Satisfy your Craving for Connection in 2017

After a devastating miscarriage and a season of unexpected infertility, I was finally a mother.

In spite of the joy I felt, I could not shake the feeling that something was missing in my life.

The beautiful burden of motherhood with all its sleepless nights, stinky diapers, and showerless days drained my strength and strained my soul in the most unexpected way.

I was the first in my group of girlfriends to have a child, and I quickly found myself craving connections with women who understood what I was going through.

But the idea of making new friends terrified me.

As I rocked my baby girl in the middle of the night, I whispered a weary prayer, “God, would you please help me find friends who know how to support me in the midst of all my fluctuating hormones and crazy insecurities?”

Time passed and I had nearly forgotten my whispered plea when God’s answer arrived in the form of a phone call from someone I hardly knew.

“Would you like to come to MOPS (Mother’s of Preschoolers) with me this week?”

Oh no!
What should I say?
My baby is 6 weeks old, I’m sure I could leave her with my mom.

But am I really ready to subject my fragile soul and hormonal post-partum body to a room full of strangers—no worse—female strangers?!?

“Oh, that’s so sweet of you to offer…”

…BUT I don’t have the energy, you know how it is with babies, maybe I’ll be rested in a year or two, could you call back then?

…BUT I had planned to take a shower that day, and my shower is very sensitive, I just don’t think it could handle another rejection.

…BUT I’m terrified of other women, they don’t like me, and I’m still extremely hormonal, and I’m sure I’ll cry like a fool and everyone will judge me and then I will feel worse than I do right now, so how about I save everyone the trouble and stay home…forever.

“I’d love to go. It would be so fun to meet other moms and maybe make a new friend or two.”

As I hung up the phone, I felt like a big old phony.

Why did I say yes?
Seriously…why?!?

In hindsight, I think I said yes because I was craving connection, and this kind woman had just thrown me a lifeline.

So I went to the meeting (even though I was intimidated, nauseated, and oh-so-tempted to use one of my carefully-thought-out excuses after all).

And I have never been more uncomfortable.

Never.
It was horrible.
I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

But when the next meeting rolled around, I made myself go again.

And again.
And again.
And again.

And somewhere in the midst of all the agains, I discovered that I’d rather be uncomfortable in community than comfortable in isolation.

When I prayed for the strength to step out of isolation and into community, I found the piece that had been missing from my life.

During the 8 years I faithfully attended my local MOPS group, I learned that…

A weakness shared connects
A fear revealed fortifies.
A friend pursued delights.

MOPS gave me a place to belong, a community to call my own, and friendships that will last a lifetime.

My circle of mommy-friends is far from perfect, but it is exactly where I need to be.

Each woman has something unique to offer, and just like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, there is a spot that only she can fill.

Do you long for community, yet struggle to find real and practical ways to connect with others?  Or, are you stuck in a rut like I was all those years ago, creating a slew of neurotic excuses every time an opportunity presents itself?

If so, I’ve got the most amazing new resource from the women of (in)courage to share with you today!

Do you long for community, yet struggle to find real and practical ways to connect with others? Or, are you stuck in a rut like I was all those years ago, creating a slew of neurotic excuses every time an opportunity presents itself? If so, I’ve got the most amazing new resource from the women of (in)courage to share with you today!

A review copy of this book was provided by B&H Publishing in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.  Read my full disclosure here.

Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real Life Engagement is written by real-women sharing real-stories from their real-lives.

The format of this book is perfect for busy women, offering engaging story-based devotionals rooted in the life-giving truth of God’s word.

The inspiring women from (in)courage believe that we must remain (in) Christ if we ever hope to find the courage to embrace community.

For this reason, the book is divided into three sections (each section building on the last).

Section 1: Connecting With God More Deeply
Section 2: Connecting With Friends More Purposefully
Section 3: Connecting With Community More Intentionally

Each section includes 10 easy-to-read devotionals, including real-life stories, thought-provoking questions, and a down-to-earth connection challenge.

With 29 contributing authors offering a fresh voice and unique perspective on every page, there truly is something for every woman in this beautiful book.

