It’s a #FiveMinuteFriday! Where people from all over write for five minutes flat all on the same prompt that @lisajobaker posts here at 1 minute past midnight EST every Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.
Today’s Topic: Connect
So, this is the second time I’ve linked up with Five Minute Friday. Yet again, the topic is one that speaks to where I currently am in my life. Funny what God uses to help us heal and keep us moving forward.
I’ve been bad at connecting with others pretty much all of my life. When I was a child and on into my teen years, it wasn’t by choice. I wanted to connect with others and have lots of friends and have pajama parties and all the other things teen girls are supposed to do. But that wasn’t my life. I was the gangly, awkward, nerdy, poor bookworm with the less-than-cool K-Mart clothes (back before K-Mart had cool clothes). I was The Geek from Sixteen Candles, except with zero self-esteem.
College was life-changing for me. Suddenly it was cool to be smart and nerdy and to know all the answers in class. I lived on campus my freshman year, and found myself in a place where no one knew who I was. And I mean who I WAS. These people didn’t know my background and had no preconceived notions about me whatsoever. I could be whoever I wanted to be. I could be ME. I was more focused on discovering who I was and who I wanted to be than on connecting with others.
Then, I got married after my freshman year, and my life soon revolved around school, my husband, and my child. I had no time to connect with anyone but family.
We moved five hours from the only home I’d ever known when my son was five. I was in a new city with a new job and no connections whatsoever. Unless you count my in-laws, who moved at the same time. Whole OTHER story.
We joined an awesome new church, and I made a few connections, but not many. It’s hard to make connections with others when your introverted spouse doesn’t want to join a small group or, you know, meet new people.
Fast forward five years. Life throws me a temporary curve ball (for the 2nd time), and I am left with no one to turn to. I realize that I need to have more relationships in my life than just the inlaws, because that connection is only as dependable as the person through whom it exists. I start volunteering at church and taking classes on Wednesday nights. Alone. I make a few new friends. I start to feel like a part of a church family instead of just a church attendee. Curve ball ends, and things go back to “normal.”
Fast forward another five years. Curve ball from five years before boomerangs back around, but this time for good. Connections I thought were permanent disappear overnight. People I have known for 17 years cut ties completely, showing that I may have been connected to them, but they were never connected to me.
This time, though, I am not alone. I have strong connections with my church family. I have people I can lean on and turn to. Most importantly, my connection to God is stronger than it has ever been in my life. And it has only gotten stronger in the months since my husband and his family chose to sever their connections to me. That is the only thing that has kept me from a complete meltdown. In spite of the devastation, the questions, the anger, the confusion – in spite of my circumstances – God has shown me that He is still there.
He is still HERE.
And His connection to me will never go away. He is giving me hope for my future, regardless of my present circumstances. Daily He is showing me blessings in the midst of the ashes.
Sometimes He shows me blessings because of the ashes.
And that awes me and makes me want to shout Hallelujah!
Now, I have nothing to hold me back from connecting fully to God and others. I have gotten more involved in my church this summer than I was ever able to before. My child has gotten more involved in church than he was ever able to before. We have joined a Sunday night home group, he has been interning at the church, and this Sunday I will begin helping teach a high school girls’ Sunday School class. I have made more new friends this summer than in the entire previous 10 years since moving here.
God wants us to connect. First, and foremost, to HIM. Secondly, to other believers around us. If you aren’t connected with God and with others in community, then you will never be able to withstand the lies of the enemy.
Trust me. I know.