There is a hole in my heart, and I think the Lord has been whispering to me about how to fill it.
On Sunday the pastor spoke to us about the promptings of the Holy Spirit and whether we are ready to say YES. I felt like there must have been a giant spotlight pointed right on my head because I am the poster child for saying NO. I settle for whatever I see in my life because it’s comfortable, it’s familiar, my silver-haired self is tired, and I don’t really have a vision for my life beyond what three (yes, three) meals I need to prepare for dinner tonight and checking that my daughter puts her homework in her backpack.
But oh, there is a gaping hole in my spirit, and the word that keeps coming up in my mind is: Community.
When I look back at my life, community doesn’t seem to be an easy thing for me to maintain. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of close girlfriends I have — the kind who know me and love me despite my many faults, who encourage me to be a better me. Several of these ladies live far away. FaceBook is nice, but it is no substitute for face to face (or even phone to phone) interaction. I miss these ladies!
Usually I meet my need for community by starting one or by volunteering. When I first moved to this area of Texas, I took on the role of a homeschooling newsletter editor. I met several lovely women through this volunteer work, but somehow when my tenure ended, our friendship did not grow. None of them are privy to my troubles and my need for prayer, and I am not aware of theirs. The community link is gone, and we no longer see each other on any sort of regular basis.
I did the same thing with another homeschooling group when I became a board member. Our board member meetings met a need for me to get together with the ladies. Then life got too hectic, I got sick with fibromyalgia, and I had to resign. I still count these women as friends, but I feel as if my link to them has been severed.
Recently I handed down the torch as director of a Classical Conversations Community. Sadly, I feel like I also handed down many friendships. When I was director, these women sought me out, emailed me, texted me, invited me to events, asked me for prayer, and otherwise included me in their lives. Now that I am no longer a part of CC, I MISS these women. I miss the relationships we grew.
Now there is an opportunity to form a community with my daughter’s school. I want to do that but have no idea how to get started. At her old school, I jumped in and became PTF president. I’m not going to do that this time around. I don’t want to make friends based on my position — I want to make friends based on who they are and who I am. I want real sisters in Christ! I thought about joining a Bible study, but the study the group is doing is the one I just did…Beth Moore’s James Mercy study. Sigh. So I don’t get confirmation in my spirit that this is the direction I am to take.
I see my daughter struggle to form her own relationships, and it makes that hole in my heart stretch even bigger. You see, I haven’t really given her a good example of what it looks like to have friends. I don’t have women over very often and have the best and brightest excuses: I don’t feel well enough…or I don’t know them…or being around alcohol isn’t my thing…or I get social anxiety in groups and end up with a fibromyalgia and/or panic attack. Yes, these things happen, but are they reason enough to live in such isolation?
My husband laments the fact that we don’t entertain our neighbors. We’ve lived here in this neighborhood for nearly seven years and have not once had a neighborhood gathering…all for the reasons above, coupled with the fact that I am a dismal cook and the thought of preparing and serving food makes this introvert cringe inside. But introverts need community, too, don’t they?
So. All this to say that it seems that the Lord is calling me to community. I don’t know what that will look like or what it will entail. I don’t know if it will be through a new church or through my daughter’s school or a Bible study at my house or from somewhere completely different. But the Lord knows I need girlfriends. There are just some things a girl can’t discuss with her husband. My husband adores me, and I adore him, but he just does not understand me because he’s…well, a man! He’ll never understand my depression with gray roots, distorted stomach muscles after the hysterectomy, and crocodile skin on my legs. He doesn’t get it when I suddenly freak out because it feels like the weight of a messy room is crushing me to the floor or when I cry over a silly commercial.
I just hope that this time, the community God provides will be different. I don’t want to bounce around from one social group to another based on what position I hold in the organization. I just want to be introverted me, reaching out to others, growing in Christ together as real….sisterchicks!