I have been thinking a lot about friends and friendships lately. I don't have a lot of close friends or friendships, which is pretty much because that's the way I want it. Not that I don't like people, but I am just not one to share everything with everyone! I am also not really the most outgoing person you will ever meet, which probably comes as a shock to many of you reading this. Don't get me wrong, my years as a PK and New Ed and Praise Song member have taught me how to smile and mingle, even when I don't feel like it, and that's what I rely on a lot when dealing with others. Especially strangers or those I don't know very well. I would like to say that I have been working to make this better. That I have been going out of my way to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people, have lunches with ladies at church, and inviting families over for dinner, but that would be a complete lie. I know this is something I must get over, especially now that I am a deacon's wife and need to reach out to the families in our church. The problem now is that I am waiting for the desire to change, rather than just stepping out and making the change, regardless of how I feel. As I sit and have a nervous breakdown at the thought of getting to know new people, God has been reminding me of the great women (not that there haven't been some Godly male friends along the way, but there's really nothing better than Godly female friends) He has placed in my life through the years who have drawn me closer to Him and encouraged me and lifted me up along this journey called life. If someone is not mentioned, please don't be offended, but wanted to say thanks and show some gratitude to some of the ladies God has blessed me with over the years.
--Mom, Trish, and Aprille: What a blessing God gave me when he put me in your family. There have been ups and downs and more love and fights than there is space to write. It is a comfort to know that all three of you are there anytime I would need anything. You love my kids as if they were your own and you've put up with a lot of craziness from this little drama queen! You never laughed at any of my crazy ideas or dreams, and you never said "I told you so" when one or all of them didn't pan out. I don't make life easy and I love and appreciate you for hanging in there with me!
--Carol: You are the best mother-in-law a girl could ask for. You love our kids and you are so encouraging to me. I wish we got to see you more and hopefully one day we will be able to! Thanks for all you do for our family!!!!
--Lauren: I remember the first day that I met you....it was early registration day at HLG in May of 1997. We were in the Sports Complex registering for classes. I was a secondary education history major and Dr. Swisher was trying to put together my schedule, but was having a hard time remembering all the classes I had to take in order to keep my theatre scholarship, so I ended up with Weast. Back then, of course, we had to be downtown at the Orpheum at least once a day and I had no car. I was soooooo worried that I wouldn't be able to get to class. That's when Weast marched me over to you and informed both of us that you would love to give me a ride to class every day! Turns out we would live across the hall with each other and, by junior year, live together and spend pretty much every waking moment together! What a sweet friend you have been through the years. No matter how long it's been since we've talked or seen each other, we can always pick up right where we left off. You are an amazing blend of rebel and devoted follower, prayer warrior and wise advice giver. I know that I would not be the same if you hadn't been in my life!
--JacQueline: Oh where to begin with sweet Q! Even from the first time we met in college, you were the wisest person I had ever actually met! And I still don't think I have ever met a prayer warrior like you! I love that you turned that huge closet in your first dorm room into a prayer closet! That room has never been the same since, I am sure. I know I haven't been. And I haven't been the best of friends to you, either. I never call and I seldom write, but I do love and cherish the times that we do chat and the one or two times a year I get to hang out with you. Thank you for always being there, even while in TX, for anything I may need. It is a blessing to know that I can call or write at anytime with a prayer request or question, and you don't hesitate to answer or lift my request. It sounds cheesy, but earth truly is a better place because you are here! I am so excited to see how God uses your novels for His glory...and I can't wait to read the next chapter of your latest!
--Julie and Kristine: I have not been the best friend to the two of you since college, and for that I am truly sorry. We had some great times, and some not so great times over the years, but I know that if I ever needed either of you, you would be here or on your knees for me at the drop of a hat. Julie, I am so sorry that you were only an hour away and I never took the time to see you. That was pure laziness on my part. I am praying that all goes well in AZ and you make some amazing friends while there! Kristine, I think of and pray for you often as you serve God overseas. Can't wait to see pics of your little one in a few months!!!!!!
--Jessica: Who knew almost 10 years ago when your dad apologized for not being able to be at my college graduation because he was going to CA for his daughter's college graduation that I would one day become such great friends with that very daughter! What a blessing you are in my life! I can talk to you about anything, ask you any question, and know that you are on your knees for me and my family! I wish that we had more face time, but I do love the emails, chats, and random lunches and dinners! Thank you for loving my kids as your own and always displaying faithfulness to God, even when it seems there is no reason for it! You are an amazing encouragement and example to me and my family! I love you and look forward to all the years ahead! And who knows, maybe Ethan and Bethany will end up together some day...if she's willing to go for a younger man!
--Mandy: Our friendship isn't very old, but I do cherish it! You have been there for me and my kids anytime we have needed you and I love being able to share those sweet times with the kiddos! Thank you for your strength and witness of faithfulness, even in the hard times. Sophie loves Maryssa like she is truly her sister! And who knows, maybe one day we'll be neighbors and you'll have Internet and I'll have a van!!!!
--Sara: Again, we haven't been friends very long and neither one of us likes to share a whole lot with others, but you have truly been an encouragement to me, even from the first time I remember meeting you. I met you that first semester after Brian died when you were in our Acting 1 class. I remember seeing you on stage during "An Evening with Andrew Lloyd Weber" singing "Memory" as beautifully as I had ever heard it. My eyes were full of tears and I knew at that moment that God must have given you more strength than anyone I had met to that point to have endured your summer and come out on the other side singing and still praising Him. What a witness that was to a dorky little college freshman. And you have continued to be an example of faithfulness and trust in God as I have come to know you post college. Thank you for your silent witness and friendship!
--Susan: What a blessing it is to have SS teacher and Bible study leader like you! You are a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, truth, and honesty! Thank you for always being prepared and for always seeking God's will and God's best. Thank you for always being honest, even when it isn't pretty or convenient.
--Karen: I have not been a very good friend to you, but you are a great friend in return anyway. You are the most giving, loving, caring, and encouraging person on the planet...of this I am sure! All of Hannibal is better for your being here!
--Tammy: Again, our friendship is new and I probably don't know you all that well, but it has been fun developing a friendship. Thanks for always answering my silly questions and making time to see us when you come to town!!!!!!
--Playgroup moms: It has been so fun getting to know all of you this summer. I know I am not good at it, but I am working at building those relationships...well....at least on Thursday mornings, anyway! It is so great to spend time with other moms and learn that my kids aren't the only ones who throw temper tantrums or misbehave in public! It's fun to share great stories about our kids, how we met our husbands, and to pray for and with one another!
Thank you Lord, for all the sweet ladies You have placed in my life (even those not mentioned here)! Help me to honor and cherish those friendships, as well as develop new ones with the many ladies You will continue to place in my life in the years to come!