Each devotion takes less than 10-minutes to read, and the connection challenges are very doable (it is obvious that they were carefully crafted with introverts and exhausted extroverts in mind).

Here are a few of my favorite challenges:

  • Sincerely acknowledge the work of someone who inspires you.
  • Go from “me” to “three” by connecting with two people this week.
  • Practice actively capturing your thoughts as you go about your day.
  • Share your story first so that someone else might feel comfortable sharing theirs.

Feelings of isolation and loneliness fade away as you make your way through Craving Connection because the brave women of (in)courage are not afraid to “go there” and humbly reveal their own struggles and insecurities.

As Renee Swope says on page 44, “Our weaknesses are the things that keep us connected because they are what we have in common.

God created women with a craving for connection, and this book is a fantastic tool to help us break free from the insecurities that isolate and find courage to embrace community.

Buy Your Copy of “Craving Connection” Now!

I pulled 9 of my very favorite quotes from the book and made them into downloadable quote graphics.

I’d love for you to pick your favorite quote and share it with a friend who you think would enjoy this awesome new book from the women of (in)courage.

To Download, click on the image (full size will pop up on your screen), then right click “save image as.”  Or easily share images on Pinterest by clicking on the “P” button.

I’m also super excited to share that I’ve been invited to be a member of the 2017 (in)courage Ambassador Team hosted by B&H Publishing.

It is my privilege to partner with the women of (in)courage who graciously share their stories of what Jesus looks like in their everyday, gloriously ordinary, and often messy lives.

To celebrate, I want to share some goodies from Dayspring and 3 copies of the brand new Craving Connection book.


#CravingConnection Giveaway | Jan. 10-17, 2017

Giveaway items provided by B&H Publishing, (in)courage, and DaySpring.

The Grand Prize is worth $90 Retail and includes a hardcover copy of Craving Connections PLUS 4 beautiful items from DaySpring (Extraordinary Things Pouch, Special Edition Loved Necklace Set, Compact Cosmetic Mirror, and Vintage Artisan Leather Journal). I have two additional copies of the Craving Connection Book to share, which means that there will be a total of 3 winners selected on January 17, 2017 (must live in the United States to qualify).

The Grand Prize is worth $90 Retail and includes a hardcover copy of Craving Connections  PLUS 4 beautiful items from DaySpring (Extraordinary Things Pouch, Special Edition Loved Necklace Set, Compact Cosmetic Mirror, and Vintage Artisan Leather Journal).

I have two additional copies of the Craving Connection Book to share, which means that there will be a total of 3 winners selected on January 17, 2017 (must live in the United States to qualify).

Be sure to enter below for your chance to win, and keep your eyes peeled for my next (in)courage product review of “Never Unfriended |  by Lisa-Jo Baker  | releasing April, 2017.”

What’s your best tip for creating connections in your own life? I’d love to chat about it in the comments….

This article has been shared at many of these fantastic Faith and Family Linkups.

Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

  Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life. Follow Sarah on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Read Sarah's full Bio Here.

95 thoughts on “Satisfy your Craving for Connection in 2017

  1. “The agains…” I love how God honors our obedience in the midst of our insecurity and discomfort. Just reading about Joshua and the walls of Jericho in Joshua 6 today connects so sweetly with this truth. God cares about the little parts of us that suffer and sway, and in His sweet way reminds us that we were not meant to go through alone. Wonderful words.
    Happy Monday, from #mommymoments.
    Megs

    1. Obedience and blessing are eternally connected to one another. I believe that with all of my heart. God asks us to obey and promises to bless, but walking out in obedience sure can be scary! I love how you bring the story of Joshua to light, as I’m sure they were pretty discouraged the day before that mighty wall fell (all that hard work with no blessing…YET). Thanks for stopping by and starting the conversation today.

  2. I am SO glad I came to your site today! I just had a long conversation last night about my craving for deeper connection right now. I really do agree that connection takes that initial push when everything in our minds is shouting excuses. It takes that hard intentionality but it is so worth it. Thank you for your post and for sharing this amazing resource, Sarah!

