Note: I decided to write about this at my mother’s prompting. It is my hope that my story may bring hope and encouragement to someone who may be struggling. Know that everything I share about my husband is with his permission. I also know that many people experience far greater difficulties in their lives and that the hardships I will face in life are not over. May we turn to the God of all comfort in our trials!
The hardest year of my life began about five and a half years ago when we moved to the DFW area in Texas. I had my oldest two children, ages 4½ and 1 ½, and I was pregnant with my third. We moved here because Jason got an engineering job that would give him some great experience, including getting to work on the New Dallas Cowboy stadium. He was also planning to get his Master’s in engineering, and the firm was going to help with expenses. He was ecstatic!
After much searching, we finally ended up renting a nice four-bedroom house for what seemed to us an exorbitant amount of money. This was not very long after the flooding of New Orleans, and so many people had relocated here that it drove rent prices sky high. I was happy to be living in a nice safe environment, but our house in the small town we had moved from was still on the market. We were paying expenses on both houses, so money was extremely tight.
We found a church right away; friends, however, were elusive. I tried every avenue I could think of to get to know people, but nothing worked. At church I asked if we could join the young married class. We had been married one year more than the limit. Sorry, they said. (They have since changed that rule and include young families in the class, and we love going!)
I went to a women’s Bible study. When I sat in a circle of women, the ladies on both sides of me turned their back and talked to the persons on the other side of them! This is something I would have normally found humorous, but in my lonely state I just felt like crying. I couldn’t get out of there soon enough. We went to Sunday school, and though people were amiable, it was a huge class, and we really didn’t get to know any one for a very long time. Looking back, I think the Lord was teaching me to lean on Him.
Click her to continue to Part 2.
~ Mona says
That is so sad. I’m sorry that happened to you. It’s good you see God’s lesson… I try to look for those too when times get tough.
Anxious to hear how this turns out!
I’m glad your mom encouraged you to write about this. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post. 🙂
Having relocated many, many times in my life, I can understand how you felt. It’s so hard. My parents moved 13 times by the time I was in 8th grade. But I think in many ways moving as an adult can be harder – it just seemed easier to make friends as a kid.
Oh I am so sad for you, you seem like such a kind warm person. Anyone would be lucky to have you as a friend! I can’t wait to read the next post and see how things turn out for you!
Beader Bubbe says
I admire the fact that you can write about what bothers you. I still have not been able to do that for fear of what? I dont know…but I will be following your blogs and maybe I too, can someday say what I feel…I know it is not good to keep things in, but at the same time I often wonder what good it does to let it all out. I firmly believe in the quote that says “If you dont like it, change it.” And I envy the people who just say what’s on their mind. Like you, I walk away, feeling if people do not want to get to know me…..it’s their loss. I am interested in all the comments are are and will receive. There are alot of nice people out there…..
That’s so sad! God has absolutely used those times in my life for good, but I remember times like that as well. When my husband was deployed, I was living in the place where I could finish my college degree, so I wasn’t near a military base. Deployment is something very few people understand, but I tried to join anything and everything my new church offered. The couples group was the most lonely place of all (seeing as my other half was halfway across the world), but even the women’s Bible study seemed like they already had their groups and I was not welcome. Sure, they said “hi” and tried to be nice, but there were no coffee dates, nobody reached out, or even responded to me reaching out. It was heartbreaking, but I sure learned about who my real Comforter is!
I found myself in the same situation when we moved here in 2005. It’s hard being in a place where you know absolutely no one. No matter where you go, it seems as though friendships have already been made and people aren’t eager to make new friends. I’ll be following this story with interest.
I am looking forward to reading more tomorrow. Sometimes Christians can be their own worst enemy. I’m thankful for our little country church where visitors are showered with love.
Cara R. says
(((Esther))) I am looking forward to Part II. I have a feeling we could really empathize with each other. *sigh*
Cara R. says
I forgot to say how much I *LOVE* that picture! Beautiful!
Susan Evans says
This post will help people to realize that including new people into your group is important. God brings people together for a reason, and each person in the room is valuable. Most people try to meet their own needs instead of reaching out to others. This is especially painful for new people who feel excluded.
Lindsey van Niekerk says
I am glad that you are writing this…although I don’t know all the details yet….because since you are a person who finds laughter in SO MANY things, I think it is great for people to see that that joy has truly come from the Lord, while being tested through trials. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your story!
I’m looking forward to reading the rest. I’m glad you’re mom encouraged you to write, because I think there are a lot of other lonely women out there, like me, who can learn from your story.
already im hooked on this one, anxious for hearing more. it took me YEARS in the church we are in (i joined where my husband had been since he was a teen) to find good friends, more than a smile and a nod on sundays kind of thing. i totally know the feeling of being singled out because of being excluded. not fun…. but im certain this story has a hopeful ending to it. after all, it includes Christ! 🙂
p.s. i have as since grown to have many wonderful friends in said church, and feel very blessed. God grew ME thru the journey, to be sure!!
