8.16.2013

Celebrating A Happy Return + Friendship

It's been just over a year since we left the life we knew in Houston and moved to a small farm in Franklin. I remember this time last year so well: nothing felt familiar, comfortable or easy. We dropped our girls off at a new school trusting in the story that led us there, but we really had no idea how things would go for them. {Girls, you were so brave. And I am so proud of you!}

Fast forward a year, and for the first time since we've moved, we get to return to a familiar place...and a place we love...even if it does mean homework! {I'm so not a fan. What happened to free play and family time?}

Fun to see how they've grown since last year.

It's hard for me to give up the simplicity of summer {no activities, no camps, no schedules for us...just lots of family time and freedom} to the confining schedule of school, but the truth is, I couldn't ask for more in a school. They embraced our whole family with open arms. It really has been the easiest part of our move.

And it's through our school that we've found friends who feel like family. Last weekend, a school family spent the night at our farm. The whole family. Who does that?!?! I never imagined anyone whose own home is only 30 minutes away would pack up and stay with us, cook with us, clean the chicken coop with us and even iron the 10 shirts we've ignored for months, but this family did. We never experienced anything like this in Houston, but living life together under one roof is the sweetest thing. We're hoping to make it a quarterly tradition. {I'm still pinching myself!}

And then there are the two school families who happen to be our neighbors. Really? In the country? Yes! Blessed beyond measure with these two families. One of these families was the first to greet us when we moved in. This sweet woman walked through our overgrown pasture with hugs and bag full of snacks and household necessities. She was literally the heart of God to us that day. We've spent lots of time chatting at the fence, sharing a glass of wine and driving each other's children to and from school.

And the neighbors behind us...we didn't meet them until about five months ago, but we made up for lost time this summer! We are kindred spirits for sure...raising our families in similar ways. Like our other neighbors, they have boys, but that doesn't stop our kids from spending hours together enjoying good, old-fashioned fun. It has brought so much life and joy to our hearts to connect with this family. We've even cleared a pathway from our house to theirs!

All of this would be more than enough {I'm a girl who thrives on just a few heart friends vs. a big crowd}, but God keeps giving more. Friends to walk with, friends to meet for coffee, friends who can handle my tears, friends who relate to our story...even friends who love beauty. We've been blessed beyond anything we could've asked or imagined. {Ephesians 3:20 is one of my favorite ways to pray.}

One of the scariest parts of moving for me was, "Who will I lean on when I need somebody?" Who will help me in a pinch? Who will pray for me when I can't pray for myself? Who will help me find my way? Who will pick up my girls if I can't? Who will invite us to do things? Who will think of us, love us and know us?

When you leave all of your friends, family and connections behind, these are legitimate heart cries. I cried out every single one of those things to God, but most of all, I prayed that He would make room in people's hearts for us. And He did. 

If you're the new girl this year {new school, new neighborhood, new town, new whatever}, I can tell you one thing for sure: God will show up for you. It takes time to form real friendships, but God will show up. Sometimes He may hold off the friends so that you can come to Him first. But oh, how He loves to come for you through friendship.

As I wrap this up, I feel like there's one last thing I should share for those who might need to know you aren't alone: I haven't always had it easy when it comes to friendship. My story is laced with heartache and longing. No lifelong friends or best friends who've remained. I started believing I was too much and that there wasn't a friend for me...or one who would stay. But God. {My favorite two words in all of Scripture.} He has healed so much of my heart and restored so much more than I could've imagined in the friendship department! Praying that for you today if you need it.

Here's to a new school year, new friends, and more than we can ask or imagine!

With love and joy,

P.S. If you're not the new girl this year, would you be on the look out for the one who is?  I bet she could use a friend like you today!

31 comments:

  1. Linsey... I think that is one of your best posts EVER!! I sent your link to 3 of my non-blogging friends who have recently moved away and have to start all over again making new friends.It gets much harder as you get older. Thanks for the great post.

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    1. Wow, Katie. Thanks. That's a tall compliment! I'm honored that you would share it with friends who are experiencing "new girl" status. My heart goes out to them.

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  2. so beautiful & encouraging!
    but god!!
    love hearing about your new friends & family you've found in franklin linsey!!!
    xxo

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  3. What a sweet story, Linsey. Love your P.S. best.
    xo,
    Nicole

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  4. Linsey,
    Thank you for this post. Like many others you've written, it touches me deeply. I'm not one to really ever comment, but this was a timely message as we just moved to a very small town and I'm definitely the "new" girl. I certainly am praying just like you did, for the Father to bring us good families to share life with. He cares about the details and is truly faithful, this I know!

    Blessings,
    Jerri Lynn

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    1. Jerri Lynn, I'm so thankful you left a comment today and shared a snippet of your story about moving to a small town so I can relate to you and pray for you in that. He'll come through for you in His perfect way. No doubt.

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  5. Beautiful post Linsey...so wondeful that you have made such great friends and truly great relationships...As you already know...your life was "led" to Franklin...I have been very blessed with many lifelong friends.

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    1. You are blessed indeed. And yes, we were definitely led here. There's no other reason why we would've left all that was good and familiar. ;)

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  6. this post blesses me so much...
    so thrilled for your life there in TN...
    so thankful for the friends that are becoming like family.....

    so, so, so overwhelmed with a grateful heart for the life God is giving you guys there.

