The Friendship Series: A Tiny Taste


Where does friendship start? This thing of great cost and even richer dividends- where does it begin?

With God.
Every gift starts with God.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (New King James Version, James 1:17)

This good gift, this sweet gift, comes down from our Father above. Just like jazz music and mountains, cheesecake and sweet baby cheeks, sunsets and orchestras, hearts to love and hands to hold.

And in our longing for relationship, we see our Father’s longing for relationship.

The Great Creator made us one day, we went astray, and He swooped down, stooped down to rescue us. All because He wants to know us. He wants to be with us. For the rest of eternity.

There is no friendship like our God’s. But through earthly friendships, He gives a tiny taste of what awaits us in Him: the richest of fellowship feasts. Amen.

The Friendship Series: Togetherness


Thanks for joining me as we set out to explore the topic of friendship, starting with Tuesday’s “Introduction” to the series. Make sure to visit my homepage and subscribe for future posts via email so that you don’t miss a moment!

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What is friendship? Friendship is a phone call and email, a coffee date and play date, a birthday party and moving party. It’s a touchstone along our busy lives, something to break up the mundane. But it’s more than an event, more than another appointment to keep.

True friendship is a steady connection- of our schedules, our lives, our hearts. It’s finding that we are of the same spirit and pursuing togetherness.

I am in grade-school when it comes to the topic of togetherness. But it seems to me that true togetherness, true friendship, requires a few things:

1. Choosing. In a world filled with hundreds of potential friendships, we must say no to many friendships in order to properly invest in a few friendships. Haven’t we had enough of the ever-widening but never-deepening circle of “friends”? This might feel hard to bear but joy is found in the narrowing.

2. Christ. True friendship is healthy. Otherwise it is not friendship; it is codependency. And the only way to be healthy is first to have Christ heal our depraved, craving, broken hearts. Then we can properly meet our friends- not with strangling, unrealistic demands, but with hearts ready to share in life’s joys and sorrows together.

3. Understanding the spectrum of relationship. There are many different levels of relationship- the most distant being strangers and the most intimate being marriage partners. Every other relationship we’ll ever have falls somewhere along this spectrum. Billions of people are strangers to us, perhaps a couple hundred are distant acquaintances, a hundred are casual acquaintances, fifty or so we might term “friends”, a dozen are close friends, and maybe 2 or 3 are intimate friends. It’s ok if not everyone makes the 2-3 intimate or dozen close friends cut. Some people are just acquaintances and that’s alright. Again, this comes down to choosing less so that our choices can go deeper. Also, it’s important to note that an individual relationship may shift along the spectrum throughout various seasons of life.

4. Understanding the cost of friendship. Friendship is a tremendous blessing. It’s like a warm mug of honeyed-tea, bringing sweetness to our lives. A gift. But this gift is two-dimensional. It requires something from us:

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (New King James Version, John 15:12-13)

Real friendship is sacrificial. It requires the sacrifice of our pride, our time, our wants, our “right” to be offended, and so much more. It requires the very laying down of our lives- just as Christ laid down His life for us.

These marks of friendship are by no means exhaustive. But they’re a start. Stay tuned for next time’s post when we focus on the origin of friendship. Until then!

The Friendship Series: Introduction


Belong.

Isn’t this the essence of friendship? To know that I belong to you and you belong to me. My place is with you. In a large world, filled with loud noises and ever-changing scenes, friendship is a safe and pleasant place. Like home.

At least friendship should be like home. But how often is it rather like an errand, a disappointment, or even a bruise? In this hurried, transient, online age, are our hearts crying out for something more? A different type of friendship than the one we’ve been given through Facebook and quick coffee dates?

I have made many mistakes when it comes to friendships. I have been prideful, closed off, hurtful, easily offended, selfish, well-intentioned but lacking in follow-through, and so much more. I am by no means a model of “the perfect friend”. But I do have a desire to be a good friend. And I want to have good friends, too- the kinds I tell my grandkids about someday.