About the church… I really think those instances when we first moved here were purposefully orchestrated. We still go to the same church and we love the people here. It is different from the close fellowship we were used to in the several small churches that we have attended before in other towns. I still miss a small church family, maybe because that is what I grew up with. But the Word of God is preached and the people do love the Lord! Last night I sat by a lady and introduced myself. She looked at me kind of funny and said that she took care of my youngest the whole time he was in the nursery. I was embarrassed that I didn’t remember her and hoped she wasn’t offended. I think in a church this big people often fear this kind of awkwardness and would rather keep silent.
Sarita Edgerton says
I am so keyed into the talking to people in SS that I just over talk them cause I want them to feel welcome!
I had that experience with a church. I was so afraid of their disapproval, not being accepted, and loneliness that I just conformed to their way of “doing things”…became someone I wasn’t in order to fit in. In case your wondering, it works very well. However, I don’t think God was very fond of my hypocrisy…ironically enough, I became lonelier than I had been in my entire life! The lesson I learned was two fold…God is enough (it is actually good to be learn to be lonely and alone with Him), and secondly…from here on out, for me, any Christian relationship starts simply with this…”I am deeply and passionately in love with Jesus Christ, how bout you?”
Moving to a new place is so hard! People just don’t realize sometimes that all you really need is a friend…I hope all your blogger friends are helping make your life a little better.
I can very much relate to your story of being in a new city. 25 years ago I was a newly married Southerner who had just moved to Indianapolis in December. I’d never even traveled north of Missouri. My husband was working, and I didn’t know a soul. I once went to a New Neighbors meeting with the wife of my husband’s boss. Everyone there was 20 years older than me and they were playing bridge! Never played the game in my life. Don’t want to. I sat at the table and started crying. No one even asked me why. God does permit those hard times so you will learn to lean hard on Him. Journaling helps. Your blog is great!
Warren Baldwin says
As a minister, I’m always saddened to hear stories like this of people coming to church and not being reached out to by members. But, I think you are right about what you say your comment – b/c it is a big church people may not know if you are a member or visitor. If they extend themselves to you and find out you have been attending there for five years like them, it is embarrassing.
And neat to hear that your husband worked on the new stadium!
Oh my dear Esther; I can so well relate! We moved to the farm sixteen plus years ago and God has, continually, taught me to rely on Him and Him alone. I love my husband but it’s God I turn to and He has never failed me.
The church, the minister, your husband, your children…even your Mother will fail you but God, and God alone, Never Fails.
If you have one thing to teach your children that will carry them into eternity…teach them God Never Fails; God is Always Faithful.
When I go to a church as a visitor; I let it be known when someone shakes my hand, “Hi, I’m a visitor and am really enjoying this church!” It helps the members know how to greet me in return and it gives another visitor a point in common.
We’re all in this thing called life together; it pays to treat each other gently as we never know what hell someone else is going through.
Oh, how I’ve been here. The move, the young kids, not finding friends, even Bible Study being cliquey.
Off to read part 2.
I had something similar to this happen at a Women’s Encounter retreat for my church. I went to serve and didn’t know any of the other servers there but most of them knew each other from previously serving. It felt lonely but later I realized it was supposed to happen that way because there was only one server who took the time to speak to me and be kind. Although I love to blog, I’m an introvert by nature so I’m not going to walk up to a person and say, “Hi, I’m Fawn. What are you gals doing over here?” Anyhow, this woman blessed my soul so much and a couple years later when her husband started a small church, although we didn’t leave my church to attend, we’ve continued to support them. If she hadn’t been such a contrast, such a beacon of light among darkness, I may have never gotten a chance to know her and God intended for me to help her. It’s funny how God works.
Stefanie Brown (@stefanieybrown) says
I’m visiting from Gratituesday and this is my first time visiting your space.
My husband, son and I moved here 3 years ago from KY. Our circumstances leaving left gaping wounds, wounds moving didn’t completely heal. Moving did get us out of harms way.
Finding connections and making friendships was a little more challenging than I expected. Life moves much faster here than in our small town. Also, people living here were much more transient, not putting down deep roots for fear of another move. It was tough! A life we were not accustomed to living. As with you, it was He and me. I leaned on Him like never before. I would not trade my time there for who I am now.
With that said, I would like to invite you to an upcoming one-day Christian Moms Blogging Conference in the DFW area. I went for the first time last year and that’s where and when I really began developing and deepening friendships. Please check out http://www.mamaswrite.com. I’d love for you to connect with our community of mom bloggers.
Thank you for sharing!!
You are COURAGEOUS…the hard parts are also hard to revisit and write about –
shari lynne @ Faith Filled Food For Moms and Grandmothers says
That always breaks my heart to hear that happen in the body of Christ Esther. 🙁 I try really hard to be accountable to the Lord for my reaching out to others ALL the time. But I’m sure that I have mistakingly done the same thing to a new person 🙁
So great of you to be able to share your experiences on your blog. I totally got sucked in and almost read your whole story! I would have if it weren’t for my time constraints. 🙂 Anyway, I’m featuring you at my link party tonight and pinning!
I think sharing your pain and how God grew you through it is a great thing to blog about. I’ve started blogging and have found this kind of motivation too. You’re inspiring. I admired you at Calvary and still do.