I am hard to be friends with. I know this. I am demanding, selfish, self-centered, opinionated, critical and well, the list goes on and on and on. I’m guessing the hardest thing about me is how intrusive I am. If you are friends with me I want to know everything from your bra size to your income to your deepest fears. I want all the grit The ugly stuff no one wants to show anyone. AND I want them to know all of that about me. Maybe that’s the hardest part! That I share EVERYTHING. If you are my friend I am pretty much an open book. You know when I poop, what’s left in my bank account and you see me cry.
Because of this I never have very many friends. Or close friends I should say. And honestly, too many friends overwhelm me! It’s hard to be that close to too many people. I have LOTS of women I just adore though. So many I wish I knew better and wish I hung out with more and wish I could get to know all that gritty stuff. But at the end of the day I have just a few close friends.
Angie is my best friend. And although that seems so juvenile to say because really, since I have so few I would consider them all my best friends, it’s just true. Angie is the person that literally knows everything. She’s seen me at my worst and still loves me. In fact, she’s taught me more about grace in a friendship than anyone ever has. Forgiveness too. She’s awesome at that because I screw up a lot! She’s the person I would go to with my deepest darkest thoughts and I know she’d not only make them lighter, she’d share hers with me. If she moved away or anything ever happened to us it would feel like I lost my left leg. She’s who I feel like I’m in a marriage with… if that makes any sense. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. She’s in the trenches with me and I can’t imagine walking this road without her.
Kim is my partner. She’s another person who offers me constant grace as I’m ALWAYS behind in work or struggling to keep up or forgetting to do whatever. She’s also the least judgemental person you could ever meet. On our way to and from sessions she’s usually quiet and I’m talking her ear off about things she probably doesn’t even want to hear but she NEVER makes me feel silly for sharing (or over-sharing) so much. She’s also my better half. For Fresh Art, the things I truly suck at she excels at and when I have something personal going on she picks up my slack without skipping a beat. She keeps me in line and keeps me on task, keeps me laughing and passionate about our job. She’s helped me grow so much as a photographer these last two years it’s insane.
Adriane is my newest friend and has brought so much to my life. When we started talking more last fall I honestly was worried because I felt there was no room for another good friend in my life (because for me, close friendship takes a lot of time) but oh how God had other plans. A (I call her “A” because saying Adriane all the time gets to be too much for my mouth!) is sort of like that last surprise baby… she filled a void in my life I didn’t even know was there and now I can’t imagine life without her. She was the first person who really helped me understand what it means to live in community and I came to lean on her a lot. We helped each other with driving kids around, she was a house I could dump my kids if I needed quick+last minute baby sitting and she fed us multiple times this year while we were without our own home. The biggest thing she’s brought to my life is a renewed love for Christ. God brought her transparent love for Christ into my life at the exact moment I was open to receive it. Watching her live her life for the Lord is breathtaking.
So I have these three amazing friends. Plus I have my sister of course, who is just as incredible as those three women. She swooped in this week and took my kids so we could work on the house and move in! Who does that? Five kids ages 1, 3, 3, 4 and 6 for four days? Insane! But she’s doing it with grace and ease and even if she hated every second of it (which would be totally normal) she would never let me know so that I wouldn’t worry. She’s my past and gets parts of me no one does. And really, she’s seen the worst in me more than anyone else has, ever. Because I was a total crap-ass big sister for 90% of her life and yet, she still loves me.
So I have these four amazing friends.
Anyway, at Bible study yesterday the speaker (who is yet another woman I wish I had time to get to know better because she’s awesome!) talked about how God calls us to live in community. To share life with those walking the same paths and even those who have strayed or are on a different path completely. It was such an incredible talk and one that will stay with me for a long time. It’s made me think, almost non-stop, about my community and just how dang blessed I am. Abbie snatched up my kids when I wasn’t sure how to balance it all anymore, Angie and Adriane have been painting all week with me and Kim is finding the most perfect house warming gift (she is hands down the best gift giver I’ve ever known!) to help make our house a home. My dad has been working around the clock building our custom built-in cabinets around our fireplace (I can’t wait to show you photos!!!). My mom has had the kids for days on end, has done our laundry and cooked our meals while we work on the house. Terri has painted and sewn for us, Jack has painted/patched/ripped out/etc and Tim (Adriane’s husband) has done every odd job we throw at him. Kevin (Angie’s husband and C’s best friend) has painted and helped keep C sane. Sharon and Tom have stopped by (getting Mac time is SO precious to me!), Julie sent over a carseat when all I did was casually mention needing one on this blog, so many people have sent us random Lowe’s gift cards to help with the financial burden and the list seriously goes on.
How did we get so lucky? So blessed? Why do we deserve all of this?
And yesterday Heather’s talk reminded me that we’re all the body of Christ. We’re living in community with one another. It’s that simple. We just happen to be the needy ones right now. And while the feelings of gratitude overwhelm me at times I realized yesterday that I would do it all for any of those people and more. You’d do it for anyone.
Today at QT I was getting a soda and a man walked up to C and I asking for gas money to “get further down the road” while he looked for a job. Chris and I had just been talking about how tight money is right now after a month of money flying out the door we finally have to just stop the renovations, pause, save more cash and wait before we take on one more project. We had just discussed how important every dime is when a stranger in need asked for our money. So I gave him $20 without even thinking about any of that. “OF COURSE we’ll help you sir…is this enough?” We live in community. He needed it and we had it. As simple as that.
Tonight as I painted and chatted with two of my dearest friends I was just so taken aback at my blessed life. To be able to live in community with them, and so many others, is such a huge blessing God has bestowed on our family. And while I may never be able to give my friends so much time at their houses working on projects to pay them back, I can pass it on in other ways. I love that living in community is messy and never perfect. That it’s about being there for the happy times, the saddest times and the mundane. I love being there for the mundane.
Thanks to everyone that has helped us during this house buying time in our lives. We had NO idea what it would take to get our home move-in ready and we couldn’t have done it without any of you!