and said, “Now I know how new kids feel. I’m not sorry I went. I will make friends. It’s going to be okay.”

“You’re never alone,” I repeated, trying to imprint it on her soul. But I went to bed crying and praying that her words would come true.

The overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing and all the ugly feelings of the proverbial new girl in me resurfaced. I didn’t just see in her a younger version of me standing at the edge of the group, I saw me today: the grown woman who still turns down invitations, spends more time alone than with people and constantly wonders if she will ever fit in.

I see my kids desire to blend with the group, be accepted for who they are. I see the same desire in me, even after all the graduations and time passed, it’s still there.  I always come back to the same answer: Jesus loves me and I am enough just like I am.

I kissed my daughter on the first day of school and sent her off with prayers and the reminder that she is never ever alone. She met another new girl that first day.

Two weeks later, as I sat in the carline waiting for my daughter, I watched her walk out the door  laughing with a girl, a friend. I smiled as a couple of texts popped up on my phone from a few (in)courage sisters, “We miss you at the beach! We love you! Wish you were here.”

I believed them. I believe Him.

And the new girl in me grew a little smaller, her voice not so loud.

For the “new girl” deep within you:

Tell her to never give up. Encourage her to keep trying. Help her pull down the walls she builds to protect her heart. Remind her she’s not alone. Quiet her doubt. Be brave. Lose the self-loathing. Love her. And don’t forget to remind her every day to accept His perfect love that casts out fear.

by Kristen Welch, We are THAT family

comments:
share:

comments:

  1. 1

    I love that you heard what your daughter really meant. The whole story, in fact, feels like a beautiful snapshot of how tenderly you’re mothering her…and what a brave soul she is! Thank you for this example of what it means to rest in God.

  2. 2

    Isn’t it funny how we think we get through these hard times in our lives, like Jr High, and the our children pull us right back into all those awkward left out feelings. I didn’t think about that before I had kids. Mine are still small, but my little girl is ikely to be the one doing her own thing and ignoring someone that wants to play together, and that is hard to see too.

  3. 3

    I had a very similar experience this week with my daughter. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is funny because my daughter and I both crave the company of other people and yet we are both so very shy and slow to initiate it. Unlike your brave daughter we tend to wait to be invited in. I probably would not have gone to that party. I am so glad your daughter made a friend. God is good. His timing is perfect. This was a good reminder to trust His timing. Thanks!

  4. 4

    Kristen – this post just hurts my heart, because as a mama and as a girl I have lived them both. God knows how to speak to us way down deep through our kids, doesn’t He?

    I’m cheering for your girl.
    I’m cheering for you.

  5. 5

    What bravery and courage your girl showed. Speaks volumes about what you have poured into her. I could picture myself there, holding my breath watching my own little girl… like Stacey, my heart just hurt. For her. For you. Blessings as you traverse this journey of “newness”.

  6. 6

    A beautiful post. You absolutely captured the feelings perfectly. Well done.

  7. 7

    Thank you for this this morning! I found my own eyes welling up as I read this. I can totally relate to being the new girl, at so many points through my life, and most recently as we moved to a new city. This hits a vulnerable spot deep within my soul. It can be so hard and discouraging. I go through spells of having to give myself similar peptalks and then just choosing to press on. It is going through experiences like that which make me so conscious of trying to welcome those “newer” than me. That is where I end up finding my comfort zone. Anyway, thank you for writing this, for all of us “new girls”.

    • 8

      Same here! I love this post. What a real and beautiful story of loneliness, longing and hope. I’ve been this girl so I know the story all too well. You’re a great mom for you helped raise a daughter who didn’t give up and fought through. Way to go!

  8. 9

    After being the new girl for many years in school and now the new girl in a new work situation this post was painfully close to home and brought me to tears at my desk! My daughter is the “new girl” at our new church (my new workplace) and oh my how I can relate to the way you felt sitting by the pool that day. Thanks for sharing!!

