April 21, 2017

Not Doing Things Solo

I wouldn't consider myself an outgoing person at all. Growing up, I felt shy and awkward. I was happy with my one or two good friends. These friends were by my side throughout my childhood and teenage years--a blessing to be sure. We went our separate ways once adulthood hit, and then I moved oversees. Nothing could have prepared me for "friend-making" in this context:  language barriers, cultural differences, church backgrounds, ideologies--not to mention the short-term nature of many coming through Madagascar. Making friends remains to be one of those tougher things. I have already said goodbye to three close friends in 5 years..... we have become the stayers, I think, after this short amount of time already.

Nevertheless, I think I have come out of my shy shell, since moving out of my childhood home. Getting to know people and asking them questions isn't as hard as I had once imagined when I was much younger. Over the years I have been so encouraged by Sally Clarkson's ministry. Her books have really inspired me in many different ways from: resting in my homeschool, bringing beauty into my home, loving my children, and especially building friendships. None of us were meant to do life solo. And even though the community changes often, I have been convicted from early on in Madagascar, to initiate. Stop waiting around for groups to form, to get invited out, etc.... just initiate. I have made some dear friendships over the years.
But I learned that I had to become an initiator if I wanted to have friends and fellowship for myself, as well as for Clay and the kids. 
-- Sally Clarkson "Desperate"
When I heard this message from a woman who I have grown to look up to and admire, I thought "Wow! She had to initiate? Why weren't people just flocking to her house to spend time with her?" If Sally, with all of her God-loving wisdom and years of experience had to initiate ladies' groups and friendships, than certainly, me, a young mom who feels inadequate and unsure most of the time, must initiate friendships also.

We have been blessed with a large English-speaking expat community, transient as they may be. God has placed lovely people within our sphere for a season. As discouraged as I may become when those announcements for goodbyes arise, I must trust that God brings people in and out of our lives for His purposes and glory. I have found great encouragement from a host of different people, and I hope that as new people enter our lives, we can also continue to welcome them with open arms and listening ears.

On My Side Table


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