In 2015 I have resolved to be generous with my words. It is my aim to let the people I love this year know how important they have been in my life. This is something that feels unnatural to me, the vulnerability of telling someone close that they are important, even vital, in this little life of mine. I am unsure why admitting to someone that I care for them, that I need them, that they are valuable piece to my life puzzle, is a difficult confession. Maybe it’s because I want to think I am tougher than I am, or that I am scared of being burned. I am sure it has happened to all of us, and it hurt deep. Perhaps it’s the simple whisper of the enemy, keeping unopened blessings hidden.
Today, I am going to that tender spot in my heart, and I am unzipping parts of it that I rarely share. So bare with me.
First, let me show you SOME of the manymanymanymany people I call friend. ( See, the problem is… I don’t take enough pictures with people… in 2015 I will resolve to take more pictures with the ones I love! Double chinning or not… )
My mommy friends! We birthed babies together… well not literally, but you know. There is something magical about making life alongside someone. When you raise babies into kids with people, the roots settle deep friends.
My dear sweet college friends. We have walked from girlhood into womanhood together. From road trips and concerts to wedding parties and baby showers, and now we are sending our babies to school… when I think of college, these are the faces I see… defining years for sure.
This is Chandra… she went to the Snowball dance with my husband in high school. She even attended my wedding… and I had no idea who she was!! Then one hot summers day, my husband and I ran into her at the mall. She was a new mother… and so was I. She was staying at home, loosing her mind…and so was I. She was lonely (because most new moms are)… and so was I. We became each other’s lifeline. God was so gracious to give me Chandra in such a lonely desperate time of my life… and then she moved…. (insert 10 crying emoticons here…) And to make the wound deeper, months after she moved they built a Chickfila in the parking lot in front of her neighborhood… and where do stay-at-home-moms hang out… Chickfila. So every time I drug myself to Chickfila I would cry a little tear, because we would have RULED that Chickfila if she would have stayed… 🙂 But, for reals, Chandra was the one to show me how to be a true friend.
The Lord is so gracious to sustain us. We were created for relationship. The older I get the more I give into the fact that I need people. It’s risky business though, because we are human after all and prone to make mistakes, and hurt others. The odds are that the right friends will bring life to your dry bones on days when the Dr. Pepper runs dry, your spouse upsets you, your children won’t stop crying, and the bank account bottomed out. They are our net, and without them that fall off of the trapeze is pretty brutal.
So, I wrote a letter to my friends. Because, this is truly how I feel… (vulnerability, y’all…right here…)
You set me free. You are my earthly reminder that I am perfect just the way I am, and that these roles I play in my life; wife, mother, teacher… they don’t define me because I have worth just being ME.
Those eyes of yours see me for who I am, and yet you still love me. I have watched you walk through staggering challenges…from affairs to job loss, from mastectomies to cancer scares, from loosing a parent to loosing a baby, from children with autism to the diagnosis of down syndrome… and as I watch, I see strong pillars of strength. I witness your bravery transform into beauty before my eyes. It is your tenderness that I admire, but your unwavering faith I desire. For you face tomorrow without fear. You have placed in my hand a treasured possession; a piece of you in exchange for a piece of me. Beyond blood sisters or best friends forever, these bonds run deep into the roots of my life, nourishing me, giving me sweet stability in this fragile world.
When I want to give up, you push me on… sometimes having to carry me along the way. The way you speak life-giving, soul-quenching wisdom and spur me on to be better, always. Your love for the Lord is contagious. I want to know him deeper because of you.
For you, I am grateful.
Friend, I love you.
Friends love big.
Friends break bread.
Friends make space for you, no matter the cost.
Friends save marriages.
Friends hold hands through tragedy.
Friends laugh at inappropriate jokes.
Friends forgive, again and again.
Friends always know you’re lying, even when you don’t.
Friends give life.
Friends heal wounds.
Friends speak truth when sometimes you don’t want to hear it.
Friends confess struggles
And cheer you on through the other side.
Friends risk their lives for you, even if it’s just to meet someone off of Craigslist who bought your Wii.
Friends come over when the laundry is out, and just sit on top of the heaped up couch.
Friends know your Sonic drink.
Friends listen as you bawl your eyes out in the booth of a public restaurant.
Friends pray… and pray… and pray some more.
Friends share their deepest parenting fails, and then laugh about them.
Friends inspire you to be YOU, and no other.
Friends accept you for YOU…funky quirks, hairy moles, stinky feet and all.
Friends show up at your house with coffee… and then sit and drink it while the kids destroy your house.
Friends never clean up when they leave.
Friends tell your children NO.
Friends let each other know when they have food in their teeth or a ‘bat in the cave’.
Friends road trip.
Friends share your cycle.
Friends paint your walls, and help you pick your wallpaper off, shred by shred.
Friends bring pizza on the day you move into your new house, and know your order.
Friends sharpen you, make you a better, stronger, confident version of yourself.
Friends love at all times.