  9. 10
    ro elliott says:

    Really no matter how old we get..threads of this still remain…it gets weaker with time.., more freedom comes…but I wonder if we as woman will always struggle a little. the gift of this…we would have a tendency to put too much in relationships….earthly ones…this ache is a great balancer.
    This post is so sweet…but the sweetest part for me…you in the car…watching God’s love for your daughter in action…and God’s love meeting you through the text. We have a kind and intimate God, who just will lean down here and give us a sweet kiss on the cheek.

  10. 11

    P O W E R F U L !!

    It’s so hard to be the new kid. My own (ministry) kids have been the new kids in 6 different schools. Fortunately, God sprinkled just enough confidence over them to help in each move.

    God is so good. Love the milkshake & talking stuff. Kids know they can count on parents when they take time to share the crummy parts of life. ;)

  11. 12

    thank you this was so touching I have loved the last message so much i have texted it to my girlfriends its so lovely u see the God in eveyday situations thank you God bless you

  12. 13
    Courtney F. says:

    I’ve lived in my community for 2 years now, and still feel like the new girl. It took awhile for me to reach out, to meet people… I was here for a whole year before I even ventured across the street to the church where I am now a member, I just formed a Girl Scout troop for my daughter and other girls in the community. Thankfully, my children made friends quickly, but it took a little longer for me to get past my “new girl feelings.” Luckily, when I did, I found a church family who embraced us, a group of people who celebrate our successes and comfort us through difficult seasons. As my children grow older, especially my daughter, I worry about them being accepted by others, but I know that no matter how many friends they have, the ultimate friend is the One who created them… and they are already truly accepted exactly as they are.

  13. 14

    kristen, loved the heart in this, both yours and hers. my own precious girl is struggling with wanting to belong in a world she knows she is meant to be an “alien” in.. hard for my heart to watch and hard to remember those own feelings of wanting to be seen, to feel connected.

    i love this thought: “And the new girl in me grew a little smaller, her voice not so loud.” i will take it with me as encouragement. thank you.

  14. 15

    Oh this was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I hope to always have this kind of relationship with my daughter!

  15. 16

    Beautiful, Kristen. Thank you for this.

  16. 17

    This might be my favorite thing you’ve written. Thank you for sharing. I definitely have a new girl in me and also hurt for my two girls when they are in new environments too.

  17. 18

    Totally teary right now. Those “new girl” feeling are so strong…and 100x as painful when you’re watching your kids go through them.

  18. 19

    Beautifully done. My daughter is my opposite: the socialite, never meeting a stranger! She’s like my mother. I am a huge disappointment to them both in my fear of people. I am the anxious one, the cringer, on the outside looking in. Ready to flee at first opportunity. It’s very difficult for me to fit in, to even feel a part of a group. I never feel they should accept me. I “hear” their criticism in my head and I imagine their glances of judgment. I love how you encouraged your daughter and understood her and you worked through that together. I wish my mother had understood me rather than making me feel something was wrong with me.

  19. 20

    I swear this post could have been written about me and my son. Thank you for sharing today.

  20. 21

    Please tell your girl she’s my hero? And you are too, my dear. As hard as it is to be the new girl myself, it’s a million times harder to watch your babe go through it. Bravo to you, good mama. BRAVO.

  21. 22

    I am a perpetual new girl who needed this more than I can adequately express. Thank you.

  22. 23

    Seriously. This could not have been more timely. My family and I are in month #5 of living one year overseas, where we are only just learning the language. We’ve been adjusting well. Learning not just the language, but the stuff of school for my kiddos, the grocery stores, the city-bus-way-to-get-around. And for the most part it’s fun. But today, when we were scolded by a bus driver for doing it the wrong way, and then laughed at by some teenage girls for our (truly!) cluelessness, well, it made me want to slide off the bus like Wile E. Coyote when he’d get smashed and slide down the stairs all flat like. And, frankly, it made me want to never get on that bus again. I hate feeling that way. And, more than that, I hate HATE HATE it when my kids feel that way.
    I haven’t been sure how to talk about it with them, so I really needed this truth. We are enough. Just because God says we are. Thank you.

  23. 24

    Thank you for this.
    quiet girls unite!
    I’d be your friend in a heart beat kristen :)

  24. 25

    At 60 years old I am the new girl, we retired and moved and sometimes I want to go home. Thank you for this post and blessings on you and your daughter.