    1. I believe with all of my heart that God is preparing you for deeper connections, Nicole. He doesn’t give us a craving without also providing a way for us to satisfy those needs. Be brave, sister, those friendships are worth fighting for! Push..push..push..out of that comfort zone and into what He has planned for you.

  3. I love your strong words (and tweeted them!), because I find myself having to make the same choice at times. Thanks for this encouragement to step boldly into an uncomfortable space with the knowledge that God goes with me and that this is a far better choice than isolation!

    1. You bring such joy to my heart, Michele. I appreciate how you diligently support others in our blogging community. Praying that the Lord blesses your efforts ten-fold.

  4. This book looks SUPER helpful, Sarah! My struggle with connection is usually easy to excuse because we’ve moved a lot, but in reality I know a large part is because I am shy and cautious. Plenty of rejection in the past- and like you said- females don’t like me! Haha.

    Probably my best suggestion for making connections is not making them about ourselves. Relationships form when two or more people are craving connection- love the other person(s) for who they are and in their desire and need too.

    1. I’m so glad I’m not the only person that is slightly terrified of other females. I guess it’s because I know how critical and impossible to please I am, so I imagine that all women are critical and impossible to please (it’s only logical). But God created us to live in community, and it’s well worth getting over our insecurities for.

      I will be the first to admit that I don’t have many friendships, and have had to fight the good fight for the ones I do have. But every one of them is worth it, and I’m grateful to have found the courage to step out of isolation and into community! And you are so right, we can’t make it about ourselves, can we? It’s always got to be about loving and serving others.

      1. You are so not the only one. I have a funny memory of a group of guy friends inviting me to join their “guys night” just before I found out I wasn’t invited to a “girls night.” Drama doesn’t suit me, and it tends to travel more in female packs!! But…all of my best friends are girls…and you’re right, it’s so worth getting over our insecurities!!

        Glad you’re fighting the good fight in friendship too- loving our friends part of loving the Lord, and it takes courage!

      2. Hi Sarah,
        I’m so happy I came across your page. I’m very much in need of meeting some Christian women. I’ve signed up for your bible study and can’t wait for it to start.

  5. This sounds like a great book. I used to go to MOPS when my kids were little. It was a great experience. I need that connection again, once more, even though my natural inclination is to make excuses about getting out there. Your sweet words were just what I needed today.

    1. Maybe you could be a MOPS Mentor Mom? Of course, I’m sure your schedule is packed. I’ve got a small group of 4-5 other women I pray with weekly and that has satisfied my craving for connection this past year.

  6. It’s true that we do need to sometimes push ourselves out of our own comfort zones in order to find the connections we need. This post reminded me of my hope and prayer that my daughter-in-law will find the same kind of support and friendship through a similar group, now that she is a new mom, but is more introvert by nature. I know from experience that she will need the friendship of other young moms.

  7. There was a time in my life when I, like you, prayed for friends and friendship. After that pray the only other thing I did was remember that verse in proverbs which states he who hath friends must show himself friendly. I became friendly regardless of the outcome.

  8. Keep inviting. Even when you’re exhausted, lonely, and afraid. Keep inviting. When you’re sick and tired of feeling rejected, ostracized, and less than, keep inviting. When you’re husband listens to you sob how alone you are for the 100th time in four years, keep inviting. Some one is craving connection too. You just haven’t met yet, but you will. Keep inviting, not only for yourself, but for her too.

    1. Oh, Christina. You bless me. Inviting is so important, isn’t it? If we are lonely in our inviting, just imagine how lonely we would be apart from it. ABSOLUTELY nothing makes a woman feel more included than when someone goes out of their way to invite her to the party.

  9. I love this! I excited to put this on my to read list! MOPS is amazing. I have been a table leader the last two years and the connections made around these tables are priceless. They make up the community in the midst of our American lives that are far spread.

    1. Lindsey, I am so happy you found MOPS and even better are willing to participate in MOPS leadership. I was a small group leader for years, and then spent time on Steering team as the Small Group Coordinator. The table talk time is where the connections happen at MOPS. Keep up the hard work, girl. God will bless your efforts in big and small ways.