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    1. Oh, Tara, thank you. It helps to see my story through your eyes and to remember how overwhelmingly GOOD God has been in our story. Sometimes I get clouded by the hard and heavy parts of our story. But today, I'm celebrating!

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  7. I just love how you write straight from your heart. You are such a loving, giving person, I know the best was waiting for you in Franklin. I'm so happy to see you happy!

    XO,
    Jane

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    1. Thanks, Jane. Writing my heart out here can feel a little scary at times, but when it blesses someone or helps someone feel like they aren't alone in your journey, it feels worth it to have shared. Thanks for reading!

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  8. Your P.S. to this post is wonderful! As I head to school to "Meet our new teacher," your words will be sure to resonate in my mind! Thanks for the wonderful reminder! Enjoy the day!

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    1. Thank you! It's always fun to see a new name here!

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  9. Linsey,
    Oh, a timely post for me! We moved last week to a new town, new state, new school - everything! I've been the new girl before (former Army wife) but that doesn't make it easy. In fact, I know how hard it really is. I am so happy for you that you have found some lasting, nurturing friendships. I have felt like you at times, wondering about me and lasting friendships. There is a part of me that keeps an area of comfort around myself and that is not always a good thing. I am working on that this time. My children are 16, 12, 10 and they need those other mamas and daddies as family friends.

    By the way, we just left Tennessee for Georgia. We looked at Nashville for work and I was hoping to knock on your door, but alas, that was not His plan for us. We are hoping to put down roots and flourish here in Georgia. I pray your family continues to do so, as well. Thank you for sharing the hard stuff ...

    Jamie

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    1. Jamie, my heart goes out to you as you settle into all things new. I always hear it takes about two years to settle. I believe it must be true. We feel much more settled than we did a year ago, but I can imagine that by the end of the second year, this will feel much more like home. I love your honesty about how part of you has kept an area of comfort around you. Me, too. But now you get to be stretched far beyond your comfort zone, and if you surrender to that, good things will come of it. Praying for sweet friends whose hearts are open to receive you!

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  10. Linsey,
    Just about the time you're doubting whether you should continue to blog or not, please remember this post. It touched me. I'm starting a new job in a week and will be the new girl. I've always gotten along with the males in my life more than women, so I too understand the lacking of female companionship over the years. I've also felt "what's wrong with me?" that I can't seem to let friendships with other women grow. I'm going to take a deep breath, open my heart and let God direct this next chapter...thank you

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    1. Such sweet encouragement, Diana. Thank you. As you know, I've wanted to quit a hundred times. It just feels so vulnerable and overexposed at times. Risky, I guess. And I don't love risk. But God is calling me to risk more, to put myself out there instead of being so self-protective. I'm thankful to hear from people like you so that I know the risk is worth it. :)

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  11. You should be a motivational speaker!

    Very touching; Thanks!

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    1. You made me giggle out lout, Inga. Thank you. I do love to speak, especially to teen girls and women, but not sure how motivational I am! Thanks for your vote of confidence.

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  12. Linsey, I wish I could copy this, and especially your ps, and post it everywhere I teach . . . including a few places where I am SURE people have been taught better, but where I am often seriously horrified at the behavior I see and hear when newcomers join a class. And I'll take special care to look for and care for that one new face in the sea of "regulars," and make that new girl or boy feel welcome.

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    1. I love that you're looking for the new faces. I don't think I was very aware of new people before being new myself. I think we stick with those we know out of our insecurity or wanting to do what's easiest...without thinking of how lonely a new person might be feeling. The less I focus on myself, the more sensitive my heart is to others in the room. P.S. Heard you met my sister! Hooray!

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  13. So worth the risk! Another deep and well spoken post from you Linsey. I have been so blessed to make a wonderful friend in my new home state, this woman and her family have helped become part of our "new family" this past year. Thank you for speaking from the heart and sharing your truth with your readers!

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  14. What a sweet praise to God!!! I love hearing what He has done for you and your family. It truly makes my heart smile for you.

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  15. This is so beautiful! My, you have a way with words. It sounds like you've found some very special people in your new hometown. Sometimes I think it's hard to find people to truly connect with, but when it does happen it's feels like such a wonderful blessing.

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    1. It is hard, Tricia. I'm so very thankful as I have known many seasons without a heart friend.

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  16. Love this!!!I am not the "new girl" this year but I have been before and people have blessed me so I always keep an eye out to help others too. What a beautiful post. I am glad you are happy in Franklin...

    Thought of you this year when my kiddos headed to Ozark and wondered if yours still go?

    Kim

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    1. They've actually never been to camp. Isn't that wild considering how much I love Ozark? SO thankful for that place. It's where I first learned about Jesus!

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  17. When we moved to our island, I think it took almost a year to feel whole again. I was just getting to a place of peace when we got to move home. I know our stories are different, but it has been so neat to see you get past where I was. I am thankful that God is working in your life in such mighty ways. One of the hardest parts of parenting is teaching friendship and I tell my daughter {7th grade - eek!} that this part of her life will always be full of lessons, take prayer, work and love. But the best lesson in friendship is that God is there, even when no one else is. He is the ultimate best friend. Hugs to you and the girls as you start another school year!

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  18. And don't forget your sisters in blog land who are always here for you.

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  19. I have enjoyed reading through lots of past posts that I have missed. Love your country move story, it's encouraging as we are planning a move this spring. I worry most about our daughter who will be starting 3rd grade next year.

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"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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