by Kathy Howard
Determined to meet my new neighbors, one Sunday afternoon I made a big batch of banana-chocolate chip muffins. Warm muffins would be my offering of friendship, my reason to knock on their door. While the muffins baked, I wrote our name and contact information on little note cards and attached them to the top of the plastic containers.
That afternoon I walked six long driveways. I stood in front of six doors waiting for a neighbor to respond to my knock. But no one answered. Feeling lonely and defeated, I went home, made a cup of coffee, ate two muffins, then stored the rest in the freezer.
A few weeks before that Sunday afternoon, we had moved to a new town. This makes new start number eight. Throughout my husband’s career, his job moved us seven times. Then my husband retired and we moved again. This move may actually be our last.
Moving and starting over can offer wonderful opportunities, but there are also challenges. Making and building new friendships is one of them. Thankfully, some of my other efforts to meet new people and make new friends have turned out better than the muffin fiasco.
Throughout our moves, God has taught me to take the initiative. It’s not that the people around me don’t want my friendship or care that I’m new. Most are simply settled in with a full life and a circle of friends.
I am naturally shy, so reaching out and taking the initiative in new friendships always feels risky – like standing in front of a stranger’s door, smiling at a security camera, warm muffins in hand. Will they open the door? Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
Yet I continue to take the risk because I’ve experienced the value of friendship. In each place we’ve lived, God has graciously given me beautiful, lasting friendships I still enjoy. But no matter how wonderful these relationships are, I need local friends. I need women in my day-to-day life.
God designed us for relationship – with Him and with others. We not only need Him, we also need other women to encourage, comfort, and challenge us in our daily lives and our walk with Jesus. No matter how independent we are, we really aren’t meant to go it alone.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV
We all need a friend to help us up when we fall. Do you have a friend or two to call when you’re on the floor? If not, reach out, take the initiative. Be the friend God can use to bless someone else. I’d be happy to share my muffin recipe with you!
About the author:Struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents,explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection. You can order your copy here.
Join the conversation: How do you reach out to make new friends?