By Krista Keane
I remember the day well. It was six years ago. I walked into the classroom that we affectionately know as the “Green Room” here at Southeast. This would be our meeting place for the next eight weeks. To say I was a little nervous is an understatement. I was terrified, bordering on panicked. What was I thinking taking on this task? Me, leading a women’s Bible study about an issue that was near and dear to my heart. That was the problem right there. Maybe it was too close to my heart. Maybe I wasn’t emotionally ready to lead anyone on this subject. The study was titled, After the Boxes are Unpacked ~ Moving On After Moving In.
It was a study about how to navigate all the emotions involved in moving to a new place. But for me, leading this study would be the beginning of a process where God would teach me the importance of friendships.
In 2004, we packed up our belongings, along with our two bundles of joy (then 18 months and three-years-old) and we moved from Mesa, Arizona, to Highlands Ranch, Colorado. We didn’t know anyone besides our realtor, a home inspector and a mortgage broker. Not necessarily the makings for BFF’s.
For the next few months I unpacked, organized, decorated, learned my way around town, and attempted to get to know some people. But then loneliness set in. Suddenly the reality of what we had done hit me. Here we were in Colorado with no family, no close friends, a church where we barely knew anyone, and a husband who traveled weekly in his new job.
I didn’t like Lonely Krista. She was irritable, anxious, sad, and compared every well-meaning person she met in Colorado to her friends hundreds of miles away in the desert. Not quite the picture of virtue that we read about in Small Surrenders.
Virtue: Moral excellence, goodness and righteousness.
One of the things we want in Lent is to grow in virtue. But how does that happen? Often we may do so through our friendships….We may not do this consciously, but one of our hidden motives in friendship is to find people who inspire us, who make life richer or more valuable. ~ Emilie Griffin
Slowly, God began to bring some wonderful women into my life. And one day I realized that irritable, anxious, sad me was climbing out of the pit of loneliness. I found myself inspired to be a better version of myself because of the beautiful, Godly, and real girlfriends God gave me.
Fast forward to 2009. The first day of the Moving On study. The room filled quickly with about 16 women. Some had just moved to the Denver area a few months before; others had lived here a year; and yet others had lived here five and six years, and still felt the loneliness and isolation that being in a new place brings. The tears began to flow. Not just tears of sorrow, but tears of I get it, and I understand what you are feeling.
For eight weeks we met. We shared our stories. We comforted one another. We grieved losses. And slowly we began to heal. We allowed friendships to be formed. And we realized we would be okay.
It’s been 11 years since I moved to Colorado. At this moment, I couldn’t imagine leaving this beautiful place I call home. Why? Because of my friends.
Good friends are a blessing. God sends them, I think, to shape us in the life of faith. ~Emiile Griffin
I know I’m a better person, a better Christ follower, and better at this virtuous life God has called me to because of my friendships.
As we conclude this third week of Lent, think about the friends God has placed in your life. Think about what they teach you, how they inspire you, and how they make life a little more beautiful.
Small Surrenders, Emilie Griffin