So I recently purchased a book by my favorite author ever, Melanie Shankle. The book is titled, "Nobody's Cuter Than You" and I read it in two evenings after work with the twins snuggled up right next to me watching television. I didn't win mom of the year either of those nights but I did learn a lot. I was reminded of each of the precious people in my life as Melanie recalled the relationships she held dear to her heart. As she told each story I could literally name a friend or two of my own that had the same impact on me and were placed in my life for the exacts same reasons. They are my people.
As I continued to read that book I couldn't help but think of several new friends that have become like sisters to me. These friends were given to me two years before I lost Charlie. Part of me thinks they were given to me then because God knew I would need people to get me through this year, but as our friendship continues to grow and deepen it is evident he put us together for even more. We have developed a fast friendship that is unlike many where we encourage and trust each other with our hearts completely open and unashamed.
One of my friends is beginning a journey that is going to change her and her family forever, in the most amazing way. When I think of her I remember the verse in Proverbs that describes a virtuous woman. "Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the fear of God." She very recently has been able to hear a call for her life and follow the Lord in that call as she steps completely out of her comfort zone. What her and her family are doing is probably something she would have said she would never do maybe even a few weeks ago. As humans we have a natural instinct to stay put. Find our most comfortable place and never leave, but as followers of Jesus, we are asked to step out and love others intensely. She opened her heart and understood that God was really speaking to her through real tangible voices in her life. Who wouldn't want to be friends with someone that is completely devoted to hearing (and more importantly listening to) someone that is bigger than herself. I look up to her more than she will ever know. I appreciate the real feelings she shares with me. I sincerely love listening to the fear and insecurities she voices as much as I love hearing the pure joy that she is experiencing because that is how I know we are each other's people. Of course I do not want her to hurt but as I sit here and think of all she has shared I know she trusts our friendship.
In Melanie's book, (yeah, I called her Melanie because we're BFF! She posted on my instagram pic y'all...seriously!?) she said, "A good friend will love you, support you, and cheer you on. A good friend doesn't make you feel inadequate or like you're not good enough. A good friend won't dump you when someone better comes along or ask you to compromise who you are and what you believe. These are the lessons we need to instill in the young women who are coming behind us, because there are few things in life worth having as much as a few close friends, and it's worth trading popularity for authenticity. In this new world we've built of Facebook friends and Instagram likes and texting instead of listening to an actual voice, it's still worth going deeper and finding people who will love you for your real, authentic, broken self. And, most important, to find that person means we have to be that person."
I am not completely healed and I am not sure I ever will be, but this friend knows that and loves me anyway. And now, while her life changes I am able to be present in her life. I am able to encourage and listen to her the way she has for me. God is deepening our relationship and I could not be more thankful.
Nobody's cuter than you...you know who you are!