08 November 2014


One of my friends ran a half marathon today and stopped at mile 7 to nurse her baby.

Let that settle in a minute.

This is just one succinct snapshot that captures the level of awesomeness that my friends embody.

I was thinking today about how grateful I am to have these amazing women in my life.  They are bold and brave and real.  Here's a wider glimpse into the circle of friends I have around me: One friend believed God would bless her with a baby when the doctors told her it was impossible - she chronicles the joy of being the mom of 2 boys almost daily in facebook status updates.  Another friend is a skilled cook, and she has taken her talent and invites other women to her home for freezer cooking so they too can feed their families home-cooked meals.  My friend, Alyssa, is daily teaching me lessons about living life with hope.  Another friend is fighting hard for her marriage, believing God can restore the broken places.  And still another has recently completed classes to become a foster mom even though she thought she would be married before she became a parent.  I have friends that are adopting from far-off shores, and other friends that are figuring out the best strategies for helping their special-needs children.  One friend is balancing momming seven kiddos while also finishing her college degree.

These women, these risk-takers and faith-walkers, they inspire me.  My friendships with each of them make me braver and bolder.  I grow from seeing them grow.  I celebrate their wins as if they are my own because, in a way, they are.  I have had the great privilege of praying with my friends through their struggles and triumphs.  Part of what makes them such excellent friends is that they ask for prayer.

There is a tendency in female relationships for competition and comparison to take-over.  We build walls and put on masks, pretending all is well and good and easy.   I can honestly say that I don't see this with my girlfriends.  And I was thinking today about what a gift that is.  Truly.

Don't get me wrong, I struggle sometimes with not feeling adequate and all that business, but its not because my friends make me feel "less than."  When I saw the mile-7-breastfeeding-pit-stop-picture today, I got tears in my eyes because I am so proud of my friend.  I didn't for a minute think, "I could never do that." {Although there is a real good chance that I never will breastfeed a child whilst running a half marathon.} Nor did I assume my friend was posting that picture to brag [or any other ugly-ulterior-motive that folks like to attach to things that make them feel less-than.]  I just celebrated her awesome accomplishment with joy.

Friends that inspire do it naturally, not by convincing me to do what they do, but by living their calling fully + freely alongside me.  Our callings don't match, and the way we walk out our faith looks differently at times too.  Celebrating our individual gifts and talents is the best way to encourage one another.

I was listening to TobyMac the other day in the car and the song "Thankful For You" came on, and I think I may have played it three times in a row.  While belting it out.  And car-dancing.

Have you seen the video of the anchor man dancing and his co-host shooting a side-eyed glare.  That is basically what happens if Brad and I are in the car together and a TobyMac song comes on {or any pop song from the 90's} Of course, our roles are reversed, I am the anchor man and Brad is the annoyed co-host.  (Click here if you haven't seen it yet.)
----resume topic----

I love this part of the song:

They say you become who you hang out with
Well I can tell you for sure
You make me a better man

And I can say without a doubt
I never had it figured out
Lord you've opened every door
I've stepped through yea
And I try to keep my head about me
So thankful for the friends around me
I'm thankful for You yeah
I'm thankful for You yeah
I'm thankful for You

 One of my greatest hopes is that I will be the kind of friend that inspires my friends too.  I want to always be ready to pray them through a challenge - even if it is unlike any challenge I have faced.  I want to always be ready to celebrate a win -- even if I'll never have that same victory.  I want to be ready to offer wisdom based on truth; not advice based on my preferences.  I want to speak the Truth wrapped up in love and I want to love so much louder than my words.  Because I have had such excellent role models, its easier for me to know what this kind of friend looks like.

Friends, I am so thankful for you.

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