Maddie Graham grew up in Woodinville with her parents and two brothers and now she lives in Sammamish. She studied biomechanical engineering at Stanford and recently concluded a job of 7 years at a medical device company. This fall she has been enjoying what her friends call “funemployment” and is taking time to try and determine next steps. She loves spending time in the outdoors, meeting up with friends, going to her local coffee shop, and competing for a local rowing club.
I carry a fear that people get tired of me, that as people get to know me they lose interest and are less inclined to spend time with me. That they’re not interested in trying to understand me and my quirks. I’ve had conversations with close friends about this fear and they assure me that this is not true. As much as I want to believe them, I think I just harbor a fear of rejection and find it’s better to always mentally defend myself for the day a friend walks away. Why share all of myself when they may leave or lose interest?
I’m not sure where this fear stems from. I had some close friends growing up, but my best friend moved away after 2nd grade and then I switched schools for the start of 4th grade so maybe that contributed to it. Maybe it was that people often seemed afraid of me. My mom would tell me I was intimidating. I never tried to be, but I think I always felt I was a bit of an outsider. To this day, honestly, I often still feel this way. It didn’t help that a few years ago I was engaged and my ex-fiancé walked away, saying he wasn’t sure he’d ever loved me.
I say all this to attest to how good of a God we have because of how He loves us through those He surrounds us with.
I was recently blessed with the opportunity to travel to the east coast and visit friends and family for 2 weeks. Each stop along the trip was so different from the others. It was such a special time with each friend or family member and I truly feel God used this trip to remind me that I am wanted. I am loved. I’m not forgotten, even when loved ones are far away. That even newer relationships can be strong despite the lack of time and seasoning other relationships may have by comparison. That distance doesn’t have to be the end of a friendship. That people genuinely love to host you and are happy to see you. That I’m not a burden on others, but they’re so glad to have me. These little and big affirmations have been such a blessing. I think God was reminding me through each encounter how much He loves me and I would like to believe He used this time for me to bless others as well.
One friend has been feeling lonely and isn’t thrilled about her temporary home, so I’m so glad I could keep her company for even just a couple of days!
When visiting family with little ones we found that one child had a double ear infection while I was there. The timing was perfect in that I could be an extra set of hands or just adult moral support during a few days with unusually fussy kids. I was so glad I got to see them in better spirits before I left! And to hear the family’s reassurance that I couldn’t overstay my welcome and they’d love to have me back meant so much.
Staying with my old climbing partner and her boyfriend I felt beyond blessed by their hospitality. She was literally my tour guide and took a day off of work to show me around and they treated me to all the places they enjoy. We’ve been friends not even 2 years and I treasure that relationship as much as any other.
I had a day with my nephew and his nanny and it was beautiful to see someone who had only known my nephew for a week love on him so dearly. What an example for the rest of us to simply let ourselves love and care for those God puts into our lives.
And then getting to act as my crew team’s nanny just so a teammate could compete and place 2nd in her race! I didn’t feel I did much, but to my friend it was a huge blessing. One of my teammates even made me a dog tag just as she did for those competing for our club so I would feel included. Mine said ‘HOCR Nanny 2022’. I wore it the entire trip!
Finally, my boyfriend of one month was so kind to chat and ask me how my days were, or simply to text me an emoji to let me know he was thinking of me. For me, often times it’s the little things that mean the most.
Some pictures from my adventures:
I could go on and share so much more, but I need to keep it brief. I just hope this can be a reminder to enjoy the relationships God has blessed you with. He is using them to grow you, encourage you, and give you hope and joy through whatever may come. I hope that in turn you can also be a blessing to those He puts in your life. You never know what a kind word or act of service may do for someone else. And remember how much you are loved and people want to know you and share life with you. You are one of a kind! Life wouldn’t be the same without you.
Recently, I’ve been asked what my goals in life are. I never like that question, but the answer I choose to give is that at the end of the day I hope that I loved well and that others know how much I cared about them.
God made us because He wanted to have a relationship with each of us and I hope He can use me to share His love with others and build relationships with those He puts in my life.
Written by Maddie Graham for The Anchor Journal
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