Growing up, it was easy for me to make friends. Being an only child, my friends became an extension of my family quickly. After I got married, I moved a couple of hours away from where all of my friends lived. We were still able to see each other from time to time and talk on the phone, but things changed. It was a slow change, and I understood it…I was married now. I had new responsibilities. I loved my role as stay-at-home wife, and I was expectantly awaiting for the time that I would be a stay-at-home mother and homeschool my children.
Skip ahead six years— We had moved to another state, much more than a couple of hours away from all of my friends. I had three children, all under the age of 6. I was homeschooling the older two, and the younger was doing a little bit of “preschool” type stuff here and there. The things that I had wanted were here…I was a stay-at-home mom and I was homeschooling! Yet, something was missing…FRIENDS!
I didn’t really take time (or really have time) to connect with anyone once we moved here because I was pregnant with my third child, my two older ones were still very young, so I was always busy with them. Even though I was very happy in my role as stay-at-home wife, mom, and homeschooler, I became lonely. I felt like this was just a season that God wanted me to go through so that He could show me something on the other side…but it was TOUGH going! During that time, I reconnected with my friend from 2nd grade via Facebook. When she and I had met all those years ago, we quickly became best friends and stayed best friends for several years. We had sleepovers and spent many fun days with each other’s family. As all of these memories came back to me, I began looking at my oldest boy. He was almost in 2nd grade, but he had never had friends like that. It hit me… I haven’t been giving my children the opportunity to make friends! I felt like a horrible mother at that point. I asked myself, “How can I help them to have friendships like the ones that I had?” Then, it occurred to me that they had no examples to follow from me because all of my close friends were 10 hours away.
What do I do?? It occurred to me for the first time in my life to THINK about how to make friends. It had been something that just came naturally for me for the first twenty-something years of my life because my situation was always one where I was meeting new people and in large settings. That was not the case anymore! When all of this hit me, I cried, and cried some more. I called my friend that I’d recently reconnected with and told her the story and ended up crying while we were talking. Then, I calmed myself down and prayed about it, again, for the millionth time.
Now, skip ahead again with me 3 more years. This would bring us up to almost present time. A few months ago, I had a decision to make. I had two friends that had invited me to their homes on the same day. As I thought about this, I laughed out loud…and stopped to thank God. He has given me so many friends lately that I actually have to CHOOSE between them. So, what changed? How did that lonely homeschooling Mom come to have several close friends?
1. I truly believe that it all happened in God’s timing. I may not be right about the “why,” but I do believe that He allowed me to walk through that lonely time just to show me what He could do if I turned it over to Him. After reconnecting with my friend, my prayers changed from “Please send some friends for me,” to “Please send some friends for my kids, my husband, and me.” He used that time to teach me some things, and on the other side, I am glad that I had that period of loneliness. It has enabled me to see that God can go far and above what we could hope for or imagine.
2. I started to REALLY connect with the ladies at church. I had come to see myself as my children’s mother with no time to socialize or even carry on a conversation with anyone. My children, by the way, are very well behaved for the most part, so it was not that I had to get them out of trouble every 5 seconds. I had just wrapped myself so much into “mothering” them that I did not even think to connect with the people that were right there around me.
3. We joined a homeschool co-op! This co-op has been such a blessing to me. After a rough week, I can go in there on Friday, sit down with several good friends, and we all open up. Most weeks, we have all been going through the same struggle! It is so nice to know that you are not struggling alone. The “more experienced” homeschooling moms help the new homeschooling moms. My kids are making new friends each week, I am meeting new like-minded moms each week. It has blessed us beyond measure.
Friends are something that everyone needs. I believe that God desires for us (yes, even homeschooling moms) to have good friends. He put several examples in the Bible (David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Elijah and Elisha, etc.). He also gave us the Word, “A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17) So, I think that friendship is important. Friends are there to listen, to talk, to have some fun, some fellowship, and for mutual support.
If you are a lonely homeschooling mom, I pray that you will give your desires over to God. Ask for His help during this time of solitude for you. My guess is that after He brings you through it, you will receive blessings beyond your wildest imagination. I know that I have!
Hillary Gould currently resides Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with her husband, Mark. They celebrated ten years of marriage in June 2012! God has blessed them with three wonderful children. Hillary is a former public school teacher turned homeschooler and desires to show Jesus to her children and those around her in her everyday life. To do this, she wants to “live deeply in Christ.” (1 John 2:28) You can find her blogging at: http://www.destinationproverbs22six.blogspot.com/