• Shea Kropiwnicki

You've got a place here.

Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in?

I’m not talking about the time in middle school when everyone was wearing pleather pants, and you didn’t have a pair of those ice blue beauties. I’m talking about deeply longing to be in the inner circle and discovering there’s a line drawn in the sand. And you’re on the outside. Feeling unwelcome. Unwanted. Unloved.

I was 22 at the time. All of my peers were unmarried and just graduating from college. I had married after my sophomore year, and graduated a year early (Jesus still performs miracles, ya’ll). We had gotten pregnant just as I had accepted my first “big girl” job. My Momma friends were significantly older than me. They had life experience, sleek Mom SUVs, and baby Bjorns. I had none of that. I was closer in age to my husband’s youth group than I was to them. We lived on pennies and prayer. It was a weird time in my life. My dearest friend at the time was a sixty year old co-worker. My friends from college were accepting jobs and settling into their new lives, but 2:00 am meant feeding a baby for me while it meant a late night pizza run for them. I knew at my very core that I was meant to be a Mom, but I never felt like I could own the title like others did. My life path didn’t agree with the natural flow of society, and there wasn’t a circle for me.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t push to be on the inside. I was unworthy to be there. Or at least I felt that way. The line in the sand felt more like The Great Wall of China than something that could dissipate with the wind. Occasionally, I had women reach out to edges and invite me in. I’d love to say that a beautiful thing happened, and we became BFFs and talked about how annoyingly adorable our kids are, but that just didn’t happen.

I know God gifted me with this season of loneliness because my lonely heart turned into eagle eyes for outsiders. The people just barely hanging on. People desperate for me to bring them into my circle and say “You’ve got a place here.”

Maybe you’re the person on the outside just waiting for someone to look in your direction. To meet you eye to eye. To see you. And then to really see you. Or maybe you’ve already found your village. You may not be the Head Honcho, but you've got people around you that care. That will show up to your kid's Birthday party or run an errand for you when you're sick or will wipe spit up off your shoulder when you're in public together.

No matter where you fall, I challenge you to think outside of yourself. If you haven’t found a circle, it is possible that some are closed off, but it’s also possible that you haven’t done your part. If you want more Christian friends, go to church. Get involved. Come early. And leave late. Serve alongside other people. Ask them out to lunch. Invite them over for dinner. Get to know them. Over time, a new circle will form that hopefully has no walls, no boundaries, and no pleather pants.

If you already have a circle of friends, remember that someone welcomed you in. Be that person for someone else. Get to know your neighbors. Talk to strangers at the park. Stalk people down in the name of Jesus. Know that circles don’t have to be restricted to one type of person. While I know that I am called to minister to Moms in this season of my life, it doesn’t mean I can’t reach out to a single, young adult or hang out with a person twice my age. If you do seek to include outsiders, you will have awkward conversations. You will be rejected. And you will look like a crazy person. But, you will also look like Jesus because He's given everyone the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him. I want to be like that. I want to be like Him.

In this kitchen full of crumbs, on this couch dotted with stains, in this yard full of weeds, and in this heart full of faults, you’ve got a place here.​

Grace Giver: We are not bound by our insecurities, our fears, or our failures. Do you struggle with anxiety? Someone else does too, and they need your support. Are you wrestling with depression? Someone else is too, and they need your encouragement. Are you feeling lonely and left out? Someone else feels that too, and they need your friendship. God uses our flaws bring others into His circle.

Truth Teller: Jesus loved the least, last, and lost. He sought them out, and He brought them into His circle. He calls us to do the same. Being shy is not an excuse. Being busy is not an excuse. Being content is not an excuse.

#love #kindness

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