  25. 26

    Oh Kristen, I’m sitting here in tears because in about four days I’ll be the “new girl” – we’re moving to a new town in a new state…and it just reminded me of all the little whispers in my head that tell me I won’t be able to make friends. Thank you for reminding me of who I am in HIM and that He will take care of me.

  26. 27

    Thank you so much for this! As a military family, we’re constantly the “new ones” and sometimes it’s just so tempting to stay in our own little shells and not venture out to make friends. But we are always so blessed when we take the courage to do just as your little girl did and continue trying to build those connections that God designed us to have.

  27. 28

    Wow. This is so powerful, and mostly because we all have been there. What a reminder to reach out to the “new girls” in our churches and our communities! And a powerful reminder that wherever we find ourselves, we are never alone. Jesus holds our hands and puts his arm around our shoulders every day. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Your very sweet heart.

  28. 29

    We moved to a new town, new state, new life over 3 years ago. I’m still very much the new girl. Your words of truth resonate with me and somehow make me feel not so alone. Slowly, very slowly, we are making connections and finding where we fit in.

  29. 30

    Thank you for writing this. We are searching for a church and I am that little girl all over again. I will stand with the Lord and be confident He will bring us to the right church and the right friends! Thank you!

  30. 31

    So, I’m crying at work now.

    Oh, a mothers heart. I know exactly the feeling. My son started a new school this year. He is so vulnerable and sweet. I know exactly the fear and pain you felt for her. I know the turning down of invitations, the fear of not being liked for who I am.

    How amazing that this post came to me today. Just last night I was discussing this very topic of acceptance and that HIS is the only opinion that truly matters. I was having this discussion with a new friend. The first true friend that I’ve let into my life in years.

    God answers our prayers. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Blessings and love to you!

  31. 32

    That was beautifully written! I was with you in the bleachers hoping someone would notice. I was the new girl in a quilting guild last week. It seemed like I was the only Christian in the room amid a sea of sniping/slighting women. I know it can’t be true. I will go back and try to make friends and if nothing else, try to be a light. You were so right; we’re NEVER ALONE. Thanks for the encouragement today.

  32. 33

    My mama’s heart felt this deep. My daughter just changed high schools. It has been a slow going process for her to feel included and accepted. It is so hard to be the ‘new person’. This give me greater empathy for reaching out and accepting someone new. It’s not that I don’t want to include someone, it’s just that sometimes life is like going through with blinders on.

  33. 34

    This will be all 5 of my kids (and my husband and I) in a few months. Thank you for this encouragement!

  34. 35

    There are aspects of your daughter’s story that feel similar to my own (starting a new school in a new town for middle school). However I wish I had been brave like her. As I read this story, there was a part that has stuck with me. The fact that you continued to encourage your daughter and let her know that she is not alone I seem to forget that when I am trying to be brave and experience things by myself that I am not truly alone. I am like you, I would have and have left after the first rejection.
    Thank you for sharing this story.

  35. 36

    Such a beautiful post that I think we can all relate too. My eyes filled up thinking of how brave your girl was. Good for her, Good for you as her Momma! Take care, Laura

  36. 37

    Wow. I can’t thank you enough. I’m 61 and a perpetual “new girl”. I never realized this until you put it into words. What an amazing thing you did for your daughter. You’ve taught and loved her well and demonstrated God’s love and acceptance of her in a very memorable way. I know she will remember this.
    Now I have to turn that kind of love toward me. It hurts, but I’ve felt sorry for myself long enough, constantly asking “what’s wrong with me?” I know I am a daughter of the King, but so often I don’t feel like it. I’m the odd one out…quiet, “deep”, not up with the latest electronic gadgetry (I refuse to tweet, I have a “dumb” phone which I only choose to use to make phone calls!). I love classical music, Agatha Christie, and Columbo. Pretty hopeless, right?! I’ve got work to do. Thanks for inspiring me. Really!

