My longest friendship is with Leslie, whom I met in 6th grade. It was my first year in a new city, at a new school, with a new stepmom. I had become friends with the girls in my neighborhood, and one day they told me they didn't want me in their circle of friends anymore. God tapped Leslie on the shoulder and she obeyed by giving me a place to sit at lunch. Soon we were exchanging creatively written Bible verses and mixed tapes of DC Talk songs. Our technology may have changed, but we still send each other Bible verses and song lyrics via text. She's one of my prayer warriors.
I'm still friends with two of my college roommates, and my family recently drove to Kansas to visit one of them. It was amazing to see her and her husband and children. I love that we've known each other at different stages of life.
Megan moved here when our girls were chubby little babies. We have journeyed together through play groups, potty training, preschool, traveling husbands, family trauma, school drama, Bible studies, and the ups and downs of being entrenched in church ministry. Megan possesses strength that few people do. We have seen each other sick and unshowered and ugly crying. We operate completely differently but I appreciate learning from her.
|I couldn't find a good picture of Megan and me, so here are a few pictures of our kids together early in our friendship.|
About two years ago, Michele and her daughter Abby were walking towards the school as I was walking out with Nora. Abby declared to her mom that "that girl" (Nora) would be her best friend. A few months later Michele and I started talking and getting to know one another, and we became besties right along with our daughters. Michele is very generous and has forced me to accept her help. She keeps my kids when I have an appointment for myself or one kid. She offers whatever she has to people around her. I never clean my house or put on makeup before Michele comes over. Plus I got to be part of Michele finding God and allowing Him into her heart and life, and there is no greater joy than that.
|Me and Michele|
Kim moved into the house across the street from me about a year ago. We waved when we passed each other. One day we bumped into her in Target while she was carrying her teeny newborn baby and we were worn out from the battle for Nolan's health. We got to talk more about real life, and she said she would be praying for Nolan. There's nothing that sucks me in more than a little baby. So every time I saw Kim outside with her kids, I found a reason to cross the street and hold her little guy. This summer my kids have fallen in love with Kim's older two kids and play together nearly every day. Kim and I have had many in-depth chats and know a lot about each other's struggles. Each of our interactions has been like a thread that God is weaving together as part of His plan.
Last week I got to spend time with Jess, whom I have known for a couple years but don't see all that often. In the last few days, I have learned so much about Jess and her history and where she is in life right now. I treasure these moments where she trusts me with her story.
I have fabulous groups of friends as well: the school moms, the church family, the Bible study ladies, the neighbors. I'm even close friends with some family members. Recently one group of my friends had pictures taken together. Getting my picture taken is one of my least favorite things ever, so this was sacrificial love for me. :)
|These friends are my "Crew"|
Over the last week, God has really been moving in the circle of Michele, Kim, Jess, and me. It's been so exciting! But I also found myself worrying what my "old" friends might think of my increased involvement with new friends. I actually worry about this a lot. I want every one of my friends to be my best friend. I don't want anyone to ever be left out or feel forgotten. I recently read a blog post about how God brings you some friends for a season, and He eventually leads you on to new relationships in His timing. I had such a hard time accepting this information because I just love all my friends so much and don't want to let go of a single one!
One friend told me the other day that God has given me the gift of loving and caring for people. I hadn't really thought about it that way before. But the more I thought about it (what else am I gonna do when I'm wide awake at 4:00 am?), the more I could see that maybe the way I feel about my friends is a gift from God.
I love my people so deeply. I sometimes feel a physical ache in my chest when I miss someone or a surge of joy when I get to see one of my peeps. I genuinely care about what is on their minds and I often feel whatever emotions they express. I crave close connection with people.
The irony of how God made me is that I have this deep love for people but I'm also an introvert. So after I get to spend time with people, I need alone time to recharge. It would have been more convenient for me if God had made me an extravert!
Another downside of how I experience emotions is that while I love deeply, I also hurt deeply. Both of these weaknesses of mine lead me to seek comfort and renewal from God. So I suppose He knew what He was doing when He made me this way.
This has been a season of uncertainty for me. I don't know if Nolan will be able to handle traditional school or if I will be his full-time caregiver and educator this year. I don't know if Nora and Griffin will get the teachers I want for them or if we might have a year of learning to deal with tough people. I have no idea what my daily life will look like starting next week.
So I'm following little bread crumbs God has been leaving me. The season of Nolan's health struggles has been a time of letting go of responsibilities and activities. We've been simplifying life as much as possible. After all of this stripping away, I keep waiting for the rebuilding to start. This past week or so I have felt a long-lost glimmer of passion as I've been talking to new friends and sensing where God might want to use me. There are so many questions unanswered, but I think God waking me up in the middle of the night to talk to me about my deep love for people is a good lead to follow.