Tag Archives: friendship

“with Thee and with one another”

It has effectively been almost 5 months since I’ve last put pen (keyboard) to paper (screen).

It’s a weird thing to be able to put a timeline on. Mainly because, for 4 years I would write on a regular basis, not going more than a couple weeks without getting some thoughts down. It feels like a weird muscle I’ve forgotten how to flex. And if there’s anything I know about not using muscles for a long time, it’s that once you start again it can be awkward and hard. Which is why you don’t start doing it again. And then the longer you go, the more awkward and harder it gets. So you keep putting it off.

You aren’t as strong as you were before.
You aren’t able to go for as long as you once could.
You run out of breath faster.
And you’re going to be sore in a couple hours, if not immediately.

And it feels like all of those things will apply here. Especially shortness of breath.

But the thing that has kicked me back into workout mode (okay, I’m done with that analogy) is something my grandmother prayed at my sister’s birthday dinner.

As we do at family gatherings, the food was out, people were standing ready to get in line (yes, we have a line because it’s not abnormal for more than 12 people to be at these things and that amount of food doesn’t fit in the middle of a table…), and my dad asked his mom to pray for our meal and our time together.

As she prays, she says this phrase, “And Lord, we thank you for the fellowship we have with Thee and with one another…”

I’ve heard my grandma pray many times in my life, but that phrase really got me this time around. It struck me how she was so comfortable likening the relationship she has with the Lord to the one she has with the people around her. She is in fellowship with all parties.

Fellowship, to me, is companionship, mutual support, togetherness…..friendship.

And when I think about my friends, I think about joy, care, love, camaraderie, encouragement, rebuke, laughter, time together, Netflix binges, and movie quotes.
(Okay, so some of my thoughts aren’t as spiritual as others, but also have you ever seen Pride & Prejudice because that was a SPIRITUAL experience…)

But when I think about my relationship with the Lord – especially lately – I see it more authoritarian. I see Him as sovereign, holy, and just. All of those are good things, but those aren’t the only things He is. He is also caring, loving, encouraging, and a friend.

Sometimes our pendulum can swing too far toward that last one and we start wearing “Jesus is my Homeboy” t-shirts, effectively forgetting that He is also the just, righteous God over all created things. But I think my pendulum has swung a smidge too far the other way. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have fellowship with the Lord. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to see Him as a friend to my soul that cares about the mundane details of my every day.

I’m so glad that the friends I have in this life are Kingdom people that make me better on a daily basis. But I need to remember that the King is also my friend whose Spirit was literally sent to this earth to make me better moment by moment.

I don’t know if this is a real thing, but I want to start practicing the discipline of friendship with the Lord. And, in the words of my grandmother, grow in fellowship with Thee and with one another.

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cheers to the risk

Cheers to the Risk

“Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.”-Brené Brown

This past weekend I had the privilege of retreating with some ladies from my church. The whole premise of the retreat was to sit around a table, eat delicious foods, and tell stories of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we hope to go with Jesus. It was – hands down – my favorite women’s retreat I’ve ever been on.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit over the last few days about spiritual community – thoughts unfortunately spurned on by the great lack that most people seem to have. It seems as if so many of us that follow Jesus are trying to do it alone. Or, at bare minimum, we invite others into our lives to follow Him with one another, but it’s as if we’re walking on opposite sides of the road, unwilling to close the gap and truly journey together. There’s great risk in sharing our lives with people around us, and we’re too scared to take that step. So, instead, we do all the right things – Bible study, small group, women’s events, church clean-up days, dinner with a group of people once a month – we insert ourselves into all the right ‘communities’ thinking that at some point, magic will happen and we’ll be seen and known the way we desire. But here’s the catch – we won’t. We can show up and do all the right things and never get to the point where people know us – really know us.

We’re afraid of the vulnerability and risk it will take to really open our hearts up to others, trusting that the Lord has placed people in our lives to be God-with-flesh-on for us, to fill the intimate space of companionship that we all so desperately crave.

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough – that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.”-Brené Brown

For me, the space never even came CLOSE to being filled until I came to the end of my do-ing, and let myself just be.

Be seen.
Be known.
Be open.
Be vulnerable.
Be ready for grace.
Be ready for God to show up.

Be present with Jesus and not expect anything but Him.

And then, be present with people – offering our story of where we’ve been with Jesus, where we are with Jesus, and where we hope to go with Jesus.
Opening up our lives, risking the potential rejection, hurt, and isolation that may come with the weight our stories carry.
But the other thing we risk – the beautiful thing that we risk – is actually having someone receive our story.

Because once someone receives it, they are in it with you. They are now a part of your story. And you can’t walk away from that the same person.

It. Will. Change. You.

I think we all wait around for that type of pivotal plot point, eager to step into that sacred space. But few of us are willing to open up our souls, standing naked and unashamed before one another (metaphorically naked, that is. Keep your clothes on if we’re hanging out…)

I guess that’s my point. Take the risk. Raise your glass to the unknown, to that which should scare the pants off of you (but again…keep your pants on). You’re life will be filled to the brim if you do.

“The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.”-Brené Brown

 

(sorry, not sorry for all the Brené Brown quotes. now, go read all her books and have your heart ripped out a little bit – in the best ways.)

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holy ground

holy-ground

There’s something holy and sacred about being asked to hold part of someone else’s story. Whether it is being asked to pray for a certain situation or relationship, or having someone share wonderful, life changing news, there is so much beauty in being invited in to another’s life.

