I pulled packing tape over the last of the boxes and hugged the last of our lingering friends. I shuffled my feet in the dusty doorframe of our first home, listening to the hardwood floors creak for the last time, mentally filing away three years worth of memories as I shut the door.
We were leaving a community of close-knit friends, ready to place our feet on the path God was paving in ministry.
I moved states twice in my middle school and high school years, so transition didn't worry me. Leaving besties didn't worry me. Potentially meeting mean girls didn't even worry me.
But when I stepped foot into that church hall, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of women who all knew each other.
My face grew hot as I stood frozen in the doorway, glancing around, looking for a familiar face, a momentary lapse in remembering that I was the new girl.
But these weren't girls I was playing with. I was standing on a whole new field and this was the big leagues -- women who toted four kids and cooked gluten-free egg casseroles and still managed to straighten their hair and show up early for car pool.
I suddenly wished I could blend in, that I could slather myself in camouflage or at least sneak out the back door.
Why did I agree to come to this group?
I'm learning. I'm learning what it looks like to be Kayla bravely. I'm learning that what makes me wonderful might not be what makes other women wonderful, and that's okay. Great, even.
I stuck with the moms' group and eventually became a group leader, and I learned that each of those women I thought I had pegged have amazingly unique stories and perspectives and gifts and talents. And I embarked on a journey to embrace the unique gifts and qualities that God has given me, too. There's room at the table for all of us.
There's heaping amounts of freedom in letting go self-doubt and the judgmental holds on our hearts to make room for the beauty God is creating.
He is doing a new thing and there's freedom in embracing the woman that God has created me to be. I'm learning to embrace that I am made in the image of God.
Imago dei in me. Imago dei in you. Imago dei in formula-feeding mommies and nursing mamas and the yoga-pant-clad crew and the women who love high heels.
That makes me brave.