I have often heard the old adage, “to make friends, you must be a friend.” Somehow, I “make Australian friends” by setting my alarm for 4:30am and running with a group in the dark. In winter. That’s more like a tag-along than a friend, but whatever!
I’m used to having friends all around. Between our nutrition business, church, neighbors, gym, and our son’s sporting events, our Texas days were filled with people we knew. Our packed calendars were deleted once we moved to Australia, however. The rare-evening-at-home turned into every-evening-at-home. No mobile phones rang; no text messages came through; no calendar reminders.
After several weeks, I was really missing my friends. Walking around busy shopping malls and our own unfamiliar neighborhood underscored the fact that I didn’t know anyone.
Then, I was invited to lunch.
I almost turned down the date because it meant driving across the city (I wasn’t confident driving on the opposite side of the road yet) to a place I had never been where you reverse park on the street if you can even find a spot. It was raining too.
I decided to get uncomfortable and take the risk! After all, it was the first time someone asked me to lunch. As it happened, that one lunch landed me a casual job at the Coffee Club. And, I landed my new friend Adrienne!
Not only has ‘Ade’ roped me into her running (albeit at 5:30am), but she has invited me to her daughters dance competition, lunch, and a charity event. She checked on me after my first day at work and has become my “go-to” girl for restaurant information, kids activities, and shopping.
I’m not used to being the “new girl with an accent.” Being lost driving to the grocery store or listening to other people’s conversations all day can be a bit lonely. Each day, however, I try to put myself in a position for God to connect me with more people. The alternative, although much more comfortable, is to stay home and remain lonely.
This job at the Coffee Club is totally uncomfortable. I hardly know what the menu items are and it’s food service for pete’s sake! It would be much easier to skip it. This is the door God has opened for me, however. Potential divine appointments with those who will connect with our vision for Lift Church await me each time I go.
One by one, we are making friends.
I can’t help but think of the story of Ruth in the Bible. She left everything she knew as a young widow to follow her mother-in-law to a foreign land with no surety of her future, no guarantee of friendship. As the new girl with an accent, she put herself out there to gather grain behind the harvesters in a field. The Bible says, “And as it happened,” she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law.
Ruth went on to marry this wealthy and influential land owner, which gave her a son and carrier of her legacy. What if she had turned down the opportunity to move to that foreign land? What if she had never shown up for work? How would God have connected her to her destiny?
God doesn’t move parked cars.
We all want miraculous connections in our lives.
As it happens, God is ready and willing to work on our behalf.
Since we moved here, God divinely placed us in the right neighborhood with the perfect house, after weeks of driving, applying, and networking. We have made friends with a local pastor who wants to take us under his wing after visiting his church a few times and reaching out to him. I met an American at work who gave me her number and invited me to lunch. I have my running group. I have Ade! Our wonderful neighbors are taking care of us as we are still waiting on our furniture from America.
I’m not an expert on making friends and in no way am I saying it is easy. But I DO KNOW from experience that God will go the extra mile for us once we get going around the track. He is GOOD! He is GRACIOUS. He is GOING BEFORE us and GRANTING us favor. Each day is a bridge connecting us to our next steps to plant an amazing church here.