“Well, why don’t you come over Friday after work?”
I looked over at the woman who was sitting across the table from me. We had just finished our weekly lunch after the morning worship service at Grand River Baptist Church. We were talking about how much we both loved silly movies and seafood (neither of which my family are huge fans of).
“I’m sorry?” I asked.
“When you’re done with work on Friday, come over to my house and we will watch movies and make Shrimp Alfredo and…(she paused and gasped) oooh, I’m gonna teach you how to make these homemade pretzels I just discovered! Oh, now I’m excited!!!!” She finished her statement with excited clapping.
I had to laugh, Bernadette’s (or “Mama B’” as I affectionately call her) excitement and laughter was contagious. But still I doubted in the back of my mind.
“Are you sure I won’t be a bother?”
Bernadette laughed out loud, “Girl, please! We will have SO much fun!”
I sat back in my chair, marveling. Here was a busy mother who was homeschooling three children, and she was inviting a 30 year old single woman to come and hang out at her home! The more I thought it over, the more my excitement grew.
“I would love that!”
As I drove home from church that afternoon, my heart was overjoyed and thankful. The past few weeks had been a struggle mentally and emotionally. In my quiet time with God, I had been praying for something or someone to come my way to encourage me or give me a mental break. Somehow I knew that Mama B’s invitation would be a surprising answer to that prayer.
Turns out I was more than right as I experienced a mini-vacation at Mama B’s house that Friday. As soon as I entered the house I was told to sit down and relax as copious amounts of food were brought before me. She taught me how to knead and twist dough into delicious pretzels that tasted amazing! I literally felt all the tension and anxiety the last two weeks had brought melt away as we talked about what God had been doing in our lives.
After several hours of eating shrimp and laughing at movies, I drove home contemplating how God answers our prayers in unexpected ways.
The prayer of having close or “best” friends has always been in my heart. So often my expectation is the same as it is in society today: three girls, all the same age, all single, gabbing and laughing at a coffee shop. However, the Lord is teaching me that the best, and often most fulfilling friendships, are to be found in some pretty surprising places; if I will just take the time to look at:
-the seven year old girl who always asks to sit next to me at church
-the elderly widow across the street who needs a listening ear
-the sibling I thought was nothing like me, but now has more in common with me than I thought possible
-the cousin who constantly asks me to join her on adventures and try new experiences
-the homeschooling mom who wants to open her home and share her amazing hospitality
Being single, it is easy to get into a “lonely mindset,” focusing only on what God hasn’t given to me yet: a spouse, children, a tight-knit parents group. But when I step back and look at all the people God HAS given me, I see that I am ANYTHING but alone.
God promises in His Word:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my way, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thought than your thoughts.”-Isaiah 55:8-9
I am so thankful for a God who sends each friend my way in His perfect timing in His perfect way…often when I least expect it.