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.
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