Seven years ago when I was pregnant with our son, my husband and I decided we needed to find a church we connected with where we could raise our family. He and I had both grown up somewhat “in the church,” and having attended private school through 12th grade we were not strangers to things like communion and midnight mass. When we were first married, we attended church a couple of times a month but never found a place we totally connected with. We went more because we felt like we should.
I didn’t know it at the time, but God had a wonderful plan for us as we made the journey to find the church where we would raise our family.
I will never forget the first service we attended at the church we would later call our home church. The music was loud, people were not dressed in their Sunday best and the Pastor didn’t make us sit and stand and sit and stand (can you tell I grew up Catholic?). It was unfamiliar to me and I didn’t like it.
As we walked out, I expected my husband and I to both sort of smile at each other as we checked yet another church off our list of ones that wouldn’t work. Instead, my husband raved about how much he loved it. Say what?! At several months into my pregnancy, I thought maybe there were some sort of church hunting hormones that were kicking in. I agreed to attend three times before I completely vetoed it.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Something happened over the next three weeks that made my heart open towards this new church. Now, looking back, I know it was all in God’s plan. Our lives were soon changed with the arrival of our son, followed shortly by my decision to sign up for a “growth group” through the church. Basically, it was a weekly meeting with people in your same season of life. My guard and judgment were up. I felt like I already had friends and I certainly didn’t have the time to hang once a week with women I didn’t know. Yet, something was pulling at me to do this. I opted for one advertised as a “new moms play group”.
The moment I walked into that group, my life was forever changed. This might sound dramatic given that no actual event occurred other than new moms talking while our babies laid on the floor drooling, but the friendships I formed starting on that day have truly shaped the mom, wife, friend, employee and overall person that I am today.
I am convinced God’s plan was to connect me to these women. We were all working moms with babies born within a few months of each other, all connected through this church that I had initially been so hesitant about. Seven years later, our friendships are stronger than ever. From miscarriages and divorce to more babies being born and date night ideas, we have saved each other during the darkest times and rejoiced with each other during the fun times.
Of six women, only three of us attend that same church. I realize looking at this all that it’s not about where you attend church or even if you go each week. It turns out that God has a plan even when it comes to our relationships.
Moms, if you are struggling to find community or a place where you fit it, I’d encourage you to dig a bit outside your comfort zone. Go to the church that is too loud or the moms group where you know zero people. God has a plan for you, I promise.
Where did you find community in an unexpected way?
Find more of Stephanie’s contributions to allmomdoes here.