Two out of state moves, several different cities and neighborhoods resulted in seven houses in less than ten years. No matter how many miles between old home and new, it was easy to feel uprooted and disconnected for awhile, missing my old tribe…my Village. I’ve always wanted community and solidarity similar to what we see on TV. You know, like Friends and other shows and sitcoms we all grew up with and love.
I want what Anne of Green Gables pined for when she said:
When God created us, He built us for relationship. Genesis 2 shares that “It is not good for man to be alone”. It’s why He created Eve in the first place, so Adam would have a companion. Someone to share life with.
Motherhood, particularly moms of young children, can feel especially isolated and lonely. There are times when I’m so desperate for others to say “me too” and “so been there”!
We need our people, right?
So how to we find this Village, these bosom friends?
As much as I’d love to share a secret code word to induce friends to suddenly fall from the sky, the honest truth is it takes intentionality. Our latest move brought us to Denver and even after being here several years, it occurred to me one day that I was still missing “my people”.
I had surface conversations at soccer games and at the park. I was in a MOPS group and Bible Study. I’m not really a small-talk kind of girl. Those conversations don’t fill me. I craved friendships where I could authentically share all of life: times of tears and struggle, times of jumping for joy…or even simply because I found the cutest pair of shoes on clearance!
I was doing all the things. But not THE thing.
I wasn’t opening up my door.
There were a million reasons why I wasn’t. We have six kids and our home never seems clean enough, picked up enough. We were in the middle of remodeling and things weren’t as I felt they should be to invite ladies in. As much as it makes me cringe to say it, I realize now I was afraid I’d be judged that I didn’t live the perfect life I portray on Instagram.
As I was doing my devotions one morning though, my eyes happened upon a verse that I hadn’t noticed before. And God used it to burn straight into my heart.
While Paul rented a house in Rome for two whole years, he lived with an open door policy, welcoming all who came to see him. He invited them in, he served them, and poured into them.
That, I decided, is what I must do.
I thought back at homes where I felt most fed, most loved, and was surprised when it occurred to me that it wasn’t necessarily when someone set out homemade snacks on vintage china. It wasn’t the most beautifully decorated, spotless house. It was rather the homes where I felt like I could cozy into their couch with a glass of lemonade, not terrified to ruin something if a touch splashed onto a cushion or carpet.
It was less about how the home looked and more about the heart that pulsed within it.
I decided to stop waiting for ladies to invite me over and begun to invite them, instead. I decided my home was enough.
I invited women for coffee, playdates, lunch, Bible study, book club, cocktail parties, and anything else I could think of. During the warm summer months, I invited them to have dinner in our backyard. Eight to twelve each time, I asked women I knew and wanted to know, purposefully combining women who had never met one another.
I reached out to moms I’d met through school or sports, a woman I seemed to always run into at the grocery store, the random girl I clicked with while chatting at the gym. I even invited the neighbor down the street who I’d never actually met because she always drives into her garage and immediately puts the door down.
As an introvert, it’s sometimes hard. It’s putting myself out there with the chance of someone not being interested. But living prayerfully that Christ would bring the people He wanted to place into my path and deciding to be ok with feeling uncomfortable has brought the most incredible Village of all.
It’s being willing to dive in past the surface conversations, looking them in the eye and sharing the real stuff. Ask questions, lots of questions. Show the ladies you invite in that you really want to know them. I’m not saying invite a semi-stranger into your home and dive head first into their personal business. Let it be organic. Pray the moment you see her drive up, while you pour her cup of coffee, as you sit down at the kitchen table. Pray Christ spurs conversation so you may get to know one another at a deeper level.
My Village looks nothing like the cast of Friends because it isn’t based on a small group of like-minded individuals. Instead, it reaches much, much further.
Because I decided to open my door, my Village spans cultural, socio-economic and generational borders. Most of my closest friends may be moms, yes…because we’re in similar seasons of life and conversation is easy. But other women who are as dear to me as family are very different than I. We like different things, have different backgrounds, and even have different first-languages. These are my People. My Tribe, my Village.
We learn from one another as we share life together, live authentically and in community.
We all have doors…will you open yours?