  10. Hey Sarah,
    I love MOPS! I now get to go back as the older woman and encourage all of the young moms!
    Great review. This book sounds really good!
    Hope you have a wonderful day today~
    Blessings,
    Melanie

    1. It truly is, Melanie. And it includes the writing of many of our blogging friends….like Jennifer Dukes Lee, Mary Carver, Holly Gerth, and Crystal Stine. Such great writers!

  11. What a generous review, friend! Thank you for these kind words – it’s a blessing to know that what we prayed for with Craving Connection, the heart behind it, has truly come through. xoxo

    1. Thank you for taking the time to swing by my blog and leave a comment, Crystal. Your head must be spinning and your feet aching with all the craziness of launching your book this week. It truly is a lovely book, and it is obvious that a great level of care went into the words and the layout. Praying all of God’s blessings on your launch day.

  12. I love this!! Having meaningful relationships with other women of faith is important to our overall well-being but, it’s not always easy to make those connections. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Hello Sarah. Thank you for this post and your wonderful stories that accompany it. I was drawn to the quote images about “being the loyal friend you’ve always wanted” and “friendship cannot grow in the soil of comparison”.
    I thought I’d mention I tried pasting the URL of my tweet for the giveaway, like three times, but it just wasn’t having any of it. Such is the tech world. Sometimes it refuses to do what you want!
    Love to you, my friend.

    1. No worries about the tweet URL, Gleniece. I trust you 😉

      Those are two of my favorite quotes also! I especially love the one about friendship growing in the soil of comparison (I’m sure that fact that you and I are gardeners has nothing to do with our affinity for that illustration).

      Hugs to you, and thanks for supporting our giveaway.

  14. Hi Sarah,
    I just wanted to thank you for such a beautiful, encouraging and thoughtful post! I run the social media for (in)courage and have had such fun sharing your words this week, and I wanted to say thank you. We can’t tell you how we appreciate you being a part of the (in)courage community!

    1. Anna, I am so grateful for you. Launching a book is a tall order, and I’m sure you’ve been working overtime these past weeks. Thank you for the support you’ve shown me (and the re-tweets).

      I love being part of the (in)courage community and am happy to share your new book with my friends. Wishing you all the best & can’t wait to see what the rest of 2017 holds for the (in)courage family.

  15. I absolutely love MOPS!!! So many great moms there that make my life so much better. Glad I met you there too, Sarah!:)

    1. Oh, Brenda! I’m so glad MOPS brought us together too, although it seems we only see each other in the pickup line at school these days, doesn’t it? Seasons of life….seasons of life!!!

  16. I felt the same way when you invited me to MOPS! When I did finally go, I thought everyone was too nice because I wasn’t used to being around such kind women. 5 years later and recently graduated out of the ministry, I could not imagine my life with little ones without it 🙂 As for making connections, I think smiling is important. We should never underestimate how a simple smile to a stranger (and maybe soon to be friend!) could change both of your lives!

    1. You were sooooooooooooooo hesitant to join me at MOPS you little minx. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on you and you didn’t get mad at me for being so persistent. Smiling — that is such a great tip! Is that why everyone loves you? Because you smile at them? Now I know your secret…muhahaha….

  17. Definitely looks like an amazing book!! My favorite tip was sharing your story first…I’ve noticed whenever I share struggles about young motherhood, infertility, miscarriage…all of a sudden people are sharing things I never knew about them before!!

  18. MOPS has been huge for me. I’m in my second semester of my fifth year after moving to a town where I knew 3 people: 2 parents and their school aged child. My baby was 4 months old.

    As a couple, my husband and I “practice” hospitality” (much less intimidating than “entertaining”). We are getting to know people in our church and communities over tacos and chili.

  19. I can’t wait to read the book. One of my tips for making great connections is to be persistent. Keep asking and inviting others to gather. And when you do, listen more than you talk. Blessings!

    1. Yes, people are busy. When they say no, it usually has far less to do with the inviter than the invitee, yet it still stings a bit. And listening is so important. Thanks for sharing your tips, Barbie.

  20. This…….”And somewhere in the midst of all the agains, I discovered that I’d rather be uncomfortable in community than comfortable in isolation.” is such a powerful statement and a beautiful picture of how our God draws us in. Love this so much. I’d love to win a copy!!!