Having experienced this invitation, I feel terribly inadequate in carrying the title of “friend” in other’s lives. To be honored in such a way that a person trusts me with their story – man…I just don’t know that I have the words.

I can’t just ignore it – I’m standing on holy ground. I’ve been invited into sacred space with another image bearer of the Most High God.

It’s really easy for me to sit in a day like today – Valentine’s Day – when my social media feed is flooded with posts of husbands and wives doting over one another and girls posting all about how their boyfriend is the best boyfriend in the whole-wide-world*, and feel oh so sorry for myself. To look at what they have and get really lonely, dwelling on what I don’t. Longing for someone to share a BOGO at Qdoba with, just because we kissed each other.

It’s easy to forget what I do have – to let the singular voice of ‘not-yet-married’ drown out the many voices of ‘you-are-so-loved.’

What I do have is this: people that invite me into their lives in ways that I don’t even have language to express. People that weep with me. People that rejoice with me. People that allow me rejoice with them; not only allow me, but ask me to! Man! What a freaking honor!!

It’s like they are eating their most favorite dish in the entire world and, without hesitation, they slide their plate over to me with the last bite on the fork and say, “Here, I want you to have this. I want you to share in the joy that is mine.”

I think too often we blow past the sacred space others invite us in to because we are afraid of what it calls us to. We are afraid that we’ll have to do something with it. And, guess what, we will. We’ll be called to open up our own lives, which risks hurt and heartache.

It’s much easier to keep people at a distance, never admitting our need for one another. But it’s also much less beautiful.

I would rather walk away from a conversation, my heart bursting with joy and love and, well, holiness I think, than never know the depth of connection I can have with another person.

The risk is worth it.
The friends are worth it.
The sacred connection we get to experience is worth it.
Every. Time.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I’m not going to be sad or bummed or lonely because I’m single.
Instead, I’m going to be ever so grateful for the ways in which God fills the sacred space in my heart – with Himself and with those that allow me to call them friend.

*can we talk about this for a second? Not everyone can have the best boyfriend in the entire world. They don’t all tie for first place. Some of them are kinda crappy.

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we just need each other

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Sometimes life is tough. I’ve experienced (what I think are) a lot of tough times thus far in my short life (no comments on my height, please).

However, life has been a lot less tough in the past few years, mainly because I know what community looks like. I know what life with people should be like. I’m learning what it means to bear with one another, to live life with others that actually means something.

I think all too often we are afraid of being real with one another. We hold back our struggles, sins, insecurities, and doubts. We may even hold back our joys, wins, and celebrations of things going well in our lives.

We are afraid of being known, yet that’s all we really desire. We are made to be in community with one another.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2)

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)

“I don’t like going this long without being with you guys in the same room. I feel like the devil knows we’ve been apart, and he chooses those periods of time to just give us all the junk he can throw at us.”

I got this text message last night from one of my dearest. I’d been having a rough week – and by week, I mean multiple weeks, maybe months – and, after a long conversation about life, she sent this. It’s so right.

We need each other. And I’m not just saying I need my friends and they need me.

I’m saying you need your friends. They need you.

We need to create a safe place for one another to just be – the be able to weep, to rejoice, to celebrate, to hold one another up.

May we all be willing to admit that we need one another – that life is better with people.

Let’s keep showing up.

*if you want to giggle a little & feel some feels, click here to watch Kristen’s last go-round as a SNL cast member!

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to showing up

tina-fey-amy-poehler-bush-twins

I’m a huge Sophia Bush fan. I fell in love with her as Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill, I deeply admire her desire to change the world and people’s lives through her ‘activist’ efforts (she’s involved with Pencils of Promise, I Am That Girl, etc.), and I love her voice. Seriously. I’d just like to have her read a book on tape for me to listen to all the time.

I also follow her on instagram. Truthfully, I follow her on every platform of social media the two of us share. Follow may not be the word. If there were a word for “I wonder what Sophia’s doing today, I’m going to go check all the things,” then that would be the right word.

Recently she’s been posting pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #toshowingup. It’s typically in correlation with something she’s done with her close friends, or an adventure she’s been on recently. And it got me thinking.

Do I show up?
Am I present with people?
Am I available when it’s inconvenient to me?
Do I live life in such a way that makes it worth showing up to?

And as a Christian, what does this mean? Does showing up in Gospel rhythm matter in people’s lives?

I think it means that we rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, bear one another’s burdens, call out sin in people’s lives, allow people to call out sin in our lives, go on big adventures to see God in the unknown places of the world and in our hearts. I think it means just that – we show up. We show up with one another, we show up with ourselves, and most importantly, we show up with God.

We go to God and say, “Here I am, Lord. Forgive me, change me, send me, use me.”

We open our selves up and say, “Today is not about me. Today is about loving God and loving others. Love Him and let Him love you, now go and do likewise.”

We be with others and say, “I’m with you, you aren’t alone, now let’s go have an adventure.”

We show up.

So here’s to that. Here’s to newness, and livelihood, and joy. To showing up.

*Sophia hasn’t been on SNL that I know of, so this hilarious throwback of Tina & Amy as the Bush twins (not related to Sophia) will have to suffice. ALSO, my ladies are hosting the Globes this Sunday so it’s appropriate. And ALSO again, Chicago P.D. makes it’s winter premier tonight so it’s timely that I write about Sophia 🙂 Okay. That’s all for now. I think.

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