As I worked my way through the archives of this blog for material for my book, I noticed something. There was a distinct turning point in my grieving process after we lost Samantha, and it came when I found a new purpose for my life. It was when we started our PLI journey in the spring of 2012.

I was somewhat aware of this change already, but skimming blog posts confirmed it for me. My posts shifted from being about our grief journey back into ministry, calling, and understanding myself and my place in the Church.

Part of this is because of the relationships. We formed friendships with other couples in ministry, which was a first in our marriage. Not that we weren’t friendly with other pastors and their wives before, but this was different. These were others in ministry somewhat close to our age, with similar viewpoints of ministry. What a gift!

Then I personally began forming friendships with other wives through the PLI community, and it was such a Godsend. I found comfort and support and also a great deal of challenge from the process. I found purpose and belonging through this sisterhood, and it gave me a foundation to begin rebuilding my life.

Isolation has been a long-time enemy of mine, disguised as a safe friend. In college I spent several months alone in my dorm room, afraid to venture out and meet people. But eventually I found my circle of friends and life was much better. As an adult, I have to fight against similar tendencies. My preference is to stay home and enjoy a book or movies or a tv show. But I know that what I need is to continue to develop friendships. So some of my #40by40 goals are focusing on that. I’m making sure I reach out to friends and make plans. I call and text. We hosted the elder’s Christmas party and I plan to host other dinners and parties in the coming months. All of this is to pursue friendship, which is both a benefit to me, and also I hope to make myself helpful to others.