Many years ago I was stuck in a job where I was, shall we say, not a good fit. You know that phrase “bored to tears”? I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not just a saying. There were a lot of lovely (and a few not-so-lovely) people there; some became my lifelong friends. There were good times. But I’ll never forget the time I made a presentation and management’s criticism was that I was “too interesting.” Years dragged on but I could not see a way out; my days felt like a punishment for some unknown crime.

It wasn’t just my job. When my church singles group paired off and got married, I was one of a small handful of females who wouldn’t have made it on the Ark. I tried to fit in with the women’s ministry but gave up after one memorable women’s retreat obviously designed as a “how to be a better wife and mommy” weekend. (The things I learned on that trip about my then-pastor’s sex life may have scarred me for life. Just sayin’.) Clearly, I wasn’t just a failure at finding a fulfilling career; I was also a failure as a woman. It seemed everything I did—everything I was—was wrong.

Then one day I was given a ticket to another kind of event for women and decided to check it out. After the retreat fiasco I have no idea why I went; I must have been bored that weekend or maybe it was the lure of sitting in the company’s suite at the arena. But when I heard the speakers’ stories and watched their friendships unfold on stage, I knew I had found my people. They were certainly interesting; they weren’t afraid to laugh, have adventures, and enjoy life. That night I realized I wasn’t wrong—I was just in the wrong situation.

When I think of what it means to “experience connection” that’s what comes to mind: sitting in my swanky box seat on that long-ago Friday night, listening to women talking and slowly coming to the realization that “they’re like ME!” Knowing that I wasn’t the “only one” gave me strength for the present and hope for the future. And a couple of years later, I wasn’t just going to those events, I was working for the company that created them.

One of the reasons I believe so strongly in the BELONG Tour is that I know there are so many women out there who feel they’re the only one. The only one who feels like a failure. The only one who has experienced this abuse or that loss. The only one without a husband, a child, a purpose, a

[fill in the blank]. You can’t always tell by looking; women are experts at hiding these things. So gather all your friends, bring your family, and invite your coworkers to BELONG. You don’t know how much they need this. You don’t know how much you need this. Come and experience connection: with other people, your funny bone, your hopes and dreams, with God. You’ll even connect with your body. (Trust me; Angela Davis will take care of that last one.)

You are not alone. Come and meet your people.

You’ll find us at BELONG.