  37. 41

    We never really grow out of those feelings, do we? It’s comforting to know other women feel the same way, actually helps my confidence. :-)

  38. 42
    Marlene says:

    Thank you tons for that story!!! After living in the same house in the same town for all of my life we moved to another state! We knew not a soul! I was 50 years old and suffered with homesickness since I was a child. I thought this would be a challenge. Well it was and continues to be. But God is faithful even when I am not. I too had to watch my junior high daughter look around for someone or something to hold onto her very first day of school last month. I cried as I left her there. And thought these were the parts of being a mother that i did not like. After about a week she slowly started to mention a name here and there and soon these names were a daily conversation! Life is difficult and hurtful but I know that He travels with me wherever I go!

  39. 43

    Thank you so much for posting this. Your brave daughter is such an amazing example to me. Like you, I’ve turned down invitations, spent more time alone, and been afraid to put myself out there. It took the building of one good friend to help prod me along to meet people at church and start joining in. I’m still not great at making new friends, but I’m starting to try. God bless your sweet daughter, and you. I hope you both build friendships that last a lifetime. The kind we all dream about.

  40. 44

    Thank you for this post. As a military wife I’m always a new girl and I do shrink into myself so I don’t have to face that disappointment when even at my age you realize everyone already has their friends and don’t have “room” for more. I encourage my children to take that leap and it is so hard to watch them navigate through the waters and not run up and just squeeze them tight. As I wipe my tears from reading this and feel the lump in my throat I applaud your daughter for trying and for not letting it stop her. And I applaud you for letting her know she is not alone.

  41. 45

    What a big chunk of your heart…and your heart for your daughter. It has been said to have a child is to let a piece of your heart go walking outside your body. That said, I’m the new girl in a VERY closed community that basically terms people ‘outsiders’ who haven’t been born of lived in the community for most of their lives. But I decided to be proactive. The new girl in me wanted to give up, but I realize who I am in Him, and that I DO have friends, and I do have friendship to offer. But I do understand the feeling of ‘no room for you’. My plan is to embrace hospitality by having one person/family over a week. You can’t force friendship, but you can plant seeds.

  42. 46

    OH I love love love this, and YOU Kristen! I remember those feelings well and I sometimes still have them too.

  43. 47
    Stephanie says:

    Wow, I don’t even know why I’m writing. But this was so hard for me to read, difficult for me to respond. I’ve been living as a missionary in another country for 10 years and still feel “new.” And I feel the difficulty of my special needs children who struggle to fit in. I’m amazed at your wonderful daughter’s strength. And at your strength to write about it. The Lord is so faithful in our children’s lives. God bless you!

  44. 48

    You spoke right to my heart in this post, as I often feel like that awkward new girl. It can be difficult moving to a new city, working from home, and being more introverted than extraverted, but I’ve found that in those moments I feel God’s embrace. It’s been a lesson for me to seek out other new faces – just like your daughter did – and welcome them in. You never know who God has planned for you to meet, become friends with, and grow in Christ together. It’s often not who’d you expect but it’s who God has placed in your life.

  45. 49

    I so needed to read this today. We never really stop being the new girl, do we?

  46. 50

    Oh, thank God I didn’t put mascara on yet. I have been this, still struggle so much and that gut punch that happens at the fringe as they move away and you reach out. Gawww, my mama heart hurts for my wounds and those of my kids when they’ve faced those same things. Thank you so much for sharing, Kristen. This is one of the best things I’ve read all year and it makes me remember to be brave.

  47. 51

    I loved this story. Very encouraging! As a homeschooling mom of triplets in a new town, we face these challenges almost everywhere we go!

  48. 52

    Oh how this touched my heart and made me cry! Your writing is simply beautiful Kristen. Thank you for your honesty- I was blessed greatly by it today.

  49. 53

    Oh this is awesome! What a cheerleader you are for your girl. What an awesome thing she can pass on to the next new girl. May all of us new girls band together! Thanks for this story of courage.

  50. 54

    Whew! Felt that one deeply. I was the new girl 11 times and having to watch my daughter brave those waters (haha, pun intended) is something that will require bravery on my part as well.

    What a cool kid you have.

  51. 55

    Crying…very touched. Worn those shoes.

  52. 56

    In tears…and very in need of this message. Thank you so much! Blessings on your girl and her sweet mama.

