An invitation from one of the (in)courage writers would effectively change the way I looked at friendships forever. Holley Gerth had a new book coming out called You’re Made for a God-sized Dream and was looking for 100 people to join her launch team.
I love Holley’s writing, so I applied. On November 14, 2012 I got an email that I didn’t expect . . . I had made the team! I was honored and excited to get a copy of her book and was looking forward to blogging about it. The gift of friendships was the last thing I thought I would walk away with as a part of this team.
You see, I am an introvert through and through.
Making friends, especially new ones, can be frightening at times. From my perspective you all have it so together, and me? Well, the mirrored view of myself doesn’t seem to reflect a woman that could possibly measure up.
Four years ago our family made a move to Minnesota. We love our new community. We live on a cul-de-sac with lots of kids and an annual block party. And we were fortunate enough to find a church we loved right away.
While so many things came together after our move, making friends was and has not been easy. I am as much to blame as anyone else. I have this secret wish that people would just find me funny or charming and want to be around me, and would just invite me into their lives.
The reality is I don’t take the first step either. I don’t make a call to invite someone to my home, I don’t initiate a conversation. It is hard for me, uncomfortable even, and I tend to shy away from anything that isn’t “easy.”
It is a lonely way to live, wanting community so badly and unsure or unable to make it a reality.
But God knew my secret longings for friendship, and He provided it in the most unconventional way through this launch team.
Had someone told me that I would find soul sisters online, I would have laughed at them.
But that is exactly what happened.
Holley encouraged us to share our stories as a part of this launch team, so I shared bits and pieces of who I am, but because we didn’t gather in person, it didn’t feel so vulnerable.
As time passed, these friendships grew.
We shared hopes and dreams. Several of us formed a Mastermind group to encourage one another in our writing. It was a safe place — a place that I could be me without judgment.
Out of the most unexpected and completely God-led circumstances, several of us joined to start a website that seeks to support and cheer on other God-sized Dreamers. And in April of 2014, we gathered together as a team for a retreat in Houston.
These sisters of mine met in person. We laughed as we shared stories and a tub full of Nutella. Ten of us shared two bathrooms and survived! We stayed up late, prayed over one another, and cried big tears when the weekend was over.
While I don’t see most of these women more than once, if at all, each year — they are my lifeline.
Certainly having them in my close community here would be ideal, but since it isn’t the case, I am grateful that God has provided other ways we can stay connected — using the internet, email, and Voxer.
It isn’t the most conventional of friendships, but it is a blessing.
When I’m having a hard day, I can send out a message to these women, and they’ll pray for me. They hold me accountable and challenge me to walk out my faith. And they bring laughter and comic relief into my difficult moments.
While I still long for in-person friendships, I am grateful that God has provided these unconventional friendships in my life today.
I used to believe that friendships had to look a certain way to be “successful,” but I am finding that God can and will use every circumstance to gather His daughters together. And when He does, it is good, it is ever good!
Related: For those special friendships in your life, send a beautiful note of encouragement in the mail with this Good Friend & Good Book set of note cards.