  21. Great post, Sarah! We can definitely get stuck into loneliness, can’t we? Shutting out the world because we are overwhelmed in managing our little piece of it? But when we do what we KNOW is good, right, and healthy despite our feelings (that often lead us astray) God meets us in that place and fills our soul with the connections we need! For me the connections are about simply smiling at someone and being willing to initiate conversation. Then being a good listener ♥
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    1. Feelings can be so deceitful and fickle, can’t they Lori? It’s hard to do what you know is right when your feelings are all over the place, but there is so much bounty in that fearful place. I love asking questions and trying to gently pull people out of their protective shell.

  22. I am trying to learn not to be afraid of connection…I have been burned by bad friendships many times in the past which has left me jaded about trusting people and opening up to that experience again. I have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to grow.

    1. I experienced a lot of rejection in my teen years and female relationships were always the most confusing to me. The thing that helped me with my fears was recognizing that “hurting people hurt people.” This perspective allowed me to stop taking people’s rejection personally and start seeing them for who they really were….a hurting person. I also engage 100% while protecting my heart 100%, so I put myself out there but secretly I’m totally protecting myself until the relationship grew to a point where it felt safe. I don’t know if my odd way of thinking helps or encourages you in any way, but I pray that it does.

  23. I loved MOPS when my kids were younger. My struggle with connecting is now that my kids are almost grown. I’m a stay at home wife/mom when the majority of the people I know work at least part time. To add to my isolation, I have physical challenges & we recently changed churches. A recipe for extreme loneliness! I think I’ve recently made a breakthrough in our new church but still, deep & fulfilling relationships take time & I’m a deep well of the need to connect!

    1. Changing seasons are always the most painful. My aunt has arthritis and it always pains her the most when the weather changes. I think our hearts are the same way. But the good news is that, if we press on, we will survive the transition and find beauty on the other side. Praying that over your life today, sweet sister.

      I encourage you to grab a copy of this book, I felt so connected to the women as I read their stories of perseverance and God’s provision. I know they will bless you too.

  24. Great post, Sarah. My tip for creating connections: Give genuine compliments and ask questions to learn more about the person’s world. People are usually happy to talk about themselves, and everyone appreciates a good listener.

  25. We do all need connections. I recently read “Tribe,” and the author really emphasized how we were made for community. Love this: “And somewhere in the midst of all the agains, I discovered that I’d rather be uncomfortable in community than comfortable in isolation.” Amen.

    1. I’ve heard nothing but good things about that book, Lisa. I’m going to have to get my hands on a copy. Oh the painful agains! Finding community is well worth the discomfort.

  26. As an introvert, connection has been very tough at times. I absolutely love this and couldn’t agree more, Sarah: “I’d rather be uncomfortable in community than comfortable in isolation.” That is something I finally learned as well. So my tip would be just keep putting yourself out there. You will find your people :).

    1. I agree that persistence is crucial when you are craving connection and building community. Finding “your people” is a long and challenging process sometimes, but there is no greater joy!

  27. I love your bravery in sharing your story so that other women can know they aren’t alone. Plus I just received this book in the mail and it’s lovely. I’m excited to dive in soon. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

    1. It blessed my heart when my best friend commented on this article and said, “I felt that way when you invited me to MOPS for the first time.” That is always a great word of encouragement for a writer, especially considering the fact that she and I are exact opposites. Thank you for stopping by, and enjoy your book!

  28. Your first quote (about being uncomfortable in community rather than comfortable in isolation) really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

  29. “Each woman has something unique to offer, and just like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, there is a spot that only she can fill.” Amen, sister. I love meeting women because I am always amazed at how uniquely our Father has made us. When we come together, we create a beautiful tapestry, and every thread has a unique purpose. <3 Love you!

    1. Unfortunately, as women, we tend to hide our uniqueness from one another for fear of judgment or comparison. Or at least, I do. I’m learning, though, that it’s best to enjoy our differences and support one another’s talents wholeheartedly and without reserve. It’s so fun to help others see how beautifully unique they are!