  53. 57

    Hi Kristen,

    My 10-year-old is “the new girl” for the third time this year. Because my husband is in the Canadian military, we have moved every few years, and each time, it is so hard watching my girls try to find their place in a new community. And this time, they are at a small school where the pool of possible friends is much smaller than it has been in the past (There are only 8 girls in her class which is all the grade 5 and 6 kids at the school.) While I am thankful that she is still close to friends from former locations – she calls and skypes with them often – I continue to pray that she would find one good friend here. It is hard watching our kids go through this, but I trust that God will help them (and us) through it.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Sherry

  54. 58

    Also a good reminder for us to keep an eye out for the New Girl. She could use a friendly smile and an introduction. My 9 yr old is the best example ever for that one. She is fearless in her friend making, and generous with her friendship. I try to take a lesson from her.

  55. 59
    Kimberly says:

    THANK YOU for sharing your journey. What courage your daughter displayed! It is a clear picture of how y’all are parenting her – always, always bringing it back to God. This is such a powerful story, and it touched this momma’s heart today.

  56. 60

    Oh my how this resonates with my soul right now. I moved once before college into a house built when I was three right next door to my old house. I longed for new and different. I married a man in the military. My children are the new kids every 2-4 years. It is hard. It is horrible and watch their resilience grow. We tell them they aren’t alone. They always have God. They always have each other and it’s still hard. Yesterday I was thinking, after another move this summer, I don’t fit in. My children are the minority on their school. I remind myself how they feel that so much more than I do in the sea of white faces in our new neighborhood. Thank you for sharing.

  57. 61

    Wow. This hit such a place on my heart…
    My entire life, much as you described, I have felt like the new girl. Just never really feeling like I had deep connections that everyone else seemed to have in abundance. Three years ago my husband and I began our first full time local church ministry {he’s the student ministries pastor} – and I felt this way even more, even as an adult. But, it’s true – the Lord knows our fears, our hearts, our desires… and I have been blessed with a few friends now over the 3 years. I still battle to make the choice to go out instead of staying home, step forward instead of slinking away {and I’m def an extrovert, even!} and the Lord remains faithful.

  58. 62

    Thank you for writing this…I’ve been sitting on the side of the pool…I’ve been in the pool…I’m the new girl…but not the one with the TV show and the cute perky outfits and the trendy glasses…I’m the one described in this blog post I wrote about a blogging conference I went to this weekend. http://www.ernestineedna.com/2012/10/pain-in-process-with-chicken-salad-on.html

  59. 63
    Jennifer G says:

    It’s like you peeked in our windows! Sometimes adulthood is like Jr.High with money!
    I wish I was as brave now as my 13 year old self used to be… But the voices in my head are sometimes louder than the One who holds me close!
    Thanks for a great article!

  60. 64

    Thank you so much for this. I am also a “new girl” at 25 years old. My husband is newly military and we are stationed 1600 miles from “home”. I have yet to meet any women, even around our home. Thank you for the inspiration and the reminder that we are never alone.

  61. 65

    Oh Kristen, As I read this with tears in my eyes I found myself thinking, “How did she do it? How did she raise such a brave girl?” Wish I could sit with you and a cup of coffee and glean your wisdom. Thank you for sharing this story. Reading it gives me deep passion to teach my daughter to be brave (for herself) and inclusive and aware (of others). And if I’m honest, it encourages me to find both my courage and my compassion even in my old(er) age. Thanks again. Beautiful!

  62. 66

    The new girl in me is a little weepy after this.

  63. 67

    This brought me to tears as I was the “new girl” numerous times in my childhood. I pray that if my daughter (now 14 months) is ever the new girl she is as brave and determined as your daughter is!

  64. 68

    Beautifully written, Kristen. Who hasn’t been a new girl sometime in their life and had this very experience?! Love the bravery shown by both you and your daughter :) Blessed by this…thank you.

  65. 69

    Wow. So powerful and inspiring. It brought tears to my eyes because I can relate in every way. Thank you for being honest and brave. Your story blessed me today.

  66. 70

    Wow, I don’t know what touched my heart more, this beautiful post or all the comments in response to it. It’s so easy to feel alone, like you’re the only one going through these tough times. I too am now crying at work and amazed by your daughter’s strength. My little girl is two and I hope one day she and I can be as brave as you and yours.