I want people to share life with, to make a difference with. I want people to change me and me to change people. I want the friendships they write about in biographies.

I think you want these kinds of friendships, too.

But how do we get from here to there? That’s want I want to find out these next several weeks as we journey to examine the topic of friendship and answer some of the following questions:

What is friendship?
Where does it come from?
Is it really attainable or just a pipe dream?
What makes a good friend?
What makes a not-so-good friend?
What if we get hurt?
How do we forgive?
What about the introverts?
When is it time to “move on”?
How do we glorify God with our friendships?

Will you join me as we set out to uncover the truth about friendships? I can’t wait to see what we discover.

Under the Covers


Our walk with the Lord looks different in each season. Sometimes it’s an early morning run, praying with each pounding of the pavement; sometimes it’s a journal and coffee date; and sometimes it’s snuggling in bed.

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Just want to snuggle with You under the covers, where thoughts are so clear and Your voice is so loud. If I get up, I know my mind will go racing. I’ll lose the stillness of this moment.

You see, there are dishes to do, a checkbook to balance, and a baby to chase. But here, nestled in my nest of blankets, there’s only You and me.

In the quiet, You heal my heart. Your love washes every hurt, listens to every worry, and breathes new life again.

How good You are to me.

Joy in the Narrowing

I’m fixin’ to turn 29, ya’ll. (For some strange reason, I felt compelled to say this in a Texan accent…maybe it makes me feel more youthful?!)

True to my INFJ personality, I always spend the days surrounding my birthday pondering the past year, the upcoming year, and the passages of time. The past several years, this reflection has been tinged with a bit of remorse. Not that my life isn’t good. I’m blessed with so much: a kind, supportive husband, a loving family, friends, opportunities, ice-cream, and- most of all- the love of my Savior. But as each passing year has brought greater definition to my life, there have also been “little deaths” along the way.

Little deaths are the wild dreams I had as a 19, with Switchfoot being the soundtrack for each dream:

  • Live in Europe
  • Live in Nepal and Tibet
  • Run an orphanage
  • Run an NGO
  • Be an entrepreneur
  • Teach English as a second language
  • Be a world-class photojournalist
  • Marry an Italian with curly dark hair
  • Do all of the above by the time I am 30
Looking back on this list, it’s laudable that I had so many ambitions. With the exception of living in Romania for a semester and teaching English to a Korean immigrant for 1.5 months, I haven’t accomplished any of my original dreams. (I definitely didn’t marry an Italian with curly dark hair- ha! But I did marry the whitest of white American boys, with golden hair to match. And I wouldn’t trade him for all the Marios in the world. :) ) But strangely, I no longer feel sorrow over this.

Along with my many dreams, came a hefty load of confusion. The culture’s message of “Anything is possible, you can be anyone and do anything you want” left me feeling completely paralyzed. With all these choices around me, I certainly didn’t want to make the wrong choice. And I didn’t want to miss out on one good dream because I said yes to another.

This confusion followed me around for a decade.

But what a difference 29 vs. 19 makes. :)

The decade of my twenties has taught me that it’s who you are, not what you do, that determines your adventures. It’s taught me that there is joy in the narrowing of life’s scope. It’s all well and good to dream up a thousand glorious dreams. But at some point, you have to decide which dream you’ll LIVE.

Accomplishing some of my original goals would still be pretty rad. But it’s also pretty rad to:

  • Be a devoted wife
  • Be a present mother
  • Be an invested friend
  • Focus on one or two things and keep doing them and doing them and doing them until you do them well
  • Enjoy the fruit that only the long-term-committed taste
These have been some of the grand adventures I have been privileged to experience in my twenties. And I’m so grateful.

Who knows, I still might run a crazy awesome NGO and orphanage in Tibet someday. God surprises us with new adventures everyday. :) But in the meantime, I take great joy in the narrowing.