I stood behind the heavy, dark doors wondering what awaited me on the other side. Tossing up one of many silent prayers, I sheepishly stepped into the already crowded room.

Would I recognize any of the faces staring back at me? Would I be offered a place to sit? Would conversations come easily, or would they feel staged and awkward? These anxious thoughts and more grappled at my heart.

Inhaling deeply, I fought against this battle brewing within. I desired to experience this place, to be a part of this sisterhood.

I craved confidence. I ached for bravery. But the question looming over my head was one of belonging.

Did I belong here? Would I ever belong? Me, the fearful one? Me, the uncertain one? Me, the notenough one? Could a person like me belong in a place such as this?

Isn’t this the question we subconsciously mull over time and again in our lives? The question of belonging. Of feeling at home though we are not. Of connecting with someone who understands us today and still wants to be friends with us tomorrow.

Regardless of our personalities or upbringing, each of us longs to know and be known. To invest in others and have others invest in us. To build beautiful, lasting friendships.

To live a life of belonging.

I think back to that crowded room.

Many ladies pushed their way through those weighty doors that morning — most of them alone, just like me. Some timid; others more sure of themselves.

How did they capture this sureness? Was there any left for me?

Seeking to understand, I scouted out an unsuspecting lady and studied her movements closely.

Her brown eyes scanned one row of chairs after another, finally finding what she had known was there all along.

Over in the corner, waving excitedly, stood her saving grace. The sweet, familiar face of a trusted friend – one who had gone before her, securing her place, cheerfully awaiting her arrival.

Smiles and laughter spilled into the air as they locked arms and slid into side-by-side padded metal chairs. 

Two ordinary women. One undeniable bond. Beautiful friendship.

As I observed the connection between these friends, I thought of the special ladies in my own life.

How I wish I could bottle them up and carry them with me into all my scary places!

Sadly, it doesn’t work like this. My dear friends have families of their own. They have obligations to meet and promises to keep. Though they are always for me, they cannot always be with me.

Just as I’m beginning to feel bummed over this, a gentle whisper reaches my ears and settles into the crevices of my heart: there is one special friend who goes with me everywhere.

Oh, how often I forget! How often, in my fear and overwhelm, I need these simple reminders!

Though He isn’t tangibly present, He is still very much here.

His name is Jesus.

He is the friend who goes before me, securing my place, lovingly awaiting my arrival.

When I’m alone. When I feel invisible. When my confidence is lacking. When fear gets the best of me. When I wonder if I’m capable of another step.  

He is here, and because He is here, amazingly, I always find my place.

In Him. With Him. Because of Him.

I belong.


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