  67. 71

    being brave in Him…This was so beautifully written…

  68. 72
    muchalone says:

    Oh, what a wonderful gift you are giving your daughter by being such an ardent and understanding cheerleader for her!

    I SO remember feeling like this:
    **Her hope outweighed her fear**
    How it felt to be new…and awkward…and uncertain…and hopeful that I could find a friend…a place to belong…or maybe just an empty space to occupy while I was feeling out the new people…

    But now, I am older…and I have been the new girl SO many times…and no longer feel hopeful…or fearful…just resigned to being friendless…and I’m not the new girl here, but I remain an outsider.

    Thank you for sharing your daughter’s hope…and for nurturing it is such a tender way!

    • 73

      praying for you today. I will say to you what I said to my daughter: you are never alone. The best of friends is always there.

  69. 74

    Kristen, thanks so much for sharing this! I am always the new girl. Still and I’m about to turn 30.

  70. 75

    Loved this Kristen! What a good mama you are and how brave your girl is! I relate so well, both as a mom, as a church planter’s wife who wants everyone to feel welcome and included, and as a girl who herself has always felt a bit of that ‘new girl syndrome.’ Honestly, even when you talked about the texts you received, I felt my own little familiar twinge of not belonging, of being invisible, when I realized I hadn’t received any “we miss you” texts. :-( Ah, yes. It never goes away does it? I’m not bitter, really :-) . I’ll be alright.

    We all want to belong, to be noticed, to be acknowledged., to be the one every one gathers around in the group and the one who is missed when she doesn’t show up. If only everyone realized how it feels to be the new girl and would watch for her, say hi when she shows up, and text her when she doesn’t! But life isn’t always that perfect and people are human, so thank goodness we have a God who never forgets us!

  71. 76

    Thank you for posting such a terrific article. I’m 54 and still feel like the new girl in town… And now I really AM the newcomer! We just recently moved and I’m trying to meet new friends. I feel so awkward and painfully shy, but I know I have to force myself to get out there because I need people in my life! I am taking a class at the senior center of all places, (rug making!) and just this week there was a lady newer than me… We became fast friends!
    I love your posts, you always know just what I need to hear,

    Lisa

  72. 77
    Karen Looby says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Kristen. I am also “the grown woman who still turns down invitations, spends more time alone than with people and constantly wonders if she will ever fit in” What a relief to know there are others who feel that it’s easier and safer to hide away. Such an encouragement to be reminded that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Even though I’m close to 50 (!) I still need to be brave and hopeful.

  73. 78

    I read this with tears streaming down my face. I have a daughter who is 16. She is a beautiful young woman who loves the Lord with all her heart. She has been a victim of bullying. We sold our home and moved to put her in a “safer” school. Watching her get out of the car that first day was one of the most difficult days of my life. She was so brave and I sat in the parking lot and wept. Crying out to God to please protect my little girl. It is so hard to be the mom. I know how great and funny my daughter is and like you, I want to yell, “please, someone see her”. She is doing better each day, but I still continuly pray for God to send her a friend. And like you, I tell her often, that she is never alone. Thanks for your story.

  74. 79
    Anonymous says:

    I read this earlier today and I just had to come back and let you know that I am thankful to have read this. I have two boys and the feelings of wanting them to be liked for who they are, are just as strong.

    My Dad was well known in our community and both of my parents worked at the local schools. It seemed that I was summed up on their merits before anyone bothered to get to know me. I was an introvert that everyone expected to be outgoing. My quietness was often mistaken for snooty-ness. I still struggle with meeting new people.

    Having said that, I was blessed to learn that friends are better when they are of quality and not quantity.

    You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but please know that I’m praying for you and your daughter. And all of us “new girls”. :-)

  75. 80

    Your words are me. And this story is my daughter exactly at her new school this year. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for your hope. Thank you for sharing a bit of your faith…it helps more than you know.

