The thing about women is that we always assume the girl next door, the women across the aisle, the mom in the car pool lane, your husband’s best friend’s wife, your cousin, great aunt or the stranger in the dressing room next to you at the mall has it figured out. Whether “it’s” how to balance motherhood with, well, anything else really. Or how to manage her temper or style her hair or stock her fridge or connect with her husband or make new friends.
We’re always certain we’re the only one who feels awkward or incompetent or left out or frumpy or you-name-it.
For nearly two years after we moved to Virginia I assumed that all the other women at church knew each other. I assumed I was the only newbie and I assumed that I was the only one who felt squirmy awkward in her skin during the meet and greet time that fell in between the worship and the sermon every Sunday.
And I sort of thought God might be nudging me to do something about it.
I resisted for a good long time.
And then one day after church I was horrified to find myself walking over to Laura and asking her if she’d be interested in joining a Bible study. I was even more horrified when she said, yes.
It went downhill from there. Even more women wanted to join and Laura insisted on telling other people about what I’d been hoping would be a very, verrrry small group. Instead on the first night about 17 women arrived and even then I was sure they all knew each other and that even though I was leading I’d still manage to be the odd-one-out.
And then we introduced ourselves.
There were women in that circle who’d been coming to church for decades without ever making a close friend.
There were women who taught me the term “banshee mama” and could relate to what I thought was my only struggle with temper, frustration and sheer lunacy some toddler-hard days.
There were women with daughters who were hurting themselves.
There were women who felt useless and lonely.
There were women who felt like they didn’t fit.
Amazing how disarming it is to say it out loud. Every other Tuesday we kept right on meeting and sharing. We showed up in our sweats or our suits or our jeans and we shared.
It wasn’t always profound. But we just kept showing up. The Tuesday night girls is what we called ourselves. And while that Bible study is long since done, our showing up is not. Sometimes we go a while before we get back together. But we have roots now. We know parts of each others’ stories. The hard parts.
So when I meet new women now I’m over assuming that they’ve got it all figured out. Especially the friend part.
Now I know that maybe all I have to do is ask and there’ll be a new friend waiting on the other side of the question.