  30. How many times have I done the exact same thing… committed to being somewhere with someone, and then the morning of the activity desperately wanted to back out. I usually end up going, but with my perspective completely on myself and guilt raging because I’m just not “into” the activity.

    “I’d rather be uncomfortable in community than comfortable in isolation.” Yes! Holding onto those words for the very next time I am desperately wanting to hit send on a text saying I need to “back out.”

    Thanks, Sarah! Blessings to you.

    1. Women are complicated creatures, aren’t they? WE crave community yet we cringe at the thought of putting ourselves out there. So glad you fight through the urge to cancel! Stay strong, sweet friend.

  31. Great post, Sarah!! It has taken me a while to not want to be in isolation. I think that happened because I didn’t have very good boundaries for so many years. Thanks for sharing so much info about this great book!

    1. I hear you, Meghan! I almost gave up making connections in my early 20’s. It was just too painful! But, the Lord reestablished my desire for community once my children were born, and I’m so glad He did!

  32. Sarah, I love your story and your review as well. The “other women don’t like me” statement made me smile because I can think of times I’ve thought it myself and heard it from someone else.

    What helps me stay connected is phone calls. When you can’t get together due to lack or time, or being far apart, a phone call can be a blessing, so much more than a text or email, but I do texting too. 🙂

    1. I bet we’ve all thought it from time to time! But it’s still nice to know I’m not alone. I agree that phone calls are the best, but the most important thing is to do whatever we can to maintain our connections with others (regardless of time or distance). Hugs to you, friend.

  33. I’m like you and I come up with reasons to avoid connection–I’m a happy introvert. But I’m trying to change–I attend a weekly prayer group with ladies form church. I’d rather stay in my cozy house, but I’m starting to realize the importance of meeting together with others.

    1. Anita, there have been times where I have had to be selfless in my relationships. Times when my cup felt full, and I didn’t really crave connection, yet I knew that I was supposed to reach out to and love others. It’s tough being a happy extrovert too 😉

  34. After praying sincerely about not only making connections in this crazy little town I live in but more deeply about how God can use me, He answered my prayers. He gave me a business idea and a (free) babysitting job of twins! Both have resulted in lasting connections. So, pray. Pray from every part of your heart, until the tears won’t fall anymore. Then wait and watch carefully, because God’s answered prayers are creative!

  35. This book looks amazing! Thank you for sharing Craving Connection and I can’t wait to see how God uses this book to bless women and help them cultivate more relationships in the midst of our own insecurities and messiness.

    1. I can’t wait either! I just shared my ARC copy with a friend and I’m praying that it blesses her in the same way that it has blessed me. Thanks for swinging by, Laura.

  36. I’m not sure I have a great tip for making connections. However, a verse does come to my mind. To be a friend you yourself must be friendly. Being connected takes time, investment, being real and not judging. I sometimes feel that we don’t give enough grace. Right now I have been in a dry season with friends. It hurts but God is faithful and He satisfies.

  37. Love this so much!!! I am currently reading the book as well, and love it so far! Community is so, so important in our walks as Christians! I think my best tip for creating connections, is to take the initiative and start small. Have a group of friends meet at your home over coffee, tea, and snacks and just talk. Get to know each other, connect, grow, and study God’s Word together!

  38. This book looks like a wonderful blessing of grace, Sarah, and with all my blogging friends sharing about it, I have added it to my list. 🙂 I was actually not a member of MOPS when my kids were little but I did get to serve our MOPS group when our kids were older. Since we homeschool, we made a decision to donate our time to caring for the littles so the mommas could be encouraged and lifted up. I can tell you that our time at MOPS, while on a different level than yours, really connected with my children’s hearts and gave them a LOVE for littles. And I did connect with the momma’s in a way that allowed me to bless them and encourage them .

    Thanks for always being a valuable part of the #GraceMoments Link Up.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    1. Oh, it really is! And I like how short each section is, definitely makes for an easy read or a quick pick-me-up on a rough day. How wonderful that you and your kids were able to serve in MOPS, I know from experience how MOPS moms depend on the childcare workers. Grateful for you and all that you do to support my work here, God bless.

Comments are closed.