  76. 81

    Thank you for sharing this. I read it as your story, with a tugging at my heart I tried to ignore, until I read “For the new girl deep within you.” Then the tears came. I know that feeling so well. Friendly but introverted, I find it so hard to know what to say after I say, “Hi.” I wish someone would do all the talking for me, so I could just BE someone’s friend! Anxiety is difficult, but God’s grace helps me do just what your reminders mentioned. I must continue to remove self-loathing, and tear down walls. Thank you so much. God used your little girl to help a lot of God’s children! Tell her “thank you,” from all of us!

  77. 82

    Heartbreaking, and lovely. Great post.

  78. 83

    There’s a really important lesson here – be the person who opens their arms up and welcomes the new people and encourage our children to do the same.

    A couple of my really good friendships came to be because I went out of my way to talk to them or invite them to lunch when they were new and didn’t know anyone. I never knew what a profound effect this had on people until one of my closest friends from high school (we are now in our forties) shared with me just a couple of years ago how awful her first day of school was until I grabbed her and made her sit with my friends and I. She said that she felt that the one offer of friendship totally changed her life.

    It doesn’t take much effort, but think of how powerful it would have been to just have one kid at the party invite your daughter into the group. Thanks for sharing – and of course taking us back momentarily to our own awkward school moments!

  79. 84

    What a powerful post! Not only for the new girls in all of us to know we are never alone. To know that when we put ourselves out there, there is reward waiting. Always someone else in a similar position as ourselves.

    But also a great reminder to us as adults to reach out to others we see in our everyday lives. Whether that is through a simple smile, a hello, a small conversation, we are all hungry for that approving interaction. Today I will choose to reach out to someone new. Thank you!

  80. 85

    Kristen, this made me cry! Your story breaks my heart – for your daughter, for my daughter in days to come (we all face these experiences, don’t we?), and for both of us watching, remembering and feeling our own pain all over again. Being the new girl never stops happening, but I’m thankful that believing Him makes it a tiny bit easier.

  81. 86

    Oh how I identify with your story today. Today was my 55birthday and I feel just like you at times. I ‘m alone most of the time. Never think that I fit in with other people. Not married – no children – not of a worldly background – but yet don’t fit in with most churches in my area because they’re “for the family”. Trying hard to realize that God does love me and carry on serving Him but life gets pretty rough at times. So glad to know there are other people who struggle with this issue.

  82. 87

    Thank you so much for this! I read it last night, and then this morning stood in front of the mirror reciting the ending to myself — as I was about to go be the “new mom” at my son’s cooperative preschool. I was way more nervous than he was! Thank you for reminding me of God’s perspective on the situation!

  83. 88

    I love what you have shared so beautifully and powerfully! And I can relate to those feelings of longing for belonging in a new place…needing courage and finding inspiration in my daughter as well. Thank you for sharing your testimony of hope as you and your daughter overcome the obstacles of fear and insecurity.

  84. 89
    Linda1224 says:

    I definitely could relate…so much so, that I was fighting back the tears. Oh not for my daughters – somehow they got that perfect gene that they haven’t had this problem. The one that said, “the grown woman who still turns down invitations, spends more time alone than with people and constantly wonders if she will ever fit in.” That’s me! The one who makes excuses about why she can’t find friends. You know the ones – too busy, too old to start finding friends now, too much baggage/hurt from past girlfriend issues, I’m not perfect enough. Thanks for the nudge. It certainly speaks loudly to a heart that is longing.

  85. 90

    The two of you are such beautiful souls. She’s lucky to have a mom like you.

  86. 91
    Beth Williams says:

    Even though we didn’t move around much I still found it hard to make friends as a youngster. I grew up quite shy–due to hearing loss from “busted eardrums”. I was always jealous of those who could go up and talk about anything–I was the one who stayed home a lot–alone.

    Since I’ve gotten a little older I find it a wee bit easier to make friends. Although I don’t really have 1 true “girlfriend”. I do have many women friends who I feel I can talk to about anything.

    It is really hard on youngsters and I’m glad your girl had a good mama to give her that push!

  87. 92

    I’m so sorry she had this experience, but impressed with her strength!

    As a former band geek, I have to say that she’ll probably make the most friends & meet people when they break off into sections (clarinets, trumpets, etc.). I made close & lasting friends through marching band, and had a wonderful high school experience. I hope that it will be the same for her!

