We’ve moved across state and country lines three times over the past six years, and with each move I’ve dreaded the exhaustion of making new friends. Women can be so nice and welcoming and awesome. And women can also be terrifying.
After our second major move, we began the search for a new church. We liked the idea of attending church in our own neighborhood, so we decided to visit the one across the street from our apartment complex.
It was a smaller church, with around forty people attending that day, and when the service was over, it took at least forty-five minutes to exit the building. People wanted to know where we were from and where we’d been and if we preferred the Chicago White Socks or the Cubs. Albeit tiring, I was glad these complete strangers were making an effort to get to know us.
And then someone took it to the next level.
A woman named Beth came up to me again and asked if my daughter and I would like to come over for a play date at her place sometime that week.
If my jaw didn’t physically drop right then and there, it hit the floor metaphorically. She had only met me ten minutes ago, yet she didn’t hesitate to welcome my child and I into her daily life.
I thought protocol was that you had to commit to a church before the people in that church would be willing to commit to you. And yet, Beth welcomed us in – no strings attached. Not worrying if our presence would mess up the groove of the friendships she had already established.
As the newbie in town, I was so grateful for the generous welcome God provided in what would eventually become our church home and the source of many life-giving friendships. And as the one feeling awkward and lonely, I was so grateful Beth didn’t let fear hold her back from both saying hello and, “Would you like to come over?”
May we all be the same beacon of welcome to the people in our everyday lives – to those in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:3
Lord, one of the greatest gifts that You gave us was the church. I pray that You will provide life-giving friendships for those of us who feel lonely. And I pray that You will help us recognize ways we can invite others into our daily lives – no strings attached. Amen.
About Kendra Broekhuis:
Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor. The book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.