When my daughter asked me that question, "Is it me?" my mommy heart broke into a million pieces. She had returned home from a youth service in which the topic was "Friends". For her, the road to finding fun, strong, Christian friendships has been difficult since our move to Texas two and a half years ago. She left behind a group of solid friends, some of whom she had known since she was a baby, one who had been her "best" friend through thick and thin. I knew it would take time for her (and myself) to reestablish friendships that are meaningful and healthy, and middle school timing would add challenges in itself.
Since moving here, she has not lacked for friends, but they have moved in and out of her life like storm clouds. Loyalty has not been a character trait that she has found in her middle school friends. I have watched her, encouraged her, and prayed for her. She seemed to be handling it as an accepted part of middle school life, until the other night.
We had arranged for her to ride with a friend (a new friend, not someone she knows real well) to the youth group meeting this week. This friend's mother and I have become friends (I hope we become good friends) and we discovered that our daughters were going through similar feelings, especially with the crowd at our mutual youth service. The girls attended this particular meeting together and heard the same message. They had a lively and honest conversation on the ride home. I understand that my daughter bore her soul regarding her friendship journey, and I was proud of her for being honest.
When she sat down and talked with me about her evening, that is when I heard those words, "Is it me?" Ouch. I knew just how she was feeling. How many times have I asked myself, and then God, that same question as I have struggled with finding true, loyal, healthy and fun friendships, especially since our move. I assured my daughter that she was beautiful and desirable as a friend and had wonderful qualities that would make almost anyone who knows her want to be her friend. We did talk about a few areas that might need attention (quick temper, occasional crankiness....), but affirmed her in her positive character traits, prayed for her and gave her a hug.
My hope is that she does a personal evaluation of what kind of friend she is, and what kinds of friends she wants. I will be taking the same personal evaluation along with her, as I continue to pray for a strong group of friends in our new area. It was like looking in the mirror when I saw my daughter's heart. She has formed the same importance that I have regarding the relationships in her life. She has learned from me the growth that comes from making a place for ourselves in the world of good friends. She knows that when we count in the lives of those around us, we are whole as women and girls. To share life with a friend who loves and encourages and helps gives evidence and witness to God in our lives.
I will pray for us both, that we will be the type of friends to others that we want to experience, that we will see the gals that God puts in our lives and be open to all possibilities, that we will go to Him when we are lonely and remember He is our Best Friend, and work on our own Mother Daughter friendship as we travel this road together, as women.
p.s. The other young lady and my daughter have decided to work on their own friendship. They experienced a positive and hopeful connection during that conversation. Hooray for God...doesn't He do the coolest things?