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When I was asked to write for The Connection, I knew I liked the name. Most of my life, I have craved connection with others, just wishing to develop meaningful relationships. I wanted people to understand me and accept me, quirks and all. Being introverted, I really value a few deep and significant friendships that are cultivated and maintained over time, rather than many superficial friendships.

A person of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

In early 2020, I was at a point in life where I finally felt like I had a good group of core people with whom I loved to be. But then March yielded to the pandemic with its many strange issues to navigate, including isolation. Then in August, I met my husband, Travis, and, four short months later, married him and moved to Annapolis where I did not know anyone else. After I moved, I started to miss my parents who I had seen daily before moving. I also really missed my friends. Everyone felt so far away, and it felt like some of my friends dismissed me because I had moved. I felt written off by some of them, like they did not miss me in return. That stung.

I started attending Travis’ church with him, but it was a very slow process getting to know people. Congregants were still masked, which always felt weird, and again, being introverted, I am not very outgoing about introducing myself.

Travis and I prayed about ways for me to make meaningful friendships with other women. I started to feel like if I truly wanted friends, I was going to need to move out of my introverted comfort zone. Then in one Sunday sermon, one of our pastors said, “If you don’t have a friend, be a friend.” I reflected on that, continued to pray, and found that there were a few ways to forge connections:

  1. LOOK FOR WAYS TO SERVE AT CHURCH. “Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth and with all your heart, for consider what great things He has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24 I found a few places where I fit as a servant. First, I joined the crochet ministry to get to know more ladies as well as learn a skill that would help me make items to bless other people. Then, I began to serve with the special needs ministry, meeting other special needs workers and families through that ministry. Next, I began to help schedule the greeters who hand out bulletins at the sanctuary entrance, sometimes even handing out bulletins myself, which allowed me to meet lots of people as they entered. Lastly, I was asked to be a prayer worker to pray with any lady who requested prayer at the end of the service, which also helped draw me closer to others.
  2. FIND OTHER GROUPS TO BE INVOLVED IN. “…[N]ot forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 I found that in addition to attending normal Sunday worship, looking for additional study throughout the week would help me not only study God’s Word more deeply, but also enable me to meet people. In my case, I pursued Bible studies both within and outside my church, finding that my favorite Bible study materials are from Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), held at another local church. This widened my circle, knowing ladies from other churches as well as my own. I have met many friendly, godly women at BSF and am gradually forging friendships with some of them beyond the weekly meetings.
  3. BE THE ONE TO EXTEND AN INVITATION. “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” 1 Peter 4:9 After my husband and I settled into our shared life, combining our homes into one, we found that we were ready to welcome guests. We have begun to invite our Christian brothers and sisters more frequently into our home to get to know them better and cultivate the friendships and relationships we seek. In return, we have received invitations to visit their homes or go out with them.

I am thankful for the connections that God is helping me forge in my new town. When I attend the crochet ministry or Bible study and look around the room, I am so thankful for the warm, friendly, godly women surrounding me. By handing out bulletins and serving as a prayer worker, my circle has grown enormously, and it is such a joy to get to know so many people through these ways. And I love to fill our home with friendship and laughter as we entertain people and show them love.

Reaching out in these ways did not come naturally to my introverted self, but I am so grateful for encouragement from my husband and strength from God to stretch myself in these ways and to find the kinds of connections I sought. 

In what ways can you also stretch yourself to make meaningful connections and be a friend to someone else? If you are not sure, ask God to reveal it to you! 

Jeanne-Marie Witmer

Jeanne-Marie Witmer, Daughter of the King, is a wife and a mother to a teenage son. She wants to encourage women to have meaningful relationships by first having a meaningful relationship with Jesus. Jeanne-Marie understands the transformative work of Christ when we repent and submit to Him so that He can work in our lives. She would like to share what she's learned to help other women find hope and healing in Christ, and she prays that her written words glorify God. When not busy homeschooling, spending time with family and friends, or writing; Jeanne-Marie enjoys photography and many crafts and hobbies. 

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