As I squinted across the blanket of white stretching as far as my eyes could see, I wondered if this place would ever feel like home. As we drove around the snow covered peaks, flip flops long forgotten at home, we tested one house after the other to see if it fit as tightly as the mittens warming our hands.
A few short weeks later, standing in the driveway, surrounded by the Tennessee River on three sides, we loaded our Suburban and hooked up our fishing boat for the 1,500 mile trek across the country. With the truck doors flung open, one foot on the guard rail, I took one last look at the land I had called home for almost a decade, one-third of my life, and said, “I will miss you.”
One week and many miles later, I lay nestled on a blow up mattress in our master suite crying my way through a migraine and extreme car sickness. I wallowed in the self pity of moving so far from home and sordidly welcomed myself to Colorado.
Thus began our journey of acclimating to not just a new climate, but a new culture, a new way of life, a new home far from the home I had known all my life. We left everything familiar, everything comfortable, because God called our name. God wrote in the testament of our lives to rise, go, and follow Him.
Yet, the question plagued me:
How will I ever make friends and find community when all I do is stay home with my baby all day?
On July 11, 2012 I wrote the following in my journal (four months after arriving in our new home):
Oh how I long for friends, but fear being vulnerable. Having a toddler certainly makes it harder to meet people and develop relationships. Of course, I have no regrets about being a stay at home mom, nor do I harbor an ounce of bitterness toward my baby, because being a mom is one of my greatest joys. It is a gift and a blessing! Yet, I long for friendships. I’m lonely.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. ~Romans 5:6
Pull me out of my fatness and need for comfort and ease. Give me eyes to see Your will.
I was so tired of waiting for 5 o’clock to get here so I’d have another adult to talk to. I was so tired of wondering if we’d ever have friends. I was so tired of going to the park by myself. I was so tired of waiting on the Lord to supply friendships and fellowship in one of the most un-churched towns in Colorado. I was so tired and so lonely.
In her book, Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role, Erin Davis writes:
Certainly, pastors can preach about motherhood; Sunday school teachers can teach about it; and the church can voice support for the hard work Christian moms do. But the real strength and courage necessary to mother are found in the unique bonds of Christian sisterhood (page 117).
So how does a lonely stay at home mom without community do it? How does she find this Christian sisterhood?
This year has been a year of incredible refinement. As I reflected on this journey of friendships in a new town, I could not help but see just how different I am now than when I moved here over seven months ago. I never knew what it meant to rest in the grace of God until I had walked through the fire of having no where else to turn but Him.
It was through this waiting period that I found Him to be my El Shaddai – The All-Sufficient One.
2. Find a church to call home
Go where God’s people are and seek fellowship. I’m an introvert, but I know the importance of fellowship so I scan the weekly bulletin for fellowship opportunities. We recently signed up to host monthly dinners for our Young Couples’ Ministry. I have found that I’m more comfortable in my own home, so inviting people to me is an ideal way for me to get to know someone!
3. Find a moms’ group
Finding a local moms’ group is a great way to get started making friends. I attended the weekly play dates with our local MOPS group over the summer. I met so many sweet women and really developed a lot of great friendships because of it.
Mom groups to check out:
Another great way to find other mommies is to search Facebook groups! You’ll be amazed what you find there! And just because you attend one church doesn’t mean you can’t join up with another church’s group for Bible Study or events. Think outside the box!
4. Start a moms’ group
If there isn’t a moms’ group in your area, then start one. You don’t have to do a nationally known group, but just start with inviting a group of women to your home, or to the play ground, or for coffee after the school zone drop is complete! Don’t be afraid to reach out. I guarantee, you aren’t alone in needing fellowship.
5. Join a few classes
My son and I make it a weekly outing to hit up the library for story time. I met a few women this way when we first moved here, and it’s fun to see familiar faces and share in your children’s inability to sit still on a cushion for 30 minutes. The added bonus? It’s free!
We also have plans to take gymnastics and music class in the winter, which I’m really looking forward to!
Being a stay at home mom in a new community doesn’t have to be lonely. You just have to step outside your comfort zone (if you’re anything like me) and reach out to someone. To quote Mrs. Davis again from Beyond Bath Time:
Moms, we need each other. We need support when our energy, resources, and patience are sagging. We need encouragement to treat motherhood as a mission field. We need other moms to pray with and for us. We need to recognize that sisterhood is powerful and to live and to live out God’s truth even when it’s countercultural (page 123).
So friends, if you’re lonely as a stay at home mom, you need not be! Take a leap of faith and seek the fellowship of other women. Don’t stay in your house. Get out and get active, or invite them to you. I guarantee you are not alone in your longing for friendship. God created us for community. Seek it and pray for it! Don’t let loneliness be an excuse to work outside the home. Create opportunities and pray for grace upon grace!
What ways have you found to create community as a stay at home mom?