  88. 93

    The only thing I love more than this entry right now are the comments. :)
    I was always the new girl at school growing up; coming from a military family. I somehow managed to psych myself out and embrace being the new kid. I remember one year, I purposely started every conversation with, “Hi, I’m new here …”. Thankfully, the Lord placed girls and boys in my path that were friendly and open to showing the new girl where a class, the library, the gym and band room were.

    My children, however, have not been blessed in this way. We’re had 2 moves in the past 30 months and my sweet kids are just doing the best they can. I cheer their courage and resilience, and share the burdens of a crummy day. I feel like we sometimes get a double whammy, because we’re also the newbies at church. It’s tough being the “new girl” in a church full of close knit circles and families that have been worshipping together for years.

  89. 94

    “Hope outweighing fear” – this was amazing & brought such familiar tears from my own experiences and from being a mom to a daughter who I know will face similar moments in the years to come. What a blessing to read this!

  90. 95
    Holly Sumner says:

    This was really good for a daughter and new college girl to read. Thanks for writing!

  91. 96

    Your daughter is amazingly brave. *o* I would have run too. In fact, I wouldn’t have gone in the first place. I admire her!

  92. 97
    Lizzy Kate says:

    So needed this tonight, you know it hits deep when the tears well up. My sweet daughter who is 11 got picked for the spelling bee at school. Her new school. Just 9 weeks ago we stood at the front door of school praying for bravery and peace. So afraid because she knew not a single soul. Now she’s in the spelling bee with a troop of sixth graders cheering her on. She came in second when she was in kindergarten and was crushed. I’ll never forget how I just wanted to run and protect her from the awfulmfeeling of defeat. The let down of all the hard work and coming in “only” second. (A bit competitive, even so young). From the shock when she heard the buzzer that the word was spelled incorrectly. From the time she ran and buried her head in her daddy’s chest, holding back tears begging to “just go home…now!” Hanging her head low despite the accolades of praise she had done a terrific job. I told myself it’d never let her do that again…and here she is in 6th grade more brave and confident than ever. And I’m the one who reads this blog and finds the encouragement to forge ahead in preparation for the big day. I’d be fooling myself if I didn’t tell you I’m so full of apprehension it makes my gut hurt! So as we study the spelling words, she focuses on how amazing Our God is and how He loves her so much that He would let her have another chance. I focus on God’s great sufficiency and how grateful I found this blog site tonight! Bless you for being so transparent! You have been an encouragement to me.

  93. 98

    I attended eight different schools in six states during my K-12 years and am now co-living (it feels more than just re-living!) that “where do I fit in” feeling with my 9th grade daughter. Despite the fact that she has lived in this city and attended this school system her whole life, she is still a new girl trying to find her place. It is hard to sit in the bleachers and watch and wait and pray. I developed a thick skin and an extroverted personality to deal with all the moving and re-acclimating, My daughter is reserved and waits to be included, and it is difficult for her to make the first move towards friendship. Thank you for this touching and insightful snapshot which inspires me to “keep the faith.”

  94. 99

    What a BEAUTIFUL post. There is nothing harder than seeing the pain in our child’s eyes. I cried as I read this. I was never the “new girl”, but I’ve always been the girl on the outside. And all of those memories came flooding back. Kuddos to your daughter for going back in. She will go far in those world. And she’s very lucky to have such an amazing mom to stand by her. I hope my daughter and I have the same type of relationship when she is older.
    *hugs*
    Mich

  95. 100

    I feel for your daughter so much right now, and as you – her mother. We can’t protect them from everything and seeing them in that vulnerable “new kid” rut is so hard. She sounds like an amazing girl. Thank God she is blessed with a mother like you.

    This is my first visit here. But I will follow.
    Kiran

Trackbacks

  1. [...] For the New Girl in All of Us from (in)Courage.  A mom watches her daughter struggle through the process of being the new girl in town. [...]

  2. [...] For the New Girl In All of Us by Kristen Welch [...]

  3. […] their glances of judgment. So, I hope I don’t make a total fool of myself. It’s hard to be the new girl. If I appear aloof, it’s because I’m stifling a panic attack. Even though my social anxiety is […]

leave a comment:

*