by Kim Boley
It was the start to a meme posted in a Facebook group I’m in. This began conversations among the women in the group about how they find it so difficult to find and keep friends these days. If I’m being honest, I’ve been there too. Some days I still feel that way. But I did something about it.
I believe most people know that they need people. The number of people they may need might vary but there is something in each of us that craves community at every age.
Working in college ministry, I have the privilege of watching students learn how to be themselves and find a community and other friends that become their future roommates, best friends, maids of honor/best men, etc. I’ve been there. Friendships happen hard and fast in college. But that’s also because they are around each other almost every single day.
After college, life has a different rhythm. After babies, life has yet another rhythm. As kids enter school, life hits another rhythm. Etc.
I’ve recently been on a journey with friendship myself. I am by nature, an extrovert. Hard. This means I get my energy from being around people. Being a Chi Alpha missionary means I’m around people a lot. However, ministering to college students isn’t quite the same as hanging out with friends.
I love my college kids. I do. But I knew my friendship tank was lacking. I also go to a great church that has a beautiful variety of people that I see almost every Sunday. Yet I didn’t know even a fraction of their life beyond the simple pleasantries that get passed in the hallways at church.
I was tired of being lonely, and I thought that maybe some of the people I saw on Sundays were too. So, I did something about it.
Yes, my schedule is crazy. Yes, I am tired. But yes, I wanted friends more than I wanted loneliness.
There was one other young mom at my home church that she and I would linger after church and chat here and there. She had mentioned how she felt the closest to me out of anyone because we actually talked and even text each other beyond church stuff. She mentioned that she hated how she felt; and although having been at the church for over a year, she didn't know anyone really well. When I asked her if she’d want to help me try and get some other young moms together for Bubble Tea, she lit up! So, we did it.
We came up with a list of other young moms in our church. We invited them to Bubble Tea on a Thursday night to just hang out. No Bible study. No devotional. No planning some event. Just to hang out. Almost all of them said yes!
It’s been almost a year and a half--yes, we started this during covid craziness. While some women are more committed than others, I can’t tell you how many of them have thanked me for putting this together; how much they look forward to it; and how much they have needed it.
In that time, we have grown closer to one another. We have prayed for each other, cried when one announced she was moving, brought others to join us and then our church, share food ideas, swapped birthing stories, and just really shared life.
Now, here’s the thing…. Yes, we try to get together once a week. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
I know I’m not as close to these women as I was with my college friends by this point. But we aren’t around each other every day. To better enjoy these friendships as they develop, I have given them and myself grace. I think we forget that real deep and lasting friendship take time. And conflict. And commitment. On both sides. I’m just working on developing friends.
I’m honestly still working on this idea of who my “best” friend is right now. It was much faster in college. And I’m recognizing that’s okay. I’ve really had to make it work to develop the local friendships I have and I’m giving myself (and them) grace to take time to find/develop. I’ve been surprised who I’ve naturally connected with and disappointed by those that don’t seem to reciprocate.
We have a theme verse in our Chi Alpha group, the college ministry my husband and I lead: , “…Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Once a week Bubble Tea may not seem like a lot. But it’s a great starting point where we’ve taken time to share life together.
What can you do to share life with someone? If you’re feeling pretty set on your friendships and content there, awesome! But invite someone in.
If you’re feeling lonely or alone because your friends don’t live in the same town or you feel forgotten, or whatever… take initiative. It doesn’t have to be fancy or well thought out. I just simply asked women in the same stage of life as me if they wanted to sit at a new restaurant and try this drink called Bubble Tea. Through that, I’m finding some incredible women to share life.
Kim serves alongside her husband, James, as Chi Alpha missionaries at Southeast Missouri State University. They have two daughters, Abbi & Lizzie, and one fur baby (a black Labrador) named Natasha.
Kim attended Missouri State University in Springfield, MO where she was introduced to Chi Alpha Campus Ministries her freshman year.
After she graduated in 2006, she spent the next seven years at the University of Missouri in Columbia, serving as a missionary associate with Chi Alpha. In 2013, she and James felt led to pioneer a Chi Alpha where there wasn’t one. Through a series of God-moments, He brought them to Cape Girardeau, MO and the campus of SEMO. Since then, they have both become ordained ministers, learned even more about life and ministry, and fallen more in love with God and each other. Kim is a huge fan of coffee, dogs (especially labs), books, and her college kids. She loves doing Chi Alpha with her whole family by sharing life together.
By Terry Magness
Years ago, when my husband and I were an adventurous, young couple, we stepped onto an aged mine elevator that carried us down, down, down, deep into an Ely, Minnesota iron ore mine shaft. Streams of warm sunlight flooding through the generous opening welcomed us when we finally reached the mine floor. A man with calloused hands and rugged face, wearing a miner’s helmet with a carbide light on the front, made his way across the cavernous room into a hand-hewn tunnel. Our small group stepping from the elevator, fell in stride behind him.
The pungent smell of damp earth and metal filled our nostrils as we followed him into the tunnel, leaving behind remnants of fading sunlight. Venturing further and further into the belly of the old iron mine, our way illuminated by intermittent lights and our guide’s helmet lantern, we entered another large room. Stopping, he shared historical and current information about the mine including the fact that the ore in this mine is so pure there is no need for processing after extraction. We were still thinking about this when our guide warned he was about to turn off the lights.
match. Instantly its brilliance lit up the entire room. We could see when moments before we were blind in the dark. Oh, how we embraced the light.
When God created the world and everything in it, it was pure, holy, set apart for His purposes. But darkness entered the world through sin, and great was that darkness.
God in his amazing mercy sent His Son, a Light in the darkness, Jesus Savior of the world.
Yes, the Light came, but not as expected. He entered the darkness as a human baby, helpless, innocent, needy. We find in John 1:10-11, that Jesus came to his own, a people of his own creation, yet they did not embrace the Light but chose rather to stumble around in darkness.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV.
John tells us, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 KJV.
In John 3:19 ESV, we read this sad commentary, "...that light has come into the world, and the people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil."
The fact is the Prince of Darkness rose up to extinguish the Great Light who was a threat to the darkness of this world. For three days it appeared the Light of the World was indeed snuffed out, but on the third day, that Great Light burst into a mighty flame of Life, conquering death, hell, and the grave.
Today, The Light of the World illuminates heaven, a kingdom where no darkness exists, and has set ablaze multitudes upon the earth throughout the centuries with a fire fueled by His Spirit living within them. Darkness enveloping this world, has tried to douse the flames of those lesser lights as well, with some seeming success. But the faithful lights continue to multiply and shine brightly, dispelling darkness across the world.
Darkness still rules over the earth, but The Light of the World has promised that a day is coming when he will gather up his lesser lights, darkness will be apprehended, and the Light of the World will rule the earth once again.
This is the Season of Lights, Christmas, a time we remember God’s grace and love, and His son Jesus, the Light of the World, sent to dispel our darkness. Let us determine to shine ever brighter in an ever-darkening world!
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 KJV.
Terry Magness is author, speaker, and founder of Grace Harbour Ministries, a Biblically based teaching and discipleship ministry to the nations. Terry is passionate in helping people to know God and the hope, healing, and power He offers for overcoming the challenges to victorious Spirit-filled living through Jesus Christ. As an ordained Assembly of God minister, Terry is called to undergird, encourage,
and empower the church and its leaders. Her years in Biblical study, pastoral counseling, and more recently, coaching, have equipped her for this unique role.
Terry enjoys writing, photography, art, and fishing with her husband, Don. They share with joy two adult children, Greg and Valarie, and three beautiful granddaughters.
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